Book notes – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Book notes – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

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Book notes:

  • The word ‘corporation’ is derived from ‘corpus’ (Latin for body), though paradoxically, this is the one thing corporations lack.
  • Humans form bonds (of over 150 people) through fiction –> stories people actually believe in. There is immense power in making millions of people believe the same story (World War II).
  • Realize:
    Human Rights are fictive.
    Google is an imagined entity.
    These things do not physically exist!
  • Sapiens act according to fictional rules, only because we all agreed to believe the same fictions, for example: the concept of money.
  • On the quality of life of foragers:
    Foragers work 35 to 45 hours a week to gather food. They had no dishes to wash, no rugs to vacuum, no floors to polish etc. Compare this to people in modern society.
  • Before the arrival of humans, America hosted camels, horses, mastodons, mammoths, sabre tooth cats and 6 meter high sloths.
  • The third wave of extinction: we are still rapidly killing off animal species.
  • The agricultural revolution was history’s biggest fraud: it left farmers with generally more difficult and less satisfactory lives. “Hunter gatherers spent their time in more stimulating and varied ways, and were less in danger of starvation and disease.”
  • Wheat made humans their bitch. Humans did a lot to spread wheat around the globe: “Wheat didn’t like rocks and pebbles, so Sapiens broke their backs clearing fields. Wheat didn’t like sharing its space, water and nutrients with other plants, so men and women laboured long days weeding under the scorching sun. Wheat go sick, so Sapiens had to keep a watch out for worms and blight. Wheat was attacked by rabbits and locust swarms, so the farmers built fences and stood guard over the fields. Wheat was thirsty, so humans dug irrigation canals or lugged heavy buckets from the well to water it. Its hunger even impelled Sapiens to collect animal feces to nourish the ground in which wheat grew.
  • The luxury trap. Once people get used to a certain standard of luxury, it is almost impossible to go back.
  • The principles from Hammurabi’s code, or the Declaration of Independence only exist in the fertile immaginations of Sapiens. They have no objective validity.
  • People believe in imagined orders because:
    They never admit it was imagined
    They are thoroughly ‘educated’ from birth.
  • There exist innumerable invisible scripts in life. For example: most of peoples desires are programmed (marketed) by an imagined order (companies). People lavishly spend on holidays because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.
  • The term ‘natural’ originates not from biology, but Christianity: ‘in accordance with the intentions of the God who created nature’.
  • Male and female are biological concepts, as they are dependent on biology. Man and woman are cultural concepts that differ between time and region. For example, being a woman means you are not allowed to vote in some places, but it is allowed in others.
  • The world is moving towards one unified order based on either money, religion or conquest (imperial factors).
  • Everyone wants money, because everybody else wants money.
  • Money is the only created trust system that can bridge culture and discrimination.
  • Contrary to religion: modern science is driven by the fact that we admit NOT to know everything.
  • The hindsight fallacy: the future is like a fog, but in hindsight the culmination of history seems obvious.
  • A type 2 chaotic system reacts to predictions made about it.
  • The truth is a poor test for knowledge. The real test is utility. A theory that allows us to do new things constitutes knowledge.
  • We are our own Messiah: end all wars, famine and death. Humankind could do so by discovering new knowledge and inventing new tools.
  • Science is an expensive affair, shaped by:
    Economic
    Political (What is important?)
    and religious (What is good?) interests.
  • As with everything. there exists enough evidence to support both claims:
    European empires were evil monstrosities
    European empires improved conditions of their subjects
  • The economy of make-believe money is funded by technological improvement.
  • The industrial revolution turned the timetable into a template for almost all human activities.
  • The state is the mother and father of the ‘individual’.
  • Realize that even nations are imaginary.
  • Our times seem more dangerous than ever, but our time is peaceful. Wars are rare and therefore attract attention.
  • Real peace is not the absence of wars, but the implausibility of wars.
  • Happiness is determined by nothing but serotonin.
  • “If you have a ‘why’ to live, you can bear almost any ‘how'” – Nietzsche

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