Global challenges and Harari’s 21 lessons for the 21st Century
The author has taken his advent from Disillusionment, the idea that man of the modern-day is sick of the old wishy-washy stories.
Having read inside Al-Qaeda and Taliban by Syed Saleem Shehzad, I was not expecting another read with a similar alluring potential this soon, having said that “21 lessons for the 21st Century” was to prove me wrong. If you’re already cognizant of the writer Yuval Noah Harari, the mention alone should suffice to give you an idea of the quality of the book. Rarely I bother to read or know about the authors, Yuval, on the other hand, is the only person that has always been an exception to me. Sometimes I do wish to steal his mind, yeah for real. So moving towards the review of the book.
The book has six chapters further divided into several portions, Yuval took his advent from Disillusionment, the idea that man of the modern-day is sick of the old wishy-washy stories. From communism to fascism to liberalism to populism, the focus remained on altering-shift of the world order and man’s continuous pursuit for the change. The subsequent topics revolved the concerns stemmed from the all-encompassing advanced technology and its control on humans. Yuval remained of the opinion that in future humans could be the slave of their own creation if they were not wise to stride one step ahead and prudently.
Harari remained of the opinion that in future humans could be the slave of their own creation if they were not wise to stride one step ahead and prudently.
In the next chapters, the focus was political challenges, i-e nationalism, clashes of civilization, immigration, its unending debates and the need to address these issues with mutual affinity and collective efforts. In Yuval’s words, gone are the days, when the aforementioned subjects were threats to humanity, Artificial Intelligence its never-ending headway and global warming have taken the driving seat. Terrorism, wars, their recent evolved nature, the role of religion and details of secularism could give you a good idea of the contemporary world and how the world is moving towards an uncertain future.
The last chapters focused on fact, fiction, post-truth era, the direction of populism and the need to embrace scientific studies in order to counter these intricate issues. Some of the best dialogues on nationalism maturing into fascism really grabbed my attention and I was compelled to swear my allegiance to Yuval — :-D. With the chapter Resilience, Yuval tried to offer some of the simple solutions to resolve those conundrums besides meditation to find the meaning of one’s own life.
Yuval didn’t come off biased towards any specific religion even for the good, he attacked his own lineage for narrow-minded beliefs striving to appear balanced.
21 lessons for the 21st Century — a perfect read
For me, it was a perfect read shoving Inside-Alqaeda to the second place. Even for the split of the second, I didn’t lose my heart. The best thing about Yuval, he didn’t come off biased towards any specific religion even for the good, he attacked his own lineage for narrow-minded beliefs striving to appear balanced. I have always admired his insight of the history but linking it to the future while keeping the ken of present like a soothsayer was another thing that made me his fan.
Nonetheless, perfection is just an illusion, so there were three things I found a bit of divagation. First, Yuval though attempted enough to convince the audience of his hunch about the future, still, little pragmatic arguments were offered to support his fear. For instance, his insistence on Robots outsmarting humans, he didn’t provide any facts and figures and even in the most paragraphs continued to contradict his own propositions (maybe, maybe not).
Second, I spotted an oxymoron, in the ending chapters, while Yuval was of the opinion that humans should focus on their present, for instance through meditations and give little thought about the afterlife, throughout the book what did he address? Fears and anxieties bore out by little evidence, about the future? So we ought not to worry about the afterlife but keep ourselves preoccupied with fears about A.I, what God knows, would be able to outsmart us or not?
Third for a person with a religious background could find it really offending if one had no previous knowledge of Yuval’s ideas about religion like I had read sapiens and God Delusion so for me it was easy to stomach ideas that stood opposed to my beliefs but not everyone could be expected to read such radical views, so Yuval could have kept a digestible tone here.