Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a narrative of origin of the human race. Harari begins with the origin of life and humanity, when life was at its best. Then journeys through changes, not necessarily the advancement, of humanity from the Agricultural revolution. It is here that a series of changes began that led humanity to the fallen and broken world we live in. The change is not because of sin, primarily because Harari is polytheistic and discounts just one view of God much less Christianity, but the decision to quit a foraging and nomadic lifestyle for one that is local and domesticated. This decision allows for the ills of society felt even today: greed, imperialism, religion, and success based achievement. The result has culminated into the Scientific Revolution, where science is called upon to fix the ills of society that it has revolutionarily caused.
I found this book to be the biggest waste of time of any project or reading we have done so far. First, the book is a series of facts and observations that are connected together rather subjectivity by the author. Second it basically communicates that if we would have stayed in our caveman condition we would be better off. Thirdly, it is filled with contradictions, some of which are from differing opinions of the author. Last it is not only absence of any embrace of monotheistic belief, but hostile to any such view.
The book is a narrative of the author’s view of humanity. It is seasoned with facts and figures, but very little conclusive objective data. It is more so, filled with Harari’s ideology. The presentation of Neanderthals as “one of history’s great what if’s” (Harari, 18). “Tree of Knowledge mutation”(Harari, 21) is the author’s perspective to explain man’s capacity. Chapter three goes a long way around to justify or prove the author’s perspective of origin and creation. The “gorging gene” (Harari, 41) gives no credence to medical science factual stance that over indulgence is connected chemically, especially within chemically processed foods. Even Harari’s summary statement of part one: “the evidence is circumstantial” (Harari, 66) is the best summation as his approach to factual history as opposed to his narrative formation of the data.
Second, is the idea that we as humans would be better off to stay in our caveman condition. This really begins in Part two with the Agricultural Revolution. Harari present the argument on page 80 with the example of wheat. The author denotes that the farming for wheat was not fitting physically for humans and that it actually was the domestication of humanity. “How did this grass turn from insignificant to ubiquitous? Wheat did it by manipulating Homo sapiens to its advantage.” (Harari, 80) Harari, blames the domesticated production of wheat on a more miserable existence, poor economic security, and an increase in human violence. “The Agricultural Revolution was a trap.” (Harari, 83) This ultimately leads to bigger families, more stuff, houses, villages, sickness, disease, and death, all because of decrease movement.
Third is the volume of contradictions contained in the book. Chapter nine, The Arrow of History, is all about the tension and contradictory nature of human life with its ever changing, multiple worlds coexisting, and occasionally colliding lives. Another great contradiction is found in chapter eight with how humans have organized themselves. He views them as “imagined orders” with mythical documentation such as the United States Declaration of Independence. Is it possible that this is how God created us “to rule and reign” along with a toxic mix of sin? In Chapter ten, money is bad because it creates a system that causes humanity to lustfully and greedily take advantage. Is is possible that money is not the creation of such degradation, but that nature and sin are to blame as seeds for such conduct? Harari goes on with Capitalism is bad on pages 305-309 and that human progression is the cause of most environmental issues on pages 334-350. It just sounds like a secularly humanistic rant, not even an original one. It was as though he collected the ideology of college students along with a Western Civilization 101, very freshmen.
Last is his utter disdain for religion, especially Christianity. “Teaching such an ancient Sapiens, persuading him of the truth of Christian dogma…would have been hopeless undertakings.” (Harari, 20) “We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story…” (Harari, 25) “Today religion is often considered a source of discrimination, disagreement, and disunion.” (Harari, 210) “Two thousand years of monotheistic brainwashing have caused…”. (Harari, 213) I could go on, the essence is his utter disdain for religion, especially Christianity has him blind to any creationist possibility of humanity.
Therefore, I find this book a hodgepodge of facts and data that connected by the author’s own narrative. This is much revisionist personal perspective history going on. Not to mention just a lot of filling in his own blanks. With the thought at all is bad we are headed for a apocalyptic ending.