The Sky’s The Limit Until 1969

When you ask most people when humanity really became what we are today, many will tell you that it was fire. Or if they’re more learned they’ll say it was when we learned farming or domesticated animals. Before reading Harari, I would’ve been someone that fell into this category. But the cognitive revolution is where people began to differentiate themselves from other animals. As Harari elaborates through Chapter 2 of “Sapiens” Homo Sapiens for whatever reason began to formulate fictions that go beyond practicality. Because of this we began to use more complex strategies and games within our “biological arena.” Before this people would stay in smaller groups and stick to what is practical from a survival standpoint. But with the ability to form fictions that groups of people can agree to it allows Sapiens to expand how many people can cooperate effectively. With common beliefs it motivates people to stick together.  But it also allows people to form tribes which by its nature is divisive. Wars were no longer fought for just resources or territory but on ideological differences as well as those.  While the cognitive revolution allowed Sapiens to group up into much larger and more successful tribes. Increased cognitive ability also allowed us to begin to devolve more advanced techniques such as the agricultural revolution. The Cognitive Revolution was the first glimmer of an idea of a civilization, but agriculture allowed it to fully develop. Having a secure source of food meant that people could now focus on other necessities such as how to provide clean water to a group of 100 people or more. We could now create elaborate systems to solve problems. Give those habits 10,000 years or so and we can now figure out how to travel by air or create ideas and images using controlled electricity. Once we began to solve issues of nutrition, then the sky was the limit until 1969. 

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