The book Sapiens has been on my bedside table for about two years. I have so many books to read and just did not get to it. I started today and the first few paragraphs have me riveted. And like many stories we have heard before, the book was rejected many times before it was published.
Yuval Noah Harari writes, “About 13.5 billion years ago, matter, energy, time and space came into being in what is known as the Big Bang. The story of these fundamental features of our universe is called physics.
About 300,000 years after their appearance, matter and energy started to coalesce into complex structures, called atoms, which then combined into molecules. The story of atoms, molecules and their interactions is called chemistry.
About 3.8 billion years ago, on a planet called Earth, certain molecules combined to form particularly large and intricate structures called organisms. The story of organisms is called biology. About 70,000 years ago, organisms belonging to the species Homo sapiens started to form even more elaborate structures called cultures. The subsequent development of these human cultures is called history.
Three important revolutions shaped the course of history: the Cognitive Revolution kick-started history about 70,000 years ago. The Agricultural Revolution sped it up about 12,000 years ago. The Scientific Revolution, which got under way only 500 years ago, may well end history and start something completely different. This book tells the story of how these three revolutions have affected humans and their fellow organisms.
There were humans long before there was history. Animals much like modern humans first appeared about 2.5 million years ago. But for countless generations they did not stand out from the myriad other organisms with which they shared their habitats.”
How is that for a summary of how we got here? I cannot wait to read more.
Harari also said, “It is likely that most of what you currently learn at school will be irrelevant by the time you are 40… my best advice is to focus on personal resilience and emotional intelligence.”
Personal resilience, emotional intelligence, and lifelong learning about things you are drawn to. Ideas that stir your curiosity. Failure, growth, passion, learning, creativity. These are the things that give our lives meaning.
Critical thinking. Being educated not necessarily trained. Learning how to learn.
When we think about all the things that have happened before today, our worries and struggles and hopes and fears are coupled with perspective. What can we write on our blank page today? We are already thousands of chapters into the story.