DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

MODERN MAN

Written by: on November 10, 2016

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A Brief History of Humankind
from the Collections of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Introduction

This blog presents a book review of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Sapiens belongs to the species of great syntheses, written in a playful tone and overflowing with information while developing a point of view. Drawing from all disciplines, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari answers fundamental questions about human history: How did our species (In the last 100,000 years, there have been six different species of hominids.) come to dominate the planet? Why did our ancestors join forces to create cities and countries? How did we manage to create the concepts of religion, nation and human rights? But also others, which are less usual: How did we come to rely on money, books, laws? Etc.

Summary

For the author, three revolutions punctuate our journey: one is cognitive (70,000 years ago), the next is agricultural (12,000 years ago) and the third is scientific (500 years ago). In the first (which remains unexplained), we acquired unprecedented skills to think, communicate and collaborate in larger groups (giving us effective coordination; McNutt, 2015). This revolution played a great role in the fictions (Myths) that our ancestors developed.

The second, agricultural (Neolithic), revolution was a trap, a “Faustian pact” between men and grains. As for the scientific revolution, it is less the discoveries themselves than their combination with politics and money that propelled Europeans to conquer the world (Stanford, Allen, and Antón, 2016).

Harari examines the case of the disappearance of our species as we have known up to now, or conversion such as make possible biological engineering and other technical future. Harari mixes the history of science with anthropology to challenge everything we thought we knew about humanity: our thoughts, our actions, our heritage, and our future. Sapiens has quickly established itself as a must-read book around the world, because it addresses the biggest questions of modern history in clear and precise language.

Reflection

The author of Sapiens has exceeded his contemporaries because he is in tune with the times, although he may be rejected and reviled later. He writes with genuine clarity and humor, does not take himself too seriously, and showed great curiosity about scientific advances, including research on anthropomorphic robots (Lindebaum, 2015). He himself is a vegetarian and does not hesitate to denounce in his essay bad luck that pets since the beginning of the Neolithic. He also stressed that all sexual practices are found in the animal world, so homosexuality in humans cannot affect the natural order.

This work is in the tradition of phenomena tests that aspire to reconsider the history of humanity in the light of a particular phenomenon (unlike the usual history books that seek to illuminate the present in the light of the past). Harari focuses on ancient history without regard to upsetting well-established ideas. This is probably what gives the book its charm.

He recounts with clarity and precision the origins of Homo sapiens while ripping down the veil surrounding recent discoveries about the Neanderthal genome: “It appeared that 1% to 4% of the unique DNA of modern populations of the Middle east and Europe is the Neanderthal DNA,” and “If the theory of miscegenation is accurate, it may well be genetic differences between Africans, Europeans and Asians that date back hundreds of thousands of years. This is political dynamite, which can yield materials with explosive racial theories” (Harari, 2015; p. 17).

Harari mentions that” chimps and sapiens (humans) can only organize in groups of up to 150, without organizing into a hierarchical structure. So, how did cities grow to their enormous size? “Through fiction. Yes, that’s right, through fiction, through beliefs in common myths. These are myths about ideologies. These imaginary fictions include human rights, nations, and currency; they work because many people cooperatively believe in them”. Book  of Humankind, 4th ed. Boston: Pearson.

References

Harari, Yuval, Noah. 2015. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. New York: Harper.

Lindebaum, D. 2015. “Book Review: Sapiens: A brief history of humankind.Management Learning 46, no. 5: 636–38.

McNutt, M. 2015. “The Beyond-Two-Degree Inferno.” Science 349, no. 6243: 7–7.

Stanford, C., Allen, J. S. and Antón, S. C. 2017. Biological Anthropology: The Natural

About the Author

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Rose Anding

Rose Maria “Simmons McCarthy” Anding, a Visionary, Teacher,Evangelist, Biblical Counselor/ Chaplain and Author, of High Heels, Honey Lips, and White Powder. She is a widower, mother, stepmother, grandmother, great grandmother of Denver James, the greater joy of her life. She has lived in Chicago, Washington, DC, and North Carolina, and is now back on the forgiving soil of Mississippi.

11 responses to “MODERN MAN”

  1. Hi Rose. Did you find anything in the book that helps with your project?

    • mm Rose Anding says:

      Hi Aaron P,
      Thanks for sharing, I am not sure what all I gained from the book to help me with my project,but it gave me a few things to think about.

      The author makes good points about money: that it doesn’t have intrinsic value; that it is one of the most tolerant systems created by human beings – thanks to it, people of different cultures can cooperate effectively; nevertheless, regarding to money, we don’t trust other people – we trust the coin they hold – “If they run out of coins we run out of trust”.
      I am still assessing the content of the book … no answers yet.
      Happy veteran Day Rose Maria

  2. Rose,

    Thank you for your final words. Myths… He stated that God is a myth in his writings. I would agree with you that this is a collection of myths without foundation or support. My word was novel this week. I have seen across our writings that our critical view point of things that are written with a reference or proof is not accepted well. Did you accept anything that this author wrote?

