Survival on the Fly

The development of human civilizations and the dominance of homo sapiens over other species throughout history as told by Yuval Noah Harari is largely due to cognitive and agricultural revolutions. One of the main revolutions Harari speaks of is the hunter and gatherer lifestyle that homo sapiens lived for ten of thousands of years, and the transfer of that lifestyle to that of an agricultural one. The forager lifestyle enabled homo sapiens to have a very diverse diet because they had to eat what was available. They were not dependent on any single food, therefor they were less likely to suffer when there was a shortage of any one particular food source. The hunter gatherer lifestyle was an important factor in the flourishment of homo sapiens, but it wasn’t until the development of farming that homo sapiens really began to flourish. “Cultivating wheat provided much more food per unit of territory, and thereby enabled Homo Sapiens to multiply exponentially” (Harari, p. 83). One of the major cognitive revolutions was the Homo Sapiens quest for knowledge which lead to the adaptation of the human brain over time to survive. The agricultural revolution lead to larger human societies, which lead to a more complex dilemmas within those societies. “When the amount of people and property in a particular society crossed a critical threshold, it became necessary to store large amounts of mathematical data” (Harari, p. 122), leading to the cognitive revolution of writing in the Sumerian society to store and record mathematical data necessary to thrive in large agricultural societies.

Imagined order played a pivotal role in the dominance and survival of large homo sapiens societies. Harari talks about the importance of myths and how they can sustain entire empires. Harari refers to the creation of great gods, motherlands, and joint stock companies to provide the needed social links (p. 103). These myths resulted in mass organization and obedience in larger homo sapiens societies enabling those societies and homo sapiens to flourish. I agree with Harari. It seems like most of his principle points are based on factual evidence throughout human evolution. I’m sure many will argue with the level of importance of specific revolutions in Harari’s approach, but I can not argue with the importance of order or the advancements in agricultural development the way Harari explains it throughout history, and deny its importance in the development of human civilizations.