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Jonas Salk's eye-opening perspective on our current crises.  A scientific basis for hope.
Jonas Salk's eye-opening perspective on our current crises. A scientific basis for hope.
850 backers pledged $40,994 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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A New Reality provides a startling and fresh message of understanding, perspective and hope for today’s tense and kaleidoscopically changing world. 

Drawn from the writings of visionary scientist Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, extended and developed by his son, Jonathan, the message of the book explodes from the past and sheds light on tensions that plague us and the currents of discord that are raging as these words are written. 

More importantly, it indicates a way forward out of our current situation.

A New Reality is an easily understood pictographic essay that speaks to a broad audience of experts as well as people who are looking at population questions and changing human values for the first time.

PRESS:  Thrive Global   Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  San Diego Union-Tribune

What is the Message of A New Reality?

More than 40 years ago, Jonas Salk understood that we are at a unique moment in the history of the human species. After centuries of increase, population growth has begun to slow and is trending toward equilibrium. 

This change is accompanied by an equally significant change in human values — a shift from those based on unlimited availability of resources, unremitting growth, excess, independence, competition and short-term thinking to those based on limits, equilibrium, balance, interdependence, cooperation and long-term thinking. This momentous transition is the source of the far-reaching tension and conflict.

The way through this difficult era is to understand its basis and to focus on new values that will be of the greatest benefit both to individuals and humankind. There is an urgency, however, and failure to adapt will result in disaster both for humanity and for the planet as a whole.

A New Reality delivers a message of both caution and hope. Readers across the social and political spectrum will find it a reasoned and balanced counterpoint to current social and political trends. It's elegant design and long-range perspective will appeal to general readers, policy makers, millennials, baby boomers, teachers, and students, filling a need for a work of positivity and wisdom in otherwise bleak times. 

Here are some sample spreads from the book:

In the book, the sigmoid curve is used as a “thinking tool” and as a symbol. Its shape reflects a pattern that applies to growth in living systems and reflects the transformational character of change in our time.
In the book, the sigmoid curve is used as a “thinking tool” and as a symbol. Its shape reflects a pattern that applies to growth in living systems and reflects the transformational character of change in our time.

 

The book puts human population growth in context with other living systems where similar populations trends can be observed.
The book puts human population growth in context with other living systems where similar populations trends can be observed.

  

The global population story is rich and exciting, and we have done our best to bring a compelling graphic language to the data.
The global population story is rich and exciting, and we have done our best to bring a compelling graphic language to the data.

 

One of the most valuable lessons from the book is the huge imbalance in population between more developed countries (left) and the less developed countries (right).
One of the most valuable lessons from the book is the huge imbalance in population between more developed countries (left) and the less developed countries (right).

 

The conceptual core of the book is separating the sigmoid into two periods — one of acceleration and one of deceleration — and the realization that this represents a shift not only in population growth, but also in values, attitudes, and behaviors.
The conceptual core of the book is separating the sigmoid into two periods — one of acceleration and one of deceleration — and the realization that this represents a shift not only in population growth, but also in values, attitudes, and behaviors.

The Reissue

A New Reality is completely revised, rewritten, and redesigned. All the work is done - research, copy editing, layout, and design. The current version is beautiful, powerful, and clear in its message. We already have a small run of preview copies that will be available to early Kickstarter backers before publication.

Project Goal #1 Get this book into the world. Once the book is published, we will need to promote it so that it reaches the largest possible audience. 

Project Goal #2  Build out our website. This will include production of a longer animated video and full web design. In this way, we will create a platform online where anyone can access these ideas.

Project Goal #3 Once we achieve goals 1 & 2, we have plans to bring this message to educational settings. We've already been in discussions with one university about hosting an interdisciplinary conference to address population, values, and the future of our species. We're also interested in creating a teaching guide to bring this message to younger learners.

Jonas Salk

In the early 1950's Jonas Salk led the team that developed the first effective vaccine against polio. That achievement was a huge step toward eliminating a dreaded disease that crippled and killed children around the world. It also resulted in his being regarded as a kind of folk hero and a benefactor of humankind. 

In the last third of his life, he devoted considerable time and energy to the development of an evolutionary philosophy that he hoped would be the basis for finding solutions to the basic problems of humankind. A New Reality is part of that vision. 

The Story Behind the Story: a Personal Account

1950's: My father loved to write. As a child, I remember him, often in a chair or in bed, with a legal pad in his lap, writing in his distinctive script and working out his thoughts and theories. 

1960's: He had a realization. Looking at human population growth which was expanding seemingly without limit, he realized that it would likely slow and assume the shape of an S-shaped or sigmoid curve.

1973: My father published a book called The Survival of the Wisest in which he presented the idea of the curve along with the concept of Epoch A and Epoch B. 

1970's: Several years later, he was asked by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to write a short book relating United Nations projections of population trends to the concepts of the epochal change he had described in his earlier book. 

Loving graphs and simple, minimal design, he assembled what he called a "pictographic essay" — a page of short text opposite a figure or graph. 

1981: The manuscript sat unfinished for several years. I joined him to help with the project. This resulted in World Population and Human Values: A New Reality, which was published in 1981. It received little attention. In retrospect, it was decades before its time. 

1995: My father used the ideas and images in his lectures, but after he died in 1995, few people knew of this work. Over the years, however, as I watched many of the things we had predicted come to pass, I often thought about the diagrams and concepts in the book and related them to current trends and events. 

There things sat for nearly twenty years.

2014: Out of the blue, I received a call from David Dewane, a young architect and designer. He had come across the book, felt that it spoke to him and his generation and wanted to know if I would be interested in updating, redesigning, and republishing the work. I said yes. 

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We then embarked on a journey. We revised the data, rewrote sections, assembled a small team, and engaged a wonderful designer, Courtney Garvin, who transformed that simple text and diagrams into a work of clarity and of beauty. 

With your participation, we have a chance to write the next chapters in the story. Please join us and take part in this exciting venture. 

Project Credits

Jonas Salk: Though not physically present, my father has been central to this effort. He developed the first effective polio vaccine. He went on to found the Salk Institute. And he came up with this very cool idea about Epoch A and Epoch B. 

Jonathan Salk: Is a psychiatrist in practice in West Los Angeles. He has a background in music and child development. In his spare time, he thinks deeply about human beings and what makes for individual and social change. 

David Dewane: Architect/journalist/educator/social entrepreneur in Chicago, IL.

Theodore Eccleston: Expert generalist and seeker in Chicago, IL.

Courtney Garvin: Graphic designer with Son & Sons in Atlanta, GA.

Emily Gonzales: Business consultant and non-profit leader in Oceanside, CA.

Richie Gelles: Animator and Creative Director of Playhou.se in Austin, TX.

Special Thanks: Wade Thompson, Christina Del Rocco, Jim Cramer, the Design Futures Council, Wellington Reiter, Beverly Prior, Philip Enquist, Ellen Scordato, Daniel Schensul of the United Nations Population Fund, Susan Smalley, Hans Miller, Lou Cozolino, Robbie Conal, Deb Ross, and Jody Becker.

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge with a book project is delivering the finished book to the backer. We have eliminated this risk for the first 600 backers by pre-printing preview copies of the book, which we have in our possession and will send out immediately when the campaign closes.

The risk of delivering books for the presale copies is contingent on the publisher we use. Our team will make every effort to negotiate with the publisher to get the earliest possible ship date. We will keep all presale backers up-to-date on when their books are expected to ship.

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Funding period

- (45 days)