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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Author: Yuval Harari
Author Yuval Noah Harari was born in Haifa, Israel, and received a doctorate in medieval war history at Oxford University in England in 2002. His majors are medieval history and war history, the relationship between history and biology, whether justice exists in history, and whether people have become happier than in the past as history progresses. His research on world history began to attract attention as it became known through videos such as YouTube, and more than 80,000 people around the world are taking his classes. In 2009 and 2012, he was awarded the’POLONSKY PRIZE FOR CREATIVITY AND ORIGINALITY IN THE HUMANISTIC DISCIPLINES’, and in 2012, he was awarded the’THE YOUNG ISRAELI ACADEMY OF SCIENCES’. Was selected.

Sapiens, the result of long-standing research in anthropology, sociology, biology, etc. It became a bestseller.

Homepage WWW.YNHARARI.COM

From the distant human origin to the cyborg,
The birth, progress, and future of mankind read in one volume!

There is a book that shook the publishing world and the media around the world last year and this year. The impact of a book by a young Israeli scholar, almost unknown, was enormous. Not only the Western world such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, but also Latin America such as Brazil, China and Taiwan and Asia, many people have read this book, it has become a bestseller, has been selected as a book of the year or awarded a publication award.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recommended it as a book to read together at the book club, and scholars and celebrities from various fields, including Jared Diamond, Damian Hearst, and Henning Mankell, recommended reading without hesitation. It is a story of the origin, development, and evolution of mankind, but the vast story that crosses the boundaries of academics such as anthropology, economics, biology, psychology, and discourses on happiness is attractive enough to captivate readers around the world. This is a tribute dedicated to Sapiens by Professor Yuval Noah Harari, who teaches history at the Hebrew University of Israel.

Why are so many people paying attention and enthusiasm for this book? The young author, who has just turned 40 in Korean age, has already gained popular support by communicating with more than 80,000 people around the world through internet lectures such as YouTube, TED, and MOOC.

The author’s comprehensive gaze to read the history and the amazing writing skills that elaborately unfold a vast story, the extraordinary theory that overwhelms the writing power, astounding insights, and exquisite wit and a book that can be read in the first year of college, sympathy from all generations Even the passion of wanting to write easy-to-read and easy-to-read books, the wonderful harmony of these has made thousands of people his fans, and Sapiens can be affirmed that it is the essence of Yuval Harari’s thinking that melted all this.

Cognitive revolution, agricultural revolution, scientific revolution
Will humans finally become gods

『Sapiens』 is a place where physics and chemistry emerged from the Big Bang in about 13.5 billion years, and life was created under the control of natural selection about 3.8 billion years ago, and biology was created, and about 70,000 years ago, the Homo sapiens species developed to create culture and pioneer history. The story begins at.

The author presents three great revolutions that have shaped the human path through this huge tens of thousands of years of history from the past to today. These are the cognitive revolution about 70,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution about 12,000 years ago, and the scientific revolution about 500 years ago. The scientific revolution is still part of an evolving history, and while the agricultural revolution keeps revealing new facts, the cognitive revolution is still shrouded in many parts of mystery. The language of imaginary unfolding on the basis of unfinished discoveries and meager historical records is surprisingly rational and tight enough to immerse readers.

The authors pointed to fire, backstory, agriculture, myths, money, contradictions, and science as the seven crucial catalysts in the process of historical development. By dominating fire at the beginning of the cognitive revolution, humans who have risen to the top of the food chain have formed a social community through language (back talk), and humans who have stayed in hunter-gatherers experience exponential population growth through the agricultural revolution. . The powerful weapons that control the growing population are fictional myths such as religion, class, and power (of course, it was also fictional myths that dominated the hunter-gatherer society). The development of agriculture led to an increase in wealth and settlement life, people became blind to money, and the blind faith of money caused social contradictions. The scientific revolution 500 years ago opened up a world that was completely different from before.

“This revolution may bring the end of history, or it may lead to something completely different.” (p. 19)

Humanity, which has been dominated by natural selection for 4 billion years, is now looking beyond the realm of God. What will the future look like with human intelligent design? 『Sapiens』 tells us, who live in such an important moment, what prospects for the future will come, and now is the time to have them.

Only Homo sapiens remains on the plains.

Through the moments of the numerous contradictions arising from such a long process, the author shows horrifyingly that there is no mercy in history. Through these three revolutions, humans have been constantly running, but indeed, “What effect did these three revolutions have on humans and their neighbors? That is the subject of this book” (p. 19), the author says at the beginning of the book.

The plains where at least six human species, including Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Homo erectus, lived 100,000 years ago, as if they were visible. The author then asks readers if they know how the Homo sapiens species survived on Earth as the only winner.

“The truth is this. From 2 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago, various human species lived on Earth at the same time. Why not? Even today, many species such as foxes, bears, and pigs live in the same era. Tens of thousands of years ago, there were at least six human species living on Earth. The weird thing here is not the fact that many species lived in the past, but rather that there is only one species now.”

