“Homo sapiens conquered the world thanks above all to its unique language (Harari, 19).” According to Harari, the Cognitive Revolution happened about 70,000 years ago, and was when language emerged in humans. His argument is that our language is why we are where we are, because physically alone, we were never near the top of the food chain. Language allowed humans to communicate not only for present dangers but also, past tense and future tense dangers in a way other animals can’t. This communication system allowed humans to organize, plan, and make decisions with extra information which led to more successful hunts, less accidents, and probably stronger tribes.
The Agricultural Revolution, according to Harari happened about 12,000 years ago. This was when plants and animals were first being domesticated, and humans shifted from being hunter-gatherers to farmers. Harari claims “The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud (Harari, 79).” Though on an individual basis, the Agricultural Revolution lowered the quality of life for people around the globe, it led to population explosion and pampered elites (Harari, 79). This is the basis of how our cultures still function today.
Harari argues that the imagination is the most powerful force we have as humans. I like thinking about it in these terms because on an intellectual level, he is right. Peugeot doesn’t actually exist, the U.S. Government doesn’t actually exist, but we still perceive them as very real, making them real. I agree that our ideologies, stories, and religions set us apart from other animals and is why we are the top of the food chain now. These ideas allow us to justify anything we please, killing the last mammoth, and cutting the hands off a thief. Collective imagination is used as a form of mass control, and is the basis of our religions and political systems today. I think it’s dangerous to think of our imaginations as not real, however. Just because human rights are a made up idea in our heads, doesn’t mean they don’t exist in our realities.