The people who have influenced my life

I have been blessed by being exposed to the thinking of some amazing people. I’m grateful to all of them. They have each contributed to the 3 most important projects of my life; the philosophy of Meaningful Participation, the systems science of Triholonics, and my magnum opus, IDOJO.


  • John G. Bennett

    The single most influential thinker in my life has been the British industrial scientist, mathematician, and philosopher John Bennett (1897–1974). He is in my opinion the most underrated philosopher of any time. The profundity and originality of his thinking is most evident in the systems science he developed called Systematics. Totally amazing!

  • George Gurdjieff

    Gurdjieff (1866–1949) has to be one of the most interesting characters of the 20th century, if not the most. As a person he seemed full of contradictions but don’t let that put you off. The ideas he introduced us to are that beautiful mix of previously unknown but obvious in hindsight. The most important catalyst in John G. Bennett’s life.

  • Martin Heidegger

    Heidegger (1889–1976) was a German philosopher whose focus is on our experience as human beings. My favourite idea of his is that the foundation of our humanity is our connection to what we care about. I call this our Meaningful Potential and it acts as our "guiding line" in each moment of our life.

  • Alfred North Whitehead

    Whitehead (1861–1947) was a British mathematician and philosopher. My favourite idea of his is the three-fold urge. He said the art of life is first to be alive, secondly to be alive in a satisfactory way, and thirdly to acquire an increase in satisfaction. I call this "a better life".

  • John Dewey

    Of all the Americian philosophers, my favourite is John Dewey (1859–1952). I love his pragmatic approach which emphasises the practical consequences of our beliefs and actions. His belief in the importance of experiential learning and the practical application of knowledge is foundaional to my approach in IDOJO.


  • Jacob Moreno

    Jacob Moreno (1889–1974) was an Austrian-American best known for psychodrama which is a form of therapy. Its core idea is that what we think of as our singular self is actually made up of a constellation of many selves. Psychodrama is the forerunner of a wave of identity-based therapies including IFS and Narrative therapy.

  • Kazimierz Dabrowski

    Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902–1980) was a Polish psychologist and psychiatrist who developed the theory of positive disintegration. One of the theory’s defining features is its emphasis on the role of struggle and suffering in psychological development. In other words, effort and discomfort are essential features of building capability. Yes of course they are.

  • Viktor Frankl

    Viktor Frankl (1905–1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, and is most famous for Man’s search for meaning which is his written account of that experience. He developed Logotherapy which affirms 2 of the most essential features of life. The importance of meaning in directing one’s life, and of remembering that we always have more choice than we realise.

Human development

  • Robert Kegan

    Robert Kegan (born 1946) is an American psychologist who has made significant contributions to the field of adult development. He is best known for Constructive Developmental Theory which builds on the work of Jean Piaget. The core premise of this is that our potential as human beings is to continuously redefine ourselves. Amen!

  • Ernst von Glasersfeld

    Ernst von Glasersfeld (1917–2010) was an Austrian-American philosopher who is best known for his work on radical constructivism. This emphasises the idea that knowledge is not a reflection of an objective reality and we each play an active role in constructing our own knowledge.

  • Werner Erhard

    Werner Erhard (born 1935) is an American author and lecturer and one of the founding fathers of the personal development movement in California in the 1970s. The thing I appreciate most about him is his practical incorporation of Heidegger’s ideas in his programs, including the poetic Already Always Listening.

Life sciences

  • Michael Levin

    Michael Levin (born 1969) is a Russian-American developmental biologist studying the foundations of cognition, intelligence and goal-directed behaviour. To my mind he is the most important biologist of modern times. Do yourself a favour and look him up on Youtube or Google. He is reconceiving what it means to be a living being.

  • Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela

    Maturana (1928–2021) and Varela (born 1946) are Chilean biologists that developed a theory of developmental biology called Autopoiesis ("self-production"). Their idea is that living systems create themselves through a continuous process of self-creation and self-renewal. This is a similar idea to my (Manifesto) concept of Self authorship.

Systems thinking

  • Claude Shannon

    Claude Shannon (1916–2001) was an American mathematician and electrical engineer, known as the father of information theory. His 1948 paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" introduces the astonishing idea that information lies at the heart of entropy and negentropy. This forms the foundation of my own thinking on capability and mastery.

  • Arthur Koestler

    Arthur Koestler (1905–1983) was a Hungarian-British author and journalist whose thinking has influenced fields such as psychology and creativity. My favourite idea of his is the concept of the holon, which is an original way of looking at systems. Combined with the Systematics of John G Bennett it forms the foundations of my philosophy.