Thank god for all the naive prophets.

The cognitive revolution was a major turning point in the legacy of homo sapiens, and it effectively allowed us to rise from the middle of the food chain, straight to the top. It was an evolution in how sapiens communicated, and therefore cooperated, with one another. No longer were we restricted to language that was solely used to identify vague threats or to show basic emotions. It was now a complex system that allowed for intricate and nuanced vessels of expression. The two fundamental things that included were gossip, and fiction, and each played a key role in allowing massive groups of sapiens to coexist with one another. If the cognitive revolution gave us the brains to conquer, the agricultural revolution gave us the numbers. Not only did agriculture allow more food to be processed in less space and therefore allowing a greater population to live in a smaller space, it also ensured that we would produce much more children. As the fields grew larger and larger, more hands were needed to tend them, and strength in number went from an incredibly useful tool, to a necessity. In this same vein, a cycle was produced of needing more manpower to tend a field, expanding into more fields in order to feed the new manpower, and again requiring more manpower.

 

As much as I want to be skeptical of Harrari’s arguments of imagined orders being the tool that binded civilizations and allowed for our success, I really have no better alternative solution. Not only does Harari support it well with his examples of the code of Hammurabi, the US declaration of independence, and the Hindu caste system, but I also admittedly have some bias in buying into his theory. It’s really always amazed me how much humans love to tell stories that before this I’d assumed it was almost integral to being a human being. To have my own suspicions about humans confirmed with so much convincing evidence has had a really profound effect on me. For a long time I’d thought that stories have had the ability to not only change individuals, but to change societies. Harari has proven that not only is this true, but it’s necessary in the evolution of societies and will presumably continue to be until humans stop being humans.

3 thoughts on “Thank god for all the naive prophets.”

  1. I can agree that the cognitive revolution had a big impact on the development of human evolution, but what about the agricultural revolution? I would have to argue that the agricultural revolution had the biggest impact on homo sapiens before the common era. I say this because although we were able to get the edge on other beings, the homo sapiens were practically taken over by a plant… Wheat.

    I do completely agree with you when i comes to Harari’s logic. It really cant be more spot on and backed with evidence that is incredibly convincing. In all honestly I thought that evolution was something that a theory that didn’t carry much water and people were saying these accusations just to stir the pot, but the evidence is very strong.

  2. I agree with you that it would be difficult to come up with a better alternative solution to Harari’s arguments on how we humans evolved into who we are today. From the agricultural and cognitive revolutions to myths and how they created order and still do today, I would find it difficult to argue against his well thought out research and fact driven opinion. I like how you emphasized the point that stories or myths can not only create order but can also change individuals and change entire societies. I also agree with you that without the ability to create these extremely powerful myths that we homo sapiens would definitely not have succeeded to the extent we have today.

  3. I like your thought process as one revolution leading to the next. I hadn’t really thought of it that way in my own post but I definitely agree that that is a very valid argument. I also like how you linked the upward climb in population to the upward stride of the agricultural revolution. As for your second paragraph, I feel like you could’ve gone into a little more detail. Though I again agree with your point, of it being integral to societies advancement I also think you should put a little more stock into it being just a facet of advancement as human beings. I’m trying to say that maybe, instead of us as Sapiens advancing because of stories, maybe stories became a thing because we as a species couldn’t fathom some of the things of the natural world and thus created stories, aka, the stories advanced AFTER we advanced. Overall, very well done and I loved some of the points you made.

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