Harari believed that at first, family and local communities were the driving force behind a person’s life and that is who they were taken care of by. If someone fell ill, the family would take care of them. If someone’s house burned to the ground, his neighbors would come together to build him a new one. It is instances like this that Harari uses to lead into his next point; which is how the state and market approached society and offered much better benefits than simply what a family could provide, (Harari 359). He talks about how when modern society came to be, so did all of these never before seen benefits. Things like bank loans, social security, welfare, and public services such as police and fire fighters, (Harari). This shift in the way society functioned changed almost over night and it quickly became the center of almost everyone’s life.
I believe that as historians, it is always important to understand and study the past, but it is also equally important to have an idea of where that history is taking us. History is incredibly important and without it, we would have no clue where we came from and why the world is the way it is today. History defines who we are as people and can also provide a unique perspective on contemporary issues we face. Studying the past of Homo Sapiens is arguably one of the most important topics in the field as that is where we came from. We came from them but we need to also know why we’re still around and other groups aren’t, which could tell us where we may end up in the near future.
2 thoughts on “Human Culture”
As you mention, the shift in society and the way that Harari describes the state and the market taking over the driving force of the family and local communities has become the center of almost everyone’s life. It may not be something we as Homo Sapiens think about, but all the benefits provided by society has definitely changed human culture; and have divided some people from their family. Historians can look at the past and see how we, Homo Sapiens, have changed throughout decades and, as you mention as well, give a clearer picture of how we may end up in the near future. Homo Sapiens have changed a lot in our own lives and cultures, and not all of it have been good changes.
Harari seems to take leaps to those points of logic though, even if benefits came from the formation of society it is not the way that everyone acts within a society, nor how every society acts. In China, they actually have laws against being a good Samaritan, they also do not care if the local property is damaged. Humans have numerous reactions to things like greed and taking advantage of others. Some of the relief for natural disasters have been proven to be scams that are only out to make money for the overhead. It is always easy to put a theory together when you cherry pick sample points from history. Now more than ever it is difficult to make these sorts of broad sweeping statements about humanity. There are micro-cultures within subcultures within every culture. Even just trying to use the same theory for an urban community and a rural community that is nearby is overlooking differences.
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