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2012 Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge

40 years of working to advance our understanding of the mind toward conscious evolution

Today humanity faces unprecedented challenges. How can we apply advances in science and technology to ensure health and safety for all the world's people? Can we learn to tolerate and appreciate cultural diversity in an ever-shrinking global community? Can we learn to manage the planet's dwindling vital resources and basic life-support systems before it's too late?

Many worthy organizations address these issues in the political, cultural, and humanitarian spheres. But none focus, as does ISHK, on the root cause — our very nature as human beings. What do we know about the way our brains work, about the way we receive and process information from our environment, about how our mental and nervous systems evolved, which create these crises in the first place? What other capacities might be inherent in our nature to help us rise above our narrow-minded reactions and choose the most appropriate mindset for a given situation? How can we develop these new capacities in ourselves and in our children?

For more than forty years, ISHK's programs have been addressing these questions, contributing to some major shifts in public thinking and public policy — such as in the recognition of the role of the mind in health. ISHK's efforts have been supported by renowned specialists in medicine, ecology, psychology, and education. Today some of our key programs focus on early education.

Our Mission

Humanity now needs to adapt to a world that is far different from that of the past. A primary need at this critical point in human history is to understand our human nature. If we know who we are, how human beings evolved, what our possibilities and weaknesses are, we might correctly assess what we can change, adapt, and create so that humanity and the planet thrive.

It is the mission of ISHK to gain such insight through the investigation of humanity's biological and cultural evolution and to communicate new understandings in the human sciences to both professionals and the culture at large through symposia, curricula development, workshops and publications.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are making good progress on our programs. Here are the most recent NEWS & PLANS FOR 2016.


ISHK Highlights:

News for the Human Journey Website

ISHK’s Human Journey website ( explores some of humanity's most crucial questions, including: How did humanity evolve to be different from our early ancestors? How did our myths about ourselves arise? What tendencies made us select and cling to the stories we chose to represent our “history?” Are there patterns running through these histories that we can learn to recognize from exposure to psychology, both traditional and contemporary?

Since we launched this website in 2008, two new hominin species have been discovered and experts now understand so much more about the influences that shaped our early beginnings and which – because they underpin our human nature – effect our social and behavioral world today. We have revised the Overview to the first section to cover this work. Our content is constantly revised and updated to keep the information up to date. Information that comes in prior to our being able to update the main text will be available as a link in LATEST NEWS!

In 2015 we will continue to update and revise the site and, with the help of expert volunteers, will be developing three major topics in The fourth SectionThe Road to the Future: Health, Aid and Education.

In addition, our goal is to provide a new analysis on how and where a sustainable future might be achieved, and include an exploration of the different paths of energy use available. The usual analysis considers mainly items such as nuclear energy, renewables, nanopower, the use and problems of fracking. But behavioral changes, if instituted, can have a far greater effect than any, and all, sustainable sources of power. How we can change, is our next subject.

The California Learning Resource Network ( has accepted the Human Journey website as an Electronic Learning Resource.

If you come across sources that may be of interest, please let us know at Also, if any experienced writers and researchers would like to volunteer for this project, please contact us at

ISHK Continuing Education Logo

ISHK was one of the first organizations approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education in psychology. The program offers over 200 Courses. Now you can purchase books and tapes, and register for CE Psychology courses online.

ISHK Continuing Education Logo

In conjunction with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center we are offering an accredited program of CME courses that for the first time give you not only a choice of topics, but your choice of when, where, and how long you take to complete the work.

Our current course offering is based on the recent explosion of research into the connection between the body and mind. This field is not only fascinating but holds the potential for a radically different approach to healing. Now you can purchase books and tapes, and register for CME Medicine courses online.
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Maylor Books logo
Under the editorial directorship of the psychologist and writer Robert Ornstein, Malor was started in 1995. Its aim was to publish in high quality paperback important works in the human sciences: fields such as psychology, mind-body health, and education. These titles are selected for the importance of their content to the culture as a whole. They are targeted to a wide audience – professionals, students, and educated lay readers alike.


Edited by Paul Ekman

This is the latest book from MALOR BOOKS. Click here to read more about this title.

Paul Ekman is also the author or co-author of two other Malor Books titles: Unmasking the Face and Darwin and Facial Expression.



New World New Mind: Are humanity's crises products of a mind evolved for a world long gone? The landmark book by biologist Paul Ehrlich and psychologist Robert Ornstein is now available for download in Adobe PDF.

Kids with Hoopoe Books
Hoopoe Books Logo
New Titles from Hoopoe Books

The Hoopoe Books website is now a beautiful new mobile/Google-friendly website which is much easier to navigate and works well on all kinds of devices. It includes even more free, downloadable resources for teachers, and these two recent Hoopoe paperback titles: The Wisdom of Ahmad Shah and The Stranger's Farewell. New eBook editions of Idries Shah’s children’s books will be arriving at Amazon and iTunes from February 17 through May 17, 2016.

Hoopoe Books publishes a series of 11 beautifully illustrated teaching stories for children retold by the Afghan author and educator Idries Shah. These tales were told and retold for centuries throughout Central Asia and the Middle East. Though written especially for children, they have been highly praised for their unique ability to foster thinking skills, social-emotional development and perception in students of all ages.

Hoopoe also offers resources for parents and families, as well as downloadable teacher guides aligned to Head Start, national performance and assessment standards and other educational standards in the United States. Our curriculum has been used in hundreds schools and educational agencies across the country primarily in grades preK-6.

All About Me: This series of paperbacks teaches adolescent young people about their human nature. Through reading, activities and discussions they will learn to understand and appreciate the power of unconscious mechanisms in their thoughts, emotions and behavior and, as a result, develop more flexibility, confidence and control.

Photos of Kids with books

Share Literacy: This program was started in 2002 to address and reduce the growing literacy gap between rich privileged and poor at risk children and their families. Share Literacy promotes the development of reading and thinking skills by providing Hoopoe books and ancillary materials to partners working in established early childhood education agencies serving poverty-level and low-income families. These include, homeless shelters, after-school programs and organizations providing ESL and adult literacy instruction.

Hoopoe Book covers in Dari & Pashto

Books for Afghanistan Program: We provide bilingual Dari-Pashto and English Hoopoe titles, audio readings of them and classroom Teacher Guides to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout Afghanistan.

Hoopoe Book covers in Urdu and English

Books for Pakistan Program: We provide bilingual Urdu-English, Urdu-Pashto and Sindhi-Pashto Hoopoe titles and classroom Teacher Guides to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout Pakistan.

For more about Hoopoe teaching stories:
Teaching-Stories are form of literature little-known in the West but common in Afghanistan can help develop thinking skills and perceptions. Watch the Library of Congress lecture by ISHK President, Robert Ornstein.

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