food for thought

Throughout history there have been certain turning points that undoubtedly have shaped  our modern day societies form and function. The cognitive revolution was one that really brought out the nuances of how and why humans are special. We have the ability unlike most other animals to meld instinctual feelings with free will. We still have animalistic instincts that have shaped our society, but we also have the ability to go against our instincts and use our freedom to make cognitive/conscious decisions towards our goals. The cognitive revolution allowed us to compartmentalize our thought and bring forth ideas that had no tangible relations, but that were easily applicable and extrapolated to real life events. This ties perfectly into the agricultural revolution, although the agricultural revolution came nearly 60,000 years behind the cognitive revolution it allowed for the same process in a way. The agricultural revolution allowed for more specialization of skills and jobs within our societies, surplus of food, and an economic explosion. This revolution in particular supported job diversity in our societies and allowed for people to study more intellectually and have leisure time, instead of an entire society having to focus on the survival of the group there was enough food to support everyone and being produced to allow more time for thought and intellectual conversation. These two revolutions monumentally changed our societies and truly exemplified why the human race is particularly special.

When Harari explains the reasons humans are so effective as an animal group it sort of complexes me, he says that we have the ability to work in unison and connect with each other on a different level than other animals, we are flexible. I think there is much to be said about that, we are flexible and have the ability to work cooperatively setting aside our differences for the greater good. I think this can be true in certain instances, but can also be our killer in others. In certain historical examples we have had the ability to work together seamlessly to create something great, but our inability to cooperate has also been the downfall of the human race. I think what makes humans so special is as i stated in my first paragraph, our ability to mix our instinctual behaviors with free will and thought make us distinctly unique.

Audrey Scott

3 thoughts on “food for thought”

  1. I love the clever title. I thought you explained the Cognitive Revolution well but could have used a bit more on the Agricultural revolution. For awhile it actually made us have less diverse jobs because more people were farmers. Before this it was a mix of hunters and gathers. I’m sure hunters and gatherers also had their area of expertise that others could get advice on before the agricultural revolution. I thought your point that the ability to cooperate in large groups also led to our ability to disagree in large groups and have wars. Our ability to from large social groups definitely can lead to us fighting in large groups. I’m not sure I agree that all other animals only follow their instincts and no free will is true. Dogs, for example, definitely are more instinctual but in my experience seem to have a will that they act on.

  2. Great title! I like the points you make in the first paragraph, especially about going against our instincts. I think one part of what has made the human race flourish is our ability to change. By challenging our instincts we can explore new ways to advance and become more creative. Another point that stood out to me was in the second paragraph when you state “our inability to cooperate…” When I first read this I agreed but I also thought what if it’s not as much about inability to cooperate but the stubbornness and cultural instincts of some. One relation I made is that, in politics, some people may not make decisions on what they personally believe, but what a group believes so they can fit in. People like to belong in groups and feel welcomed and these groups may be less likely to cooperate and not the individuals within them.

  3. Hey Audrey! I enjoyed your whole blog but what really caught my eye was in your second paragraph how you touched on how being such complex social beings is not all good and can have negative repercussions. From all the ones I have read you are the only person to take a look at this prospective. It’s very interesting to think that we are the only species complex enough to massive damage to one another through tragedies like war. One quote that popped into my mind while reading your post was “ignorance is bliss”. Being intelligent comes with many perks, but it’s not without flaws. Nice work!

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