Book Review: The Dynamics of Transformation

The Dynamics of Transformation: Tracing an Emerging World View by Grant Maxwell is a book about how a new world view has been emerging over the last few centuries. We participate in the unfolding meaning of the world. Participatory insight is an outcome of an integrative method, which seeks to reconcile opposed assertions. The integrative method recognizes that opposed assertions both contain partial trues within their appropriate contexts, and seeks to synthesize them into a reconciling third perspective. Grant Maxwell reminds us that our relation to experience suddenly and abruptly can change.1

Like water boiling or ice melting, world views are susceptible to comparatively abrupt transformations precisely because they are not given, but are elicited by our participation in the creation of the world’s meaning.2

Different assumptions lead to different ways of relating to experience.3 In order to reconcile opposing beliefs, one must move beyond what makes the beliefs seem irreconcilable.4 Life seems to go through relatively distinct periods. These are expressed in subtle and constantly shifting meanings.5 Grant Maxwell suggests that entropic disorder perhaps should be complemented with a syntropic teleological impulse toward novelty, consciousness, and order.6

… if we change our beliefs, whether intentionally or impelled by the witnessing of new evidence, the world can appear suddenly and radically different to us …7

Grant Maxwell points out that all that is required to make the transition from one world view to another is a decision. The integrative method is indispensable for this transition.8 We do not decide to adopt a new world view primarily for rational reasons, but because of changes in our bodily experience.9 We are not passive observers of the emerging world view, but active and integral participants.10

[The] … participatory perspective acknowledges that if human consciousness is evolved from and embedded in the world it seeks to know, then the mind can be understood as the world coming to know itself.11

Fundamental transformation can happen suddenly when all factors align.12 Grant Maxwell describes a world where the activities and interactions of billions of people are set against the background of the multivalent quality of each moment, reflected in a radically new archetypal cosmology.13 This new cosmology is in itself an outcome of the integrative method.14 It’s a thought-provoking book. I liked it.

1 Grant Maxwell, The Dynamics of Transformation: Tracing an Emerging World View (Persistent Press, 2017), p.30.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid., p.32.
4 Ibid., p.41.
5 Ibid., p.45.
6 Ibid., p.54.
7 Ibid., p.57.
8 Ibid., p.78.
9 Ibid., p.103.
10 Ibid., p.121.
11 Ibid., p.136.
12 Ibid., p.149.
13 Ibid., p.151.
14 Ibid., p.142.


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