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Quotes by Yuval Noah Harari

25 quotes found  
Consistency is the playground of dull minds.
Reality is not confined to a single discipline.
Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.
Le persone più facili da manipolare sono quelle che più credono nel libero arbitrio.
You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.
Most sociopolitical hierarchies lack a logical or biological basis – they are nothing but the perpetuation of chance events supported by myths.
History isn’t a single narrative, but thousands of alternative narratives. Whenever we choose to tell one, we are also choosing to silence others.
How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined
Evolution has made Homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘we’ and ‘they’.
A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.
Two thousand years of monotheistic brainwashing have caused most Westerners to see polytheism as ignorant and childish idolatry. This is an unjust stereotype.
L'evoluzione ha fatto dell'Homo Sapiens, come di altri animali sociali, una creatura xenofobica. Il Sapiens divide istintivamente l'umanità in due gruppi, "noi" e "loro",
Hierarchies serve an important function. They enable complete strangers to know how to treat one another without wasting the time and energy needed to become personally acquainted.
We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.
People easily understand that ‘primitives’ cement their social order by believing in ghosts and spirits, and gathering each full moon to dance together around the campfire. What we fail to appreciate is that our modern institutions function on exactly the same basis.
Sapiens rule the world because only they can weave an intersubjective web of meaning: a web of laws, forces, entities and places that exist purely in their common imagination. This web allows humans alone to organise crusades, socialist revolutions and human rights movements.
Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths. Any large-scale human cooperation – whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe – is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination.
Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.
Moralità non significa "seguire i precetti divini". Significa "ridurre la sofferenza". Per agire moralmente, non avete bisogno di credere in qualche mito o storia. Avete solo bisogno di sviluppare una precisa percezione della sofferenza. Se davvero capite come un gesto possa provocare inutile sofferenza a voi stessi o agli altri, sarà naturale astenervi dal farlo.
The romantic contrast between modern industry that “destroys nature” and our ancestors who “lived in harmony with nature” is groundless. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of life.
In the 300 years of the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own. Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians. In contrast, over the course, of the next 1,500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians by the millions, to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.
Secondo Epicuro, siamo felici quando percepiamo sensazioni piacevoli e quando non percepiamo quelle spiacevoli. Similmente, Jeremy Bentham ha stabilito che la natura ha dato il dominio sull’uomo a due padroni – il piacere e il dolore – e soltanto loro determinano ogni cosa che facciamo, diciamo e pensiamo. Il successore di Bentham, John Stuart Mill, ha spiegato che la felicità non è nient’altro che piacere e libertà dal dolore, e che al di là del piacere e del dolore non esiste alcun bene o male. Chiunque cerchi di dedurre il bene e il male da qualcos’altro (come la parola di Dio o l’interesse nazionale) vi sta ingannando, e forse s’inganna lui per primo.
L'etica laica si fonda non sull'obbedienza agli editti di questa o quella divinità, ma piuttosto su una comprensione profonda della sofferenza. Per esempio, i laici si astengono dal commettere omicidio non perché alcuni libri antichi lo vietano, ma perché uccidere infligge una sofferenza immensa agli esseri senzienti. C'è qualcosa di profondamente problematico e pericoloso negli individui che evitano di uccidere soltanto perché "lo dice Dio". Costoro sono motivati dall'obbedienza più che dalla compassione, e ci si chiede cosa farebbero se qualcuno li inducesse a credere che il loro dio ordina di bruciare gli eretici, mandare al rogo le streghe, lapidare gli adulteri o uccidere gli stranieri.
Even if we need to pay some price for deactivating our rational faculties, the advantages of increased social cohesion are often so big that fictional stories routinely triumph over the truth in human history. Scholars have known this for thousands of years, which is why scholars often had to decide whether they served the truth or social harmony. Should they aim to unite people by making sure everyone believes in the same fiction, or should they let people know the truth even at the price of disunity? Socrates chose the truth and was executed. The most powerful scholarly establishments in history — whether of Christian priests, Confucian mandarins or Communist ideologues — placed unity above truth. That’s why they were so powerful.
25 quotes found