The Axial Ages of World History: Lessons for the 21st Century (Paperback)
Our world today has become so globalized, so socially and technologically complex that current ideas and institutions haven't enabled us to address our most pressing problems. From global warming to possible food, water, and energy shortages, these challenges demand international cooperation; yet, that cooperation has proven impossible among today's nations. This is not the first time in world history that existing societies could not address the challenges of rapid change. In The Axial Ages of World History, Ken Baskin and Dmitri M. Bondrenko compare the modern world's dilemma with that of a similar period, the Axial Age (800-200 BCE). In both the Axial Age and Modernity (1500 CE-present), forces of increasing social and technological complexity drove the societies moving through them to transform the way people in them thought about the world and governed themselves. The book explores how this transformation, from the chaos of failed institutions to the order of newly evolved ways of living together, occurred in axial Greece and China and in modern Western Europe-in waves of horrific wars, experiments in new types of government, and in radical spiritual renewals. While the authors emphasize that there is no way to predict which of many possible outcomes will occur, in the book's conclusion, they share some thoughts on actions people can begin taking today to improve that outcome, whatever it might be.