Click here to Download Humankind PDF Book by Rutger Bregman Language English having PDF Size 4.5 MB and No of Pages 385.
An idea that’s long been known to make rulers nervous. An idea denied by religions and ideologies, ignored by the news media and erased from the annals of world history. At the same time, it’s an idea that’s legitimised by virtually every branch of science. One that’s corroborated by evolution and confirmed by everyday life. An idea so intrinsic to human nature that it goes unnoticed and gets overlooked.
Humankind PDF Book by Rutger Bregman
|Name of Book||Humankind|
|PDF Size||4.5 MB|
|No of Pages||385|
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About Book – Humankind PDF Book
If only we had the courage to take it more seriously, it’s an idea that might just start a revolution. Turn society on its head. Because once you grasp what it really means, it’s nothing less than a mind-bending drug that ensures you’ll never look at the world the same again So what is this radical idea? That most people, deep down, are pretty decent.
I don’t know anyone who explains this idea better than Tom Postmes, professor of social psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. For years, he’s been asking students the same question. Imagine an airplane makes an emergency landing and breaks into three parts. As the cabin fills with smoke, everybody inside realises: We’ve got to get out of here. What happens?
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Few other philosophers have had as profound an impact on our politics, education and world view as these two. The whole science of economics became premised on the Hobbesian notion of human nature, which sees us as rational, self-serving individuals. Rousseau, for his part, has been enormously influential in education.
Due to his belief – revolutionary in the eighteenth century – that children should grow up free and unfettered. To this day, the influence of Hobbes and Rousseau is staggering. Our modern camps of conservative and progressive, of realists and idealists, can be traced back to them. Whenever an idealist advocates more freedom and equality, Rousseau beams down approvingly.
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Whenever the cynic grumbles that this will only spark more violence, Hobbes nods in agreement. The writings of these two do not make for light reading. Rousseau, in particular, leaves lots of room for interpretation. But these days we’re in a position to test their principal point of contention. Hobbes and Rousseau, after all, were armchair theorists, while we’ve been gathering scientific evidence for decades now.
In Part 1 of this book I’ll examine the question: which philosopher was right? Should we be grateful that our days of nature are behind us? Or were we once noble savages? A great deal hinges on the answer. Thomas Hobbes, the old philosopher, could not have been more off the mark.
He characterised the life and times of our ancestors as ‘nasty, brutish and short’, but a truer description would have been friendly, peaceful and healthy. The irony is that the curse of civilisation dogged Hobbes throughout his life. Take the plague that killed his patron in 1628, and the looming civil war that forced him to flee England for Paris in 1640. Humankind PDF Book
The man’s take on humanity was rooted in his own experience with disease and war, calamities which were virtually unknown for the first 95 per cent of human history. Hobbes has somehow gone down in history as the ‘father of realism’, yet his view of human nature is anything but realistic. But is civilisation all bad? Hasn’t it brought us many good things, too?
Aside from war and greed, hasn’t the modern world also given us much to be thankful for? Of course it has. But it’s easy to forget that genuine progress is a very recent phenomenon. Up until the French Revolution (1789), almost all states everywhere were fuelled by forced labour. Until 1800, at least three-quarters of the global population lived in bondage to a wealthy lord.
Leadership was temporary among hunter-gatherers and decisions were made as a group. Anyone foolish enough to act as Machiavelli later prescribed was risking their life. The selfish and the greedy would get booted out of the tribe and faced likely starvation. After all, nobody wanted to share food with those who were full of themselves. Humankind PDF Book
A further indication that human behaviour more closely resembles that of bonobos than chimpanzees is our innate aversion to inequality. Do a search for ‘inequality aversion’ in Google Scholar and you’ll find more than ten thousand scientific articles about this primordial instinct. Children as young as three already divide a cake out equally.
And at six would rather throw a slice away than let one person have a larger portion. That said, we also shouldn’t exaggerate such findings. Homo puppy is not a natural-born communist. We’re fine with a little inequality, psychologists emphasise, if we think it’s justified. As long as things seem fair.
If you can convince the masses that you’re smarter or better or holier, then it makes sense that you’re in charge and you won’t have to fear opposition. With the advent of the first settlements and growth in inequality, chieftains and kings had to start legitimising why they enjoyed more privileges than their subjects. Humankind PDF Book
In other words, they began engaging in propaganda. Where the chiefs of nomadic tribes were all modesty, now leaders began putting on airs. Kings proclaimed they ruled by divine right or that they themselves were gods. God became a super-Leviathan, spying on everyone twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Not even your thoughts were safe.
‘Even the hairs of your head are all numbered,’ the Bible tells us in Matthew 10:30. It was this omniscient being that from now on kept watch from the heavens, supervising, surveilling and – when necessary – striking. Myths were key to helping the human race and our leaders do something no other species had done before. They enabled us to work together on a massive scale with millions of strangers.
