yuval: harari what sets humans apart is our ability to create stories that can lead to massive cooperation

yesterday, i started listening to yet another amazing podcast episode that grant sent me. this time, it was an episode of the ezra klein show with yuval harari. he said the first 30 minutes were like :O

after listening, i fully agree.

it was one of those shows that was so dense with things i wanted to write and think more deeply about that i could barely keep it playing. every few minutes, i had to pause the episode and process the new idea for a few minutes before i could start playing it again. i could probably write everyday for two weeks about the ideas and references made in that first 30 minutes of the show.

but i want to write about more varied things than that and i’m definitely trying to spend more time focused on the work of not men, so i’ll probably just write this one up and move on.

i was shocked that the episode start out about stories. although, maybe i shouldn’t have been. klein started out by pointed to harari’s big insight that what has made humans the dominant species on the planet is the way stories allow us to cooperate in ways not possible to most other life forms. (i take a little issue with that framing as ithink about organisms like redwood trees and mushrooms, but i’ll let that alone for now). everything from religion to money to civilization is just stories. but, the fact that, around the entire planet we can take something that has almost no use (paper or digital money) and use it to acquire actually valuable things (food, water, shelter, transportation, etc.) is amazing.

i think about stories all the time and yet i had never thought about the implicit cooperative nature of our global fictions. that actually gives me a TON of hope. i know that story-based strategy is about to become a much more important part of my life and this is just solidifying that choice for me.


ps - this quote during the interview is fire. why can’t all researchers think like this…

The way that I live influences the way I think, and hopefully the conclusions I reach in my research fit back into the way that I live — because just to reach a theoretical conclusion that has no influence on how you actually live, what’s the point? — yuval harari

words / writing / post-processing
358w / ?min / 3min