Exploring the Leading Edge of Human and Social Development


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A New Approach to Human Development

We are facing enormous global challenges: climate change, resource depletion, population growth, cultural clashes, human rights abuses, global inequities, and more. The path that we’re on is highly destructive and course-correction is vital. But how do we extricate ourselves from the progress traps we’ve created?

Changing the path we’re on requires more robust ways of:

  • Understanding human progress – what it is and what it is not
  • Understanding human development – how our thinking, caring, priorities and behaviors are shaped
  • Identifying and preventing developmental paths that lead to catastrophic breakdown and collapse
  • Strengthening our collective capacity for wisdom

None of this is possible without looking at the bigger story in which we’re all embedded. By studying common patterns in human striving, failure and achievement throughout our species’ development, we can understand ourselves and our predicament more deeply. And by situating that within the larger story of life processes, we can begin to develop the capacity required to help us innovate, problem-solve, and pursue adaptive lines of development for generations to come. Welcome to the Human Venture.

Welcome to The Human Venture

We use the term ‘Human Venture’ to indicate the importance of drawing on the larger developmental patterns associated with our species’ development. It’s only when we join the instances of life into some kind of coherent pattern that we can understand the vector – discern what life progress is and what it is not – and actively begin to shape our development so that it’s moving in the direction of wisdom. This is how humanity corrects its line of development.

The Human Venture is not utopia or pie-in-the-sky idealism. It’s about the collective and cumulative efforts of individuals and societies to shape our own evolution – our own becoming as a species – in ways that are wise and not destructive.

Our main difference from chimps and gorillas is that over the last 3 million years or so, we have been shaped less and less by nature, and more and more by culture. We have become experimental creatures of our own making. […] It’s entirely up to us.           

– Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress

We apply a new discipline, Human Learning Ecology, to draw lessons from human and life stories that can help us collectively shape our development in more adaptive ways.

Our Purpose Statement

We aim to support and promote adaptive development in both individuals and socio-cultural environments. Both are necessary to affect change: Socio-cultural environments shape us, effectively telling us what to believe, value, think and do. But those environments are created – so we can’t hope to affect them without developing the capacities of individuals to see, think and care differently. Therefore, our purpose statement is two-fold.
We exist to create and support a mutual learning community that will generate:
  1. Increasing numbers of increasingly resourceful, resilient, responsible life-ranging human beings with diagnostic and design capabilities for reducing ignorance and error, waste, suffering and injustice at all levels, from individuals to civilization.
  2. The creation of institutions, cultural and societal resources, leaders and ecologies of influence (locally and globally) that support the development and maintenance of systemic-adaptive capacities.

Resources to Explore

Explore our Book Lists

Interviews with people we meet