Power to the Individual

Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari has probably been my favorite reading of this entire class. I also feel that the title of the book is extremely fitting. In the final part of the readings, Harari talks about how state and the market became the central aspects of human culture. State and market became such a driving force in our culture mainly because it gave power to the individual. “You are no longer dependent on your family or your community” (Harari, pg 359). The state and market made the appeal after the industrial revolution to people that they would no longer have to rely on what they are born into. People would be able to shape their lives as they saw fit. Through government funding, individuals would be able to get educations at school rather than being taught by family or community members. It also brought with it other government services that helped individuals not rely on who brought them into the world. Services such as police forces to help protect people from harm, social programs that helped people in need during financial troubles, and banks, so that people could gain money they needed to live the life that they wanted to live.

Historians have a critical role in the future of homo sapiens. This role is more than the cliche that “if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it”. Historians are the most knowledgeable on topics that have lead to major societal changes and these kinds of changes have molded us into the thriving society that we are today. It will potentially be on the back of some historians that understand that changes don’t have to be bad things, but that they also can have negative implications. Obviously historians can’t predict the future, but they can potentially aid in shaping the future so that the human race can continue to thrive well into the future.

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