Evolving Self Other Resources

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Core Readings

Overview of Addiction

  • Kotler, Steven. (2015). "The Truth about Addiction: We're All Junkies Now." SingularityHub. Link 3pp, 3min.

Broad view of addiction, edging towards "habitual maladaptive behavior" and all that we imply with this definition.

  • Stover, Dawn. (2014). "Addicted to Oil." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Link 3pp., 3min.

Author proposes to treat fossil fuel dependency as substance addiction, uses DSM-V to substantiate diagnosis, and iterates proven approaches to addiction treatment.

  • Hagens, Nate. (2011). "Fleeing Vesuvius: The Psychological Roots of Resource Overconsumption." The Oil Drum. Link (I'm asking you to read the "Conclusion" section. Read more if you like.) 2pp, 2min; 18pp, 20min.

Nate Hagens explores our appetites for novelty and status, tracing their long evolutionary history and their relationship to addictive contemporary behaviors by which we expend more and more resource for less and less satisfaction. Hagens integrates broad understanding of evolution of Earth and life with growing evidence from neurobiology to explain, and to propose exits from our current predicament. Here as in Stover's and Jackson's writings we see clearly how change within us and change without us are necessary to each other.


  • Jampolsky, Gerald. (2004). Love is Letting Go of Fear. Link 10 min.

A pediatric oncologist writes about ways to become more as we intend. I find illuminating his insight about love and fear being opposites. Skim read what you like from these excerpts.

  • Firestone, Robert. "The Fantasy Bond." Psychology Today. Link 2pp., 2min.

If you want more on this topic, see "The Fantasy Bond: A Developmental Overview," Link1 "Hunger Versus Love," Link2 and "Point of View," Link3 The Fantasy Bond, Robert W. Firestone, pp. 35-56, 365-389 [47 pgs].

Beyond Individualism

  • Grant, Adam. (2013). "Does Studying Economics Lead to Greed?" Psychology Today. Link 6pp., 5min.

Various researchers have found that people who study economics become less concerned about others. Economics remains a primary framework for assessing value. Biophysical economics is means to evolve economics to reinforce understanding of interdependence of individual and common good.


  • Johnson, Carolyn. (2014). "People Prefer Electric Shocks to Time Alone with Thoughts." Link 3pp., 3min.

Dan Gilbert and colleagues have shown that people prefer electric shocks to being alone and quietly thinking about whatever we choose.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh. (1999). "Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing." The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. Link pp. 24-27. 4pp., 8min.
  • Brooks, David. (2015). "Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion." Link 5pp., 5min.

Brooks writes of passion, bravery, fulfillment, meaning, completion, coherence, fervent curiosity, unquenchable thirst for wholeheartedness, escaping the tyranny of public opinion, and living without fear.

  • Simmons, Michael. (2015). "Ten Ways Successful People Deal With Stress Differently." Time. Link 4pp., 4 min.

Suggestions for chilling.

Changing Habits

  • Keys, Alicia. (2016). "Time to Uncover." LennyLetter.com. Link 3pp., 3min.

Keys writes of becoming make-up free.

  • Aamodt, Sandra; Wang, Sam. (2008). "Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind." New York Times. Link 5 min.

Aamodt and Wang say that we've limited willpower and advise us to use it wisely and increase it with practice.

  • Morin, Amy. (2013). "Five Powerful Exercises to Increase Your Mental Strength." Forbes. Link 5 min.

Advice I consider sound about becoming better able to practice valuescience.

  • Baer, Drake. (2014). "How Incredibly Lazy People Can Form Productive Habits." Fast Company. Link 5 min.

Tips for habit formation.

  • Boroson, Martin. (2011). "How to Meditate in a Moment." Link 5 min.

Meditating in a moment to bring greater calm to any situation.

  • Enge, Nick and Power, Richard. (2013). Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living. 15 min. total
    • "Dance for your Partner." Link

Enge describes Abraham Maslow's concept of synergy, as the merging/transcendence of selfishness and altruism.

Enge describes the benefits of giving.

Enge describes the benefits of gratitude

    • "Dancing in the Rain." Link

Enge describes the benefits of radical acceptance.

  • Scott, Robyn. (2014). "The 30 Second Habit with a Lifelong Impact." The Startup. Link 5 min.

The author describes a procedure for distilling and clarifying social experience which she claims has proven beneficial for her and others.

  • Barker, Eric. (2014). "Time Management Skills are Stupid. Here's What Really Works." The Week. Link 5 min.

Advice on working smarter (e.g., like an athlete!) by emphasizing energy rather than time.

  • Fogg, BJ. (2011). "Tiny Habits." Link Stanford professor BJ Fogg provides a formula for forming habits. 5 min.

Follow this format to create your Tiny Habit recipes. “After I [existing habit/anchor], I will [new tiny behavior]” Once you identify a tiny behavior you want, you then find where it fits in your life. Plan to do the new tiny behavior after an extremely reliable habit you have, an “anchor.” Matching the new tiny behavior to an anchor routine is vital. You may require several trials get this match right. And that’s okay. You can revise until you do.

  • Roberts, David. (2014). "Reboot or Die Trying." Outside Magazine. Link 10 min.

A star blogger unplugs.

  • Oettingen, Gabrielle. (2014). "The Problem with Positive Thinking. New York Times. Link 5 min.

Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen reports that a balance between imagining desired outcomes and contemplating obstacles yields a better life than either untrammeled "positive thinking" or unremitting "realism."

  • Arends, Brett. (2014.). "A Full Night's Sleep Can Really Pay Off—in Salary and Investments." Wall Street Journal. Link 1p., 1min.
  • Solnit, Rebecca. (2014). “By the Way, Your House Is On Fire.” Utne Reader. Link 7pp., 10min.

