Simply put, the Cognitive Revolution allowed larger-scale cooperation because suddenly, information was a commodity, and people could now trade information like they would trade food or animals. Once humans fell into the Agricultural “trap,” they had no use for their previous nomadic lives, and, as surpluses of food grew, it became necessary to find a way to hold information outside of the humans’ minds. This sparked the “imagined orders” that have come to dictate our present lives. One such example Harari uses is the company “Peugeot.” Peugeot, much like any other corporate entity, requires people to collectively “believe” that it exists in order for the company to have power over people (Harari, 26). These companies do have a benefit of furthering human cooperation, though, because humans who have a collective belief tend to find a semblance of brotherhood in their fellow humans.
Imagined orders are definitely a prerequisite for science. All quantifiable measures are imagined orders. Science itself, then, is also an imagined order because science, by definition, is “…the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” While the natural phenomena may exist and happen all around us, science is the imaginary imposition of order upon those phenomena. Objects in nature may take up space, but we are the ones who quantified and measured that space they take up.
In my opinion, this calls into question what we do as humans. Are we pursuing this order in a futile attempt to live our lives immersed in imagination? Is the meaning we find in this pursual truly fulfilling, or are we merely using it to distract ourselves just enough until we, as ourselves, cease to exist? Are we truly facing life as nature intended, or are we facing the disadvantages of the orders we have imposed upon ourselves? This is definitely a lot to think about, and apologies if these questions caused any existential crises.