Only Homo sapiens remained on the plains where Neanderthals and Homo erectus disappeared, and large fauna was wiped out by a flood wherever humans could reach. Only a few species, such as cattle, pigs, sheep, and dogs, who were forcibly obeyed by human needs, were able to increase their populations, but the lives of them industrially forced to breed are miserable and cruel. For Europeans, money was immortally attractive. Those who traveled to the New World to earn more money slaughtered Native Americans and used Africans as slaves to accumulate more capital. The ordinary Europeans who invested money in the slave industry were not evil people. I was just indifferent and ignorant. Such capital laid the foundation for the development of science and culture in the Western world, and now human science promises an immortal “Gilgamesh Project”. However, the author predicts that such technological advances will not be fair to all. A world where the rich live forever, and the poor must die. This kind of future is coming soon.

“In the next few decades, thanks to genetic engineering and bioengineering technologies, we will be able to significantly change human physiological functions, immune systems, and longevity as well as intellectual and emotional abilities. If genetic engineering can make a genius mouse, why can’t it make a genius human? If we could create a monogamous rat, why couldn’t we create a genetically natural human to be faithful to our mate for life?”

Are we happier than our hunter-gatherer ancestors?

You cannot rethink all of history with a single book. However, the history of human beings seen at a glance in 『Sapiens』 overflows with things to think about every moment you turn over the bookshelf. Of particular interest is the philosophical discussion of who is happier among the old people who had little but high expectations, and modern people who are open to potential but rarely satisfied. The author said in an interview that’humans have never been stronger than they are now, but we are not happier than our ancestors’ is one of the main messages of this book.

Why are modern humans who have advanced further and are no longer happy? In the previous period, the death rate from violence by others was high, but now Sapiens is killing himself. There are power, money, technology, but we still pursue them without knowing why. A technique that is as fascinating as it is dangerous is blasphemy itself. The author said, “We are on the path to becoming God ourselves. But we don’t know if this is what we really want.” The meanings of humanism and nationalism that human beings seek are only delusions, and even if they try to find happiness by matching individual fantasies to collective fantasies, they tell a gloomy story that this is only self-deception. However, it leaves some room. It’s been a while since we’ve started to study happiness, and the possibilities for happiness are more open.

“As far as we know, from a pure scientific point of view, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humanity is the product of a blind evolutionary process that proceeds without purpose or intention. Our actions are not part of any divine cosmic plan. Even if the planet Earth bursts tomorrow morning, the universe will probably operate as usual. At that point, as far as we know, no one will miss human subjectivity. Whatever value people attach to their lives is nothing but delusion.”

People from all over the world are struggling to have the means to access amazing new technologies. But this technology doesn’t tell us what to do with it. You can use genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology to build heaven or hell. The benefits will be endless if you make a wise choice, but if you make a stupid choice, it can cost humanity extinction. Whether to make wise choices is in the hands of all of us.

People didn’t have the ability to get a holistic view of the consequences of their decisions. When deciding to do more work (…) people thought: ‘It is true that you have to work more, but the yield will increase a lot. You won’t have to worry about famine anymore. Children won’t even go to bed hungry.” That made sense. The plan was,’If you work harder, your life will be better.’ (…) People worked harder. But they couldn’t predict that the number of children would increase. The additional wheat produced had to be returned to children who grew in number. (…) So, why didn’t you give up farming when your plans went wrong? Because small changes accumulate and take many generations to change society, and by then no one remembers that they lived in different ways in the past. One reason was that the bridge to return was burned out due to population growth. Suppose that the introduction of plowing has increased the village’s population from 100 to 110. Wouldn’t there be ten of them who would choose to starve themselves voluntarily so that the rest could go back to their good times?

How to make people believe in an imaginary order such as Christianity, democracy, or capitalism? First, we must never admit that the order is the product of imagination. It must always be argued that the order that sustains society is an objective reality created by a great God or natural law. People are not equal, not because Hammurabi said that, but because Enlil and Marduk ordered so. Man is equal, not because Thomas Jefferson said that, but because God created it that way. The free market is the best economic system, not because Adam Smith said yes, but because it is an immutable natural law.

History goes from intersection to intersection, taking this route first for some unknown reason, then entering that route and then proceeding. History around 1500 made the most important choice. It was a choice to change not only the fate of mankind, but perhaps the fate of all life on Earth. We call this the scientific revolution. The revolution began in Western Europe, on a large peninsula at the western end of Afro-Asia. Until then, in an area that had never played an important role in history.

Why did the scientific revolution take place there, leaving so many places? Why didn’t it happen in China or India? Why did it happen in the middle of the second millennium, not two or three centuries before reality? We don’t know Scholars have come up with a dozen theories, but no one is particularly plausible.

The core of the industrial revolution was the revolution of energy transformation. The Industrial Revolution has repeatedly demonstrated that there is no limit to the energy we can use. More precisely, it showed that the only limit is our ignorance. Just every few decades new sources of energy were discovered, and thanks to that, the total amount of energy we could use continued to grow. Still, why are so many people afraid of running out of energy? Why is it warned that if available fossil fuels run out, catastrophe will come? Clearly, there is no energy deficit in the world. What is lacking is the knowledge needed to find energy and convert it to fit our needs.


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