Sapiens [LINK] – Yuval Noah Harari
Going back 100,000 years, there were six species that roamed the Earth. Now? There is one, Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man). How and why did this come to be? In Sapiens, Yuval Harari explains how the ability to cooperate in large groups was the tipping point for our rapid advancement to earth’s alpha-animal.
The ability to cooperate and colaborate is driven by storytelling. The difference between a monkey andHomo sapiens is our belief in myths. The most common myth is money. Printer paper and dollar bills share much of the same traits, yet one of them is what controls our world. Almost everything humans have achieved relative to their animal ancestors has been based on collective myths. Humans, just as any other animal, have one biological purpose: survival. Yuval is not advocating we seperate from the herd and reject these myths — and whether we know we are part of the game or not is besides the point — collaboration through the belief in myths is what progressed humans to their most advanced stage.
I most enjoyed the first hundred or so pages on human history and the final chapter: The End of Homo Sapiens. What does our future hold? Will birth defects and degenerative diseases cease to exist? How would the world be if no autopsy report read ‘died of natural causes’? Humans are at the cusp of manipulating what we assign to God’s plan or biology. “For close to 4 billion years, every single organism on the planet evolved subject to natural selection. Not even one was designed by an intelligent creator.”We may theorize that iRobot is inevitable, or speculate to why we shouldn’t alter natures path and natural selection, but the reality is we will not stop progressing; it is impossible to stop Frankenstein.
“The only thing we can try to do is to influence the direction scientists are taking. But since we might soon be able to engineer our desires too, the real question facing us is not ‘What do we want to become?’, but ‘What do we want to want?'”
It took me over a month to tackle this because of the vast amout of information on each page. I have highlights and notes in every other paragraph. This has been the deepest information-to-page book I’ve read.