I recently read a book called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. First of all, the guy is a liar, because it is 500 pages long, which I do not consider brief. I have been mulling this book over for a week or more, trying to decide how it made me feel, and what I might have to say about it. The author’s name is Yuval Noah Harari. He is an educated dude. So I may be out of my depth here, but I would like to talk about his book a little bit. This book was on Bill Gates’ and Oprah’s must read list this year. Draw your own first impression from that, if you must.
I am unfamiliar with how people of the Hebrew culture like to be addressed, so I will go out on a limb and call him Mr. Harari. It took me awhile to read this, and my memory is not what it once was. So forgive me if I am a little off the mark, but I will do my best.
Mr. Harari starts out discussing Sapiens with the foregone conclusion that we are all today genetically the same species. He explores and postulates on this extensively. I am not sure I can agree with his genetic science, but I am probably wrong. To prove his assumption or education is correct, he eventually makes a statement that I felt contradicted everything he had said for 100 pages or more. He said if we were not all the same, we wouldn’t be able to stand each other. The way others look, smell, act, believe. I do not watch the news very often, but I am pretty sure that we spend a lot of time hating on each other for all of those reasons, all over the world, everyday.
Mr. Harari continues to write about the effect the agricultural revolution had on humans and the way we act, as well as the industrial revolution. This is interesting stuff to ponder. He also uses a lot of terms like theist and deist, which was educational for me. Liberalism and Conservatism too, but not the way your evening news uses those terms.
He considers all religion and government, virtually any organization of humans, as myth. He says that any of these only work because someone buys into the myth. My thought on that was that you can say that the US Government is a myth, but I know if I do not pay my taxes because they are a myth, the truth is that they will come take my shit, and maybe lock me up. I am not sure if I want to say that he is an anarchist or a nihilist. He is for sure one of those, and maybe both, if that is possible.
When Yuval ( we are getting familiar now ) gets to economics, it gets really interesting. Up to this point the reader might expect him to espouse the virtues of Socialism, or something along that line. But he seems really excited about Capitalism and the manner in which it benefits all humans. Interesting. His thoughts in this part of the book are extremely thought provoking.
Harari’s comment on terrorism in the Q&A at the back of the book is probably the best 5 paragraphs in the book. Oh, and by the way, he is also kind of funny.
While I found much to disagree with or at least question, I enjoyed reading Sapiens. I learned much. If your mind is closed to schools of thought other than your own, you are a staunch creationist, or you do not like Hebrews, you will probably not enjoy this book. But if you want to understand or at least consider a view of us and the world we live in that you probably have never explored, this is a pretty good book.