Arthur Coulter

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Timothy Wilken:

"synergic scientist N. Arthur Coulter, Jr., MD had been seeking to develop an ideal system of organization for human beings. He defined ideal as that system that would maximize both freedom, and quality of life for all within the system. He was the author of SYNERGETICS: An Adventure in Human Development. I discovered him by purchasing his book based on its title from a science catalog. I was so impressed with his book that I took a chance and wrote him. We soon developed a long distance friendship.

Coulter was also searching for a better world. He had realized that with the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Japan, humanity had reached a crossroad. That our weapons were now of such power that they threatened us all with extinction.

He concluded:

“What is needed is nothing less than a major evolution of the human mind, which would give the rational, humane part of the mind a much greater control over the emotional part.”

Coming out the Army at the end of 1945, Coulter switched his focus from Mathematics and entered Harvard Medical School. He said he needed to learn all he could about the human brain and mind. Thirty years later, he was Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. But whenever he wasn’t teaching medical students, his focus was on understanding human thinking and human relationships.

In March of 1983, I traveled from my home on the west coast of Northern California to meet with Dr. Coulter. From Chapel Hill, we traveled by car a small private retreat he had built on a lake in nearby Virginia. It was a beautiful and very quiet place ideal for thinking and corroboration. He called it Synergia.

The purpose of our meeting was two-fold, first to share our research findings about human relationships, behavior, and thinking, and then to design or at least establish criteria for designing a “conflict-free” organizational system for humankind. As synergic scientists, we both believed an ideal system would be based on win-win relationships." (