Do you sometimes look out at the world and wonder, how did it come to be this way?
Do you look at the way we work and think, who is winning at this?
In the blockbuster book, Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari, offers some answers. And many of them aren’t what you might have thought.
For starters, many of us think that human evolution looks like a straight line in which we graduated from swinging from trees to punching keys, but the origin of our species is far less clear.
How Did We Evolve?
The fact is, at different points in time, a number of species of “sapiens” coexisted (ala Lord of The Rings), with all but homo sapiens dying out.
Nobody knows why, nor how seemingly overnight the human brain made an enormous leap in size and cognitive ability (a huge problem for all evolutionary theory).
Relative to dinosaurs that roamed the earth for 165 million years, over merely a couple hundred thousand years our species has evolved, and while evolution has greatly benefitted our species, it hasn’t always been good for us individuals.
An example Harari covers is the Agricultural Revolution which he refers to as history’s biggest fraud.
Whereas the story many of us have come to believe is that humans evolved from hunter gatherers into a more advanced agricultural society, the truth is the opposite.
As he put it, “The Agricultural Revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather it translated into population explosions and pampered elites.”
From here Harari goes on to suggest that a similar fraud today impacts the way we work.
Evolving The Way We Work
He writes, “How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn enough money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five?”
Answering his own question, he writes, “But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and the sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad.”
Referencing devolving back to our origins he asks, “What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.”
It doesn’t need to be this way.
We can all do what we want, but only when we stop monkeying around!