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SAPIENS & HOMO DEUS – Summaries

LIFELONG LEARNING – THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP INCREASING YOUR VALUE ADDED TO THE WORLD WE ALL LIVE IN. THERE IS A COMPLEX WORLD OUT THERE AND EVERYONE WANTS AN OPINION AND A SAY. I THINK PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO AN OPINION. I THINK THAT THEY OWE US AN INFORMED OPINION.

How did Homo Sapiens evolve?

What did he struggle for?

What will he struggle for?

Some interesting points about how he developed along the way.

 

A Summary of two Books written by :

Yuval Noah Harari

Born in 1976 in Israel. A historian and tenured professor of the Department of History at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Educated at Jesus College, Oxford.

Sapiens & Homo Deus

Among the evergreen fictions of the world, Catholicism is one of the very, very best and most successful. It is colorful. It is developed. It has been marketed. It has fit in the web of money and empire with incredible expertise. I find it genius. It is all fiction but it is genius. It’s good fiction as it promotes many, many good ideas that encourage the improvement and enrichment of the human experience. At the same time, as Harari warns, those who have believed in it to extremes have done much harm for the greater glory of God i.e. the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the protection of pedophiles and rapist priests, to name a few. We can participate in these fictions without supporting the harm, and that is where much of Catholicism is today.

Money is another example. I enjoy how the author points this unifier of mankind as having been invented to serve us when in so many cases mankind serves it. Yet it has done tremendous good for the betterment of the human condition. Billions of people are being pulled out of poverty because of world trade, which can only be facilitated with the fiction called money.

The new human agenda is about immortality, happiness and divinity. The old one was about family, plague and war. More people in the world today die of eating too much, than of eating too little. More people die of old age than of infectious diseases. We used to live in a world where the two resources that drive growth were raw materials and energy. Today, we live in a world where a third resource has entered at geometric speed: knowledge.

We are seeing a deviation from traditional ethics and morals worldwide. In Asia, they were variants. Maybe that is because the evolution towards understanding biochemistry and its effects on our actions has already begun to claim supporters.

I think that both these books are a necessary read for all who have interest in trying to find out the true meaning of the human experience by thinking about both our past and our future; for all of those that have interest in trying to get more meaning out of life by milking the best out of the fiction that we have inherited.

 

SAPIENS

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND

AUTHOR – YUVAL NOAH HARARI

SUMMARY BY ENRIQUE ABOITIZ MENDIETA

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The Cognitive Revolution – Homo Sapiens (wise man), originated 150,000 years ago in East Africa lived simultaneously with many humans but was insignificant to the powerful apes that were their direct ancestors. Sapiens’ larger brain and upright stature helped it struggle for survival. They encountered Neanderthals and displaced them.

TOLERANCE IS NOT A SAPIEN’S TRADEMARK.

Sapiens acquired language 70,000 years ago and this enabled communication and shared beliefs. Their migration created a Global Ecological Calamity. Species of megafauna were eliminated worldwide, turning Sapiens into an ecological serial killer in three waves: hunter-gatherers, farmers, and then industrial activity.

The Agricultural Revolution forced humans to work harder for a diet that was arguably worse for them. That exposed them to diseases from domesticated animals and the risk of starvation if crops failed, or if their land was seized by warring factions. Man did not domesticate plants, plants domesticated man. To defend their farms and villages, man created hierarchies. Those who lived at the top fed on the surplus food produced by the work of the vast majority. This is the imagined order that people have subscribed to for centuries: an order based on shared beliefs that bind and motivate large groups of people to live and work together.

Civilizations grew more complex, and the need to store data also grew. They Sumerians invented writing, which by 2,500 BC developed into a full script. Mathematical writing created to serve humanity now became its master. Language changed the human thought process from free association to the compartmentalized, bureaucratic thinking that reigns in the computer age. Religion has helped serve this social hierarchies, one of which persists among almost all cultures is the dominance of men over women. If cooperation, not competition, is the basis of Sapiens’ superiority, then why haven’t women led the human race?

HUMANKIND WAS THEN UNITED BY MONEY, EMPIRE AND RELIGION.

One of these shared beliefs is money, one of our most powerful. The downside is when money becomes the end in itself, it drives people to disregard the traditional values of family and community.

Empire was the world’s most common form of political organization, an extended family. The British Empire, the largest, was ruled by a democracy, but had large numbers of inhabitants that did not live in freedom.

Religion is the great unifier. Formalized religious beliefs began to appear around the Agricultural Revolution as farmers appealed to a higher God for better crops and the fertility of their animals. In the modern world, those religions are ideologies: liberalism, communism, capitalism, and nationalism. All are on collision course with science.

The Scientific Revolution began with the recognition of ignorance, hence the scientific studies that required financing. The success of Europe is partly due to their willingness to recognize their own ignorance, a quality lacking in Arab or Chinese imperialist who thought they knew everything about the world.

Capitalism evolved. Credit, based on trust in the borrower and in the future, drove growth. Capitalism combined with empire. Now a flaw of capitalism is that it cannot assure profits are made fairly nor divided equally. The new religion is now consumerism that preaches immediate satisfaction as opposed to Christianity’s requirement of sacrifice in exchange for eternal bliss.

