Below I present what I consider to be the five most insightful and unique worldly wisdom’s from the book Sapiens. A book that I have truly enjoyed to read and that has been endorsed by Barack Obama, Daniel Kahneman and Bill Gates to name a few.
Please comment if you have read the book and what you thought of it. Also, if you have found a worldly wisdom in the book that you think I should have included please comment on that as well. I’m very interested in what caught your eye while reading and why.
Five worldly wisdom’s from Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
“That spectacular leap from the middle [of the food chain] to the top had enormous consequences. Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into that position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc. As lions became deadlier, so gazelles evolved to run faster, hyenas to cooperate better, and rhinoceroses to be more bad-tempered. In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust. Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.“ (Harari, 2015, p.16-17)
“[A]n imagined order cannot be sustained by violence alone. It requires some true believers as well. Prince Talleyrand, who began his chameleon-like career under Louis XVI, later served the revolutionary and Napoleonic regimes, and switched loyalties in time to end his days working for the restored monarchy, summed up decades of governmental experience by saying that ‘You can do many things with bayonets, but it is rather uncomfortable to sit on them.’ A single priest often does the work of a hundred soldiers far more cheaply and effectively.“ (Harari, 2015, p.99)
“Most people do not wish to accept that the order governing their lives is imaginary, but in fact every person is born into a pre-existing imagined order, and his or her desires are shaped from birth by its dominant myths. Our personal desires thereby become the imagined order’s most important defenses.“ (Harari, 2015, p.102)
“Every point in history is a crossroads. A single travelled road leads from the past to the present, but myriad paths fork off into the future. Some of those paths are wider, smoother and better marked, and are thus more likely to be taken, but sometimes history – or the people who make history – takes unexpected turns.“ (Harari, 2015, p.205)
“History cannot be explained deterministically and it cannot be predicted because it is chaotic. So many forces are at work and their interactions are so complex that extremely small variations in the strength of the forces and the way they interact produce huge differences in outcome.“ (Harari, 2015, p.206)