Furthermore, this theory goes on to say, it was from these great powers of fabrication that great civilisations arose. Judaism and Islam, nationalism and capitalism – all are products of our imagination. It’s the reason families with children can be kicked out of their homes for defaulting on mortgage payments. Humankind PDF Book Download
It’s the reason why immigrants can’t simply stroll across the border in the fictions we call ‘Europe’ and ‘the United States’. And it’s also the reason we continue to believe in money. Just consider: why would people hole up in cages we know as ‘offices’ for forty hours a week in exchange for some bits of metal and paper or a few digits added to their bank account?
Is it because we’ve been won over by the propaganda of the powers that be? And, if so, why are there virtually no dissenters? Why does no one walk up to the tax authorities and say, ‘Hey mister, I just read an interesting book about the power of myths and realised money is a fiction, so I’m skipping taxes this year.’ The reason is self-evident. If you ignore a bill or don’t pay your taxes, you’ll be fined or locked up.
If you don’t willingly comply, the authorities will come after you. Money may be a fiction, but it’s enforced by the threat of very real violence. Presidents were not brought down by taunts and jeers. Some historians suspect that we’re now actually dependent on inequality. Yuval Noah Harari, for example, writes that ‘complex human societies seem to require imagined hierarchies and unjust discrimination’. Humankind PDF Book Download
And you can be sure that such statements are met with grave approval at the top.) But what fascinates me is that people around the world have continued to find ways to tame their leaders, even after the advent of chieftains and kings. One obvious method is revolution. Every revolution, whether the French (1789), the Russian (1917), or the Arab Spring (2011), is fuelled by the same dynamic.
The masses try to overthrow a tyrant. Most revolutions ultimately fail, though. No sooner is one despot brought down than a new leader stands up and develops an insatiable lust for power. After the French Revolution it was Napoleon. After the Russian Revolution it was Lenin and Stalin.
Egypt, too, has reverted to yet another dictator. Sociologists call this the ‘iron law of oligarchy’: even socialists and communists, for all their vaunted ideals of liberty and equality, are far from immune to the corrupting influence of too much power. Some societies have coped with this by engineering a system of distributed power – otherwise known as ‘democracy’. Humankind PDF Book Download
Although the word suggests it is the people who govern (in ancient Greek, demos means ‘people’ and kratos means ‘power’), it doesn’t usually work out that way. Rousseau already observed that this form of government is more accurately an ‘elective aristocracy’ because in practice the people are not in power at all.
Instead we’re allowed to decide who holds power over us. It’s also important to realise this model was originally designed to exclude society’s rank and file. Take the American Constitution: historians agree it ‘was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period’.
After my foray into the psychology of power, my thoughts returned to the story in the Prologue of this book. It struck me that, in essence, the lessons of the previous chapters could all be found in that tale of the Blitz, of what transpired in London when the bombs fell. The British authorities had predicted widespread panic. Humankind PDF Book Free
Looting. Riots. This kind of calamity would surely set off our inner brutes, hurling us into a war of all against all. But the opposite turned out to be true. Disasters bring out the best in us. It’s as if they flip a collective reset switch and we revert to our better selves. The second lesson of the Blitz is that we’re groupish animals.
Londoners supposed that their courage under fire was quintessentially British. They thought their resilience was akin to their stiff upper lip or dry sense of humour – just another element of a superior culture. Our instinctive wariness of strangers posed no big problems for a long time. We knew our friends’ names and faces, and if we crossed paths with a stranger we easily found common ground.
There was no advertising or propaganda, no news or war that placed people in opposition. We were free to leave one group and join another, in the process building extended relational networks. But then, 10,000 years ago, the trouble began. From the moment we began settling in one place and amassing private property, our group instinct was no longer so innocuous. Humankind PDF Book Free
Combined with scarcity and hierarchies, it became downright toxic. And once leaders began raising armies to do their bidding, there was no stopping the corruptive effects of power. In this new world of farmers and fighters, cities and states, we straddled an uncomfortably thin line between friendliness and xenophobia.
Yearning for a sense of belonging, we were quickly inclined to repel outsiders. We found it difficult to say no to our own leaders – even if they marched us onto the wrong side of history. With the dawn of civilisation, Homo puppy’s ugliest side came to the fore. History books chronicle countless massacres by Israelites and Romans, Huns and Vandals, Catholics and Protestants, and many more.
The names change, but the mechanism stays the same: inspired by fellowship and incited by cynical strongmen, people will do the most horrific things to each other. This has been our predicament for millennia. You could even see the history of civilisation as an epic struggle against the biggest mistake of all time. Homo puppy is an animal that has been wrenched from its natural habitat. Humankind PDF Book Free
An animal that has been turning itself inside out to bridge a cavernous ‘mismatch’ ever since. Meanwhile, this era also witnessed the birth of modern rule of law. Here was another antidote to our darker instincts, because Lady Justice is by definition blind. Unencumbered by empathy, love, or bias of any kind, justice is governed by reason alone.
Likewise, it was reason that provided the underpinnings of our new bureaucratic systems, which subjected one and all to the same procedures, rules and laws. From now on, you could do business with anyone you’d like, no matter their religion or creed. A side effect was that in those very countries with a strong rule of law, assuring regulations and contracts would be honoured, belief in a vengeful God diminished.