The Rise of Homo Sapiens

Prompt Question(s): Why did the Cognitive Revolution allow for larger-scale cooperation among humans? What is an “imagined order” and how do they further human cooperation? Give one example that Harari uses of an imagined order.

Are imagined orders a prerequisite for science? Is science an imagined order? Why or why not?

Harari states in his book that human history has been shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution. Before the Cognitive Revolution, homo sapiens were no more impressive than any other mammal on earth, we were in the middle of the food chain and would be lucky enough to survive for another 1,000 years. It was around this time, ~70,000-30,000 years ago, where Harari says the Cognitive Revolution began. Here, we began to communicate with each other on a level that was never seen before. Language allowed for the development and spread of ideas, religions, myths, legends, and fantasies. This allowed for large groups of humans to stand strong and be unified in the same beliefs and ideas. Also, myths were not genetically based, they could adapt and change their behavior as soon as they adapted their new belief. They didn’t have to wait millions of years for a genetic change. This allowed for the imagined order, myths and beliefs passed on from older generations. New myths must build upon or evolve from previous myths. Harari talks about the Egyptians.

Imagined orders could be arguably a prerequisite for science, unless you talk about The Kuhn Cycle. Science does build upon itself more and more until a paradigm shift. Science though is based on facts, and imagined orders are mostly based on beliefs passed down.

One thought on “The Rise of Homo Sapiens

  1. I would agree with the idea that imagined orders are a large part of making science possible as science is resource heavy for the advancement of knowledge. For example labs would not be possible in more mobile environments like tribes where you follow the food and can’t take much with you wherever you go making resource collection for research both pointless and infeasible. I would additionally say that with imagined orders the advancement of science was inevitable regardless of what it ended up being called as people are greedy and want to collect knowledge in order to facilitate increased resource collection, and war efforts as wars spur innovation.

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