Yuval Noah Harari: What explains the rise of humans? TED Global London
Yuval said that 70,000 years ago humans were insignificant but today they control the planet
Yuval said that 70,000 years ago, humanity’s impact on the world wasn’t greater than that of jellyfish, fireflies or woodpeckers. And today, in contrast, humanity controls the planet and he asks why is that so.
Yuval said we look for differences between us and others on an individual level but we are very similar
Yuval said we compare ourselves to others and other species but there is really not much difference that makes us superior to dogs, pigs, or chimpanzees.
Yuval said the real difference between us and others is on the collective level
Yuval said we control the planet because we are the only beings that can cooperate both flexibly and in very large numbers. He says that, for example, there’s only one way a beehive can function, and if a new danger occurs, the bees cannot reinvent their social system overnight, but we can.
Yuval said some other animals can cooperate like humans but in smaller numbers
Yuval said some social mammals like wolves, elephants, dolphins and chimpanzees can cooperate much more flexibly, but in smaller numbers. This is because cooperation among chimpanzees is based on intimate knowledge of one another.
Yuval said 1,000 humans could easily overcome 1,000 chimpanzees because chimpanzees cannot cooperate on large scales
Yuval said how 1,000 humans can cooperate much easier than 1,000 chimpanzees. He also said that trying to put 100,000 chimpanzees in Wembley Stadium would result in complete chaos.
Yuval said most of humanity’s huge achievements have been a collaboration
Yuval said that huge achievements throughout history such as building the pyramids and flying to the moon, have been based on humanity’s ability to cooperate flexibly in big numbers. (See Video summary: How do you define yourself by Lizzie Velasquez | TEDxAustinWomen)
Yuval said that humanity’s cooperation is not always nice
Yuval said that humanity’s cooperation is not always nice and he mentions examples of prisons, slaughterhouses and concentration camps as being systems of cooperation.
Yuval said our imagination is what enables us to cooperate
Yuval said our imagination is the answer as to what exactly enables us to cooperate flexibly. He said that we create and believe fictions, fictional stories, and everybody obeys and follows the same rules, norms and values.
Yuval said animals use communication only to describe reality
Yuval said animals use communication only to describe reality as it is now; they don’t imagine scenarios. He said that millions of people cooperate over religious ideas and that this system underlies all other forms of mass-scale human cooperation.
Yuval said that human rights, politics and economy work the same way religion does
Yuval said that human rights, politics and economy are based around fictional values – subjective rights, borders and states, legal business bodies. For example, companies and money; a piece of paper. He says you can see the mountain, touch it and smell it but you cannot do the same with a state.
Yuval said we live in a dual reality
Yuval said we live in a dual reality, while animals live in an objective reality. He said as the history of people unraveled, fictional reality became the most powerful force of all.
Yuval said that fictional reality is more valuable to us than objective reality
Yuval said that the very survival of rivers, trees, lions and elephants depends on the decisions and wishes of fictional entities, like the United States, Google, World Bank – entities that exist only in our fictional reality. (See Video Summary: Overcoming Hopelessness by Nick Vujicic l TEDx Novi Sad)
Yuval finished by answering questions about his upcoming book
Yuval finished by talking about his new book he’s translating to English. The book will focus on a possibility that most future humans will divide into different biological castes – a useless majority and the few rich ones who will be upgraded to virtual gods.