The First Revolution

The Cognitive revolution is the point at which homo sapiens differentiated themselves from all other Neanderthals and humans of the time. It was the point that sapiens were able to use their brain in a way that differentiated themselves from chimpanzees and other humans of the time. It was signified by the ability to think and communicate in sophisticated ways that other animals and humans could not. Harari mentioned how chimps can communicate that they see a lion and that sapiens became able to communicate that they saw a lion earlier in the day at a specific location so watch out. It allowed for people to create complex societies and live with many other sapiens in a consolidated area. It essentially marked the birth of societies. The agricultural revolution marks the point at which homo sapiens moved from being hunter and gatherers to primarily agricultural beings. This is marked by technological achievements as well, such as the creation of tools to help farm, irrigation systems, and of course the domestication of crops like wheat. Another mark of the agricultural revolution was the settling and domestication of people into larger farms and cities. Prior to the revolution humans used to live in societies of around 200 people but the mass scale of food allowed them to grow into societies upwards of 1000 people. It was a massive revolution for homo sapiens essentially helping cement themselves as the dominant species.

Harari brings up a few good points when discussing the cognitive and agricultural revolution. First is that with homo sapiens being the species that went through this cognitive revolution it gave them an ultimate advantage over most everything else on the planet. As Harari stated, “A Neanderthal would be able to win a one on one physical fight easily.” Due to the revolution homo sapiens were able to use their abilities to communicate and group up with other homo sapiens to outsmart and outnumber the Neanderthals. The ability to create societies was a huge step in the evolution of humans and was another reason that homo sapiens outpaced other humans of the time. This revolution also gave people the ability to expand and move away from the Afro-Asian continent and explore places like Australia and the Americas. Once Homo Sapiens went to those places they wreaked havoc, killing many of the natural flora and fauna of these new-found lands. This was one of the initial steps in becoming the dominant species. The agricultural revolution had a huge part in Homo Sapiens becoming dominant as well. Growing food allowed us to stop our hunter and gatherer ways and had us focus on building societies in a small location. It allowed people to come together in greater numbers and begin to practice things that are still parts of modern society such as myths, politics, and religion. But most importantly this caused a huge population boom which is the thing that gave Homo Sapiens the greatest advantage over other species. Growing wheat and food required more people to farm and work the fields, this led to a higher birthrate, which led to the need for more wheat to be grown so societies grew. Humanity has essentially trapped in that cycle since. Once you have pure numbers it’s easy to outpace other species. Homo sapiens had the advantage of growing food and having a greater population. This led to the dominance of Homo Sapiens.