Israeli History Professor, Author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Israeli History Professor, Author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Domesticated chickens and cattle may well be an evolutionary success story, they are also among the most miserable creatures that ever lived. The domestication of animals, was found in on a series of brutal practices only became cruel passing of the centuries? Egg laying hens, dairy cows and draft animals are sometimes allowed to live for many years. The price is subjugation to a way of life completely alien?s and desires? In modern cat in an industrial meat form easily after birth the Separated from its mother locked inside a tiny cage body. There the Spends its entire life ? about four months on average. Never leaves the cage, allowed to play with other cats even walk ? all so that its muscles will not grow strong. Soft muscles in a soft juicy steak. First on the Has a chance to walk, stretches muscles and such other cats only to the slaughterhouse. In evolutionary terms, cattle represent the most successful animal species ever to exist. The same time, they are some of the most miserable animals on the planet.
Humanism is a belief that Homo sapiens has unique and sacred nature, which is fundamentally different from the nature of all other animals and of all other phenomena? The rest of the world and all other beings exist solely for the benefit of this species.
On 24 August 1572? St. Bartholomew?s Day massacre, between 5000 and 10,000 Protestants were slaughtered in less than 24 hours? More Christians were killed by fellow Christians in those 24 hours than by the polytheistic Roman Empire throughout its entire existence.
The code of Hammurabi of 1776 BC? Asserts that Babylonian social order is rooted in universal and eternal principles of justice, dictated by the gods. The principle of hierarchy is of paramount importance. According to the code, people are divided into two genders and three classes: superior people, commoners and slaves. Members of each gender and class have different values. The life of a female commoner is worth 30 silver shekels and that of a slave woman 20 silver shekels, rose the eye of a male commoner is worth 60 silver shekels. The code also establishes a strict hierarchy within families, according to which children are not independent persons, or rather the property of their parents.
The only thing we can try to do is influence the direction scientists are taking. But since we might soon be able to engineer our desires to, the real question facing us is not ?what do we want to become?? but ?what do we want to want?? Those who are not spooked by this question probably haven?t given it enough thought.
Western culture, as it has evolved in Europe, is characterized by democratic values, tolerance and gender equality, whereas Muslim culture, should evolve in the Middle East, is characterized by hierarchical politics, fanaticism and misogyny. Since the two cultures are so different, and since many Muslim immigrants are unwilling (and perhaps unable) to adopt Western values, they should not be allowed to enter, less faithful meant internal conflicts and corrode European democracy and liberalism.
Ecological degradation is not the same as resource scarcity? Many call this process ?the destruction of nature?. But it?s not really destruction, it?s change. Nature cannot be destroyed.
Humans have sought to understand the universe at least since the Cognitive Revolution. Our ancestors put a great deal of time and effort into trying to discover the rules that govern the natural world. Modern science differs all previous traditions of knowledge in three critical ways: (a) the willingness to admit ignorance. (b) the centrality of observation and mathematics. (c) the acquisition of new powers? The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge, it has been above all a revolution of ignorance. The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions? The willingness to admit ignorance has made modern science more dynamic, supple and inquisitive than any previous tradition of knowledge.
Our medieval ancestors were happy because they found meaning to life in collective delusions about the afterlife? Yes. As long as nobody punctured their fantasies, why shouldn?t they? As far as we can tell, for purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan? Hence any meaning that people ascribe to their lives is just a delusion? So perhaps happiness synchronizing one?s personal delusions of meaning with the prevailing collective delusions? This is quite a depressing conclusion. This happiness really depend on self-delusion?
The Colts of the free market. Capital and politics influence each other to such an extent that their relations are both debated by economists, politicians and the general public alike. Ardent capitalist tend to argue capital should be free to influence politics, politics should not be allowed to influence capital. They argued that when governments interfere in the markets, political interests cause them to make unwise investments that result in slower growth? But in its extreme form, belief in the free market is as na‹ve as belief in Santa Claus. There simply is no such thing as a market free of all political bias.
The pursuit of an easier life resulted in much hardship, and not for the last time. It happens to us today. How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, bowing that they will work hard earned money that will enable them to retire their real interest when they are 35? By the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, in a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. Were they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, the double their efforts to keep slaving away? Story of the luxury track carries with it an important lesson. Humanity search for an easier life released immense forces of change to transform the world in ways nobody envisioned or wanted. Such domesticated animals ? sheep, chickens, donkeys, and others ? supplied food and Karen meat, milk, eggs), raw materials (skins, wool) and muscle power. Transportation, plowing grinding and other test, hitherto performed by human sinew. Were increasingly carried out by animals. Most farming societies people focused on plant cultivation raising animals as a secondary activity. New kind of society also appeared in some places, based primarily on the exploitation of animals: tribes pastoralist herders.
When evaluating global happiness, it is wrong to count the happiness only of the upper classes, of Europeans or of men. Perhaps it is also wrong to consider only the happiness of humans.
