Ever Advancing Sapiens

Throughout the beginning of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari touches on many aspects of primitive life, primarily the Cognitive and Agricultural revolutions of the homo sapiens. The Cognitive revolution, which occurred about 70,000 years ago, is broken into three main advancements according to Harari. These advancements were “the ability to transmit larger quantities of information about the world surrounding Sapiens… about Sapiens social relationships… and about information that didn’t really exist” such as spirits and nations (Harari 37). These advancements affected the development of human civilizations because they directly allowed humans to plan and carry out more complex actions, live in larger groups and even cooperate better, all of which allowed for human advancement. Also important in the development of human civilizations was the Agricultural revolution of roughly 12,000 years ago. While this revolution allowed us to move on from being hunter gathers, and start domesticating plants and animals, as Harari puts it, it “was a [luxury] trap”, that helped us to advance civilization, but this
pursuit of an easier life “resulted in much hardship” (Harari 84 & 87).

What stuck out most for me in Harari’s argument about why homo sapiens became dominant came when he was explaining the Cognitive revolution. He claims, “While the behavior patterns of archaic humans remained fixed… Sapiens could transform their social structures, the nature of their interpersonal relations, their economic activities and a host of other behaviors within a decade or two”, illustrating how sapiens managed to become dominant (Harari 34). While I struggle to find anything to be skeptical about in this argument, what I find most persuasive about this is Harari is showing sapiens advancement is because of their adaptability, something which is still very present today, and why I think Sapiens also remain dominate today.

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