Preface
Toward Human Emergence was forty years in the making. Originally, I got
the idea for this work after traveling around the world as a Fulbright
professor. Further reading and research confirmed to me that the human
family is in a major transition to a new state of being. As the 20th century
drew to a close, it became clear that the acceleration of change in knowl -
edge, especially in science and technology, is transforming civilizations
and cultures far beyond the experience of the past millennia. While a
visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University in 1965, I attempted
to address this phenomenon by beginning this text that you are now
reading. I almost finished the manuscript by the end of the next year,
but held back from submitting it to a publisher. The whole endeavor
convinced me that before I could deal with the evolution of human con -
sciousness, I had to go through further development as a person, thinker,
and writer.
However, in 1968, I did publish a synopsis of my conclusions in the
Journal of Human Potential. A revised version now appears here as
the Prologue. That prompted three unique reader responses. One inquiry
came from the Boeing Corporation’s helicopter division in Philadelphia,
then in the midst of significant technological change. They asked me to
design and conduct a series of workshops for their middle managers on
the Management of Change. That initial program became the centerpiece
of my continuing research, writing, training, and consulting in beha -
vioral science until now. The second outcome of my published essay
on human emergence was an invitation from the author, Alvin Toffler,
to lunch with him. He had just written a feature on Future Shock
for the literary journal Horizons. In our discussions, we explored the
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possibilities for collaborating together on a textbook, but decided against
such a venture. Toffler went on to write his best-selling volume of the
same title. He inspired me to become a professional in the new field of
future studies, so I became an active member and contributor to the
World Future Society. The third consequence of my emergence com -
mentary was another invitation in 1969 to visit the Salk Institute in La
Jolla, California. Renowned scientists Jonas Salk and Jacob Bronowski
spent several hours exchanging ideas with me about the possible future
of our species. This led to relocation with my wife, then a Penn State
dean and professor, to that “jewel” community in San Diego and a life-
long friendship with Jonas, the famed polio researcher.
Since that emergence article, this is the 48th book that I have authored
or edited. Some of the ideas were included in my book Managing the
Knowledge Culture (published by HRD Press). That volume also led to
my participation in a Humanity 3000 Symposium sponsored by the
Foundation for the Future. In 2006, I finally was comfortable enough to
resurrect my original manuscript to revisit this human emergence
theme that captivated my interest so many years ago. Living for eight
decades does provide a measure of wisdom and insight. Thus I now
share Toward Human Emergence with you, the reader. So much has
changed in global societies since I first started this writing project. I am
more hesitant and tentative about these ponderings, while hoping that
this volume stretches your mind and enables you to expand upon my
speculations about humanity’s collective prospects.
My subtitle here refers to a human resource philosophy for the future. I
hope this book will stimulate the thinking of specialists in the field of
human resource development, for human resource development is a
broad field that includes educators and trainers, but also all those who
seek to influence others and build their competencies so they can realize
their capacities more fully as individuals. Such consciousness raising
is done regularly by dedicated parents, teachers, mentors, therapists,
counselors, and consultants, as well as managers, the clergy, and even
con fidants and close friends. We all have a responsibility to develop
human potential—our own and that of others!
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