Humanity and Mutual Understanding

The Cognitive Revolution as described by Harari was “the appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating” (p. 20). These new ways of thought and behavior allowed homo sapiens to surpass the other human species in a relatively short amount of time. Most importantly, it brought forth the capabilities for languages more complex than any that had come before. The Agricultural Revolution was when humans moved from gathering tribes, to more stationary villages and farms (p. 66). As Harari describes it, initially it was not a wonderful experience, as from it arose problems never before encountered before in the history of humanity. Denser populations increased the spread of disease. Reliance on crops and livestock brought about hunger in inevitable “bad years” (p. 86). Humans also found it more difficult to roam, as they now relied upon their crops and homes for survival. Nonetheless, it was a starting point necessary for humanity to have arrived at where it is today.

Harari explains that imagined orders, such as myths, religions, laws, currency and more, have allowed our species to cooperate far better than they would without them, and thus are largely responsible for our position at the top of the food chain. I personally feel that while this is true to some degree, there is a far more important cause of said constructs. Specifically, I believe that language and communication are the far more important basis for these orders and beliefs. Such orders require a mutual understanding among those within it, otherwise they may collapse or be insufficient. Without communication and an advanced enough language, it would be impossible for any group of any significant size to properly cooperate with one another. These orders, in essence, are an extrapolation of communication, belief, and mutual understanding.

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