Better ways of hitting people with a stick

For much of its existence, members  the homo genus were small bands of hunter-gatherers scattered across the globe. Four separate species of homo, soloensis, sapiens, Neanderthal, and Denisovans lived simultaneously fifty millennia ago. Soloensis and Denisovans died off, and Sapiens drove Neanderthals to extinction. The likely causes for Sapien dominance were superior social skills and better technology. These advantages came from the “Tree of Knowledge” mutation, enabling homo sapiens to think and communicate in new and better ways. This sudden explosion of intelligence was known as the Cognitive Revolution. Sapiens were the first to create a complex verbal language, enabling detailed discussions and planning. Sapiens continued the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, until the first farmers began domesticating wheat in the Agricultural Revolution. Sapiens no longer foraged a large area to feed a small group, but worked a small area to more or less feed a large group.


The benefits from the Cognitive Revolution are easily identifiable. Harari states that while a single Neanderthal might beat a single Sapien in combat, this new communication enabled Sapiens to gather in larger numbers, and drive Neanderthals out of today’s Middle East and eventually Europe. I found these arguments the most persuasive, as they had a logical base. I find the argument that the Agricultural Revolution was a fraud the most difficult to accept. A hunter gatherer, seeing a plant, either wheat, corn, or potatoes, eating it, liking it, and wondering if he can grow it. The plant eventually grows far more food than foraging, attracting more people until the farm barely supports them. Harari probably considered agriculture a fraud because, compared to foraging and hunting, it requires an incredible amount of work, and damages the human body.


1 thought on “Better ways of hitting people with a stick”

  1. I agree with your view on the Cognitive Revolution – with communication and closer relationships during that time, they were able to overcome any other kind that was of lesser intelligence. Like you said, there was a logical base for how we came out of the Cognitive Revolution. On the other hand, I disagree with your stance on the Agricultural Revolution as a fraud – I find that Harari’s explanation was easy to accept. I think that it started out the way you are describing, but like Harari said, ended up being a miscalculation. We thought it was a good idea to begin with, but it resulted in a much larger population boom and we couldn’t go back to our foraging and hunting. This agriculture boom was more dreadful, more work, and much less stimulating. That is why I can agree with Harari that this revolution was a fraud.

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