Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions is one of three related works Charles Johnston has written in recent years for different audiences but with similar intent: to help people understand the times we live in and to make sense of what the future will require of us as a species. This book is intended for people who find particular fascination in overarching inquiry. In different ways, each book addresses how our times present challenges that will require new ways of thinking, acting, and relating if we are to successfully address them. Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions describes how the new kinds of understanding we need today, besides helping us address modern-day challenges, also bring a new maturity and creativity of perspective to more ultimate sorts of questions.
Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions is based on the ideas of Creative Systems Theory (CST), a comprehensive framework for understanding purpose, change, and interrelationship in human systems that was first introduced by Dr. Johnston more than thirty years ago and later refined with colleagues at the Institute for Creative Development. Creative Systems Theory addresses what it means to be human from the biggest of big-picture perspectives. The theory is significant both for the practical usefulness of its ideas and for the kind of thinking that it represents. Creative Systems Theory itself is an example of the new kind of understanding that we will need more and more in times ahead.
This book’s interest lies with one of Creative Systems Theory’s more provocative conceptual implications. The theory proposes that the kind of understanding we will need in the future lets us address questions that in times past have either left us baffled or have produced limited, and in the end unhelpful, answers. The kinds of answers that the theory suggests offer important new insights. They also serve to demonstrate the theory’s success in providing a framework for the new kind of thinking that is so critical to our future.
Some of the questions the book takes on: How do we best understand the times in which we live? How do we best understand the human story as a whole? Why, at different times in history, has human understanding taken the forms that it has? How do we best understand the concept of free will? Are the beliefs of science and religion just different, or instead, parts of an understandable larger picture? And, what is our place in the larger scheme of things?
By successfully addressing these and other such quandaries, Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions provide a provocative and persuasive argument for the significance of Creative Systems Theory, and culturally mature perspective more generally, in the larger history and evolution of human understanding.
People who enjoy the audacity of “theory of everything” reflection we will find this book particularly useful and provocative. It makes radical claims. But if the picture it presents is accurate, it contributes in important ways to a necessary next chapter in our human story. It explains a huge amount about us not understandable in other ways. It also provides important guidance as we look to the future. If what it describes is not basically correct, it is hard to imagine a healthy and vital human future.
About the Author
Charles M. Johnston, MD, is a psychiatrist and futurist. He is best known as the originator of Creative Systems Theory, and for directing the Institute for Creative Development, a nonpartisan think tank and center for advanced leadership training. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the future and how we can best prepare to meet it. He blogs at www.CulturalMaturityBlog.net. Other Institute for Creative Development-related websites can be found at www.CreativeSystems.org
Praise for Charles Johnston’s Work
The Creative Imperative
“This book impresses me very much.”
Author of From Being to Becoming
“A rare gift. For those of us who sincerely struggle in our individual lives, our relationships, our profession, and our work to create a just world, this is essential reading.”
(former) President, Antioch University