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The ‘Sapiens’ Story46:45
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A new history of us --Homo Sapiens — and why fiction – stories – let us rule the world.

Visitors picture, from the left, models representing Flores, Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal women stand in the "Musee des Confluences", a new science and anthropology museum in Lyon, central France, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (AP)
Visitors picture, from the left, models representing Flores, Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal women stand in the "Musee des Confluences", a new science and anthropology museum in Lyon, central France, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (AP)

Humans – homo sapiens – rule the world.  For better or worse, some might say.  My guest today looks at how that happened – why – and where we’re headed next.  It’s us and not others, he says, because of our affinity for myth-making and stories.  We buy into big ideas that bind us together and have given us power.  Religion.  Money.  Nation states.  Now that power may threaten the planet.  But evolution isn’t over.  Homo sapiens may be in their last few hundred years, he says.  Ready to merge with machines.  This hour On Point:  historian Yuval Noah Harari on the rise and maybe end of us, homo sapiens.

Guest

Yuval Noah Harari, lecturer in world history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Author of the new book, "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind."

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: Thrilling story, dark message — "If Sapiens is at its best in the early chapters, when the scarcity of evidence gives full scope to Harari’s audacious imagination and gift for exposition, it remains consistently fresh and lively as it advances into the historical era, which it interprets in terms of three potentially universal orders – money, empire and religion. Harari is a brilliant populariser: a ruthless synthesiser; a master storyteller unafraid to stage old set pieces such as Cortés and Moctezuma; and an entertainer constantly enlivening his tale with chatty asides and modern parallels."

Toronto Star: How we’re evolving from Homo sapiens to bionic somethings — "Even if climate had something to do with it, humans were also a crucial factor. If it was only climate change, big animals would have survived because they survived for millions of years despite climate change. We have archaeological evidence that 12,000 years ago extinction of animals had something to do with humans. We find that wherever people migrated the mammoths disappeared. If they disappeared because of climate change how did they survive on small islands near Siberia and Alaska?"

The Wall Street Journal: Neanderthals: Why Us and Not Them? — "If we do midwife Neanderthals into the present, could we somehow give them a longer childhood, too? And if we did, would they knuckle under as easily as they did in the past? Dr. Church, after all, speculates that "a kind of Neanderthal culture" could arise on their return and gain "political significance." Maybe that's just another extraordinary illustration of a wild future, but think on it: Planet of the Neanderthals. Or worse, a Neanderthal caucus in congress. Careful what you wish for."

Read An Excerpt Of "Sapiens" By Yuval Noah Harari

https://www.scribd.com/doc/254957867/Excerpt-From-Sapiens-A-Brief-History-of-Humankind-By-Yuval-Noah-Harari

This program aired on February 9, 2015.

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