The Interwoven World

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The main objective of this book is to raise the reader’s awareness and consciousness regarding both the universalism and transfers of knowledge across societies and cultures. Cultural transmission often is not merely a copying process, but rather a reconstructive process in which cognitive biases play an important role. A major bias that inhibits accurate transmission is the tendency for people to arrive at different inferences regarding concepts and operations with them. Most books deal with ideas and specialised knowledge in a particular discipline; in contrast, we have selected four different areas of knowledge: Eurocentrism, Patterns of Cultural Encounters, Colonialism and its Aftermath, and Westernisation and its Fruits. The study of these areas helps us to understand the making of the modern world. We have invited more than twenty scholars of varied backgrounds to write in an easily accessible style on a particular theme in one of the four areas. Additionally there is a selection of even shorter sidebars in every area, providing further information and understanding. The brevity of essays and sidebars is meant to encourage those readers who may find reading longer chapters onerous and difficult to comprehend. No book of this nature is available today that combines a global, historical perspective with a non-technical discussion of a whole range of ideas from different disciplines, a diverse mix which describes the challenges of the 21st century; indeed a set of interwoven encounters between civilizations that perplex and at the same time illuminate our age.