96% of respondents in a Pew Research study say they believe we’ve evolved somehow. The world is evolving faster than ever before.
In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari takes a sweeping look at the future of humanity. Keep reading for the top ten key takeaways of Home Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.
In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari sets out to explore the future of humanity and our possible next steps as a species. He also examines our connections with evolution.
He does this by looking at our past and current trajectories and then inferring where we might head. While he offers several potential futures for us, he’s clear that the one thing we can be sure of is change—and lots of it.
Yuval Noah Harari’s Perspective
With Homo Deus, Dr. Harari provokes deep thought and consideration of our history. He also sheds light on the future of our society. If you’ve read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, you know the author’s writing centers on his studies of historical analyses and facts.
Dr. Yuval Noah Harari is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Harari specializes in military and medieval history. He’s also a philosopher and best-selling author.
Homo Deus Summary
In Dr. Harari’s Homo Deus book, the author examines past and future approaches to evolution. It explores what happens when mythology merges with cutting-edge technology. He also covers the looming threats of liberalism.
The doctor also speculates about a greater cosmic plan. In the speculation, he provides a glimpse of the future and technology. In the future, the religion of Dataism will replace traditional beliefs by creating Home Deus.
Homo Deus Meaning
“Homo” is the Latin term for humans, and “Deus” is the Latin term for God. Homo Deus deals with the abilities acquired by humans through existence. It also encompasses our evolution as a dominant species.
In Homo Deus, Dr. Harari describes our current abilities and achievements. He also speculates about his vision of society in the future. In his text, he touches on philosophical issues like individualism, humanism, transhumanism, and mortality.
StoryShot #1: The Top Concerns of Humanity
Throughout time, society has had three top concerns. These concerns include:
Humans have continually prayed to their Gods about these issues. They’ve also created social systems and tools to deal with these problems. Nevertheless, humans continue to perish because of these same issues.
Many prophets and intellectuals claim these three problems are a part of God’s plan for humanity. Furthermore, they argue they won’t go away.
As society enters the third millennium, we’ve become better at controlling these perils. We haven’t eliminated them, but they’ve become more manageable.
Our Concerns in Recent Years
Economic, technological, and political growth has provided humanity with a safety net throughout the last century. It’s protected us from poverty.
In some parts of the world, famine still exists. However, it’s rare.
Most often, famine exists due to bad politics rather than natural forces. In fact, overeating is a much larger societal issue compared to famine. Researchers forecast that over half the world’s population will be overweight by 2030.
Also, we’ve become more vulnerable to infectious diseases over the last century. Still, plagues have decreased drastically because of improved medicine and hygiene.
StoryShot #2: Enemies of the Ecosystem
Society has become increasingly aware of ecological issues since the 70s. Since then, wildlife populations have fallen by 50%.
Many people believe that domesticated animals are better off than those living in the wild. Nevertheless, they face the same fate whether living in a domestic or natural environment.
Society has taken control of domesticated animals. In doing so, they’ve disregarded their basic needs and feelings.
Mammals can’t live on sustenance alone. They also need emotional engagement.
Then and Now
The people of ancient China, Egypt, and Rome only had a basic knowledge of scientific subjects. These subjects include chemistry, biology, epidemiology, and zoology. Their capability to manage animals and diseases had limits for this reason.
Now, modern science has revealed its secrets. Antibiotics, air conditioning, pesticides, and vaccines have changed our relationship with the ecosystem. Now, mankind can fill cages with livestock to produce meat and milk.
Recently, however, people have begun to reconsider our relationship with animals. As a result, the way that we engage with animals has faced considerable criticism. Critics believe that slaughtering animals is the same as machines exploiting and killing humans because they have less value.
At this stage, society has less to worry about when it comes to natural disasters. However, society itself is a tangible threat.
Over time, people have changed the ecosystem in irreversible ways. The damage left behind is worse than the impact that wiped out dinosaurs.
StoryShot #3: The Illusion of Everlasting Life
As Homo sapiens, there’s no doubt we’re the strongest and smartest species in the world. We’re superior to all species, and our lives are more valuable than those of animals.
As humans, we’ve enjoyed convincing ourselves we have a unique spark. In other words, we have some superior characteristic justification for privileged status.
Traditionally, monotheists believe only humans have eternal souls. Our souls move on to redemption or damnation. Meanwhile, the body decays.
At the same time, monotheists don’t believe animals have eternal souls. When they expire, they become nothing.
The concept of the soul lives on in our economic, legal, and political systems. Yet, there’s no scientific proof to back this belief.
Science and the Human Soul
Science challenges the reality of the human soul. First, there’s no evidence to prove souls exist. Moreover, the concept of the soul contradicts the principles of evolution.
Only a small percentage of surveyed Americans believe that humans evolved by natural selection and without divine intervention. Today, schools barely teach evolution. Yet, religious advocates prefer that schools don’t teach the subject at all, sticking solely to the concept of creationism.
Evolution refutes the concept that the soul is eternal. Creationists also believe that the soul is unchanging.
