Future Sense: Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That’s Waking Up

Malcolm Parlett's work is to research, as well help release and stimulate, humanity’s Whole Intelligence. Living amidst global turbulence and the urgent ecological crisis, the need for greater Whole Intelligence is paramount.

About the book

Future Sense embraces the global crisis and personal experience together.

“The human dimension” is the most significant factor in determining our common future. Human beings can act together sensibly and cooperatively to solve problems – they have the potential to do so. But there has to be a shift in consciousness, like a software upgrade if they are to act more intelligently overall and in a way that does not endanger our species. So what needs to happen to help human beings act with more insight, sure-footedness, deep responsibility, and emotional maturity?

I am suggesting in this book that our ideas of what it means “to be an educated person” are far too limited. “Intelligence”, as people usually think of it, relates to cleverness, intellectual brilliance, and speed of thinking. Whole intelligence is about much more than this.

Taking someone of the stature of Nelson Mandela, we can recognise an intelligence that extends well beyond the usual notions. In fact, we are good at spotting those stand-out moments, where human energy, commitment, courage, and skilfulness are seen to come together with perceptiveness and maturity of perspective; those times when we see an individual, community, or organisation acting in ways that are original, courageous, to the point, and reflect humanity’s best values. Equally the great majority of human beings can recognise when something happens which is destructive, short-sighted, ugly, crazy, or which violates their aesthetic sense of what is appropriate and “well-formed”. These times when Whole Intelligence is absent or diminished are dispiriting moments. When we witness Whole Intelligence in action, our bodies register “good feelings” and a positive future seems more achievable.

In Future Sense I am arguing that leaders, experts, and government agencies – as well as activists, thinkers, and concerned individual citizens – need to have far greater access to their whole intelligence, and that the first step to doing so is to acknowledge it as a concept and human quality of huge significance and relevance to our time.

A revolution is underway in which there is growing recognition that there need to be “adults in the room” in formulating the policies and choosing the directions for humanity as we face an uncertain future. The need is for more Whole Intelligence – higher expectations of human competence and wisdom. Leaders and opinion-makers need to cultivate it, and be grown-up enough to realise their limitations as well as their hidden potentialities. They need to “raise their sights” in order to grapple with the obstacles and attitudes which prevent or undermine Whole Intelligence from being given fullest scope. Readers and reviewers describe Future Sense as “the book that we have been waiting for” and as a “crucial guide to our new steps”.