Dan Tasse's Reviews > The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium

The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
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's review
May 05, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: philosophy

I buy the whole Flow thing. Now Csikszentmihalyi (author of Flow) comes out and tries to solve... everything. Consciousness, self development, societal development. He introduced me to the idea of memes, which is neat: just as plants are a platform for animals to live on, we humans are a platform for memes to live on, whether we like it or not. Also, he introduced a pretty clear vision of "What makes a better life?" and his answer is: "being complex", which means "being differentiated and integrated". Having multiple diverse parts that work together as a unified whole. (Think neural networks vs. hard-coded rules, if you've studied machine learning.) Reminds me of Ken Wilber, and I like them both; this is a vision I can get behind.

It's still pretty vague, though. It's kind of like saying "you need a balance": whenever you apply it to anything, you can say "X should be more differentiated" or "X should be more integrated." Okay, fine. The problem comes when he dedicates the last third of the book to applying his complexity theory to things. He starts railing against schools, economics, defense vs. environmental spending, etc etc, and it gets rather embarrassing.
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Finished Reading
May 5, 2011 – Shelved
May 5, 2011 – Shelved as: philosophy

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