Constant change is a key part of evolution theory. As a result, evolution can’t create eternal entities.
StoryShot #4: Animals and Homo Sapiens
Animals live in duality. They have an awareness of their experiences and feelings. For instance, they experience emotions like fear, desire, and joy.
However, humans have a triple reality. They have desires and feelings and possess material things. Living as a human also consists of gods, money, and other elements.
History and Mythology
In the past, farmers fed thousands of cities and armies. They preserved myths by passing on stories by word-of-mouth through generations. Often, the farmers injected their own ideas into the stories of their gods.
For example, Egyptians considered the Pharaoh as more than a divine figure. The Pharaoh was a real God.
In their minds, however, the real ruler of the Nile was an imaginary Pharaoh. This Pharaoh lived in the legends spread among the Egyptians.
Before the written word, peoples’ stories were as long as someone’s capacity for memorization. With writing, however, we can preserve long and complex stories. This ability has allowed the organization of entire communities in an algorithmic manner.
StoryShot #5: Changing Perceptions
In society, stories are the foundation of our beliefs. Over time, stories about nations and gods have gained immense popularity. So much so that they’ve started to dominate objective reality.
Humans focused their efforts on glorifying these imaginary entities due to blind faith. Some people, however, believe science forms a different kind of myth. They believe people’s faith in science is like societies’ ancient belief in Gods.
Still, science is more than a bridge between people. In religion, people believe that God helps those who help themselves. In other words, God doesn’t exist, but faith pushes people to accomplish things.
Conversely, science even helps those who choose not to help themselves. It can cure disease, whether someone believes in it or not.
StoryShot #6: The Universal Scheme
Until recent years, most people felt that human beings were part of the universal scheme. Great gods and the everlasting rules of nature oversaw the scheme. There was no way for human beings to affect it.
This scheme gave human life meaning. However, it also limited our power. In effect, people were like actors in a story.
The dialogue and story of life provided meaning but restricted their performance. If something tragic happened, they found assurance in the fact that things happen for a reason.
Today, however, modern people deny belief in a universal scheme. The world no longer believes in a predestined script.
StoryShot #7: Being Human
Modernity grants powers to humans. They can reject the common schemes that most people rely on for meaning. Still, it’s impossible to keep order without meaning.
Modern artistic, religious, and political systems have tried to find a deeper meaning for life. Yet, they stray away from cosmic schemes.
There’s no one that constrains the power of humanity. Still, they remain convinced their lives have a profound meaning.
In the last few centuries, humanism has provided meaning for purposeless lives. It warships humanity with humanity playing the part of God. Still, it doesn’t support losing faith in God but instead gaining faith in humanity.
StoryShot #8: Individual Freedom
Science isn’t a study of value. It can’t define if liberalism is correct in giving liberty importance over equality. Science also can’t regard the individual over the collective.
Contrary to liberalism, religion operates on what it deems facts and abstract thinking. These beliefs don’t hold up to science.
Liberals regard individual freedom greatly. They’re certain humans enjoy free will.
Liberalism encourages people to do whatever makes them feel good and follow their passion. However, science tells a different story.
Instead of free will, researchers point to hormones, genes, and neurons that follow biological laws. In this way, science conflicts with liberalism.
StoryShot #9: The Utility of Religion
Religions of the future won’t come from caves or religious schools as in the past. The next religions, speculates Dr. Harari, will come from research laboratories.
Soon, scientific religions might emerge and become dominant. They could promise redemption through biology and technology.
Today, Christianity and Islam are highly popular. However, Silicon Valley is attracting just as much interest as these religions.
Now, researchers promise to fulfill people’s needs with their revelations. People may find peace, eternal life, and happiness through technology, the things people once sought from religion.
StoryShot #10: Religion and Tech
Contrary to the concept of digital minimalism, Dataism is a new school of religious thought. It’s a data religion.
The belief argues that the universe consists of data flows. The value of each event or entity varies depending on what contributes to data processing.
Dataism comes from the works of Charles Darwin and Alan Turing. It maintains that mathematical rules apply to biochemical and electronic algorithms. As a result, Dataism removes all barriers between animals, people, and machines.
Dataism and Our Future
Scientists and intellectuals believe that Dataism is a broad theory that covers all scientific disciplines. It gives researchers a unified language and removes academic rifts.
It also removes disciplinary boundaries from discoveries. Moreover, Dataism reverses the standard learning pyramid.
Those who believe in Dataism argue society can no longer manage its massive flow of data. As a result, they can no longer draw information or knowledge from it.
Biology and computer science serve as the foundation of Dataism. However, biology is the most important part of the discipline. The embrace of Dataism by biology may lead to a radical change in the nature of life.
Summing up Homo Deus
In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari offers a candid perspective about where humanity might head next. In particular, Yuval Noah Harari in Homo Deus explores the idea that society will soon become a species of beings no longer at the mercy of natural selection. Instead, we may actively direct our own evolution through genetic engineering and other technological interventions.
What did you learn from Homo Deus? What was your favorite takeaway? Is there an important insight that we missed? Comment below or tweet to us @storyshots.