Now – current activities

Bio                         3BA88120-68A4-4FE3-AA19-B2B364BCCD2B

Douglass Carmichael

  • Born NYC April 27 1937
  • Cal tech physics
  • Berkeley PhD developmental and cognitive psychology
  • Harvard post doc Center for Cognitive Studies
  • Mexican institute for Psychoanalysis, Erich Fromm Director
  • Faculty UC Santa Cruz, psychology and history of consciousness
  • Faculty Catholic University of the Americas
  • Faculty Washington School of psychiatry
  • President Metasystems Design and later BigMind Media
  • Research Fellow Harvard, project on Technology, work and Society
  • Consultant, World Bank, White House, State Department, Department of Energy, Bell Labs, Volvo, Hewlett-Packard, many others..

Currently working on strategic issues with The Institute for New Economic Thinking. And working on the book, GardenWorld Politics.

In 2008 I started the Stanford Strategy Studio, a broad range of experiments on how to have more intelligent conversations. Recently ended a group called, half humorously,   Serious Conversations,  which met in Palo Alto for eight years,  an experiment in conversation without agenda.  Current projects have emerged from the Studio experience. Increasingly relevant seem my experience with The National Performance Review under Al Gore and the  Clinton White House.

My path has gone through but not abandoning physics to psychoanalysis to consulting to political and economic perspectives and strategy. The driving issue is: how to have a better life, how to have a better life for all, how cultures change, because if ours doesn’t, we are in trouble. in parallel worked on Internet based conversations and strategic conversations.

–   Study the masters, not the pupils, said Niels Abel

I currently live on the Russia River in Sonoma County, California. Born in Manhattan where I spent my early years, moved to California at 15 gaining a certain physicality, lived in Mexico where I gained a certain at-homeness with a more emotional life, all the while moving from physics to psychoanalysis, which sounds like a big change but wasn’t.

I had wonderful teachers along the way: Parkhill and Krebs at Collegiate, Feynman, Pauling, David Eliot, Hallet Smith at Caltech, Feyerabend, Schorske, Chris Alexander, Popper at Berkeley, Jerry Lettvin and De Santillana , Kenneth Burke and IA Richards, David Reisman and Erik Erikson  Harvard/MIT, Erich Fromm and Ramon Xirau in Mexico, Marian Eckert  and John Koskinen in Washington DC. Lots of friends, several relationships, three wonderful children, seven grandchildren, and I like the arts. I paint, play a little Bach on the guitar, read a lot of literature and history,  think about poetry, and love architecture.


Continual since 1970

Private practice of psychoanalysis and organizational consulting, and a lot of teaching.

2011 –present

INET (Institute for New Economic Thinking)  Research. Looking for actually new thinking in political economy. How trapped are we in the western rational model of disaggregated analysis that bas  moved away from the human? Stress on Climate change and its interaction with  economy.


Millennial Assessment of Human Behavior, acting director, an interim organization mostly at Stanford looking at human behavior in relation to sustainability. I took the view that how people earn an income has greater stickiness to it than the way the spend it. Earning vs. consuming, and that it wasn’t necessary to think through how people get paid in any transition strategy. Hence my move to INET


Stanford Strategy Studio. Co-founder with Michael Shanks. How to have more intelligent adult conversations. The use of graphics to support complex  conversations. Consulting with this model.


Acting Director Joh Carl Warnecke Institute for Architecture and the Arts,


Stanford Media X –  visiting distinguished scholar. The intersection of technology and Society.  I focused on plausible technology and society scenarios, and the problem of economics in relation to technology.


BigMindMedia, president, partner, a software company focused on on-line group conversations. Developed a software called Catalyst.


Metasystems Design Group. President, partner, investor. Developed software called Caucus for on line conversations. We had a front end using Mosaic the day Mosaic was released and used it with Trans-Canada pipeline for extensive management support, a wonderful case study not yet written. It was followed by the use of Caucus with Gore’s National Performance Review, the Pentagon study of Military Health for 2025, and many others.

Corcoran School of Art, taught the senior honors course  Psychology of Creativity.


Maccoby Group, vice president. This was where the study of corporate character led to consulting, Bell Labs, State Department, HP and many others.


Harvard Program of Technology, Society and Public Policy, research fellow. The study of corporate character

1969 – 1988

Teaching, Washington School of Psychiatry, Catholic University of America, University of California Santa Cruz (History of Consciousness, Psychology).


National University of Mexico, Institute for Psychoanalysis Erich Fromm director. A wonderful place to learn psychoanalysis with its expressiveness of the general culture. . Much freer than the US and I think more disciplined, harder, more penetrating and liberating.  Ivan Illich was a collaborator


Harvard Center for Cognitive studies (Jerome Brunner).  It led through Reisman and Erikson to Fromm in Mexico.


U.C. Berkeley Ph.D Development psychology, dissertation looking at rhetoric,  along the lines of Piaget,  on Irony. It was the time of the cognitive revolution, and I sensed that mechanization was creeping into models. I saw Piaget had done logic and math, Chomsky had done grammar so I thought of rhetoric, the third in the trivium. Jonas Langer was a better thesis advisor  than perhaps he knew.


Caltech  physics and humanities. I worked in the low temperature nuclear physics lab for three years, best part of my education there. The lab won the Nobel for the Mossbauer effect in about 1958. Hallet Smith taught a year long course in Yeats, Eliot, Mann and Joyce. Fabulous. Alfred Stern, unknown, taught a wonderful philosophy course in Cassirer, Unamuno, Ortetega,  and Vaihinger. I used each of these later fully.


I’ve traveled extensively  in the US, Mexico, Italy, France,  Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, India, Slovenia, Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica. I speak Spanish (somewhat forgotten), read French and classical Chinese, can sort of read Italian, Latin and Greek and Russian . J spent time in China, Brazil. Singapore and Malasia in reccent years.