Simply Stated

Harari describes the cognitive revolution as, “The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating” (21) he lists three potential reasons that homo sapiens took advantage of their mutation. Those three causes are imagination, gossip, and warning others of danger.  The development of a language in order to gossip is defended vigorously by Harari. I agree with his stated emphasis. He believes in a common theory that the ability to collectively imagine a myth (for example) was a powerful enough tool to organize massive group of people over the traditional 150-person limit. The myths we are able to manipulate also pertain to modern day propaganda and nationalism. This ability did lead to the advancement of the homo sapiens but it has also left a permanent mark on our development.

The agricultural revolution was when, “Sapiens began to devote all their time to manipulating a few animal and plant species.” (77) While it is widely acknowledged that a diet based on one cereal crop is less healthy that a hunter gatherer diet Harari takes the argument one step further by stating that not only was wheat evolved enough to manipulate humans but we where somehow trapped into the revolution itself. This revolution allowed us to multiply exponentially and it took hundreds of years to develop. This is the most accurate reason I believe that the author offers in order to explain why humans didn’t simply go back to a healthier time. He states, “luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new responsibilities” While I agree with him on that tendency I still believe his first explanation is superior. Homo sapiens probably became dominant because they are able to as Harari puts it “Talk about things that do not exist” and because their huge organized numbers allowed them certain victory as a species.

1 thought on “Simply Stated”

  1. As discussed in class today, it’s interesting to consider that the agricultural revolution may have actually been a necessity because of our increasing population. I think this is the extension of Sapiens being “trapped into the revolution itself” where we possibly began growing faster than we could feed everyone, and wheat presented itself to be a sort of savior for us. The most interesting part of this to me is that if food increased first, then population, those people were living in an age of prosperity. However, if it was the other way around, they were hardly surviving until they found wheat to be a massive food source. While this was long ago, I certainly hope for their sake that the food boom happened before the population boom.

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