This book is for all those – community workers, adult educators, social activists of every kind – who want to overcome pessimism and play a part in changing society in the direction of peace, justice and dignity for all human beings. As author Brian Murphy — independent analyst, organizer, educator and writer, and former staff member of the Canadian social justice organization Inter Pares — points out, many of us are pessimistic about our ability to change the world when confronted by destructive political and corporative forces and the destruction they wreak. Murphy reveals the social and personal dilemmas which hold people back from social engagement, and argues that the various constraints we face can be overcome.
In this new edition, David Austin explains in his Introduction why this book, first published in 1999, is more relevant to our times than ever, offering insights from his own experiences of engaging critically with the book and with others. (David is author of Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution; Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal; and the editor of Moving Against the System, The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness.)
And in his new Afterword, Brian reflects on the continued relevance of the original text, emphasizing how our humanity is being corroded and commodified. To reclaim our humanity, he argues, we must transform ourselves to transform the world.
Commendations for the Second Edition of Transforming Ourselves
Brian Murphy’s immensely inspiring book, Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World, deeply challenges us to think and rethink everything we knew and thought we knew.
~ Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, and Right Livelihood Award Laureate in 2010.
We need more conversations like the one in this book, which are rooted in hope while honestly working through a foundational way of seeing and understanding ourselves in the bigger picture.
~ Christina Warner, Co-Executive Director, Council of Canadians
This is one of the coolest, most enjoyable and important books I have read in recent years. Written from the heart as well as the head, it is a breathtakingly visionary, unique and insightful take on the life of the ultimate activist.
~ Hope Chigudu, feminist activist
The republication of Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World is a gift for our troubled times. All of us who share the drive to change our society will find encouragement and nourishment. This book offers a break from an all-too-common type of “activism” that demands harmful suppression of our individual creativity, freedom and health. What we have here is a celebration — and an entirely convincing validation — of a way of changing the world that is always nurturing and open-ended; a process of possibility and becoming, as we build on humanness to realise greater humanness. As Murphy puts it: “‘I will act, because it is sane, and healthy, and human to do so. We will act together, because it is sane, and healthy, and human, and more effective to do so. … This is how we can begin to develop an open conspiracy’”. I’m energised to sign up to this “open conspiracy”, and I’m sure many more readers will be too.
~ Mark Butler, co-author with Church Land Programme (South Africa) of in, against, beyond, corona
ISBN Print: 978-1-988832-93-7 ISBN eBook: 978-1-988832-94-4