Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 837874 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2320 on: February 14, 2020, 12:34:15 am »

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2321 on: February 14, 2020, 09:40:05 am »
Do you have yours?

Yes. It arrived yesterday, or maybe it was Wednesday. It's the anniversary issue. I do not like the cover.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2322 on: February 14, 2020, 11:06:42 am »
I received mine a couple of days ago. I'm on the auto-renew plan. If your subscription has run out, that would be a GDBOAUS!!

I started reading that profile that you recommended. Interesting, so far.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2323 on: February 14, 2020, 09:52:53 pm »
Mine came today! I might be on auto-renew. I was going to renew at Christmas because you could give someone a gift subscription for free but of course I never got around to it.

I haven't examined the cover. Nor have I read the profile. Hope it's good!




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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2324 on: February 14, 2020, 09:57:40 pm »
 :)
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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2325 on: February 18, 2020, 03:20:39 pm »
I finished the profile on Harari last night. For the first five or so pages I was wondering what all the fuss was about. It covered all the people around him, his organization, etc. Then it started talking about some of his ideas and writings and became a little more interesting. I grasp that his main achievement is to write about the history of all humanity. Other than that, I didn't see any new ideas. The author perhaps didn't either because he ended the article with a "who cares" statement.

I then read about Jeanne Calment, the reportedly oldest person who ever lived. Also a very interesting article, and would have also benefited from shortening by at least a page.
When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2326 on: February 18, 2020, 03:48:11 pm »
I then read about Jeanne Calment, the reportedly oldest person who ever lived. Also a very interesting article, and would have also benefited from shortening by at least a page.

I agree, hunnerd percent.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2327 on: February 19, 2020, 12:42:57 am »
I finished the profile on Harari last night. For the first five or so pages I was wondering what all the fuss was about. It covered all the people around him, his organization, etc. Then it started talking about some of his ideas and writings and became a little more interesting. I grasp that his main achievement is to write about the history of all humanity. Other than that, I didn't see any new ideas. The author perhaps didn't either because he ended the article with a "who cares" statement.

I haven't finished it but I agree with you on the first part. I'm not sure I can describe off the top of my head why his book is so compelling. For one thing, it does not embrace standard comforting assumptions about human organizations and progress. He talks about several revolutions: cognitive, agricultural and scientific. The cognitive revolution allowed humans to communicate in abstractions and hypotheticals. Other animals can communicate "There's a lion at the watering hole." But humans suddenly became able to speculate on whether the lion would or wouldn't be present, to tell a story about why the lion goes there, worship the lion as a god, etc. And when those hypotheticals/stories eventually took the forms of religion, politics, royalty, moral structures, patriotism, capitalism, money, etc., that's what ultimately allowed humans to form larger groups. He's also one of those who judges the agricultural revolution as more damaging than beneficial to humans: suddenly people had to work harder, cities sprang up, diseases ran rampant. Yes, agriculture ultimately allowed humans to specialize skills so now we have great books, antibiotics, computers, planes. Except that the vast majority of humans still didn't/don't have access to those things, and those people's lives are worse (he says) than hunter gatherers'. As for the scientific revolution, it enabled colonialism and vice versa -- for good and for ill. I don't agree with all of his notions, but they're always interesting.

At this late hour off the top of my head, I'm not doing the book justice. But if the article ends in "who cares?" it's definitely not doing him justice.

Quote
I then read about Jeanne Calment, the reportedly oldest person who ever lived. Also a very interesting article, and would have also benefited from shortening by at least a page.

Good thing Jeanne herself wasn't shortened by a page!


« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 02:18:17 am by serious crayons »

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2328 on: February 19, 2020, 09:51:06 am »
He's also one of those who judges the agricultural revolution as more damaging than beneficial to humans.

I've heard that idea before. I haven't read the profile yet, but maybe he's the source of whatever I read wherever I read it.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2329 on: February 19, 2020, 10:19:11 am »
I've heard that idea before. I haven't read the profile yet, but maybe he's the source of whatever I read wherever I read it.

I had heard it before, too, and wondered the same. In a quick google just now, I found lots of articles about the idea.

Here's a piece by Jared Diamond from 1999, so that must predate Harari. https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

And here's one from 2014 by Yuval Noah Harari himself. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/05/were-we-happier-in-the-stone-age