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The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction
by Rebecca Costa

Published by Vanguard Press

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Why does it feel as if our most challenging problems today -- worldwide recession, global warming, fast-spreading viruses, water and food shortages, poverty -- aren't being solved? What if our brain has limits that prevent it from solving such complex problems? If ancient civilizations collapsed because they, too, hit a cognitive limitation, are we headed for a similar collapse? Can it be prevented? These are the questions Rebecca Costa confronts -- and offers a solution to -- in her intriguing and game-changing book, The Watchman's Rattle.

Costa believes that the mounting complexity of a problem can outpace the brain's ability to absorb and address it. With compelling evidence, she shows how we tend to quick-fix our problems by addressing the symptoms, instead of finding permanent solutions, leading to dangerous long-term consequences. Society's ability to solve its most challenging problems and progress becomes gridlocked.

In a fascinating and engrossing argument, Costa presents ideas for how we can reverse our own downward spiral. Citing cutting-edge research, she reveals how the human brain can spontaneously call upon a powerful cognitive tool: insight. She also describes four modern-day supermemes that appear all around us: the oppositional culture, the personalization of blame, casual science, and the business society. Costa meticulously proves how these supermemes have produced global gridlock.

The Watchman's Rattle, like its namesake, is ultimately a summons for help to overcome the inevitable pattern of surrendering to the cognitive threshold. We need a new strategy lest we go the way of early advanced civilizations. We must first address our prevailing attitudes and beliefs if we hope to embrace solutions. . . . Costa hands us the key -- insight -- to help us take our first steps to affect real change.

pub date: 2010-10-12 | hardcover | 9781593156053