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thomas legrand
Politics of Being. Wisdom and Science for a New Development Paradigm

Adult; Political & Social Sciences; (Publish)

What would a wisdom-based or “spiritual” approach to politics look like? How can we tap into science to support our conscious collective evolution? In this groundbreaking work, Thomas Legrand proposes to fundamentally reframe our model of development from its current emphasis on “having” to one focused on “being”. Mobilizing a wealth of scientific research from many different fields, the core teachings of wisdom traditions, and his own personal experience, Legrand invites us to a profound and practical reflection on how politics can support human flourishing and the collective shift of consciousness that our current challenges demand.
Calling for a collective awakening to heal the “spiritual disease” threatening the very survival of humanity, this forward-thinking synthesis binds together scientific and spiritual approaches to facing the world’s continual crises. In the face of climate change, rising fanaticism, and self interest, Legrand, an economist and social scientist, not only urges for a wisdom-based, science-guided evolution of humanity–he also endeavors to show how to make it happen within a generation.

The title refers to a vision of a politics dedicated to the “fulfillment of all beings,” a phrase that might sound pie-in-the-sky, but probably not as much as it would have just a few years ago. Legrand argues, with some rallying power, that the shift he advocates has already begun in global populations battered by relentless catastrophes and the shared realization that “not only our economic system was dysfunctional but all aspects of society.” The path forward, he suggests, is inward, as individuals—and then the political bodies representing them—reorient on an “inward path toward sustainability,” focused on a set of spiritual values including love, peace, happiness, and “light,” which describes a connection, often spiritual, to one’s true purpose.

Separate chapters address those values in detail. Setting Politics of Being apart from less rigorous utopian visions is Legrand’s thoroughness and clarity, and especially his careful consideration of how to achieve this species-wide awakening and what in practice it would look like. Drawing as much on up-to-date sociological, economic, and political thinkers as he does on spiritual ones, Legrand examines the impact the politics of being could have on our health and diet (and the systems linked to both), on nature and economics (which do not have to be at odds), on justice and governance (he’s infectious in his enthusiasm for Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels’s model for intelligent government.) As much a guide as a vision, Legrand’s work will inspire futurists, idealists, and other readers at the intersection of planning and spiritualism.

Takeaway: This daring vision for global, human-centered change blends scientific approaches and ancient spiritual wisdom.

Great for fans of: Sulak Sivaraksa’s Wisdom of Sustainability: Buddhist Economics for the 21st Century, John Edward Carroll’s Sustainability and Spirituality.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A