6/12(Tue) Sapiens:The Brief History of Humankind (Host:Iris)

Re: 6/12(Tue) Sapiens:The Brief History of Humankind (Host:I

文章Iris Wu » 週一 6月 11, 2018 3:38 pm

@Janice, we have to give you a title, like the “editor in chief”, and make you work harder for YoYo forum! I don’t think anyone would object it. :)
Amazing writing as always!
I, too, hope that it (your second point) is not a wishful thinking for centuries to come!
Iris Wu
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Re: 6/12(Tue) Sapiens:The Brief History of Humankind (Host:I

文章Iris Wu » 週二 6月 12, 2018 8:44 am

During the book reading, we have discussed many interesting questions. Tonight is the closing session for the book, we can only go over a "short list" of topics, there are more (which could be raised by other book clubs or book reviewers) worth thinking about, so I cut and paste from my notes and list it at the end of this post for your reference.

Questions that we have discussed in LINE group:
(See the discussion details on Forum thread: http://yoyo.club.tw/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=4526)

Why Sapiens migrated out of Africa?

1) Do you agree that agricultural revolution makes Sapiens’ life more miserable?
2) Who are the victims of the agricultural revolution? How do you feel about the individual suffering and the catastrophe of animals caused by the revolution?
3) What do you think about the fact that we are living under an “imagine order”? (not a biological/physical order).
4) In the last chapter of Part II, why the author said “there is NO justice in History”? Agree with it?

One question: Throughout the Part II and Part III, the author seems to believe evolution only brings more misery to individuals.
And he said “History’s choices are not made for the benefits of human beings.”
Do you agree? Do you really feel we are more miserable than our ancestors (foragers or farmers)?
How about history’s choices? Why he said so? Didn’t we have some control in our destinations?

From what I read in this discussion thread (and maybe some of my comments added):
Question: Are sapiens more miserable? (Does evolution bring us more well-being or suffering?)
Arguments:
    1) Evolution of genes is neutral; it has NO feelings.
    2) From biological point of view, evolution has no purpose. We don’t have good explanations for many things occurred in the whole evolution process.
    3) But, somehow a serious “misstep of evolution” happened – Human consciousness or our self-awareness.
    4) Why so? Why is it a misstep?
    5) Human consciousness/self-awareness made us think and work and feel under this illusion of self.
    6) All the positive and negative mental states (feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, happiness or misery) caused and accelerated by the consciousness/self-awareness.
    7) Human consciousness:
      a. Caused and enhanced the miserable feelings as described in (6)
      b. Gives the evolution a sense of “humanity”: People even choose to exist with it over just living without it (the consciousness).
    (8) A double-edged sword: Human consciousness
      a. Makes human beings so miserable that we should all go extinct all together!
      “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We are too self-aware…under the illusion of having a self… (we were) programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody's nobody... I think the honorable thing for our species to do is to deny our programming. Stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction.”
      – quoted from “True Detective”
      b. Gives the evolution a sense of “humanity”: It may also create a fork in the evolutionary road, the biological evolution and cultural evolution. The latter was probably defined and evolved in our human conscious order. We became more self-awareness, more powerful and more aggressive (relative to other animals) along with the accretion of our sensory experience and feelings and desire. But what would it lead us to? AI, Cyborgs and something more destructive to the whole human race? Can we really manage the “consciousness in the evolution”?
    9) Either way, sapiens may be just part of a game. Somewhere it was given the “consciousness” to start its own game playing in the bigger game plot. But at the end, the game will be just over, no matter what?

