The Revolutions that Changed Us (apparently)

  1. The cognitive and agricultural revolutions that Harari depicts in Sapiens mark the greatest shifts in human intellect throughout human history. The cognitive revolution introduced humans to complex language, allowing them to transmit larger quantities of information and discuss metaphysical ideas such as tribal spirits (37). With the addition of communicative skills, humans could then plan and carry out actions such as hunting and rapidly develop technology (37). This eventually led to the agricultural revolution, because people began to grow and industrialize their communities. This revolution was marked largely by the domestication of animals and plants by early humans, changing the way that they lived their daily lives (77). These two periods that Harari argues for can be boiled down to the intellectual advancement of humans through 1. Language and 2. domestication/farming.
  2. Harari asserts that homo sapiens rose above other humans because of the cognitive revolution and the following three technological revolutions following after. The imagined order is the way that we developed governments, power hierarchies, and mythologies to keep people complacent, ultimately pushing society forward (102). The metaphysical belief in God(s) is, what Harari argues, makes humans unique from other animals. This  I think that Harari’s arguments are coherent but simplistic. He fails to acknowledge the alternative causes to human advancements; the smaller more personal reasons why some societies were apparently killed off and we outlasted them all. I think my largest qualm with Harari’s argument is that there are still society’s today that are hunter gatherers and choose to live without having advanced to greater tech. In this case, is the very fact that there is a choice whether or not to advance proof that these particular societies have in fact advanced?