I keep hearing about this book from multiple sources and it was taking a while to check it out and see what it was about until I did finally.
In Sapiens, Yuval tells the story of 300.000 years humanity’s journey. We can really understand and put into perspective how insignificant our existence really is compared to the span of time available that we can trace back.
As a species, we have accomplished so much and we have become the dominant force on the planet and soon possibly even space.
We can trace the first humans back to 2.5 million years ago in East Africa who then migrated looking for better environments which made them evolve in more forms of “homo” in Europe and Asia.
But it wasn’t until 300.000 years ago that Homo sapiens first showed up as a new species and it prevailed among the rest of the human species which eventually disappeared. There were some theories about this occurrence, Homo sapiens most likely annihilated and at the same time interbred with other species.
Homo sapiens acquired thinking and communications skills with they used to conquer the world. How did they acquired these skills? It was mostly due to the unique structure of their brain and the evolutionary leap known as the Cognitive Revolution.
This allowed Homo sapiens to form bigger, and more complex communities, invent techniques and hunting tools, and develop trade networks. Such superiority meant that sapiens could find food in the most challenging environments outperforming in this way other species of humans. Sapiens were able to colonize different areas of the world and spread like ants.
The best concept of human sophistication was language, which allowed sapiens to communicate with one another and increase the size of communities into cities, nations, and societies.
Then, there was the Agricultural Revolution, where humans transformed from hunters into farmers, and this led to increase population growth exponentially.
In order to allow for trade in large communities, humans invented money and writing. This new system permitted to record economic transactions and hold others accountable to their promises avoiding fraud.
As societies and communities continue to grow, they became more difficult to regulate. Sapiens then developed laws to regulate how people behaved and systems of authority. This is how hierarchical societies came to be with a king at top to maintain stability. Then religion surfaced as a way for people to accept authority and laws.
Sapiens tended to be a pessimistic species, the majority did not believe in their abilities, and placed responsibility and fate in the power of their gods. Later on, this quickly changed when sapiens started thinking how can they improve society on their own through science.
This is a recommended read to everyone since it puts into perspective the evolution of humans through time, and what is possible going forward.