A few posts ago, mariner introduced the writings of Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned futurist who has provided books, articles, lectures and opinions about how to interpret today’s reality and project the interpretations into mankind’s future. His new book is Homo Deus; he was interviewed in The Atlantic magazine for February 2017.
Harari takes a simplistic view of humanity, saying that humans may think fancy thoughts in the frontal lobe, but human behavior does not roam far from opinions controlled in the Hindbrain (Reptilian Brain). As you might guess from its name, it’s a piece of brain anatomy that we share with reptiles and is the most primitive. It’s in charge of our primal instincts and most basic functions – things like the instincts of survival, dominance, and mating. Freed from obedience to history books alone, Harari can project very broad patterns that are predetermined by the hindbrain. [think Donald]
Harari’s book is one of several new books on our culture, economy, morality and politics that, even as a small amount of material, provides the new core concepts that are driving H. sapiens history today and tomorrow. The handful of books is a fine college ‘major’ that will prepare you for judging new and sometimes disturbing values. Although touted as college material, all the sources are pleasant and frequently entertaining texts.
Mariner includes the above preface to aid in understanding the economic upheaval occurring today. There are two examples: the emergence of oligarchy and the phenomenon of the haves taking as much as they can from the have nots, specifically the Republican health care legislation designed to replace the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare or ACA.
The current emergence of oligarchy was launched by Ronald back in the 1980’s. It has exploded into our culture because of powerful advances in communication technology which naturally give an edge to those who have the resources to leverage rapid information; do not give credit for the healing GDP and historic stock prices to the election of Donald. Unpoliticized economists have long said the economy rises and falls regardless of who is President. Data storage and massive processing capability have allowed corporations to be virtually transportable, cutting costs and sending profits through the roof. Why hasn’t profit been shared with the lower income/little income/no income folks? Generalists say that this is just the cost of new economic growth; Harari says it’s the hindbrain protecting unfocused fears associated with survival and dominance – and sex if it applies. The hindbrain, incidentally, has little ability to manage morality; that’s managed by the limbic system. [think Donald]
This tennis game with the brain is informative but Harari suggests this leads to a troublesome future. It is simpler to ask readers to reflect on Bernie’s comment that 1 percent of the population holds 90 percent of the wealth. Over time, there will be less and less available to sustain this ratio. Overpopulation, diminishing resources, and increased imbalance in the biosphere will take its toll on “unneeded” people.
The second example, the new health bill, shows the same preference by conservatives to squeeze out humans who, not because they aren’t permitted but because they can’t afford the health services – a clear echo of hindbrain decision making. Conservatives rationalize that every resource must contribute to a safer economy or, frankly, it weakens the economy.
These examples are presented with the ideas Harari would utilize. This approach certainly has its detractors. What seems critical to the mariner is that if one takes a fair view of human history, it behaves very much like Harari suggests whatever the historical situation. That being the case, humans are in for some troubling times within a century or so.
Two thoughts predominate: overpopulation (implying disappearing resources) and globally based natural issues; near horizon is the effect of global warming; far effect is a major ice age (not that we have to wait for the ice age, the shift in orbit will catch the attention of tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and disruptive shifts in the weather.
See why some don’t like Yuval Noah Harari? There are no cuddle blankets. However, his no nonsense, no comforting fantasies about political theory and no guarantee about consistency, give us a clear image of the future for Homo sapiens, all things being equal.
Have a nice day.