Book Review: From animals to Gods: brief history of humanity by Yuval Noah

From animals to gods

From animals to gods is an essay on the history of humanity told with different interpretative keys by the historian Yuval Noa Harari. We are used to letting us tell the history of humanity through the traditional keys such as heroes, wars, social revolutions, etc. The novelty, if there is something new in this genre, is that this young historian (39 years to publish the book) evokes the animal-man from its prehistory to the present, describing it as Homo Sapiens, with the aim of reminding us to be human from the modern evolutionary perspective.

It is taking the reader step by step from a macro perspective, as one who is looking at the history of Sapiens from the sky. An expression that must be well understood because his vision is that of an agnostic. Of unimportant simians to gods of the current fragile planet is something like his thesis.

The main keys of Yuval Noah in his book regarding the animal called Sapiens are: Fire gave him power; The conversation made the Sapiens that his fellowmen cooperate; Agriculture fueled his ambition; mythology sustained law and order; the money offered something to trust; the contradictions created the culture. Science made Sapiens an unstoppable, “damned”, unsatisfied and irresponsible god.

It is to note that Yuval Noah gives the evolution of Homo Sapiens a preponderant meaning. The evolutionary explanation of this magnificent animal, explains all its biological improvement, explains much of its prehistory, suggests that its survival wiped out many species of animals, other animals of the same species – homo – and plants.

The mysterious social rearrangement of Sapiens, through its social innovations, with its equals; the different immaterial creations (imagined) and variables that allowed modeling the current social order; and the scientific prophecy of the sapiens of the future, of the bionic man, “a mortal”, discontented god, will require a new and revolutionary universal social order, are the guiding thread of this work, didactic and even fun.

One more animal in evolution

Homo sapiens is for Yuval Noah the only species of “animal” Homos that survived, of six species of men distinguished by scientists. And that the right to live of this being, which was us, cost the lives of many species of animals, especially the large mammals, which constituted, without doubt, the most precious diet of the bands of Homo Sapiens of our prehistory. It discards the romantic belief that the great animal inhabitants of our prehistory were annihilated mainly by climate change and other romantic tales that we have always heard in specialized magazines and documentaries.