Solnit ties 9/11 events and responses to climate disruption, noting that survivors of World Trade Center attacks disregarded authorities’ commands and suggesting that we do so now.

Taking a Stand

  • Jensen, Derrick. (2006). "To Give Our Brightest Deepest Truth." Link 7 min.
  • Shem, Samuel. (2002). "Fiction as Resistance." Annals of Internal Medicine. Link 5 pp, 5 min.

A physician writes of how he came to understand that he knew less what he wanted and how to get it, and of the importance and meaning of taking a stand for empathy and love. NOTE: He's a psychiatrist fascinated with how people change.

Leading Away from Materialism

  • Kasser, Tim. (2002). Excerpts. The High Price of Materialism. pp. 4, 22, 28, 40-42. Link 10 min.

Kasser argues that we're too attentive to the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy and paying a grim price for ignoring what lies above. He backs his case with statistics from around the world spanning several decades.

  • Kurutz, Steven. (2014). "Square Feet: 84. Possessions: 305." New York Times. Link 10 min.

Another choice on the menu of the type of home in which you want to live and with what you want to fill it.

  • "Urban Homestead" Link. 10 min.

Ideas for living a dream. Look at "Facts and Stats" page, and whatever else you like.

  • Goldberg, Carey. (1995). "Choosing the Joys of a Simplified Life." Los Angeles Times. Link 5 min.

Introduction to voluntary simplicity.

  • Braw, Elisabeth. (2015). "Communal Living Projects Moving from Hippie to Mainstream." Guardian. Link 3 pp., 3 min.

Braw notes rising popularity of co-housing world-wide, remarks that people often choose it first for reasons of ecological footprint or cost and then discover its social pleasures, and connects it to the larger "sharing economy."

Generating Meaning and Purpose

  • Frankl, Viktor. (2000). "Preface," "Experiences in a Concentration Camp." Man's Search for Meaning. Link Link pp. 7-25. 20 min.
  • Das, Ram. (1971). "Journey," "Bindu to Ojas." Remember, Be Here Now. Link. Link 10 min.

A Harvard psychology professor becomes a spiritual teacher. "Journey" is the story of his transformation. "From Bindu to Ojas" is a topsy-turvy agglomeration of text and images with which he attempts to bridge normal everyday experience to that of his new found consciousness. I find in these writings encouragement to look beyond what I currently think and feel to the possibility of a life richer than I now imagine. Skim both and read what you want.

  • Davidson, Sara. (2006)."The Ultimate Trip." Tufts Magazine - Link 10 min.

Brief biography of Richard Alpert/Ram Das.

  • Roush, Wade. (2008). "Stever Robbins on How to Be a Happy Entrepreneur." Xconomy. Link. 10 min.

A personal coach/business consultant on "value" and how he works with his clients to ensure that they attend to the upper levels of Maslow's hierarchy.

  • Brooks, David. (2009). "They Had It Made." New York Times. Link 5 min.

Brooks reviews the Grant study and comments on the divergent life paths of seemingly promising young men.

  • Shenk, Joshua. (2009). "What Makes Us Happy?" The Atlantic. Link 40 min.

Reflections on the lives of men who were undergraduates at Harvard in the early 1940's and were part of a longitudinal study about mental health shed light on how we change over a lifetime and how we live and die more or less well.

  • Poswolsky, Adam. "4 Tips to Help Millenials Find Meaningful Work." Fast Company. Link 5 min.

Poswolsky writes that we CAN create right livelihood by experimenting and learning. As we become more competent and accomplished we find new opportunities.

  • Jacobs, Tom. (2014). "Sense of Purpose Lengthens Life." Pacific Standard. Link 5 min.

Jacobs reviews a well-done study in which researchers found purpose a buffer against mortality risk across adult years.

  • Khazan, Olga. "How Meaningful Activities Protect the Teen Brain from Depression." The Atlantic. Link 2 min.

Researchers studying teens find evidence that kindness and meaningful service to others are protective of mental health.

  • Monbiot, George. (2014). "Career Advice." Link 5 pp., 5 min.

In Monbiot's words, "You know you have only one life. You know it is a precious, extraordinary, unrepeatable thing: the product of billions of years of serendipity and evolution. So why waste it by handing it over to the living dead?"

  • Scranton, Roy. (2013). "Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene." The New York Times. Link 5 min.
  • Huffington, Arianna. (2013). "Are You Living Your Eulogy or Your Résumé?" The Huffington Post. Link 5 pp., 5 min.

The author opines, "[W]hile it's not hard to live a Third Metric life -- redefining success beyond money and power to include well-being, wisdom and our ability to wonder and to give -- it's very easy not to."

Miscellaneous Topics

  • Brown, Brené. TED. Link 20 min.

Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability.

  • Bianchi, Jane. (2014). "How the Boston Marathon Bombing Inspired a New Life Path." Insights by Stanford Business. Link 5 min.

Stanford GSB grad '82, survived injury in Boston Marathon bombing, shifted gears, and offers advice for living.

  • Arrien, Angeles. "The Four-fold Way." (excerpts). Link 10 pp., 10 min.

Adrien, an anthropologist reports on four archetypes common to shamanic traditions in diverse societies, and offers suggestions for how we may incorporate qualities of these into our own lives to live/die well.

  • Jensen, Derrick. (2009). "Forget Shorter Showers." Link 5 min.

Jensen calls for collective action to achieve individual change.

  • Original Mothers' Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe. Link 5 min.

Mother's Day, initiated by a feminist, pacifist, suffragette as a call to peace, has been hijacked into yet one more orgy of consumption.

  • "Change Everything Now." Link

More essays from contributors to Orion about roots of current predicament and ways out of it.