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  • Writer's pictureArjun Patel

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Part 3

Hi guys! I just finished reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, so I wanted to post part 3 of the book, "The Unification of Humankind." This part was so exciting, and I can't wait to share its summary with you! Because I just finished this book and started reading a new one in a three-book series. The first book is Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. I will admit that this is different from the books I have read before, and I will share my thoughts about it when it comes.

In Chapter 9, during the post-agricultural revolution period, human societies became more complex and more extensive while their imagined order became clearer. People became accustomed to fiction and myths from birth, influencing their thinking and behavior. Individuals began conforming to specific standards, while societies expected their members to abide by rules, regulations, and laws. Essentially, cultures were developed within human communities, which required people to behave in a certain way. This created a common bond among strangers who had no option but to cooperate. Harari calls it the Unification of Humankind—a time when cultures developed and people bonded like never before. I found this analysis fascinating.

Chapter 10 provides a historical account of how currency came to be. Initially, trade was conducted through bartering. However, gold and silver were eventually introduced as a form of money. The chapter highlights that Mexicans possessed gold but were unaware of its value. The Aztecs, who inhabited Mexico, were puzzled as to why foreigners were interested in the yellow metal found on their land. Unfortunately, the Aztecs used bolts and beans instead of gold as a means of payment for goods. On the other hand, the Spanish recognized the value of gold and exploited it to their advantage. The idea of using gold as currency originated from the Spanish, who went on to spread it across Afro-Asia and the rest of the world. After their victory against the Muslims, Christians also started producing gold and silver coins, which became widely used. In summary, this chapter explains how money came into existence.

In Chapter 11, Harari argues that justice has not been a driving force in history. This has led some empires to pursue imperial visions at the expense of others. Harari explicitly explores the rise of empires that sought to expand their territories through colonization. He mentions several examples, including the American, French, Dutch, and Belgian empires. These empires exploited other cultures and peoples in pursuit of their goals. Interestingly, Harari notes that even the mighty Roman Empire fell due to defeat. The chapter focuses on the conquest of other empires and the territorial expansion of established ones. Harari mentions exploitation again in this chapter, suggesting that our cultural and economic foundations were built on other nations' and peoples' exploitation and deceit. Throughout history, morality was not as widely embraced as today, and people strive to be as ethical as possible. Nevertheless, unfortunately, exploitation remains a significant problem that many countries still employ to their benefit.

I will combine Chapters 12 & 13 as they are both short. Chapter 12 explores religion and its significance, highlighting how religions like Islam had sacred places like Mecca. Religion was once a unifying force, fostering a sense of oneness among people who shared the same beliefs. However, the chapter notes that religion today can be a source of disunion, discrimination, and disagreement. Buddhism and Islam are the two most well-known religions discussed in this chapter. Chapter 13 argues that universal religion, empires, and commerce brought the world together, contributing to today's global society. Previously small cultures blended into larger ones to meet the global population's needs. This has resulted in a world where national boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred, providing much more for global society to share.

Part 3 of this book has been the most exciting part for me. I highly encourage anyone interested in the rise of human society to read this book. It is a hard one to put down. Because I have already read "The Scientific Revolution," I am happy to report that it is also pretty interesting. However, I think this section was the best of them all. You guys should find out for yourselves, though!

- AnthroManTalks

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