Time to sharpen our reading skills and get ready to discuss Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Classmates David Abbott and Tex Talmadge will be our docents on this tour through history, but as David writes, see below, the goal is to get your views in reacting to the book and at looking at the future of our species.
The date is January 17, 2023 and the time is 4:30 pm Eastern. You have plenty of time to obtain the book and read it.
The usual rules apply. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 14th at close of business whether you want to participate.
From David proposing this Casual Conversation:
“Both Tex and I recently finished reading Sapiens: a brief history of humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, 2015. Sapiens follows humans from the appearance of the genus Homo and its various species followed by the appearance and dominance of Homo sapiens. The book deals with four revolutions: the cognitive, the agricultural, the unification of humankind, and the scientific. Harari views the agricultural revolution as having a negative effect on most people (the peasants). The unification of humankind reflected the development of money, empires, and religion, all very important but objective concepts that depend on humans’ faith. The scientific revolution is the most recent involving the discovery of ignorance, the marriage of science and empires, the capitalist creed, and the wheels of industry. Harari finishes the book with an exploration of where humankind goes from here and our eventual extinction and a reflection on how an animal became God.
“Harari’s book is well written, moves along briskly, and addresses unusual viewpoints, for example comparing the priestly ritual of converting bread into the corpus, the body of Christ during the eucharist, with the similar recitation of appropriate words by an attorney to create the fictional body, the corporation. He remarks that the initial chapters of Genesis are animist in outlook. Whether you completely agree or not, such observations prompt reflection.
“Both Tex and I recommend that our classmates read this book and then have a casual conversation to discuss it. The participation of Harari, an Israeli, is not needed. What we’re really interested in learning about are the views of our classmates, particularly about the future of humankind.