21 Lessons for the 21st Century
21 Lessons for the 21st Centuryby Yuval Noah Harari
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We think we know a lot, even though individually we know very little, because we treat knowledge in the minds of others as if it were our own. This is not necessarily bad. Our reliance on groupthink has made us masters of the world, and the knowledge illusion enables us to go through life without being caught in an impossible effort to understand everything ourselves. From an evolutionary perspective, trusting in the knowledge of others has worked extremely well for Homo sapiens.
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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However, for better or worse, elections and referendums are not about what we think. They are about what we feel. And when it comes to feelings, Einstein and Dawkins are no better than anyone else. Democracy assumes that human feelings reflect a mysterious and profound 'free will, that this 'free will is the ultimate source of authority, and that while some people are more intelligent than others, all humans are equally free
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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people The liberal belief in the feelings and free choices of individuale neither natural nor very ancient. For thousands of years de believed that authority came from divine laws rather than from the human heart, and that we should therefore sanctify the word of God rather than human liberty. Only in the last few centuries did the source of authority shift from celestial deities to flesh-andblood humans.
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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As we mentioned in the previous chapter, scientific insights into the way our brains and bodies work suggest that our feelings are not some uniquely human spiritual quality, and they do not reflect any kind of free will'. Rather, feelings are biochemical mechanisms that all mammals and birds use in order to quickly calculate probabilities of survival and reproduction. Feelings aren't based on intuition, inspiration or freedom - they are based on calculation.
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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Vaunted 'human intuition is in reality 'pattern recognition
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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Since the corporations and entrepreneurs who lead the technological revolution naturally tend to sing the praises of their creations, it falls to sociologists, philosophers and historians like myself to sound the alarm and explain all the ways things can go terribly wrong.
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Sam Cash@cash﹒1y
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p.86
Though in the twenty-first century humans might be upgraded into gods, as of 2018 we are still Stone Age animals. In order to flourish we still need to ground ourselves in intimate communities.
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Ryan Sapp@ryanparkcity﹒1y
Community is a basic need of connection and survival for humans.
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If we want to prevent a small elite from monopolizing such godlike powers, and if we want to prevent humankind from splitting into biological castes, the key question is: who owns the data? Does
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Ryan Sapp@ryanparkcity﹒1y
The theme I keep hearing is the worry about a small elite monopolizing wealth, values and opportunities. Can’t disagree.
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But just as Big Data algorithms might extinguish liberty, they might simultaneously create the most unequal societies that ever existed
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Ryan Sapp@ryanparkcity﹒1y
Ying and Yang of life. Great progress is possible but great disaster is possible as well
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When people tried to observe themselves, what they usually discovered were these ready-made stories. An open ended exploration was too dangerous. It threatened to undermine the social order.
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David King@dk﹒1y
Stories which create order in social systems also create narratives which confound finding clarity.
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I am certainly not suggesting abandoning the present tools and practices of brain research. Meditation doesn't replace them, but it might complement them.
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David King@dk﹒1y
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However, so far we have absolutely no explanation for how the mind emerges from the brain.
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David King@dk﹒1y
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And to do so I didn't have to accept any story, theory, or mythology. I just had to observe reality as it is.
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David King@dk﹒1y
I appreciate how this doesn't require faith or belief. It just is... take it or leave it.
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For years I had lived under the impression that I was the master of my life, the CEO of my own personal brand. But a few hours of meditation were enough to show me that I had hardly any control over myself. I was not the CEO; I was barely the gatekeeper.
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David King@dk﹒1y
A process of letting go.
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Whenever politicians start talking in mystical terms, beware. They might be trying to disguise and excuse real suffering by wrapping it up in big, incomprehensible words. Be particularly careful about the following four words: “sacrifice,” “eternity,” “purity,” “redemption.” If you hear any of these four, sound the alarm.
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David King@dk﹒1y
Politicians disguising human suffering for their own means.
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When you are confronted by some great story and you wish to know whether it is real or imaginary, one of the key questions to ask is whether the central hero of the story can suffer.
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David King@dk﹒1y
Interesting litmus test.
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people should completely give themselves up to the emperor, excise all personal thinking, and observe total loyalty to the nation.
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David King@dk﹒1y
Hard to reconcile this radical Japanese idea with Buddhism as we know it today.
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They just need to realize that there is no meaning, and therefore be liberated from the suffering caused by our attachments and our identification with empty phenomena.
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David King@dk﹒1y
The Buddha
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Well, maybe Tesla will just leave it to the market. Tesla could produce two models of the self-driving car: the Tesla Altruist and the Tesla Egoist. In an emergency, the Altruist sacrifices its owner to the greater good, whereas the Egoist does everything in its power to save its owner, even if it means killing the two kids. Customers will then be able to buy the car that best fits their favorite philosophical view. If more people buy the Tesla Egoist, you won't be able to blame Tesla for that. After all, the customer is always right.
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Ryan Sapp@ryanparkcity﹒1y
You won’t need to buy two different cars. Just change modes.
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You might counter that people were asked “What do you think?" rather than "What do you feel?,” but this is a common misperception. Referendums and elections are always about human feelings, not about human rationality. If democracy were a matter of rational decision-making, there would be absolutely no reason to give all people equal voting rights or perhaps any voting rights at all. There is ample evidence that some people are far more knowledgeable and rational than others, certainly when it comes to specific economic and political questions
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Ryan Sapp@ryanparkcity﹒1y
What an intelligent point. Politicians gain momentum through how people feel about them. Not their stance on issues.
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