Follow-on from Sapiens post: Striving.

An interesting point that Harari has made which I don’t want to forget, is that by developing ourselves and the way that we interact with eachother/the world, we actually make life more difficult. 

Ancestral hunter-gatherers became farmers so that they could have a constant source of food without having to go to the effort of foraging and moving around. The plan was that by manipulating the growth of cereals and domesticated animals that hunter-gatherers had hunted and gathered for millennia, farmers could harness the food for themselves and remove the necessity to move around. 

On the contrary, as Harari writes, the development of agriculture actually domesticated Homo sapiens. It made us dependent on one particular crop which in turn increased vulnerability on the occasion of drought or bad harvest. It also mean that our diets were not varied, meaning our immune systems suffered and disease wiped us out. Years of bumper crops meant more children to feed. For this, people worked harder with the incentive that more work = more produce. But that produce was spread across more kids starting the vicious cycle of hard work = harder work that exists today. 

We constantly improve technology to make our lives easier. Yet when all it actually does is make life more stressful. Take email for example, you can send a message to someon and receive a reply in seconds. Seems great, but in reality, it makes people expect a much more rapid response than a letter would have. This creates unnecessary anxiety at work and results in sometimes over-hasty responses. But we put up with the stress because the money that that anxiety gives you allows you to pay for expensive luxuries; wine, bills, holidays, suburban lifestyles etc that, due to exposure to capitalism, we all take for granted. And because we take them all for granted, we want more and more, meaning we have to work harder, thus completing the cycle. 

Ancestral farming developments and modern technological developments essentially amount to a worsening in the quality of life. Our attempts to out-do nature are thwarted as humankind is instead domesticated by nature.

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