Future Sense; Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That's Waking Up

FUTURE SENSE: Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That’s Waking Up
by Malcolm Parlett Ph.D.


Future Sense brings together two realms: the global crisis and personal experience. I identify “the human dimension” as the most significant factor in determining our common future. Can human beings act together sensibly and cooperatively to solve problems and manage the world’s systems? If we cannot – and we act with collective stupidity – our species is endangered. But then, how does such stupidity come about? And what needs to happen to help human beings act with more insight, sure-footedness, and maturity?


I am suggesting in this book that our ideas of what it means “to be an educated person” are far too limited. Human beings need to embrace their whole intelligence. Taking someone like Nelson Mandela, we can recognise an intelligence that extends well beyond our normal ideas of cleverness, intellectual brilliance, and speed of thinking. We recognise whole intelligence in action when we see an individual, community, or organisation acting in ways that are original, courageous, to the point, and reflect humanity’s best values. These are often stand-out moments, where human energy, commitment, courage, and skilfulness are seen to come together with perceptiveness and maturity of perspective. Suddenly, a positive future seems more achievable.


In this book I am arguing that leaders, experts, and government agencies – as well as activists and individual citizens – need to have access to their whole intelligence. We need to cultivate it, and grapple with the obstacles and attitudes which prevent or undermine it 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”. I am inviting readers to accompany me in exploring key dimensions of whole intelligence that I have identified in the course of a career-long experience as a psychological researcher and practitioner. The book has been described as “moving, ground-breaking and very readable”. It makes use of case studies, my own life experience, examples, and stories. As one reviewer wrote: readers “will find their imaginations fired and their spirits lifted.”


“This is a book we have been waiting for, an essential integration of our basic human capacities, the emerging skills and tools available to us, and the daunting crises of our times.  Parlett has a rare gift for ranging from the personal to the global and back again, weaving these dynamic elements together with insight, empathy, and panache. The result for this reader is new perspective, new connections of ideas, and a renewed hope for our human future.” Gordon Wheeler

President , Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

“How does the world dare to move forward? Change is hard but reality is flexible: whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, it’s refillable. The wisdom in Future Sense is a crucial guide to our new steps. He nails it. Read the book.” Marcia Karp

Psychotherapist, trainer, author and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in USA and UK for her work in psychodrama and group psychotherapy.

“In all its wonderful intricacy, intimacy and gentle guidance, the essence of this book is an invitation to enter the Five Explorations he describes alongside Malcolm, an intrepid explorer himself, wholeheartedly embracing our future and the gifts we share.” Emily Skye

poet, blogger and arts activist

“This book is moving, ground-breaking and very readable. Malcolm Parlett draws with erudition from his extensive experience as academic psychologist, innovative educationalist and practising therapist. His analysis and arguments are suffused with insight and integrity. In these anxious times, those concerned about the future of the world and their place in it will find their imaginations fired and their spirits lifted.” Terence Finley

adviser to charities in the North-East (retired)

“Parlett helps us understand that as the world becomes ever more complex, not only is it important to develop our individual abilities to act with more practical wisdom, but it is equally important to update humanity’s infrastructures, like the education system or the global market, with more “Whole Intelligence.” Tomas Björkman

Founder of the Ekskäret Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden, and author of ‘The Market Myth’.

“The whole human family face the urgent task of developing our collective consciousness and ways of being in the world. Malcolm Parlett eloquently and practically shows how we can develop five key human capacities that we all need.” Peter Hawkins

Professor of Leadership, Henley Business School and author of Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership, among other books.

“This book is really important. It deals with fundamental questions of how to be fully awake, fully alive, fully human. I have learned from it in countless ways, both large and small.   I would wish that every adult who aspires to be truly ‘grown up’ as a human being, wishing to exercise whole intelligence in their life, could read this book. And I would wish that every teacher, every coach, every mentor of others, could read it too. I can dip almost anywhere and find things that both enliven my thinking and warm my heart. It is truly a book of deep and humane thinking and profound experience.” Alan Allport

naturalist, Quaker, and emeritus professor of experimental psychology, Oxford University

“FUTURE SENSE; Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That’s Waking Up”

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