Running to the Top

Part 1
Harari describes the Cognitive Revolution as “The point where history declared its independence from Biology” (Harari, pg. 37) In other words, Harari believes that Sapiens became more cognitively aware when they began to understand the relation of history to biology instead of grouping them into one category. Once they separated the two they were able to “offer listeners a detailed description of the playing field rather than an account of what the players are doing.” (Harari, pg. 37) Meanwhile, Harari describes the Agricultural revolution as a time period where Sapiens began to work “From sunrise to sunset in order to provide them with more fruit, grain, and meat.” (Harari, Pg.77) The Agricultural Revolution changed the make-up of society by making it so sapiens no longer had to hunt prey for food and they could settle in one area instead of being nomadic. These revolutions affected the development of sapien civilizations by fundamentally shifting their lifestyles and mindsets. This allowed them to industrialize and helped them move to the top of the food chain.

Part 2
Harari claims that homo sapiens became dominant by developing their large brains. (Harari, Pg.8) Once they began to industrialize their thinking they were able to control fire and develop new tools. This allowed them to move to the top of the food chain relatively quickly. I found Harari’s argument very compelling. Particularly the parts where he discusses how previous animals had moved up the food chain after years of allowing both predator and prey to adapt. It is hard to dispute Harari’s claim because we have been able to see the near extinction of animals such as sharks, lions, rhinos, and elephants. I think Harari’s point is very thorough and I am inclined to side with him. By Sapiens slowly improving their mental capacity it seems fitting that they would advance as quickly as discussed.

Discussion Question:

I related this text to last weeks (where technology interrupted extremely complex systems), do you see any other similarities/ believe the authors were right?

Harari, Yuval N., et al. Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind. Harper Perennial, 2015.

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