In the space of a few hundred years our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos has expanded exponentially resulting in a reappraisal of many of our preconceptions of what it is to be human: we no longer see the mind as an autonomous ringmaster controlling our actions, advanced brain scanning allows us to eavesdrop on the thinking process itself, we can now read the book of life; the Genome and extract the DNA that contains all our hereditary material, we can explain the origins of life without resorting to superstition and creation myths, we can communicate with each other instantaneously regardless of distance, we have broken our earthly bounds sent probes to the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond and mankind has visited another celestial body.
But according to Graham Davis, in contrast to these and many other advances in science and technology that has given us this extraordinary understanding the political, economic and cultural institutions that support and control it have changed little. The violence that was an inevitable part of our evolutionary progress still persists; the gross disparity of wealth and opportunity is still largely the result of an accident of birth as are health and life expectancy. Many people see their own lives as being swept along like tumbleweed by forces over which they have no influence or control.
The challenge of this book is to study the many disparate strands that combine to form our human experience and to offer a blueprint for a better future based upon the aspirations common to all human beings regardless of gender, ethnicity or status.