Most of this book is written by the two authors stated above, but there are also contributions from a number of other outstanding writers, including Deepak Chopra, Hazel Henderson, Jean Houston and Bruce Lipton. Thus this book is a beautiful bouquet of essays by some of the wisest thinkers and teachers of our time.

For far too long western industrial civilisation has devoted itself to the single pursuit of economic growth at the expense of social, spiritual, artistic and ecological values. The authors make the case that we urgently need to shift our consciousness. Rather than focusing on economic growth, we should be focusing on the growth of personal, social and planetary wellbeing.

For the industrial civilisation, people and Nature are merely a means to an end: economic growth. Companies and corporations have Human Resources departments. Humans are considered merely a resource for production, profit and the economy. In this worldview the same is true for the rest of Nature. Business leaders talk about natural resources. Nature is treated simply as a resource for the economy. The authors wish to see a fundamental change of paradigm. A clear implication is that we need a new worldview so that the wellbeing of people and the integrity of Nature are accepted as the goal of all human endeavours, and the economy as a means to that end.

Ervin László is a philosopher and systems scientist, and Frederick Tsao is a businessman with a particular interest in wellbeing and Chinese philosophy. Through the collaboration of these two outstanding authors we witness a synthesis of western science and eastern spirituality, which, they show, complement each other. They believe that in order to bring this new paradigm into reality we need to cultivate a new consciousness.

In the wake of this new consciousness we will see that at the quantum level there is a complete unity between matter, life and spirit, and between people and the rest of Nature. With this deep seeing we will be free of all division and separation. This understanding and experience of the unity of life is the prerequisite for our wellbeing at all levels. We are ill at ease because historically our worldview is founded on division and separation. Now the time has come to realise that separation is an illusion. Where separation ends, wellbeing begins.

Fortunately humanity has the power, potential and possibility to shape a new destiny. The challenge presented by this book is not just to predict the future, but also to create a new future – a future in which there are no strangers and no enemies, where all living beings, human and other-than-human, are members of one Earth Community, and where unconditional love for this remarkably coherent and delicate web of life is an integral part of the new consciousness.

The book is a wonderful guide to holistic wellbeing. It suggests that we can heal ourselves and heal our planet by building bridges between physics and metaphysics, between the self and the other, between matter and spirit, and above all between humans and the rest of Nature.

A large part of humanity is suffering from fear, anxiety and uncertainty due to the climate crisis, diminishing biodiversity, pollution of air, water and soil, social injustice, wealth inequality and the many other catastrophic problems of our age. People are ill at ease in spite of scientific and technological progress, rising living standards and unprecedented amounts of production and consumption of material goods. Clearly all is not well. Why is this so? This book is a courageous attempt to answer this crucial question.

Satish Kumar is the author of Elegant Simplicity, which is available in the Resurgence bookshop.