The harsh reality of cognitive limits.

  Want to Build Great New Habits? Interested in the Stunning Research that Changes Everything? How about The Brain Hack that Makes You a Winner? Clickbait like this is common, alongside more respectable Serious Yet Slightly Breathless News Items. I spent several years researching behaviour change and running pilot projects on pro-environmental behaviour. My reading [...]

We have enough Ideas (or, No pie for you.)

Why are we not winning the fight against climate chaos? Why was Trump just elected? Why has there been a slaughter of drug addicts this year? Because we think about change wrong, and so our efforts are often wasted. Three things are needed to make change;  we need three capacities. We need the Technical capacity, the [...]

Free Will: we (might) use it just often enough to think it actually matters.

Our cultural veneration of free will traps us in dead-end expectations that are unsupported by reality. If we want to make effective change, the idea of free will is one of the first things we should jettison, or at least put in its proper place. John Michael Greer is one of my favourite thinkers and [...]

Forest fires show the failure of democracy.

Two days ago I awoke to an eerie, silent hellsky. It was dusky dark, even first thing in the morning. The colour and brightness of the sky was all wrong, not just overcast but unnatural. Throughout the day, people described it as apocalyptic, discomfiting and especially, unsettling. Even the birds kept quiet. Of course, as people [...]

The Compassionate Systems Theory of Change

Most of our attempts to make change rely on a belief that people can change, that change is possible. Of course, this is true—but just barely. So, this is not much of a theory of change, but rather a Theory of Unchange—a theory of why change is so hard. Our brains are physically limited in [...]