The Cognitive and Agricultural Revolutions and Their Influences on Mankind

In essence, the cognitive revolution refers to the ability of homo sapiens to use their imagination. This development is said to have occurred about 70,000 years ago, and was truly what changed the game for sapiens to evolve into what we are today (p. 3). With the cognitive revolution underway, humans were able to think in ways never thought of before, yielding things like the pyramids of Egypt and the first languages. This kick start to imagination, creativity, and communication is what allowed humans to be propelled into the next revolution they faced or created, the agricultural revolution.  The agricultural revolution started about 12,000 years ago, and was essentially what it sounds like, the development of agriculture (p.77). With the advent of agriculture, people were no longer required to be nomadic and could instead live in one place; this created the first communities which in turn allowed the first cities to develop. With the creation of the first cities, humans became the first animals able to live in extremely large communities and create actual infrastructure as opposed to simply living off the land.

Harari explains the dominance of humans in relation to the imagined order through the increased reliance on religion and the development of imagined order into what we truly believe (p. 113). Harari states that “you never admit that the order is imagined” which is how it has come to be so powerful (p.112). When the first cities began to form, the human imagination evolved at the same pace as the technological advances going on in agriculture. Through this evolving imagination, humans were able to live in harmony and cooperate based on focusing and believing in the same myths and religions (p. 102). In my personal opinion, I think the imagined order is why we, as humans, were able to evolve the way we have cognitively. I think that the beliefs we share have implored our curiosity, as a lot of the scientific discoveries we have made were based on people going against religion. The imagined order has caused curiosity which in turn, has led to a large majority of the technological innovations of today.

1 thought on “The Cognitive and Agricultural Revolutions and Their Influences on Mankind”

  1. Hey Sophie,
    I’m not sure if I missed something in the reading (which is entirely possible) but I thought your description of the cognitive revolution as being the time when the Sapiens developed the ability to use their imagination to be beautifully unique and quite appropriate. I thought it described the change in cognitive ability quite well. In addition, your comment about the transitions to living in cities marking Sapiens ability to coexist in large groups goes back to, and supports, Harari’s earlier comments on how that ability is what likely contributed to the Sapiens triumph over the Neanderthals. Finally, your linking of the imagined order to curiosity and ultimately to the human propensity to develop technology I found quite insightful. It really paints a picture of how important it was by using the example of something we greatly rely upon and take for granted today.

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