Duane Elgin

Co-founder and Senior Advisor


DUANE ELGIN is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and social visionary. He has an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MA in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania, and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy for work in “ecological and spiritual transformation” from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA. In 2006, Duane received the Japanese “Goi International Peace Award” in recognition of his contribution to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.”

His books include: Choosing Earth: Humanity’s Great Transition to a Mature Planetary Civilization (2020), The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? (2009); Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future (2000), Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich (2010, 1993 and 1981), and Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness (1993). With Joseph Campbell and other scholars he co-authored the book Changing Images of Man (1982). In addition, Duane has contributed chapters to twenty-two books, and has published more than a hundred major articles, blogs, and reports.

In the early 1970s, worked as a senior staff member of a joint Presidential-Congressional Commission on the American Future. He then worked as a senior social scientist with the think-tank SRI International where he coauthored numerous long-range, futures studies, such as: Anticipating Future National and Global Problems (for the President’s Science Advisor), Alternative Futures for Environmental Policy (for the Environmental Protection Agency), The Future of the Automobile (for the Ford Motor Co.), and Limits to the Management of Large, Complex Systems (for the President’s Science Advisor).

Over the past thirty years, Duane has co-founded three non-profit and trans-partisan organizations concerned with media accountability and citizen empowerment.

As a speaker, Duane has given more than 300 keynotes and workshops with audiences ranging from business executives and civic groups to churches and college students. He has also given 23 online keynotes, courses, and seminars.

With Peter Russell (author of The Global Brain and other books), he co-created a series of seven, half-hour video programs called “Pete and Duane’s Window.”

Duane’s personal website is: DuaneElgin.com

Blogs, Articles and Report

Conscious Evolution & the Human Journey

  • Change the Story to Change the World The next five to ten years represent an unprecedented break in the human journey. We are between stories, or the guiding narratives, that serve as beacons for our collective future. For example, the “American Dream” that pulled the U.S. forward for at least three generations is fast becoming the world’s… read more
  • Science and Spirit Converge in the Now A growing understanding of our universe reveals two remarkable dynamics at work that together intensify and expand our feeling for the spiritual nature of existence. The first dynamic is the universe story: A grand narrative that portrays humanity as descendants of a vast, creative lineage of life that stretches over… read more
  • Why Climate Change Requires A Consciousness Change Einstein famously said that we cannot solve problems with the same level of perception that created them. We have to step up to a higher and more inclusive level of seeing what is going on in order to understand and solve great challenges. Certainly climate disruption represents one of the… read more
  • Humanity’s Second Spiritual Age The phrase “axial age” has been used to describe the relatively brief period of time — roughly 700 years — when the great religions of the world arose: Hinduism and Buddhism in India; Confucianism and Taoism in China; and monotheism in the Middle East. read more
  • Consciously Recognizing Ourselves Before We Die When our physical body dies, will we recognize ourselves as a subtle body of light, love, music, and knowing? Will we recognize the unique orchestration of our being, the distinct way we light up the world? If we fail to recognize ourselves in this way — if we require the… read more
  • We Are Learning to Live in a Living Universe A common assumption of the modern world is that we live in a universe comprised almost entirely of inert matter and empty space. Regarding the universe as dead at its foundations is basic to the industrial revolution: It makes sense to exploit what appears dead for the benefit of what… read more
  • Can Death Be an Ally? Death is an important ally for appreciating life. I am not referring to a morbid preoccupation with death. Rather, I mean the felt awareness of our finitude as physical beings — an honest recognition of the short time we have to love and to learn on this earth. read more
  • Our Living Universe An overview article of my book, The Living Universe, with video inserts by the “Culture Unplugged” editors.

Voluntary Simplicity and a Thriving Future

  • 8 Expressions of Simplicity for Healthy Living To portray the richness of simplicity as a theme for healthy living, here are eight different flowerings that I see growing consciously in the “garden of simplicity.” Although there is overlap among them, each expression of simplicity seems sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate category. read more
  • The Spiritual Wisdom of Simplicity The wisdom of simplicity is a theme with deep roots. The great value and benefits of living simply are found in all the world’s major wisdom traditions. read more
  • Four Misconceptions About the Simple Life It is important to recognize inaccurate stereotypes about the simple life because they make it seem impractical and ill suited for responding to increasingly critical breakdowns in world systems. Four misconceptions about the simple life are so common they deserve special attention. These are equating simplicity with: poverty, moving back… read more
  • Thriving in a Post-Consumerist Society What does a thriving way of life look like in a post consumerist society? Many aspects of a thriving future can be found by stepping into a contemporary co-housing community or eco-village. To illustrate, my wife and I lived in a co-housing community in Northern California for nearly two… read more

Mass-Media and Awakening Mass-Awareness

  • Can Television Help Awaken a Healthy World? Many people are aware of a mind-body connection when it comes to their personal health, but few apply this important wisdom to our mind-body health as a society. Just as mental habits impact the physical health of individuals, our collective mental habits — manifested through the mass media. read more
  • Three Media Views of Green Living It is ironic that green ways of living that emphasize voluntary simplicity — a life-way that can take us into an opportunity-filled future — are often portrayed in the mass media as regressive ways of life that turn away from progress. Here are three portrayals of green lifestyles and simplicity… read more
  • The Last Taboo On Television Virtually every forbidden topic imaginable has been covered on television, except for one. The last taboo on television is television itself — and how it is profoundly biased toward high consumption lifestyles that the earth cannot sustain. In the U.S. the average person sees more than 25,000 commercials a year… read more
  • Take Back the Airwaves! Although many recognize that individuals can be conscious of themselves, we seldom consider whether a whole society can be conscious of itself. Certainly at moments of great tragedy or great triumph there seems to be a capacity for millions of autonomous individuals to awaken to a collective consciousness. For example… read more
  • Occupy the Airwaves! “Occupy Wall St.” is a spontaneous uprising of citizens. It is both a protest against corruption, poverty, homelessness, and greed as well as a call for citizens to come together to build a better world. For many, this is a ‘100 percent movement’ that recognizes we are all in this… read more
  • The Power of a Community Voice Movement We have a crisis of conversation in our democracy. People want to be heard and to have a voice in our future. It’s time for citizens — you and me, all of us — to come in from the cold. Whether conservative, liberal, or independent, we are all citizens united… read more


The Living Universe

Here is a short introduction to the idea of a living universe.

This short video explores ‘Three Areas of Oneness”: