Harari and Humanity

According to Harari, the state and market became the central aspects of western societies following the industrial revolution. During this time period, according to Harari, we see the “collapse of the family and local community and their replacement by the state and the market.” (Harari 355) He sees the takeover of formerly familial responsibilities such as nursing, spousal selection, “retirement plans”, and business matters. Centralization of power propagated by the expanding rail network and ability to communicate longer distances instantaneously, through telegraph or telephone, allowed for an increase in the geographical range of imagined communities. It’s no wonder that we begin to see the emergence of nationalism, people bonding together over something more abstract than the family or local community. The state’s ability to impose its will more effectively sending in its “policemen to stop family vendettas and replace them with court decisions” or the markets ability to provide more specialized care, allowed for the replacement of family as the backbone of western culture (Harari, 359). The ability of the state and market to provide better luxuries for people, allowed it to supplant the more localized lifeways of the past. (Harari, chp 18)

I think that it’s weird that Harari makes a point earlier in the book that nature isn’t being destroyed, rather that it’s just changing. When discussing humans and the amalgamating of man and machine into a cyborg, he makes the claim that “such a cyborg would no longer be human, or even organic. It would be something completely different” (Harari 407). I think that the essence of being human, and it seems that Harari thinks this way too, is more than our biology. A transition to this half man, half machine, is the only way that humanity will survive our continuing “degradation” of the environment. Historians have a very important role for the future, they serve the function of showing us where we come from, they are the people who will the custodians of humanitys soul.

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