The Cognitive Revolution spanned from about 70,000 to 30,000 years ago and was characterized by the Sapien’s new manner of thinking and communicating (Harari, p. 21). More specifically, the introduction of complex language, which would become the first of many things that catapulted us to the top of the food chain. The Agricultural Revolution began about 12,000 years ago and marked the point when Sapiens started settling down (Harari, p. 42). People found ways to modify land and efficiently grow enormous amounts of food in one place, making it possible for people to stick around rather than roam the dangerous wilds. Combining these two revolutions gives us society, which became a massive network of ideas and beliefs that led to huge advancements in every area of Sapien life. This network, mixed with all of the new tools, skills, and practices that Sapiens had acquired, laid the groundwork for civilization.
The Sapien’s rise to dominance began with physical traits: large brain, standing upright, being able to throw with devastating accuracy and strength. However, dominance was cemented by the Sapien’s “imagined orders.” One of Harari’s first examples of this was the Code of Hammurabi, which dictated the lives of hundreds of thousands of Babylonians (Harari, p. 105). This allowed those hundreds of thousands of Sapiens to be working together not just to survive, but to thrive. I am not skeptical even in the slightest that this is indeed what led to our dominance. One thousand apex predators in one small area can do so much. Hundreds of thousands cooperating can do anything, and all of this began with simply gaining the ability to walk and talk. 70,000 years may seem like a long time, but on a cosmic scale, we went from taming fire to landing on the moon in the blink of an eye.