May 19, 2022
The Evolving Self Chapter 6 Discussion: Directing Evolution | Flow Book Club
Join us as we continue with our exploration of flow, reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow sequel: The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium (1993).
In the introduction, MC points out “...it is difficult to build a happy life by the simple addition of a series of flow experiences. The whole in this case is definitely more than the sum of its parts”. Beyond just a number of flow experiences, what is needed is “…a system of meanings that gives purpose to one’s being”.
MC explains, “Flow ended with the proposition that by understanding better our evolutionary past we might generate the grounds for a viable meaning system, a faith that can give order and purpose to our lives in the future. To know ourselves is the greatest achievement of our species. And to understand ourselves – what we are made of, what motives drive us, and what goals we dream of – involves first of all our evolutionary past. Only on this foundation can we build a stable, meaningful future.” That is the project of this book.
Chapter 6: Directing Evolution
Finally, we’re on to Part II and focused on evolving into the future! Specifically, we’re exploring MC’s ideas on how to control the direction of evolution. As he says, “To start on this task, we need to reach a better understanding of what evolution entails.” That is the work we’ll begin in this chapter. As MC states, “What makes the evolution of complexity possible is the fact that we also have a built-in predilection for learning new skills, for doing difficult things that stretch our abilities, for creating order in our consciousness and in our environment” – and what makes that possible and easy is, of course, FLOW!
Topics: “Some Principles of Evolution” “The Nature of Complexity” “Morality and Evolution” “The Control of Population” “Eumemics: Limiting the Reproduction of Memes” “Complexity of Consciousness”
“Ask Me Why” by Matthew Billman and K. Joia Houheneka
This discussion is done in partnership with the Meetup group 52 Living Ideas.
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