One of the more interesting cognitive developments of the last couple of centuries has been mankind’s interest in understanding who he or she is. What does it mean to be human?
BTW, the idea that humanity is a single species or that there is such a thing as “mankind” is relatively recent – from the enlightenment.
So where are we going as a species? What will our future look like? Historian Yuval Noah Harari ponders this in his book Sapiens. The main thesis?
At the centre of the book is the contention that what made Homo sapiens the most successful human being, supplanting rivals such as Neanderthals, was our ability to believe in shared fictions. Religions, nations and money, Harari argues, are all human fictions that have enabled collaboration and organisation on a massive scale.
We are just now beginning to separate out reality from our beliefs about reality. We are just beginning to learn how to step back from ourselves to see ourselves.
In this article from The Guardian, well-known thinkers ask questions to Harari. Check it out if you want to get “zee leetle grey cells working”!