VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens
3. Positive Personal Enhancement within Community
Sheldon, Kennon, et al, eds. Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. A comprehensive survey of this turn and movement from past pathologies to accentuate the good in life, self and community. An array of chapters with authors such as Jaak Panksepp, Roy Baumeister, Carolyn Youssef and Laura King consider Biological, Emotional, Social-Cognitive, Personality, Relationship, Clinical, Organizational, and Societal Perspectives.
Sinclair, David and Lenny Guarente. Unlocking the Secrets of Longevity Genes. Scientific American. March, 2006. The article subtitle is A handful of genes may hold the keys to extending the human life span and banishing the diseases of old age.
Stock, Gregory. Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. A widely debated work by the director of the Program of Medicine, Techonology, and Society at UCLA onthe implications of our novel abilities to alter and reprogram the genome and the nature of what it means to be human. The book is often paired with a counter argument by Francis Fukuyama: Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002.
Today we are in the midst of a…. momentous evolutionary transition: the human-led fusion of life into a vast network of people, crops, animals, and machines. A whir of trade and telecommunications is binding our technological and biological creations into a vast social organism of planetary dimensions. (16) The enormous collective project of conscious human evolution has begun. (184)
VanderWeele, Tyler. On the Promotion of Human Flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114/8148, 2017. The Harvard University, Program on Integrative Knowledge and Human Flourishing, scholar surveys this late turn from healing psychic maladies to empowering better personal and social lives. Six relevant domains are Happiness and Life Satisfaction, Mental and Physical Health, Meaning and Purpose, Character and Virtue, Close Social Relationships, and Financial and Material Stability.
Many empirical studies throughout the social and biomedical sciences focus only on very narrow outcomes such as income, or a single specific disease state, or a measure of positive affect. Human well-being or flourishing, however, consists in a much broader range of states and outcomes, certainly including mental and physical health, but also encompassing happiness and life satisfaction, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships. The empirical literature from longitudinal, experimental, and quasiexperimental studies is reviewed in attempt to identify major determinants of human flourishing, broadly conceived. Measures of human flourishing are proposed. Discussion is given to the implications of a broader conception of human flourishing, and of the research reviewed, for policy, and for future research in the biomedical and social sciences. (Abstract)
Waterman, Alan, ed. The Best within Us: Positive Psychology Perspectives on Eudaimonia. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2013. The term “eudaimonia” is adopted to emphasize this endeavor about: “flourishing, realization of potentials reflecting the true self, and happiness that comes from the pursuit of virtue and excellence,” rather than pleasure seeking only. To wit, feel better by doing good works. Typical chapters are “Pursuing Eudaimonia versue Hedonia” by Veronika Huta, and “Human Strengths and Well-Being: Finding the Best Within Us at the Intersection of Eudaimonic Philosophy, Humanistic Psychology, and Positive Psychology” by Alex Linley.
Whitaker, B. Medicare to Run Diet Experiment for Critically Ill. New York Times. April 11, 2000. A typical news item which reflects the major change in mentality with regard to the elderly from preparing for degeneration to one of maintaining a vigouous, indefinite senescence. An administrator writes:
The challenge for us is how to modernize Medicare from a medical, acute care model to a comprehensive health care model emphasizing successful and healthy aging through health promotion and risk factor reduction.
Yaden, David, et al, eds. Being Called: Scientific, Secular, and Sacred Perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015. A volume within the positive psychology view which seeks to make the best of this world in personal, relational, ecological, and spiritual ways. By this approach, a further dimension of attunement to one’s destiny in service of a better future may accrue. The field’s founder Martin Seligman introduces, followed by diverse cross-cultural testimonials. One might note that in the publisher’s own town a 2015 massacre in the name of apocalyptic religion took place. It is so vital that a 21st century ordained abidance here and now in this precious life be emphasized and put into practice.
Zukav, Gary. The Seat of the Soul. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. In a wider, eclectic compass, an entrance to Zukav’s many writings, lately with Linda Francis, about the mystic realms of multisensory, higher dimensional evolution as human beings may awaken to a living, sensate universe.
No understanding of evolution is adequate that does not have at its core that we are on a journey toward authentic power, and that authentic empowerment is the ogal of our evolutionary process and the purpose of our being. (27)