The previous two posts (this one and this one) each discussed an aspect of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011), by Yuval Noah Harari. While those aspects grabbed my attention and got me thinking, I took very little from the rest of the book.
In fact, reading the latter two-thirds got to be something of a chore. It had many examples from comparatively modern history (given the full breadth of our existence) but they didn’t seem to amount to a unified whole. The author seems not to connect dots his own text presents.
Final score: two bits I liked and took away (and posted about) but the rest of the book I left behind. I give it a Meh! rating and a thumbs down.
3 Comments | tags: history, homo sapiens, humanity | posted in Books, Society
The previous post focused on a single, to me key, aspect of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011), by Yuval Noah Harari. This post focuses on the other aspect of the book I found compelling. The last one was about the power fiction gave homo sapiens. This one is about the Agricultural Revolution (the AR).
And other important Revolutions that followed, but the AR wrought a profound change on the human race. It was our first step towards societies and civilization. It ushered in the first cities and led to kingdoms and empires.
It also led to materialism, greed, health issues, theft, and war.
14 Comments | tags: history, homo sapiens, humanity, storytelling | posted in Books, Society
While not usually my cup of tea, Amazon Prime offered Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011), by Yuval Noah Harari, and I thought I’d give it a try. I’d never heard of the author, and don’t usually read anthropology or sociology books, but the blurb made it sound interesting (don’t they always).
I did enjoy the first third. The author discusses two aspects of our ancient past that really grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, he went on to lose it. In a big way. For me, the latter two thirds of the book added little and missed what seemed some key connections.
So, three posts (at least): one each for the two attention grabbers; one more for the book overall. This first one is about our special ability as storytellers.
19 Comments | tags: history, homo sapiens, humanity, storytelling | posted in Books, Society
I’ve been slowly going through the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. Most of the musicians and groups are unknown to me (it’s been decades since I even attempted to keep up with music). Truth is, most of the acts are interesting, but don’t really grab me. Maybe one in ten engages; none have made me a new fan.
Which is a whole other story. I mention it because many of these music makers are sweet, gentle, loving people who just want everyone else to be sweet, gentle, and loving. It’s a common sentiment. Banish the bad forever!
But balance is required. There is a Yin-Yang aspect to life.
50 Comments | tags: civilization, greatness, human brain, human consciousness, human mind, humanity, Yin and Yang | posted in Basics, Philosophy
It doesn’t matter, because this isn’t about that, but it was a blog page I was reading — about baseball, as it happens — where the writer used the phrase, “who among us is perfect?” I hear variations of that sentiment often. It’s meant to embrace the flawed humanity in all of us, but to my ear it sometimes excuses the egregious.
In this particular case (again, not the point), the writer was excusing the putative racism of a ballplayer during the 1940s, and that’s when a Brain Bubble floated up to my consciousness: Does it seem we use the phrase “no one is perfect” a little too broadly, a little too generously?
Have our standards of acceptable gotten lower in the modern era?
4 Comments | tags: Age of Enlightenment, Ancient Greeks, civilization, debate, dialectic, ego, humanity, id, perfection, rational thought, social mores, super-ego | posted in Brain Bubble
It’s one of those days you remember better than any birthday or wedding. Those were planned; these hit you suddenly, stunning your mind, breaking your heart. “The shuttle blew up!” “The Towers fell!”
The impact was even greater if you saw it happen in real-time. If you watched the shuttle launches. If you caught the breaking news before the second tower was hit. Saw the second plane, realized at that moment, “This is no accident!”
Even if you saw it after, you saw it; saw it as an attack.
5 Comments | tags: 9-11, Earth, emotional mind, human mind, humanity, making movies, media, moon, rational mind, rational thought, Sun, Venus, war movies | posted in Life, Politics, Society, TV