David Jay Brown
This past century human progress has been accelerating at a rate which almost defies comprehension. In his bookCritical Path,
Buckminster Fuller pointed out that the time it takes for human knowledge to double has been logarithmically decreasing since the beginning of recorded history. Time becomes compressed as the accumulation of information speeds up. More and more happens in less and less time.
It’s now been four years since the publication of the first edition of Mavericks of the Mind– the collection of conversations on the evolution of consciousness that Rebecca McClen Novick and I had with some of the most extraordinary minds of our time. A lot has happened since then.
Mavericks generated much attention. The interviews have been translated into Japanese, Czechoslovakian, and German. Boot-legged copies of the book have circulated in Russia, and it has readers in Israel. We still receive mail from all over the world regarding it. Many people tell us how the book changed their lives, while others simply want to express their own ideas on the subjects we discussed, or recommend themselves as potential interview subjects for a future volume.
The people we chose to interview for Mavericks, as well as the companion volume Voices from the Edge (included on this Web site), are all ground-breaking artists and scientists, who helped pave the way toward exciting new paradigms with fresh revolutionary perspectives.
Although they have all made incredible contributions as individuals, collectively they achieve something even greater– a synergistic perspective, transcending many of their personal limitations. Mavericks offers a glimpse into this greater wholeness by linking together ideas and concepts of those interviewed. An inter-connecting thread was created by asking them a number of common questions, as well as about each other’s ideas. That their visions– which stem from such divergent points of view– are so complementary to one another, provides us with tremendous inspiration, insight, and hope.
Since Mavericks’ initial publication, technological advancement has progressed to the point where William Gibson’s science fiction vision of cyberspace– a globally-linked, computer-generated electronic world– has become an everyday actuality for many people. With the growth and development of the World Wide Web anyone can now electronically leap-frog between knowledge sources around the globe, without ever leaving home. Marshall McLuhan’s concept of a global village has become a pulsing planetary reality.
A common problem in predicting future human progress is that people tend to overestimate change in the short-term, and underestimate change in the long-term. But what is considered “long-term” grows shorter and shorter every year. Who would have guessed just fifteen years ago during the Cold War that, not only would the Berlin Wall crumble and the rigid Soviet and Eastern-Bloc nations dissolve, but that– via the Internet– a truly global, electronically-linked community would emerge that knows no national boundaries? It may be that these nations actually fell partially as a result of the Internet and other communication technologies– such as fax machines, tele-communication satellites, and VCR’s– which allowed uncensorable dogma-disrupting information to flow freely through their “Iron Curtains”.
Whenever I see those annoying television commercials for the Yellow Pages where they say, “If it’s not in here, it probably doesn’t exist,” I always roll my eyes. I can think of dozens of things off the top of my head which– although they quite certainly exist– can not be found anywhere in an information-deficient phone book. However, it’s a real challenge to come up with a topic that is not accessible on the Web. Never mind that it all borders on being a chaotic confusing mess most of the time. This is just in keeping with the nature of the brain (which the Internet is just an electronic extension of), and the rest of the universe.
The goal of our work had been to bring together the most important people, ideas, and resources regarding the evolution and expansion of consciousness– not only for the sake of organizational convienence, but also to help form an integrative perspective that transcends that of each individual. On the net, the works begin to have the impact that Rebecca and I could only dream of when we first began the project. Our webmaster, Joseph Wouk has made them much more accessible, and a lot more fun. Click on any highlighted name in the text and that person or concept pops up on the screen, with links to their sites and other works.
This edition of the book also includes expanded interviews, which contain material that we couldn’t use in the original edition due to space limitations, as well as updated material on the interviewees and other resources available. Sadly, four of the people in our collection– Jerry Garcia, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Marija Gimbutas– have passed on to whatever is after this world. We spoke with Timothy Leary again before he died, and on his deathbed he told us with a smile that he was “thrilled and ecstatic” to be entering the mystery of death. We miss them, but rejoice in knowing that their courageous messages of hope, and their optimistic visions of a better world, continue to live on.
Rebecca McClen Novick
‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’
In the preface to ‘Voices From the Edge’, the sequel to ‘Mavericks’ of the Mind’, I described the interview collection as the setting for a virtual reality party in cyberspace. At this gathering, the eternally iconoclastic and mentally elastic crowd exchange ideas and visions creating, by their new alliances, hitherto uncharted avenues of exploration. Now, thanks to the Internet, the core of that metaphor has been realized with this Web site, a metadimensional Algonquin Roundtable where inquiring minds can meet and muse. Up ahead, you will hear from people who ask more from us than perhaps we are used to, who challenge us to perform at our evolutionary best, to live out our deepest commitment to our deepest selves, even (or perhaps, especially) in the face of resistance and scorn. They remind us of the need to tune our minds to the often times faint and distant Call to Adventure, sounding out from among the groans of despair, the yawns of apathy, and the hollow laughter of cynicism.
The men and women you will meet on this site are like the guides encountered on the Hero’s Journey, helping you to dot the i’s of your intuition. For those of you to whom these guides are old comrades, we hope that this site will help to rekindle the torch of your friendship, and for those to whom these guides are new allies, we hope it will help to ignite a spark of inspiration.