Part III: The Unification of Humankind
Some questions:
    • Is the world really more unified?
    • If so, what areas/aspects make you think humankind are more unified, living conditions, education system, human rights, arts, dress code, food, our value systems….?
    • Theoretically, the more unified we are, the more peaceful the world should be, isn’t it?
    • But do human beings live more harmoniously? Is the world more peaceful?
    • If yes, what will the unification process lead us to?
    • If no, why can’t the unification result in peace?
I have some questions about the Scientific Revolution part:
    1) One of my college courses, “The History of Ming Dynasty” (明史), illustrated how advanced technology and business trading China held in 14th to 16th Centuries. Dr. Harari echoes the facts about China’s leading position in chapter 15. But why scientific revolution did not take place in China? Why it was not nurtured in China? Any our own (Chinese version of) explanation for this?
    2) It seems Dr. Harari sees globalization is inevitable trend (capitalist globalization is effectively building a global empire). What do you think the nationalism in the current world politics? Will it alter the path? Will a global empire still be our ultimate destination?
Questions compiled for final session:
(1) Is it good to Sapiens that the family system was destroyed by state and we have become less connected with our family members? (Rock)
(2) The agricultural revolution set humankind in the road to prosperity or perdition?
(3) Can capitalist economic growth continue exponentially?
(4) Humankind has only been present for a minute fraction of planet earth’s existence – do you think that our civilization will retain its current position in centuries to come?
(5) Why are we so troubled by globalization and homogenization? Do you think it is an inevitable path for human beings?
(6) What is your take on about thinking “What do we want to want?” instead of “What do we want to become?” (p.411, The Frankenstein Prophecy)
"The Cognitive Revolution is accordingly the point when history declared its independence from biology." (p.37, History & Biology)
“The implication has been that, no matter what their efforts and achievements, Sapiens are incapable of breaking free of their biologically determined limits. But as the twenty-first century unfolds, this is no longer true: Homo sapiens is transcending those limits. It is now beginning to break the laws of natural selection, replacing them with the laws of intelligent design.” (p. 397, The End of Homo Sapiens)

I'd like to ask a question: Does factory farm increase or decrease the overall happiness of sapiens? Will it hurt sapiens if we keep on doing factory farming?

The other day, I had "heated debate" with some friends in Silicon Valley on Capitalism. I am wondering what are your opinions/thoughts on the merits/faults of capitalism and the future of the capitalism?

In the book, the author considers capitalism as a form of religion. Do you agree?
Once Dr. Harari said capitalism is “the most successful religion”, because “it’s the only religion that its followers actually do what they were asked to do.”
What do you think about his statement?

Some questions worth thinking about:
    • "There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings." (p.31) What are some of the imagined realities you believe in?
    • Do you feel you are missing out by living in a world with only one human species? Could other human species ever possibly have survived?
    • Does the forager life sound appealing to you? Are you convinced by Harari's generally rosy picture of forager life?
    • Does reading about how we evolved as animals change your perception of the human/nature divide?
    • "It is wrong to judge thousands of years of history from the perspective of today." (p. 93) From what other perspective can we judge it? Can we really get inside the perspective of a 3-year-old girl living thousands of years ago?
    • If life as a farmer was so bad, why did humans willingly transition to this way of life?
    • Which side of the debate do you fall on: the agricultural revolution set humankind in the road to prosperity or perdition?
    • Do you think written script would have been as unsettling to the ancient Sumerians as the idea of AI is to a lot of people today?
    • Are you convinced by any of the theories about why we live in a patriarchal world?
    • How did money succeed where gods and kings failed?
    • Why are we so troubled by globalization and homogenization if it is just part of the inevitable march of history and is in fact as old as time?
    • (Iris) Why are we so troubled by globalization and homogenization? Do you think it is an inevitable path for human beings?
    • Is imperialism really defensible on the grounds that empires paid for culture and most of us are the product of empires?
    • Can capitalist economic growth continue exponentially?
    • Can you imagine a world without science, empires and capitalism? Would you want to live in such a world?
    • Do you find the notion that families and communities have been completely destroyed by free market capitalism shocking? Do you recognize the effects of this in your own life?
    • Do you agree with Harari that we have produced little we can be proud of? Is his gloomy afterword justified?
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
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Re: 6/12(Tue) Sapiens:The Brief History of Humankind (Host:I

文章Gloria Lo » 週三 6月 13, 2018 9:31 am

8)
Attendees:
John, Norman (newcomer) Rock, Ellen, Devry, Rosie, Momo, Iris (host), Sabrina, Tanya, Joseph, Chris, Ken, Luis, Kat, Summer, Miller, Sherry, Tashi, Ryan, Wen-han, Anne, Tina, Steve, Yvonne, Kooper, Vicky, Michael, Gloria, David (30)

Awesome!


:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Gloria Lo
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