2000 years of monotheistic brainwashing have caused most Westerners to see polytheism as ignorant and childless idolatry? Polytheism does not necessarily dispute the existence of a single power or law governing the entire universe? The fundamental inside of polytheism, which distinguishes it from monotheism, is that the supreme power governing the world is devoid of interest and biases, and therefore is unconcerned with the Monday desires, cares and worries of humans? Hindus? Realize that from its eternal perspective all Monday and desires and fears are meaningless and ephemeral phenomena? The inside of polytheism is conducive to far-reaching religious tolerance? Polytheism is inherently open-minded and really persecutes ?heretics? and ?infidels?.
70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was still an insignificant animal minding its own business in the corner of Africa. In the following millennia it transformed itself into the master of the entire planet and the terror of the ecosystem. Today it stands on the verge of becoming a God, poised to acquire not only eternal youth, but also the divine abilities of creation and destruction. Unfortunately, the sapiens regime on earth has so far produced little that we can be proud of. We have mastered our surroundings, increased food production, built cities, establish empires and created far-flung trade networks. But did we decrease the amount of suffering in the world? Time and again, massive increases in human power did not necessarily improve the well-being of individual sapiens, and usually caused immense misery to other animals.
According to the science of biology, people were not ?created?. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ?equal?. The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation and souls, what does it mean that all people are ?equal?? Evolution is based on difference, not on a quality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. ?Created equal? should therefore be translated into ?evolve differently. ? Equally, there are no such things as rights in biology. There are only organs, abilities and characteristics. ? So ?unalienable rights? should be translated into ?immutable characteristics?.
Across America testifies to the incomparable ingenuity unsurpassed adaptability of Homo sapiens. No other animal has ever moved into such a huge variety of radically different habitats quickly, everywhere using virtually the same genes.
Although sapiens and already populated East Africa hundred and 50,000 years ago, he began to overrun the rest of the planet Earth drive other human species to extinction only about 70,000 years? The appearance of new ways of thinking communicating, between 70,000 3000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution.
An empire is a political order with two important characteristics. First, to qualify for that designation you have to rule over a significant number of distinct peoples, each possessing a different cultural identity and a separate territory? Second, empires are characterized by flexible borders and a potentially unlimited appetite. They can swallow and digest more and more nations and territories without altering their basic structure or identity? Cultural diversity and territorial flexibility given powers not only their unique character, but also their central role in history.
As the 21st century unfolds, nationalism is fast losing ground. More and more people believe that all of humankind is a legitimate source of political authority, rather than the members of a particular nationality, and that safeguarding human rights protecting the interests of the entire human species should be the guiding light of politics.
Attachment to ?my house? separation from the neighbors became the psychological, much more self-centered creature? Hunter gatherers few deliberate changes to the lands which they roam. Farmers, on the other hand, lived in artificial human islands laboriously are surrounding wilds. He cut down forests, dug canals, cleared fields, built houses, plowed for Rose, and planted trees in tidy rows. The resulting artificial habitat was meant only for humans and their plants and animals, and was often fenced off by walls and hedges? For most of history these man-made enclaves remained a very small, surrounded by expanses of untamed nature. The Earth?s surface measures about 510,000,000 kmý, of which 155 million is land. As late as A.D. 1400, the vast majority of farmers along with their plants and animals, clustered together in an area of just 11,000,000 kmý ? 2% of the planet?s surface.
Biologist hold that are mental and emotional world is governed by biochemical mechanism shape by millions of years of evolution. Like other mental states, our subjective well-being is not determined by an external parameters such as salary, social relations or political rights. Rather, it is determined by a complex system of mirrors, neurons, synapses and various biochemical substances such as serotonin, dopamine and oxycotin.
Capitalism began as a theory about how the economy functions. It was both descriptive and prescriptive ? it offered an account of how money worked and promoted the idea that reinvesting profits in production leads to fast economic growth. But capitalism gradually became far more than just an economic doctrine. It now encompasses an ethic ? a set of teaching about how people should behave, educate their children and even think. Its principal tenet is that economic growth is the supreme good, or at least a proxy for the supreme good, because justice, freedom and even happiness all depend on economic growth.
The romantic contrast between modern industry that destroys nature and our ancestors who lived in harmony with nature is groundless. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of life.
The trust in Rome?s coins was so strong that even outside the empire?s borders, people were happy to receive payment in denarii. In the first century AD, Roman coins were an accepted medium of exchange in the markets of India, even though the closest Roman legion was thousands of miles away. The Indians had such a strong confidence in the denarius and the image of the emperor that when local rulers struck coins of their own they closely imitated the denarius, down to the portrait of the Roman emperor!
There is poetic justice in the fact that a quarter of the world, and two of its seven continents, are named after a little-known Italian whose sole claim to fame is that he had the courage to say, ?We don?t know.