As life unfolds on our planet, I think it's important to remember that the human experience is, and always has been, an experiment in-progress. As with all experiments, there is no guarantee of success. Since 1947, the year I was born, the world has changed nearly beyond comprehension. Lately, I have wondered if things have developed more rapidly than our ability to manage them. If we can no longer effectively manage our ever more complex world, then chaos can't be far behind. And, it appears, that could be in the offing.
Human progress over the centuries has been a blood-sport. Social reforms have frequently come as a result of war pushing out the olde to make room for the new. The establishment tends to not let go easily.
But this book suggests a new possibility for change, more in keeping with our maturing as a thought-directed species. By comparatively analyzing the dynamics of past and present cultures, recognizing that the actual development, or lack thereof, of governance has been influenced by many extraneous factors, common principles can be gleaned from the data that can help guide us in making pre-emptive changes, hopefully before the current order falls apart.
Professor, political scientist, economist and author Francis Fukuyama is an ambitious fellow. He apparently believes that we've reached a sufficient point in our mental and social development to begin learning from our collective past, and we can now use this comprehensive "enlightenment" to create a better world. What a concept!
As we casually ignore nature's championing of survival-of-the-fittest, and the degeneration of our species that naturally results, there needs to be some balancing activity on the other end of the spectrum. Using the kind of information contained in this book to do some 'Steve Jobs'-type engineering, that's right- social engineering (sorry, Newt), we should be able to come up with a system that encourages innovation, rewards free enterprise AND liberates Everyman from the stranglehold of the special interests of the new Global Corporate economy. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Mr. Fukuyama is not perfect (It's reported he voted for Obama, at least in part as protest for the devastation caused by 8 years of George "W" – understood), but in my opinion, this is a seminal work. I searched before ordering this book to see if there was anything else like it. If there is, I couldn't find it.
He's not, as far as I can determine, pro-left or pro-right. If he's pro anything, he's pro-science. Do the research, ascertain the facts and let the results fall where they may. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. If we can wrench this subject away from the greedy sort who want to keep everything they have while grabbing for more, I think most of the rest of us will agree on the results. We are, after all, ancestrally connected. The majority of us all want the same things. If we base our method of trying to attain our common objectives on an understanding of the several millenia of history that is available to us, I think we'll have a much better chance of getting what we all want. Or we can just let it collapse, which it appears to be headed for doing.
Two thumbs way up - regardless of what "Lame" says. (Didn't quite get what that was all about.)
About 1/3 of the way through this book I was still doubting it's depth. It promises to give some pretty powerful insights at the beginning, and I was not initially getting that. But eventually the book does deliver on it's promise. His stories of real-life interventions paint a clear picture of the source of many of our day-to-day problems. Since we are so busy, we develop fast ways of interacting with our world in a kind of one-dimensional way. We tend to see things from one simple perspective: our own.
I'm in sales, and often find myself sitting across from someone who is closed off and not letting me in. After all, I am trying to sell them something. But after listening to this book, I have a way to go beyond the transaction and connect with the person. What are they feeling? Is it fear, anger, insecurity? How can I make them "feel felt"? If I slow down and recognize that their needs are real and not just distractions to be talked over, we can communicate. That can result in a sale which I might not otherwise have gotten, which is good. But it nearly always results in better communication, which plays a very important part in all the other things I would like to accomplish in life. Thank you, Mark. Well Done.
If I was only allowed to read 10 books for the rest of my life, this would be one of them. At some point, scientific observations outweigh cultural bias and the truth comes rushing forward. Authors Ryan and Jetha say what most free-thinking people with some intellect have suspected for years. Our early ancestors were relatives most of us would probably have really enjoyed hanging out with.
We praise the virtues of whole-grain goodness, never suspecting that the agricultural revolution that made grains edible was in reality the poison apple in the (so-called) Garden of Eden. After logically reflecting upon the revelations in this book, it appears to me our early ancestors enjoyed a better quality of life than most of us do today. Agriculture, the very first major technology breakthrough, irreversibly changed the lives of early man... resulting in the chaotic mess we are experiencing today.
We have been pretending, or rather wishing, that we were something other than we are. We have been repressing our natural organic truth in favor of the fantasy of "civilized" beings who are not a part of, but above and "apart-from", the natural order that created us. Split personalities to put it mildly.
I encourage everyone to enjoy this book. The realities of your true nature should be known by you. You will be less hard on yourself and more compassionate to others when you know the truth.
When the Universe began, matter evolved first. There was no life. When life appeared, a new form of evolution began, the development of forms of life made possible by the different forms of matter created in the prior evolution. Now, material and biological evolution are being outpaced by a new type of evolution: psycho-social, cultural evolution. We humans are bioligically evolving too slowly for it to have any kind of importance in our lives. But the structures of our civilization are evolving at a dizzying pace, forcing us to come to terms with who we are, where we come from, and where we need to be heading. It's time to clear away the archaic, temporary ways of thought that we built out of ignorance and immediate necessity. We are arriving at a place where we can reinvent ourselves and return to the "Garden" we left 10,000 years ago. The science offered in this book is one of the fundamental enlightenments we can use to begin the development of this crucial reinvention.
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