Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Harari describes how the earliest city-dwellers suffered from remarkable decline in human happiness relative to their hunter-gatherer ancestors. I was utterly surprised. There was Yuval Harari calmly explaining to me why progress is not always good: In cities like Ur, in Sumeria ,newly urbanized humans lived in cities of many thousands - far denser concentrations than ever before.  increase in disease, parasites and an inevitable competition for resources.

You could say that the Sumerians invented the rat-race.

Indeed, cities with their thousands might have been more successful than the camps occupied by 150 or so villagers. But the urbanites would likely have been far less happy than their villager ancestors. At least to begin with. 

Given this temporary decline in human happiness, Harari asks, 

"did man domesticate wheat, or did wheat domesticate man?" 

It's a good question: might we be entering a similar sort of age? 

Perhaps software is not just eating the world - its eating us! 

In other words, do I use my iPhone? Or does it use me? Ditto for my Apple Mac. 


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