Volume 1, Number 6
March, 2013
In This Issue
Editorial: The Psychology of the Future and the Future of Psychology
Book Review: Mind and Cosmos by Thomas Nagel
The Future Evolution of the Human Mind - and Beyond
Archive: Futurodyssey and Wisdom Page Updates
Center for Future Consciousness Website
Books by Tom Lombardo


Join Our Mailing List
Upcoming Events


The Future Evolution of the Human Mind - and Beyond

A ten-session new course at Sun City Grand, Chaparral Center, 19781 N. Remington Drive, Surprise, AZ. Tentative Times: Thursdays, 10 am to noon, beginning in September. More specific information to follow.

This Month's Highlights:  
  • Editorial: The Psychology of the Future and the Future of Psychology  
  • Book Review: Mind and Cosmos by Thomas Nagel - Reviewed by Tom Lombardo   
  • New Course: The Future Evolution of the Human Mind - and Beyond
  • Archive: Futurodyssey and Wisdom Page Updates   
The Psychology of the Future and the Future of Psychology


Over the last few months I have been piloting a new course and book "The Psychology of the Future" at Sun City Grand in Surprise, Arizona.

I begin the course with a question: How can one better understand and strengthen all those psychological traits and abilities essential for developing a more informed, empowered, creative, and wise approach to the future? More succinctly put: How can one heighten one's future consciousness in order to realize the good life, now and into the future?

I answer this question by first developing a realistically grounded theory of the good life--literally of "what is good." Since reality is dynamical and evolutionary, the good life (or the good) must be set within a dynamic context. The good life cannot be static. I propose that the good is "to flourish," which necessarily involves helping others to flourish as well.

Hence, heightening future consciousness--that is, developing a creative, constructive, and informed approach to the future--should lead to flourishing.

Heightening future consciousness, according to my theory, involves developing a key set of character virtues, including self-control and self-responsibility, hope and optimism, courage, discipline, and the love of learning and thinking. These character virtues empower one's capacities for creating a positive future. In essence, one realizes the good life through the development and exercise of a set of future-focused character virtues.

Next, I propose that wisdom, as the central character virtue, synthesizes all the key virtues of heightened future consciousness; indeed it is the highest expression of future consciousness and self-development. Ultimately it is through the pursuit, development, and exercise of wisdom that one best realizes the good life (flourishing) in the future.

In succession, through the course, I examine the psychology of environmental and social influences, self-control, emotion, motivation, purposeful behavior, learning and memory, thinking and understanding, consciousness, and self-identity, and for each of these areas I highlight the key virtues that enhance one's capacities for future consciousness and flourishing. The course ends with wisdom, pulling together all the different capacities and character virtues.

One important theme in the course is how our personal narrative (the story we tell ourselves about our life and self-identity) structures our consciousness and determines our sense of self--who we believe we are. The theory is that we live the story we tell ourselves, and our future, indeed, is a significant consequence of our future self-narrative. Our self narrative for the future may inspire or depress us; it may empower or deflate us. Regardless, narratives become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Self-narratives can be rewritten, though, for we are the authors of our stories. Re-writing our narrative, infusing it more strongly with those character virtues connected with heightened future consciousness and flourishing, will maximize the chances for a positive future.

Humans are natural story tellers. We use stories to give our lives meaning and direction, and our consciousness and behavior manifest the stories we carry in our heads in positive as well as negative ways. Besides personal narratives, we also carry within us grand narratives: stories of the big picture of things, connecting past, present, and future. We see ourselves (our personal narratives) in the context of our grand narratives. Our grand narratives both inform and inspire our personal lives and sense of self. Hence, how we see ourselves moving into the future reflects how we see the world at large (or even the cosmos) moving into the future. 

In this context I want to especially highlight the intimate connection between our personal narratives of the future and our narratives of the future of humanity. What direction is the human mind heading? The human personality, individually and collectively? How may humanity evolve or not evolve in the future? What do we believe and why? Are we getting smarter or dumber? Are we becoming more empowered through technological evolution or, through increasing dependency on our machines, more enfeebled? We can feel either lost, confused, and pessimistic, or empowered, informed, and optimistic regarding our personal future depending upon the strength, credibility, and vitality of our particular grand narrative for the future of humanity.

Hence, in coming to the concluding section ("Wisdom, Enlightenment, and Transcendence") of the course "The Psychology of the Future," it dawned on me that this first course naturally and inevitably leads to a second course: "The Future of Psychology." What are the possibilities, the probabilities, and the preferred directions for the evolution of the human mind and human nature in the future? What is the great journey--past, present, and future--of the collective human psyche in which all of our individual journeys are participating?

Beginning this fall semester, I will be teaching this new course ("The Psychology of the Future") at Sun City Grand. See the course description in this newsletter below. Stay tuned to later newsletters for days and times.

Tom Lombardo
Book Review - Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel 

Further exploration into consciousness, evolution, and more.  

Two months ago in the CFC newsletter I included my new essay on "Consciousness, Cosmic Evolution, and the Technological Singularity" in which I questioned whether current theories of cosmic evolution provided an adequate explanation of consciousness. In much more philosophical depth, Thomas Nagel, in his new book, questions whether the materialist view of cosmic explanation can explain consciousness, reason, and value judgments - three essential dimensions of intelligence.

*  *  *  *  * 


Thomas Nagel is an internationally recognized professor of philosophy at New York University. Mind and Cosmos, a short one hundred and thirty page book, was published this last year (2012) by Oxford University Press.

I found Mind and Cosmos fascinating and thought-provoking. It raises more scientific and philosophical questions and challenges than it answers or constructively addresses, but this is a plus. Nagel wants to highlight what he takes to be the big puzzles still facing science and philosophy. In particular, he attempts to demonstrate that the currently dominant physicalist, reductionist, and Neo-Darwinian explanation of the nature and evolution of the cosmos does not intelligibly explain: The origin of life, the origin and nature of consciousness; the origin and foundation of rationality; and the origin and foundation of realistically grounded ethical values. In essence, there are a number of really BIG explanatory holes in our present scientific view of the cosmos, and hence, there is SOMETHING of great and pervasive significance we are missing in our contemporary theories of nature.

Read the complete review
The Future Evolution of the Human Mind -
and Beyond

Speculative visions of the future, although often set in strange high-tech environments, usually portray humans, quite naively, as possessing the same mental make-up as they have today. It seems highly doubtful that this view of future human psychology is correct. As history and science reveal, human nature is transformative and evolving, and not some single unchanging reality. Generously sprinkled with both contemporary non-fiction resources and visions and science fiction scenarios, in this course we will discuss how future developments in scientific psychology, brain research, the study of consciousness, biology and biotechnology, nanotechnology, computer technology and robotics, education, spirituality, human society and culture, and even physics and space travel will undoubtedly transform and enhance the capacities and qualities of the human mind. And we will go further, considering the possible, indeed highly likely, psychological and biological transcendence of humanity.
Archives - Futurodyssey and Wisdom Page  Updates

This fall I began publishing two redesigned newsletters: Futurodyssey--the online publication for the Center for Future Consciousness--and the Wisdom Page Updates--the online publication for The Wisdom Page. There are Archives for both newsletters. You can view earlier issues of each newsletter by going to:   


That's it for this month: An essay on psychology, the future, and personal and grand narratives; a book review on Mind and Cosmos; and a new course announcement on the future evolution of the human mind.
Tom & Jeanne Lombardo
Center For Future Consciousness