Book jacket/abstract information on contents and author

Mental Evolution and Art, 1980, Exposition Press, Inc., New York




- An innovative theory of human nature linking mental evolution with art as a catalytic force


Dr. Rodney Chang perceives evolution as a continuum not only of different physical species but of mental levels of consciousness. Comparing the level of consciousness of a human in deep sleep with that of the basal metabolism of plants, he asserts that "our minds are not just a polished and finished human product, but an amorphous entity of infinite variety of thinking, all inherited from the potpourri of intelligent mechanisms adequate to support long past different ancestral forms of life." The conscious state, he theorizes, evolved more recently than the unconscious state. But if we accept the notion that thinking begins in an unconscious state, then perhaps "a sort of overall biomental energy system exists, forming a mental energy continuum related through evolution."

Man reacts to the chaotic world through his conscious state. By thinking, he creates an order that makes his world tolerable. Art is vital to human life for the psychological function it performs. Art objects are more than mere physical representations; they stimulate different levels of consciousness to evoke emotional reactions and to help a person know himself better. By acting as such a stimulant, art provides a mental link to memories and fantasies, and it prevents boredom.

An artist must create objects that strike a chord in the viewing public. An art object serves it purpose if it excites the viewer, making him more aware of himself.


About the Author


A professional student, creator, psychologist, artist, and dentist, Dr. Rodney E.J. Chang is the first doctor to include a disco dance floor in his office, dubbed "Da Waiting Room." Through the use of disco psychology in a dental environment, "The Disco Doc" employs an innovative approach to reducing the patient's anxiety, potential staff ulcers, and client turnover.

Dr. Chang was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1945. At twenty-two, he left the islands to experience the "Big City," simultaneously studying dentistry at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, and art at Triton College in Northlake, Illinois.

To date, seventeen years of college and graduate study have netted Dr. Chang seven academic and professional degrees, as well as a Ph.D. in Aesthetic Perception now in progress at Union Graduate School. He is also currently enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado, where he will obtain a master's degree in psychology, counseling, and guidance.

He is a member of the American Dental Association and the Association of Honolulu Artists. He includes disco dancing in his Sagittarius life-style and is interested in potted plants, photography, taxonomy, architectural design, and marathon running.