Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 1)

Photo credit: @eruchdah

Why should you know history? It tells you how we got where we are today. Why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do. By learning about the past you can also avoid repeating it’s mistakes —- and it’s f***ing fascinating!

This book is ambitious in scope, the series (11 volumes) even more so; trying to summarize the history of civilization itself. This first book alone is 1184 pages. One of many reason to make break this book down to several micro reviews!

My focus for this year will be Ancient Greece, but first I want to read up on the history leading up to it.

The first part of the book talks about the economical, political, mental and moral elements needed for the establishment of civilization.


📝 “I do not have to think. I have plenty of meat”. Not planning for more than today in primitive life had its advantages. When planning for the future you pave the way for property and greed.

📝 Communism appears most commonly in the beginning of civilization. In times of dearth. Fear of starvation fuses the individual into the group. The dream Communism lurks in every modern society as a memory of a simpler and more equal life. “We remember its equality but forget the poverty!”

📝 About taxes: “It was better to pay bribe to one magnificent robber than to bribe them all.”

📝 Women not bearing children are shamed by men in societies that rely on high birth rates to compensate for high death rates.

📝 In primitive society delay between desire and fulfillment is not very long and therefore there is not need to idealize passion.

📝 “Where food is dear, life is cheap.”

📝 In simple days, men married for cheap labour and regular meals.

📝 Is it good to be a virgin or not upon marriage? What is shameful is totally dictated by culture.

📝 “Civilization is not imperishable. It must be required anew by each generation.”

📝 “Magic becomes science.” Magicians needed to give the supernatural a push by using natural means. Stuff that works for real.. 👩‍🔬

Photo credit: @cinefile_25


I’m excited to be a student of history again. The world I see everyday makes more and more sense after each chapter I read. 👨‍🎓

5/5

“Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and “Now 21 Lessons for the 21 Century”. REVIEW.

While his other books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, focused on the past and the far future – this book focuses on the present and mankind’s immediate challenges.

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Topics are ranging from how to deal with disruptive technologies, the resurrection of nationalism and the relevancy of religions. Harari wants to shine a light on the fact that we are lacking new idea systems that are capable to help us navigate these new and trying times. Liberalism and the other old ideologies just won’t make the cut anymore.

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📝 The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism is that the money could have be used to fight other threats; like global warming.

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📝 Disruptive technologies will likely create a new “worthless class” of billions. Marxism might make a come back when jobs are being threatened, one might think? But Marxism presumes that the workers labour is of value. That probably won’t be the case with advancements in automation.

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📝 Protect humans not jobs. Finding meaningful pursuit for humans is the most important problem to solve in a future without jobs.

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📝 You don’t need religious text to be moral. Apes learned to take care of the poor and weak well before the Bible told them so.

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📝 “If you want reliable information, pay good money for it.” 👌🏻

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A whole bookshelf worth of topics is crammed into one small volume, which becomes a problems when each chapter deserves its own book.

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Harari don’t have a solution for all the issues. He offers the same advise that wise people and sages always have: sit down on a cushion and observe your sensations. Know thyself, and get to know suffering deeply enough so that you can act in a way that reduces it both your life and in the life of others.

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4/5

 

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