    Kevin

    • mm Rose Anding says:

      Thanks Kevin,
      The facts that are acceptable are “what we believe”.
      In fact, what we believe in determines what we want to want. Sapiens are distinguished by our ability to believe in fictions. The cognitive revolutions starts with the first set of hypothetical stories we allow ourselves to believe in whether they are true or not. The real importance is that the family, kin, friends, and community share those beliefs.
      I am rereading it because there is more to this reading than i have been able to grasp.
      Thanks for sharing Rose Maria

  3. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Rose,

    Do you think it is necessary to believe in and “old earth” in order to accept Harari’s writings?

    Did you find anything in his book that would indicate that he accepts all of creation being the work of a superior intelligent design?

    • mm Rose Anding says:

      Thanks Marc for sharing,it is not necessary to believe in and “old earth” in order to accept Harari’s writings?
      You can believe in an old earth and be a Christian. The doctrine of salvation has nothing to do with the age of the earth. The Bible does not say, “Believe in a young earth, or be condemned to hell.” You can become a Christian and believe in an old earth.
      Let’s start with a basic explanation of old earth theology. There are several major positions one can take with regards to belief in an old earth and universe. Using a simplistic view of old earth creationist beliefs, they can basically be split into two groups, those who hold to a Day-Age Interpretation, and those who believe in the Gap Theory.

      I am re-reading Harari’s writings,we need the chat for this blog now! Rose Maria

  4. Jason Kennedy says:

    Rose,

    I am curious about this statement:

    The author of Sapiens has exceeded his contemporaries because he is in tune with the times, although he may be rejected and reviled later.

    Are you saying his art (writing) is imitating life?

    Obviously, Harari does not come from a creationist or Christian worldview, so how does this book fit in with faith?

    Thanks,

    Jason

    • mm Rose Anding says:

      Hi Jason, a great question,”Harari does not come from a creationist or Christian worldview, so how does this book fit in with faith?”

      To answer the question, it doesn’t matter what we read or experience from another person worldview,it is always about our faith and what we can take away from the experience, because our faith is based on a relationship with God, not religious obligations and rituals. We follow Christ because we want to, not because we have to. Your relationship with Jesus flows naturally out of love. It is not forced or driven by guilt. (1 John 4:7-18; Hebrews 10:19-22.)Your sense of security and significance is centered on God and who you are in Christ, not on others or your accomplishments. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-6; Ephesians 6:6-7.)
      Your faith in God is strengthened as you walk through life’s troubles, trials and painful experiences, not weakened or destroyed. (1 Peter 4:12-13; James 1:2-4.)Your service to others flows out of genuine love and concern for them

      The author says “The inner core of individual humans gives meaning to the world, and is the source for all ethical and political authority. If we encounter an ethical or political dilemma, we should look inside and listen to our inner voice – the voice of humanity”but we as Christians should listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit within us.
      Because the liberal belief in the free and sacred nature of each individual is a direct legacy of the traditional Christian belief in the free and eternal souls. Without recourse to eternal souls and a Creator God, it becomes embarrassingly difficult for liberals to explain what is so special about individual Sapiens.
      Thanks for sharing Rose Maria
      .

    • Loren Kerns says:

      Hi Rose,

      Like you, I think Harari does an exemplary job outlining in broad strokes (and yes, on details many will quibble) the basic story / myth the contemporary global elite (science, academia, technologists, etc.) believe – rooted above all in contemporary evolutionary biology and big bang cosmology.

      I’m curious, what strategy you might suggest for communicating the Christian story in a way that would make sense as true or even coherent to someone inhabiting Harari’s universe?

      Note: I likewise asked this to Pablo and others in the cohort – http://dminlgp.com/the-power-of-shared-stories/#comment-41231)

      • mm Rose Anding says:

        Thanks Loren for the question,
        “What strategy you might suggest for communicating the Christian story in a way that would make sense as true or even coherent to someone inhabiting Harari’s universe?

        The answer is not a mystery or impossible to do, I would frame the gospel as a love story (that just happens to be true.)

        When I share the gospel with someone inhabiting Harari’s universe or any other view. I will not be trying to prove God’s existence I will simply share the story of God’s love. I would said something like, “Mary, at the core of Christianity is a love story. Jesus put it this way, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but has everlasting life.’”
        Our strategy is always love, there is no other way to tell the “Christian” story.

        Thanks for sharing with us ! Rose Maria

  5. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    Rose,
    Over the last two weeks, I’ve been studying on how to become a keynote speaker. One of the key ingredient in speaking is story telling. While I find inconsistencies in the writing, the writer did a great job at story telling. The writer does discredit himself by highlighting the fact that he’s a vegetarian because if you’re subscribing to facts, let that be your reference. I like how you tried to find positives even though you’re not in agreement with his overall position. I think as global leaders, we should always seek to understand a point of view and the things that unites us before thinking about change.

    Garfield

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