Traditional societal structures used on family and communities were replaced by the state and the market. The state supplies the benefits, and career, residence, choice of partner and sexual habits are chosen by the market – this is not that obvious to the individual. War has become more expensive and less profitable than in the past so the elites that rule the emerging global empire has no interest in promoting armed conflict.

Are humans happier? We know now that happiness is about levels of serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin so the route to happiness is through biochemistry. Happiness may also be the measure of an individual’s satisfaction with his or her life, which depends largely on society’s view of what is important. The key to attain happiness may not be pleasure or achievement but in knowing the truth about one’s self.

Humanity stands at the cusp of a new era in which natural selection will be replaced with intelligent design, which creates a world of moral choice, which will be dictated by the desire to pro-long human life, cure diseases and create superior human beings.

HOMO DEUS

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOMORROW

AUTHOR – YUVAL NOAH HARARI

SUMMARY BY ENRIQUE ABOITIZ MENDIETA

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The new human agenda is about immortality, happiness and divinity.

The old human agenda was family, plague and war.

Anthropocene is the age of humanity.

Homo Sapiens give its meaning to the world. Man the storyteller began 70,000 years ago during the Cognitive Revolution, to talk about things that existed within his own imagination. They were local stories that enabled him to cooperate on a very small scale. Twelve thousand years ago came the Agricultural Revolution that enlarged and strengthened his inter-subjective networks and groupings. His new obstacle was to preserve those collective myths, so 5,000 years ago the Sumerians invented both writing and money. Humans now had a way of remembering who owned what and how much debt they had to whom. Taxing and organized bureaucracies became possible.

Fiction enables us to cooperate. It, unfortunately, determines the goals of our cooperation. When we judge the human cooperative network, it depends on what measurements we adopt. STOP REGULARLY TO EVALUATE THE GOALS AND MEASUREMENTS FROM A PERSPECTIVE CALLED REALITY. REMEMBER THE BASE IS FICTION. Fiction is not bad. Stories are tools but they should not determine our goals and our measurements.

Corporations, brands & nations exist only in our imagination. We invent them to serve us. WHY THEN DO WE OFTEN FIND OURSELVES SACRIFICING OUR LIVES TO THEIR SERVICE?

Stories are the foundation for human societies. Blind faith in these stories means that human efforts frequently focus on increasing the glory of the fictional entities like gods, corporations, and civilizations instead of bettering the lives of the real sentient beings.

Religion’s stories have three parts.

  1. Ethical judgments
  2. Factual judgments
  3. Conflation of the two

Science has no authority over the ethical but can argue the factual.

The modern covenant – in exchange for giving up power, pre-modern humans believed they gained meaning. It truly mattered if one fought bravely for one’s country! This deal came with an enormous temptation and an enormous threat. The most powerful of cultures, but plagued with more existential angst than ever before.

Before stagnation was common because of a lack of credit. The cycle of stagnation was broken by a belief in the future. Growth became vital for three reasons:

  1. Produce more and consumer more. Standard of living improves.
  2. Population increases needed growth just to stay even.
  3. If there is no growth the poor will want to take from the rich.

Capitalism’s main commandment: thou shalt invest.

Can growth continue forever?

Three main resources:

  1. Raw Materials
  2. Energy
  3. And now, Knowledge

In the humanist revolution, we were led to believe that if we gave up God, law and order would vanish. Instead, God-fearing countries are the most violent. Humanism may have saved us. It worships humanity. It gives meaning to a meaningless world. We now go to family and friends and not a priest when we are confused.

Now we ask what will happen when we realize that customers and voters never really had free choices? Has the human experience become just another designable product?

As of 2016 the world is still dominated by the liberalism packaged of human rights, democracy, the free market, and individualism. 21st century science is undermining those values. Liberalism, like every other religion, is based on what it believes to be factual statements that cannot stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.

Free will as empty as the soul as we learn that the entire human pie is divided by determinism and randomness? If humans have free will, then how could natural selection have shaped it and the soul?

We identify with our narrating self. It means the stories in my head and not the series of experiences I have been through. What happens when the stories woven by our narrating self causes harm to ourselves and those around us? Our boys will not have died in vain when it was a mistake. IT IS MUCH EASIER TO LIVE WITH A FANTASY THAT GIVES MEANING TO THE SUFFERING. Priests discovered this principle a thousand years ago. Making people sacrifice something valuable, made them believe even more in the imaginary recipient of the sacrifice. In the end, it is about the stories we tell ourselves, from medieval crusaders believing that God and heaven provided meaning to their lives, to modern day liberals believing that their individual free choices provide meaning to live. IT IS ALL EQUALLY DELUSIONAL!

The Great Decoupling is about how liberalism will be obsolete as humans lose their economic and military might as the system finds value in humans collectively, but not in individuals; and a system that will still value some individuals who will become a new elite of upgraded super humans.

Wealth will end up in the hands of a tiny elite who owns the all-powerful algorithms.