On the Evolution of Intimacy: A Brief Exploration into the Past, Present, and Future of Gender and Love

ISBN (print): 978-1-7322190-2-1
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-7322190-3-8
Price (print): $15.95
Price (e-book): $2.99
Pages: 160
Size: 6″ x 9″
Publication date: May, 2019
Ordering: Amazon.com, Ingram
front cover | back cover
Amazon author page

From the book’s back cover:

“In no aspects of life today do we confront more rapid and easily confusing change than in the worlds of gender and intimacy. Men and women equally are left without clear guideposts for their choices. In this short book, one of our time’s most innovative social scientists and futurists offers big-picture perspective for making sense of why we see what we do and what lies ahead. He describes an essential new chapter in identity and love, one that takes us beyond the battle of the sexes and brings new depth and maturity to both how we understand ourselves and our capacity for closeness with another.”

In On the Evolution of Intimacy, psychiatrist and futurist Charles Johnston addresses how our times are making possible a critical “growing up” in how we think about intimacy and gender. With regard to intimacy, the changes he describes are as significant as those  which brought us Romeo and Juliet–style romantic love. With regard to gender, what he describes takes us beyond both the polarizing assumptions of traditional gender roles and the simplistic conclusions of a postmodern unisex ideal and offers that we might think with a whole new kind of sophistication. 

The book’s last paragraph summarizes where On the Evolution of Intimacy takes us: “The rewards for even just making a start with this needed new chapter in how we understand are immense. We discover the possibility of deeper and more solid identities as men and as women. We also discover the paradoxical fact that engaging identity and love in needed new ways, while more demanding than what we have known, is also in important ways simpler. We can think of it as part of a needed “new common sense.”

From the author: “This book had its origins in rich conversations sparked by the #MeToo movement and the like. In my role as a psychiatrist and futurist, I respond to potentially polarizing front-page-news issues by attempting to write about them from a more systemic vantage. When I tried to address current gender- and sexuality-related concerns in this way, I quickly realized that more than a short article would be necessary. These were questions that require big-picture, historical perspective. This book was the result.

In the book’s last chapter, I observe that efforts like the current #MeToo movement could result in two quite opposite outcomes. We could see important new levels of communication and steps toward a reconciling history’s battle of the sexes. And just as easily the result could be escalating polarization and acrimony not unlike we see today in the political arena. I wrote On The Evolution of Intimacy to support the kind of maturity of perspective needed for the former to be the case.”

On the Evolution of Intimacy applies the notion of a needed, and newly possible, “growing up” as a species—what Dr. Johnston calls Cultural Maturity—to some of today’s most important and fascinating concerns. The book expressly supports today’s new gender-related conversations, but it also suggests that more is needed. It proposes that most of what we see today, with its focus on equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal safety for the sexes (particularly for women) is better thought of as a last contribution of the modern age project introduced with the Bill of Rights than an expression of Cultural Maturity’s further changes. Dr. Johnston lays out important new lessons for men and also important lessons for women as we look to the future. He also suggests that a useful litmus test for success with culturally mature changes is men and women better understanding the unique challenges that each faces and also better appreciating the unique gifts that accompany meeting those challenges—in effect, a reconciliation of the historical battle of the sexes.

On the Evolution of Intimacy has it roots in the thinking of Creative Systems Theory, a comprehensive framework for addressing purpose, change, and interrelationship in human systems developed by Charles Johnston and colleagues at the Institute for Creative Development. Because the book draws so directly on the theory for understanding both history and the defining questions of our time, its insights provide important support for Creative Systems Theory as an overarching framework for understanding the richness and dynamism of the human endeavor.

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Praise for On the Evolution of Intimacy:

Dean Elias :  An Invitation to Awaken

Thank you for jolting me out of my comfortable patterns of reflecting on gender, relationship, and love. While your theoretical and psychological frames are creatively provocative, I equally appreciate learning from your self-discoveries on the path to intimacy, and your stories from others. I now see how I still unconsciously assume that intimate relationships take shape as one plus one is one – I find my other half – while a mature relationship in our world takes shape as one plus one is three – we help each embrace our wholeness, and create a new context for relating. I appreciate your challenges for all of us – e.g. the meaning of commitment in an era of constant change. I am inspired to experiment with the practical frames you offer for self examination – e.g. Whole-Person love. I feel sure that each of us who is open to having our assumptions challenged will be delighted both by the philosophical challenges and the psychological reframing you offer. Thanks for inspiring new experiences of aliveness.

Gerard M Senehi:  Penetrating Insights Into One of the Most Complex Issues

The world of gender and love is indeed changing so rapidly and we are left without a guidebook for what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman or what it means to be human. And that confusion seems insurmountable. When we hear offers of solution usually they do so by reducing the complexity to an either/or answer. Dr. Johnston takes us beyond the simplistic understanding by stepping back and bringing a bigger lens on the whole topic. This is an important book not only because it provides insights into an area that leads to so much confusion, but also because it makes sense of our human experience, taking us beyond our either/or ideas that limit the intimacy that is possible.

Teresa Piddington: A Gift for Giving

I really enjoyed reading this book. I settled right into the ideas and found them to be accessible, clear, and well organized … This is a book that I will gift to my children, nieces, and nephews, as they begin to navigate the process of creating intimate adult relationships. Thank you!!!

Larry Hobbs: Another Gift of Wisdom from Dr. Johnston

As in his previous books and articles, Dr. Johnston gives us a map we can use to move forward into new territory; this time into the vast expanse of intimacy, gender and love. It is a huge territory and its exploration requires the new skills, ideas and wisdom set forth in this book. I especially appreciate his wholly systemic approach that avoids the pitfalls of thinking, action and polarization that characterize our times. This book is a must read for anyone (regardless of gender or sexual orientation) who wishes to embrace a more mature holding of the unfolding evolution of intimacy.

Rick A. Jackson: Intimacy With Real Aliveness

Dr. Johnston writes, “When we need something to be different from what is true, we inevitably create pain.” This is a small book with big and timely ideas. Leaving stagnant clichés behind, it shows how to take responsibility for love in our gender-bending times. From the most personal to the broadest cultural levels, it provides guidance for living more creative, courageous—and yes, intimate—lives.

Dan Senour: Relationship Is Changing In Out Time

I found this book very helpful. Dr Johnston explains how relationship has evolved and where it might be going. He notes how relationship has changed with ourselves as well as with others. And he explains how intimacy in the future is likely to be possible only to the degree that we develop greater maturity in how we understand and relate. Dr Johnston includes some powerful stories as examples. This is a book for our times. Be sure to spend some time with it.