Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
“none of these things exists outside the stories that people invent and tell one another. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.” Yuval Noah Harari
This is perhaps the most inspiring, thought provoking read of my life. Yuval Noah Harari is a historian specialising in world history, military history and medieval history. In this book he combines biology and history to give interesting perspective as to who we are.
He highlights where we’ve been using history, why as it relates to our biology and to where we are heading. The meaning of life and happiness. Thoughts that could be considered controversial, bold and on the edge but certainly will get you thinking in new ways. I loved it!
Sapiens have been around for only a very small portion of the 45 billion years of the Earths existence yet we have proven to be the most advanced and the most destructive. While his views are sometimes from the angle of doom and gloom they are also entangled with hope and future greatness.
I believe the future of our existence, in all aspects will depend upon critical thinkers like Yuval to build conversations outside what may be considered normal or right.
The advancement of our race in the last 500 years has been more rapid the any previous era and if today is a sign of where we are going the next 50 years may be significantly critical. Our next move may be for the ultimate good or the demise of Sapiens as we know it.
Yuval ventures back to a time of our existence when we were not the only human species in existence. There were several. He outlines theories and knowledge on why we came to rule and the path of advancement and destruction from there. Taking us on a journey through the age of hunter gatherers through agricultural, industrial and science revolutions to where we stand today.
I was captured the entire way and still wonder how he was able to put together such precise research of history, biology, and evolution mixed with science, theory and wisdom so succinctly. Brilliant!
Understanding the history of our species and the profound impact we have had on our brief time on Earth is insightful and really gets one thinking about the impact we are still having today. It puts in greater perspective our behaviours and actions and what is necessary and what is not.
There is amazing research given to the evolution of our biology not only as it is still relevant to our lives today but how much things have changed. The way we lived life as hunter gatherers has entirely changed but essential who we are biologically speaking is much the same.
What sets us apart is our consciousness and ability to tell stories. The human mind is so creatively capable that we are able to alter reality far beyond what is actual truth. For most of what exists in this world today is a mere conjuring of the human mind. Yuval talks in depth on stories of religion, corporations, capitalism, consumerism and the impact the creation of a market place has on the quality of our lives.
I enjoyed the thoughts on how each advancement assists to take us to new levels in the quality of our lives but also can be the greatest cause of much of our suffering. The agricultural age for one required us to reside in dwellings near our farms to upkeep and protect the crops. This changed the way we lived, rather than moving around constantly we were suddenly bound to one location. It also largely changed our diets, having great impact on the effectiveness of our biology and health.
I am sure many of our advancements will be critical to the survival of our species but at what cost. Technology for one is amazing and super cool but it is so consuming that it is taking many of us away from being in touch with reality and the present moment.
Yuval is an amazingly aware guy. I understand that he is very deeply into living with simplicity and that he also partakes in yearly meditation retreats from 30 to 60 days at a time. I feel that this attributes to his amazing ability to share such inspiring and insightful thoughts.
If I am honest I can say I have trouble putting into words how I really feel about this book. It is hard to summarize such a macro view on the world, who we are and where we are going. It is my new favourite and perhaps it is because I am fascinated by our kind as we are and am deeply curious and excited about where we are going.
Obviously with desire to want the best for human kind if it is true that we have potential to put an end to death and create immortal life as we know it then I am in for the ride. You will enjoy this book!
If this book sounds of interest you can purchase Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind here.
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Peace, passion and purpose…
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