Navigating urgent issues for survival
Historian’s stimulating journey through disruptive change
YUVAL Harari’s first two books, and were internationally acclaimed, deservedly so.
In he surveyed the human past, examining how an insignificant ape became ruler of the planet Earth. While in
Harari explored the long-term future of life, contemplating how humans might eventually become gods, and what might be the ultimate destiny of intelligence and consciousness.
In my review of (Cape Times, November 4, 2016) I asked: ”It is astonishing that Harari, at a little over 40, has had time to produce two such profound major works. One wonders what next he will share with us?”
The answer is his new book,
In it he asks how can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms, and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children?
Harari takes us on a thrilling and thought-provoking journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through the book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change.
“Of course 7 billion people have 7 billion agendas, and thinking about the big picture is a relatively rare luxury. My agenda here is global. I look at the major forces that shape societies all over the world, and that are likely to influence the future of our planet as a whole. Reality is composed of many threads, and this book tries to cover different aspects of our global predicament, without claiming to be exhaustive.” is not an academic textbook, as fine a brain as Harari obviously possesses, he is a superb communicator as well. He has the ability to discuss sometimes lofty subjects in a clear and understandable way.
As in his first two books, almost each and every page will offer a sentence that requires thought. An example: “Whereas the major movements of the twentieth century all had a vision for the entire human species – be it global domination, revolution or liberation – Donald Trump offers no such thing. His main message is that it’s not America’s job to formulate and promote any global vision.” We live in a world where taking offence and umbrage at almost everything is a global phenomenon. Those who partake in this will have a field day at much of what Harari gives us in this book. Bully for them.
hugely stimulating, and it is a book that I just know I will want to read again and again.