THE INSTITUTE FOR A NEW POLITICAL COSMOLOGY
Louis Herman is a professor of political science and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu. He grew up in a traditional Jewish community in neo-Nazi, racist South Africa in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The two poles of his formative political experiences were outrage at human-inflicted suffering and the healing beauty of southern Africaʻs rugged wilderness. He obtained degrees in medicine and the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University in England, then emigrated to Israel where he lived out his Jewish connection to the Biblical homeland working on a kibbutz. His participation in the Yom Kippur War as a paratrooper confronted him with Palestinian indigeneity in a way that impelled him to return to big questions of life and philosophy: How do we know what is true and good? How should we live together?
After three years of graduate work in political philosophy at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, he was invited to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian Islands offered a privileged vantage for developing a global philosophy on the human condition. He formulated this vision in Future Primal: How our Wilderness Origins Show us a Way Forward (2013). This work outlined a model of a truth-seeking politics based on the new evolutionary understanding of the emergence of human consciousness, the politics of early hunting-gathering societies and indigenous society's like the San Bushmen and a comparative history of civilization. He founded The Institute for a New Political Cosmology in 2018 to promote an educational and political culture with truth-questing as the central practice of a new political cosmology.
Georgia Thompson has played a pivotal role in the development of the Institute since 2015. She is a Political Science alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu where she was first introduced to Dr. Louis Herman’s model of the truth quest as a basis for personal development, political transformation, and cosmology-building. After graduating she continued to practice the principles of the model in her work around the world in Japan, the U.S., and England. Georgia has worked predominately as a Community Readiness Consultant for the U.S. military. While in England she also served as Partnerships Director for ThisWay Global, an artificial intelligence startup launched at the University of Cambridge Enterprise incubator.
As Communications Director for the Institute for a New Political Cosmology, Georgia represented the Institute at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi in 2016. She also accompanied Dr. Herman on research trips to South Africa in 2017 and 2018 to develop partnerships with organizations such as the Sea Change Project, Organization for Noetic Ecology, Greyton Transition Town & Valley Food Gardens, and the WILD Foundation. In 2019, Georgia co-presented “Repairing the Ecology of Consciousness” with Dr. Herman at the Global Earth Repair Conference in Port Townsend, Washington.
Georgia is currently working on an M.A. in Communications and Journalism at the University of Hawaiʻi–Mānoa. Fun fact: Georgia had the privilege to experience cold water diving in South Africa with naturalist and filmmaker Craig Foster and consult on the Oscar-winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher, directed by Pippa Ehrlich of the Sea Change Institute.
Andrew Hoffman did his undergraduate work at Antioch College as a child of the '60s. During the late '70s and early '80s he moved to the Island of Maui, Hawaiʻi, to be part of a Zen Buddhist community and cultivate tropical fruit trees. After a near-death experience, he decided he wanted to be more engaged in social healing. He enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi–Mānoa to study Social Work.
After receiving his M.S.W., Andy realized that the cause of much unnecessary suffering was systematic and political. He changed course, immersed himself in political philosophy and transformational politics, and obtained a Ph.D. from the Political Science department at UH-M. It was there he became friends with Louis Herman and edited Louis's groundbreaking book, Future Primal: How Our Wilderness Origins Show Us A Way Forward (2013).
Andy currently lives in Kahaluʻu, Oʻahu, where he spends much of his time nurturing a wide variety of tropical fruit trees. He sees organic agriculture as the primary way of feeding people sustainably while helping reverse the destruction of the biosphere. Andy's life mission is to help people realize we are inextricably tied to all beings and must work toward the good of the whole.
Dr. Masahide Kato's truth quest began at the age of four in Hiroshima when he asked his mother what had happened to their hometown on August 6th, 1945. Unexpected confrontation with his mother’s deep silence and its underlying pain as a survivor marked the beginning of his journey in search of eternal peace. Through an NGO in Hiroshima, he gained an opportunity to get involved in peace education activities from the fifth grade to college years that included participation in Peace Youth exchange programs and conferences in multiple countries.
One of the places he visited through the exchange program was Hawaiʻi. Though he was only 13, he sensed the potential answers to his questions on peace from the people, culture, and land. A decade later he was back in Hawaiʻi through a student/scholar exchange. His experience in peace activism and his memories of Hawaiʻi led him to the center of the Native Hawaiian or Kanaka Maoli movement for self-determination. Besides his official scholarly work with the University, he was mentored by the Kanaka Maoli elders on Hawaiian cosmology, history, language, music, activism, and the way of liberating from the colonial occupation with the power of aloha. Through mentorship, activism, and his academic studies, he began to understand a 'revolution in consciousness' as the key to collective transformation toward peace.
After the publication of his dissertation as a book, he resumed his pedagogical activities at a community college in the Waiʻanae district with the highest concentration of Kanaka Maoli. This is where he learned about the real-life application of Indigenous epistemology and traditional ecological knowledge to community resilience. Since 2014, he has established his base at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu, a stone’s throw distance from the Waiʻanae community to engage in the integration of peace, ecology, and indigenous epistemology as a catalyst for planetary transformation.