December 1, 1988
Culturally and biologically, humankind has evolved further and faster than any other species on earth. In the process we have also changed the planet more in the past ten thousand years than all its inhabitants did in the first four million. New World New Mind is an investigation into what we have done to our planet… And a warning about the consequences of progress. Unless we consciously evolve to fit our advanced society, we will destroy all that we have created.
According to Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich, we function today with a mind-set fit for the eighteenth century, while playing with the “toys” of the twenty-first. Why, for instance, on a planet that has an exploding human population, a deteriorating environment, and steadily dwindling resources, have we spent more time, energy, and genius building arsenals to destroy our enemies rather than working to save ourselves? Why does the world respond to an infrequent airline hijacking and virtually ignore the daily killings on our streets?
“The mismatch of our brains with our environments has been produced by millennia of effort, by the skill, ingenuity, and drive of our species – by the very minds that are now out of step with the world they live in,” said the authors. New World New Mind offers explanations, ideas, and possible solutions to our need for conscious evolution in the coming century.
We need to develop a new mind – a new set of thought processes, reactions, perceptions, and impulses – for our new world. Ornstein and Ehrlich present an invaluable study of where our society is going and what we can do to keep up with it.
Robert Ornstein is president of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge. He teaches at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and at Stanford University. He has done extensive research on the human brain and is the author of The Psychology of Consciousness and Multimind and coauthor of The Amazing Brain and The Healing Brain, among many other books.
Paul Ehrlich is Professor of Biological Sciences and Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University. His previous books include The Machinery of Nature, Earth, and Extinction.