A Brief History of Humankind Sapiens
Yuval Noah Harari
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob
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Chapter 8
Summary

In this chapter, Prof. Harari is investigating how mankind organized themselves in what he describes as “mass-cooperation networks.”  According to the chapter, humans lacked the biological instincts which could enable them to sustain “mass-cooperation networks.”  However, to address this concern, the author asserts that the creation of imagined order and devised scripts, which were succeeded through invention of writing, gave information on biological inheritance. Note that the imagined order, led to the creation of some classes or group classes, where people were classified based on their affluence.

The classes were in a pyramid- like formation and the people who belonged to the upper class of the pyramid wielded power and were accorded privileges. The people that belonged to lower level of the pyramid were discriminated and oppressed. In essence, the pyramid had superiors, commoners and slaves, and the people who suffered were the slaves. In reality, the pecking order claimed in this chapter is a demonstration of how unjust history has been to other people and the same history is repeated especially in a society like America, where the White people were considered and Black Americans as well as Americans Indians were considered inferior and slaves.

Analysis

The major idea presented in this chapter is organization and ordering of the society. At this point, humankind sapiens was more developed and realized the need to live in a more organized way. For the society to be more organized, Harari observes mass cooperation networks as the solution. Mass cooperation networks that individuals see today began long time ago after sapiens realized the need to man’s social order. To manage social order, the society had to be unequal, so that the superior individuals could influence the inferiors. Thus, this explains the current inequalities in families, communities, societies, regions, or nations. The inequalities observed in the society, therefore originated from the desire to create imagined order.

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