This book (the one in the photo below). I almost want to just leave it with those two words. I feel like any kind of reasoning I provide on why this is such a good read just won’t be good enough.
Firstly I don’t understand how someone who wrote an almost 500 page book could maintain a sense of humour (sarcasm, my favourite kind) throughout but he did. Secondly, this book is filled with passion on trying to understand how and why we, as homo sapiens, exist. And it’s not about finding our purpose. It may just be that there is no higher reason for our existence. We were just lucky compared to other living beings.
My most exciting aspect of this book is that nothing is off limits to dig into. Nothing. It’s actually a mindf**k really. Religion, biology, culture, politics…it’s all looked at with somewhat of a fine tooth comb and makes you think. Deep.
The idea that messes with me most? There are many. But the one that stands out for me right now is “the better you know a particular historical period, the harder it becomes to explain why things happened one way and not another. Those who have only a superficial knowledge of a certain period tend to focus only on the possibility that was eventually realised. They offer a just-so story to explain with hindsight why that outcome was inevitable. Those more deeply informed about the period are much more cognisant of the roads not taken. In fact, the people who knew the period best – those alive at the time – were the most clueless of all…It is an iron rule of history that what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious at the time. Today is no different” (quote from Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari).
Why does this sit with me the most? Because in passages that are too long to copy (and you really should get your own copy of this book) it shows that we’re really not in control of much while very much being in control of a lot (confusing I know) and the more we know the more we understand that we actually know very little. So then I end up questioning what the point of trying to always be in control is.
I have hundreds of questions running through my mind and a back and forth argument about what he says. It can’t be true, can it? Can only some of it be true? And that’s the beauty of it…the answers are whatever we decide them to be.