"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
- Anna Quindlen
My feeling is that until the number of whole lives is greater than the number of shattered lives, we remain stuck in some kind of prehistory, unworthy of humanity's great spirit. History as a story worth telling will only begin when the whole lives outnumber the wasted ones. That means we have many generations to go before history begins. All the inequalities must end; all the surplus wealth must be equitably distributed. Until then we are still only some kind of gibbering monkey, and humanity, as we usually like to think of it, does not yet exist.
To put it in religious terms, we are still indeed in the bardo, waiting to be born.