It’s a quake book.
It manages to fit a hundred thousand years of human life, into less than five hundred pages, filled with history, wit & philosophy.
Page for page, this is one of the most wisdomous books I’ve ever read.
This is how I imagine, Yuval Noah Harari acknowledging my compliment
Thoughts and Insights abound
I read past, before the impact of a line, two pages ago blinds me
Facts put in such simple terms, that make me wonder, why didn’t I realise this before?
“Each year the US population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry people in the rest of the world.”
Will we ever be Kumbaya united as a whole human race?
“Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature.
Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.”
“Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark.
In modern times, a small difference in skin colour, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group.
Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species?
It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.”
Why is money so important? Because …
“money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”
Masters of the land, are we?
“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.”
Happiness, what is it?
“Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness.
Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.”
Perspective … need one?
“In the 300 years of the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own.
Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians.
In contrast, over the course, of the next 1,500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians by the millions, to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.”
I’m barely scratching the surface.
And all this, while nimbly skipping over events, places, geographies, and eons.
With the voice of a sad enlightened being, he concludes,
… humans seem to be more irresponsible than ever.
Self-made gods with only the laws of physics to keep us company, we are accountable to no one. We are consequently wreaking havoc on our fellow animals and on the surrounding ecosystem, seeking little more than our own comfort and amusement, yet never finding satisfaction.
Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?
This is definitely something I’ll keep coming back to, so that I can learn something new, time and again.