Without Fiction we would be Neanderthals

The cognitive and agricultural revolutions truly did form the basis for our modern civilization. Way back, when there were around six different species of the genus Homo roaming the earth, the cognitive revolution happened and affected only one of these species, the Homo sapiens. This cognitive revolution changed the way in which Homo sapiens thought and allowed them to come up with imagined realities, which in turn allowed the species to cooperate better as a whole. No animals had ever been able to believe in something they had not seen. This meant that Homo sapiens could think of gods, myths, and other things that were not there, creating imagined realities. This meant that all Homo sapiens could understand these imagined realities and unite under them. As stated in the book, “ever since the Cognitive Revolution Homo sapiens has been able to revise its behavior rapidly in accordance with changing needs”(Harari 33). The agricultural revolution happened hundreds years after the cognitive revolution. This was the time where Homo sapiens began to leave their hunter-gatherer roots and settled in one place to become farmers. The agricultural revolution meant that instead of only searching for the food their group needed to survive, that humans could stay in one place and cultivate their food. While early humans may have believe that this would mean less work in the future, they were very wrong. When Homo sapiens were nomads they spaced out how often they would have children because they were always on the move and a human infant took a lot of time to raise. Now that those humans had become farmers and were no longer moving, they had more time to raise children, because the more children they had, the more crops they could grow. This created an endless cycle because with more people, you needed more food to feed those people.

 

Harari argues that Homo sapiens became dominant because of the cognitive revolution. With the cognitive revolution came imagined realities, which allowed Homo sapiens to communicate better with each other and cooperate in large numbers. Harari states, “In other words, while the behavior of archaic humans remained fixed for thousands of years, Sapiens could transform their social structures, the nature of their interpersonal relationships, their economic activities and a host of other behaviors within a decade or two”(Harari 34). I have to agree with Harari because even though Neanderthals were very similar to us they could not communicate and work in such large numbers as the Sapiens. This allowed the Sapiens to become the dominant Homo species.

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