If you were to ask Yuval Noah Harari what the foundations of human civilization are, you’d get the answer that both the Cognitive and Agricultural Revolutions are what made human civilization a possibility. What are these revolutions, and how are they so important to human civilization? Let’s start off with the Cognitive Revolution, this is the idea of how the human brain is so powerful for being so small. The human brain is 2-3% of man’s body mass, yet it takes 25% of energy consumed to power that small percentage. A high calorie diet allowed humans to power such efficient brains, and such a diet was brought about by the mastery of fire and the cooking of food. With a brain above the level of any other creature man was able to living inside both reality and fantasy, and thus the concepts of stories and myths existed. The Cognitive Revolution brought about culture. Now moving onto the Agricultural Revolution, which completely changed how humans lived. Man went from a hunter gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary lifestyle; all because agriculture forced man to stay in one location. Not only did agriculture force man to settle in one location, but it allowed for a surplus of food. Without constantly having to look for food man could focus on things not involved with survival. By having free time to think man was able to create art, writing, and mathematics. In the mind of Harari it was these two Revolutions in human history that put mankind in the right circumstance to form civilization.
Long ago many other groups of humans existed all across the planet, yet today they are no more and have been replaced with modern man. If the theory that modern man wiped out the other species of humans is true, then why did our group come to dominate over all others? Prehistoric Neanderthals were bigger, stronger, and possibly smarter than we are today, yet in the end we destroyed them for one major reason….we can organize. Unlike Neanderthals our species can organize into mass groups of imagined orders that can be organized into armies that no tribe could ever hope to hold back. I personally think there’s a hint of truth to this, but there’s certain aspects that I disagree with. Personally I don’t think the other species of humans, like Neanderthals, were that much different than we are today. I don’t fully subscribe to the Out of Africa Theory myself and so I just think there’s a few holes in Harari’s theory, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end I agree modern man rules the earth for our ability to organize.