Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yuval Noah Harari at Hay Festival: Why our imaginations make us human

Link to video: Sapiens: Why our imaginations make us human
It would be difficult to accuse Yuval Noah Harari of a lack of ambition: in Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, the historian covers the species from its origins to ‘the post-human era’. 
In the book, which has become an international bestseller, Harari compares homo sapiens with other human species (such as homo erectus) and with animals. 
What makes us special – and why do we rule the world? In this clip, Harari explains that it’s our imaginations and our ability to believe in myths and stories that enable us to communicate on a mass level – and to control other animals. 
“Money is the probably the most successful story ever told” he argues. “It has no objective value… but then you have these master storytellers: the big bankers, the finance ministers… and they come and they tell a very convincing story. ‘Look this piece of paper, it is actually worth 10 bananas’… and it works. Try doing that with a chimpanzee – it won’t work!”

Related previous posts:

Harari on hindsight...

The Worst Crime in History - by Yuval Noah Harari

"One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations."

Related links:

Yuval Harari's Talk at Google

Edge #437 - Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman: A Conversation

Related lectures (videos): A Brief History of Humankind

[H/T @CravenPartners]