Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind
Having read Homosapiens: A Brief History of Tomorrow I was incredibly intrigued as to what else Yuval Noah Harari had written, and I found Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first read, I was really excited to read this one, because I knew I would learn about things that I had little knowledge about but reading this I can safely say, my knowledge has increased.
“This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom – we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.”
One thing I took away from this book was how quickly things have evolved, from nine species of human walking the Earth to in a matter of thousands of years being left with one: and that being us, homosapiens.
In a very weird way, I feel that this explains racism. That is, because homosapiens have the need to be dominant, to be the superior. With the extinction of the other human species, sapiens very quickly evolved from being hunter-gathers to forming homosapiens into groups - something we can see when tracing history from the agricultural and following that: the scientific revolution. Homosapiens, according to Yuval Noah Harari are not supposed to be organised in such a way that we are today, it's still not natural for us - no matter how many revolutions we go through, as highlighted in the quotes below:
“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us… This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.”
Having accidentally read A Brief History of Tomorrow first (I didn't quite realise there was an order, but anyway), this book explains very complex things very well from economics to power structures, to culture and money in a very understandable way, one which is not overwhelming. If you want to read something that is not too heavy but incredibly informative then this is the book for you!
Finally, as someone who thoroughly enjoys reading about the impact of technology and how such things will empower people, it was odd to read about how there is the possibility of robots and humans living side by side. Additionally, because we know have more influence than ever about the shape of the future, Yuval Noah Harari leaves the reader with one final thought
“Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”
This leads nicely onto Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow