Discussion Leading to Dominance

In the first section of Sapiensby Yuval Noah Harari, he explains the significance of what is known as the “Cognitive” and “Agricultural” Revolutions and how they have shaped the course of human history. Harari discusses that around 70,000 years ago marks the Cognitive Revolution in which human culture began taking great leaps and bounds. Furthermore, it was during this time when Homo Sapiens were believed to using language in order to exchange ideas and information; those ideas and information are presumed to be about humans and not the other factors of the natural world they lived in (p.25). With this development I would have to imagine group dynamics getting much better as there was a defined way to identify and voice your opinion the rest of a group. Something else I really enjoyed in these chapters was the idea of the Cognitive Revolution leading to the beginning of humans talking about myths and legends. More specifically Harari explains that because of the development in language humans could go a step farther than just stating that something has happened but could create fictional stories about why a lion has been seen following people or what happens to the rain during dry seasons (p. 27). The Agricultural Revolution then was around 10,000 years ago which was the beginning of human devotion to tending and harvesting plants and animals through domestication (p.87). This drastically changed the way in which humans live as they no longer spent their days collecting or hunting for their food.

Harari’s ideas on why Homo Sapiens have become the dominant species intrigued me very much especially his mentioning of humans telling religious or mythical stories. He identifies the ability to talk about things which we have never seen, touched or smelled also made us able to form much larger groups compared to our other ancestors. One idea I didn’t find very convincing was the discussion on how quickly humans evolved and what it has done to human kind as well as other animals. Harari believes that because humans made this rapid jump to the top of the food chain this could be a link to feelings of modern anxiety and stress. I would definitely agree humans made this jump rather quick but being at the top of the food chain also had to give us more free time with the ability cognition and agriculture to spend time thinking or talking about the questions we have of our lives such as what happens when we die or why we exist. Anxiety and stress always exists in life wherever you’re at in the food chain and I believe Homo Sapiens can survive the next thousand years before evolving to something else.