Librarians of Humanity

According to Harari, the state and market became central aspects of human culture by appealing to the desire to become individualized and depart from traditional family structures. He likens the state and the market to the mother and father of the individual (Harari, p. 359), and attributes their existence to the ability to act as an individual in society. Thanks to the needs provided by the state and market—the examples listed in the text being food, shelter, education, health, welfare, employment, pensions, and insurance (Harari, p. 359)–individuals can now become independent from the family unit and make their own life decisions. This path towards liberation caused a massive social shift, which transformed human culture from a community-driven population to one focused on the individual.

Harari brings up many upcoming developments and questions humanity may soon face, one of which prominently being the development of inorganic beings. While one may consider the creation of these intelligence as frightening because they could quickly become monsters, Harari describes the Frankenstein prophecy as our fear that we could create something superior to ourselves (Harari, p. 412). If this is the path humanity chooses to travel, and indeed we create something which will overtake our place, then I believe it is the historians role to meticulously detail and describe what homo sapiens were historically, who we are now, and what plans we hold for the future. Historians like Harari can become librarians of humanity, in a sense, and create an archival collection of what our mark has been on this Earth.

1 thought on “Librarians of Humanity”

  1. Hello Audrey!

    It is interesting to note that in Frankenstein, the “monster” was not born/made some creature of evil, but it only became disillusioned and aggressive when its creator rejected it. It was the creator abandoning its creation that led the “monster” down the path that it took. If Dr. Frankenstein had not rejected his creation, that book may well have had a happy ending. With that concept in mind, I wonder how it might play out if we do, as you mention, end up creating some new being. If we accept that new creation and do not shy away from it, would it end up revering us as their creator? Or could they potentially grow so advanced to develop perspectives that are completely alien to us, and disregard us like chaff on the wind. I wonder, if we somehow learned that we were created due to the designs of something like an ant, would we seek to preserve them? Or would we regard them as so low and primitive that they would barely be worth noticing.

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