A Critical Review of Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind’
Yuval Noah Harari’s book ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of human kind’ looks at Homo sapiens from a historical narrative tracing the developments they have undergone for millennia of years. It discusses how Homo sapiens conquered the world based on genetic mutation. Moreover, it shows how the changes in their genome resulted in the Cognitive revolution about 70,000 years ago.
It is believed that homo sapiens drove the other human species to extinction through their ability to create and believe in myths. Resultantly, it enabled homo sapiens to cooperate in large numbers.
How Social Hierarchy Became A Concept?
Yuval Noah, in his book, claimed that about 12,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution was history’s biggest fraud. The revolution was the primary reason that led them to be a subject to many diseases that took root due to the idleness of the Homo sapiens domesticated by plants, namely wheat.
The increase in population led to the formation of groups, which further sprinted towards greed and alienation—the influential ones treasured resources and left behind many in need of necessities. As a result, there is a hierarchy in all societies.
Views on Religions:
Noah Harari further puts forward his views regarding how religion was developed after the agricultural revolution. Religions became the answer related to the question of one’s existence, birth, and death. Nonetheless, several questions got their accurate answers only through the scientific revolution that occurred 500 years ago.
Impact of Scientific Revolution:
It was a period of innovations that improved their lifestyle and helped them create medicines. Harari’s tone remained sceptical. He questioned if we have been able to achieve contentment for ourselves through science and technological advancements.
Furthermore, he referred to the Gilgamesh Project that did not guarantee amorality even to the elite. In other words, despite having enough wealth to acquire medical assistance, the fear of accidental deaths remained.
Harari then holds the mass media and advertisement industry responsible for depriving people of contentment by raising their expectations and standards, making them want more than what they need.
The scientific revolution triggered the industrial revolution about 250 years ago. Advancements in information are the byproduct of this revolution. From there, it initiated the biotechnological revolution.
Harari signals the end of Homo sapiens by predicting the possibility of present humans being replaced by bioengineered post-humans, immortal cyborgs, etc. These forms may be far more superior in abilities and capable of living forever.
Harari’s book shows an inclination towards capitalism, exploring something that began as a theory. The theory portrays how the early economy of the modern age functioned. Additionally, it reflects upon grown into a trust system than just an economic doctrine. The author claims that being a capitalist is more profitable than being wealthy, as money through capitalism can be invested and turned into resources.
Fiction Vs. Reality:
The book never confirmed the events he mentioned, and the style remained fictional throughout the book. He gave assumptions about prehistoric human beings and the ones after the cognitive revolution. In other words, he gave an account of why prehistoric humans left a place to migrate to another.
He looked at religion in Christianity, mainly in Europe and the Middle East, throughout the book. Therefore, his views cannot be seen in the light of other religious faiths and views. Resultantly, it makes the book seem to represent mainly the Christian viewpoint.
The historical narrative did not include the prophets from Adam to Mosses. Thus, the book is missing out on a powerful historical narrative of the development of Homo sapiens among the prophets. There is no research on how much the conduct of their activities varied in their prophet’s presence. In other words, under the influence of prophets’ ideologies, not much is presented in the book.
Harari’s book views the human race from both a biological and a historical perspective to show the developments and changes in Homo sapiens. Moreover, he further claims and warns that humans are unaware of what they want and where science and technology advancements are leading. He leaves the readers thinking about whether Homo sapiens will be responsible for their end in the near future.