Ask the Cultural Psychiatrist: Seeking a  Needed “New Common Sense”

With Psychiatrist and Futurist Charles M. Johnston, MD

As a psychiatrist and futurist, I attempt to bring big-picture perspective to how we think and make choices, both as individuals and more collectively. I have particular interest in the kind of thinking needed if we are to make good choices in our often overwhelming and contradictory-seeming times. Today. we find exciting new possibilities, and not just technological possibilities. We are seeing possible new steps in what it means to be human. And, at once, we encounter circumstance that can seem quite crazy. We confront disturbing amounts of social division, denial around issues that could ultimately be our undoing, and people’s attention too often highjacked by distraction.

I see our times challenging us to turn first pages in a new chapter in our human I see our times challenging us to an essential kind of “growing up” as a species. Creative Systems Theory, the body of conceptual work the underlies my contribution, speaks of a needed new Cultural Maturity. Here we will examine how Cultural Maturity–related changes produce many of today’s most exiting new possibilities. We will also see how culturally mature understanding provides the necessary antidote to much of the craziness that we encounter today.

A recognition that might seem contradictory will tie these episodes together. While A recognition that might seem contradictory will tie these episodes together. While Cultural Maturity’s changes make significant demands, where they take us is ultimately straightforward—indeed common sense. The difference is simply that this is a maturity of common sense that we are only now becoming capable of fully grasping (and often tolerating).

It may be decades before  the importance of Cultural Maturity’s changes is broadly appreciated. And it may be well into the next century before we know if we will be able to pull off all that they ask of us. What we can know is that any kind of future we will want to be a part of depends on our success with the task. This You-Tube channel is one piece in my efforts as an advocate for the future’s needed “new common sense.” 

Your questions may come from listening to the various episodes or reflect concerns that you have as you try to make sense of today’s challenges. There is nothing I enjoy more than a good question. You can send questions by email to or by including them in the comments section of particular episodes.


Understanding Today’s Needed “New Common Sense”

Front Page News Reflections

Responding to Your Questions

And a Bit of Creative Systems Theory