A Brief History of Humankind Sapiens
Yuval Noah Harari
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob

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Chapter 6
Summary

The previous chapter discussed the beginning of agricultural revolution, which some opinion leaders set the world to absolute ruin. When agricultural revolution set off, lives of plants and animals were completely compromised and this chapter features agricultural revolution as perdition. However, the revolution of agriculture generally is believed to have set off the world to progress and prosperity. It is greed, and overexploitation of the resources that are laying a foundation for the absolute ruin.

The agricultural revolution indeed became a turning point. Harari, (88) notes “this was the turning point, they say, where Sapiens cast of its intimate symbiosis with nature and sprinted towards greed and alienation.”  The sapiens developed a symbiotic relationship with nature, but it is unfortunate they focused on alienation and greed. When farming increased, the populations also multiplied and agricultural societies were formed. In essence, the chapter underscores that the rise of agricultural societies resulted in the transition of hunting and gathering into farming and establishment of permanent settlements.

The land that was once massive shrank because of the increased population. The land mass that was available was converted into agriculture and nomadic farmers also needed enough space to graze their animals. With the increased population, and rapidly growing agriculture the pressure on resources increased and this is why some people argue that agricultural revolution is controversial. In addition, it was during this period that farmers accumulated many objects or artifacts more than forager tribe. 

The farmers were interested in the coming future and that is why they preferred preserving food or wealth. However, the foragers never cared about the future and their interest was consuming all that they had. The main reason the foragers discounted the future according to Prof. Harari was because they lived on the hand-to-mouth basis. In addition, the agricultural revolution brought sapiens together, to share their produce together. It is the coming together of agricultural families that resulted in the emergency of imagined order. People had to settle together and organize themselves in families to create their wealth or share their amassed agricultural produce.

Analysis

The phrase “Building pyramids” is not literally the construction of pyramids but it was the construction of social classes. It is on this chapter that Prof. Harari implies the organization of sapiens based on their social status. The wealthy people belonged to a privileged and power tier of the society. The chapter is a depiction of the social classes people belong today, where the rich people are considered privileged, influential and powerful in the society. At the base of the pyramid, the people who are found there are low class and underprivileged. Since the base of the pyramid is large, it shows that the majority of people were subservient to those in the highest level of the pyramid. Ostensibly, the pyramid mirrors the modern society where the ruling class is at the peak of the social ladder, but influence and controls the masses at the lower cadre of the society.

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