I grew up on a farm in Idaho where I connected with the land, seasons, animals, and ecology of life. When I went off to college, I initially wanted to become a doctor but, after two years of study, I paused my undergraduate work and traveled to Paris for a half-year. At that time, the war in Vietnam was a powerful galvanizing experience and I shifted my life path from physical healing to social healing. I went on to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, where I received an MBA from the Wharton School, and an MA in economic history.
in 1972, I began working as a senior researcher on the staff of the “Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future” in Washington, DC. Our mandate: to look ahead thirty years, from 1970 to 2000, and explore population growth and urbanization. It was an eye-opening experience to see how government actually works with perspectives and policies dominated by short-term considerations and the power of special interests.
I left Washington and went to work in California as a senior social scientist in the “futures group” of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) think-tank. Over the next six years, I co-authored numerous studies of the long-range future: for example, Anticipating Future National and Global Problems (for the National Science Foundation), Alternative Futures for Environmental Policy: 1975–2000 (for the Environmental Protection Agency), and Limits to the Management of Large, Complex Systems (for the President’s Science Advisor). I also co-authored a pioneering study with Joseph Campbell and a small team of scholars titled Changing Images of Man.
During my time in the futures group at SRI, a separate and remarkable opportunity emerged — to participate in pioneering psychic research funded by the U.S. government and conducted through NASA. I was one of the four primary subjects and, over the course of three years, I participated in numerous experiments exploring intuitive capacities. These experiments probed into both the "receiving" aspect, such as remote viewing and intuitive perception of distant places and people, and the "sending" aspect, involving intuitive engagement with physical systems known as psychokinesis. Over the course of these years, I learned through direct experience and diverse experiments that an ecology of consciousness and subtle energy permeates our universe, and that we possess far more subtle capacities than I had ever imagined. We humans are on a journey to cultivate a literacy of aliveness and consciousness.
I left SRI in 1977 and began focusing my efforts on becoming a “media activist.” For decades, I had watched how the mass media dominate and orient the mass mind of entire civilizations. Our collective consciousness was being transformed by an avalanche of advertising promoting consumerism and a materialistic mindset. In 1981, I co-created a non-profit organization—"Bay Voice”—that challenged the licenses of the major broadcast TV stations in the San Francisco Bay Area on the grounds that they were not serving the legal rights of citizens to be informed. In 1987, Bay Voice collaborated with the ABC-TV station to produce an historic, hour-long, prime-time “Electronic Town Meeting” viewed by more than 300,000 people and included six votes from a scientific sample of citizens during the live TV program. Despite the success of this initiative, it was discontinued due to a lack of funding.
Over the years, writing has been a significant part of my life and work. My book, Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, was first published in 1981 and republished in 2000 and in 2009. Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness was published in 1993. Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future, was published in 2000. The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? was published in 2009. Choosing Earth: Humanity’s Journey of Initiation Through Breakdown and Collapse to Mature Planetary Community was self-published in 2022. In addition to these, I have contributed chapters more than twenty books, and published more than a hundred articles.
In 2001, I received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies in recognition for my work for “ecological and spiritual transformation.” In 2006, I received the “Goi Peace Award” in Japan in recognition of my contributions to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.”
Duane Elgin, June 21, 2023
Co-Director Choosing Earth Project
Website for Choosing Earth: https://choosingearth.org/
Book: Free PDF of Choosing Earth: https://choosingearth.org/book/
Film: Free access: “Facing Adversity": https://choosingearth.org/choosing-earth-documentary/