Humankind: A Hopeful History

Humankind: A Hopeful History

NB: I read this book a few months ago and found it both fascinating AND uplifting. In a world where news and information too often casts a bleak picture of us and our future, Rutger Bregman brings hope and optimism…

by Rutger Bregman via Heleo

Rutger Bregman is one of Europe’s most prominent young thinkers. He is a historian and a writer at The Correspondent, and his TED Talk on poverty has been viewed over four million times. His last book, Utopia for Realists, became a New York Times bestseller and was translated into thirty-two languages.

Below, Rutger shares 5 key insights from his new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History. Download the Next Big Idea app to enjoy more audio “Book Bites,” plus Ideas of the Day, ad-free podcast episodes, and more.

1. Most people, deep down, are pretty decent.

If you follow the news, you see a lot about corruption and violence and terrorism. But the news is about exceptions in human behavior—in fact, in the past 15 to 20 years, scientists have been moving from a cynical view of human nature to a much more hopeful one.

And believing in the goodness of humanity is a subversive, radical act, because those at the top have often used the cynical view of who we are to legitimize their power. After all, if we cannot trust each other, then we need monarchs and generals and CEOs. But if most people are pretty decent, then we can revolutionize our society and move toward a much more egalitarian, genuinely democratic world.

2. We have evolved to be friendly.

Biologists talk about “survival of the friendliest,” which means that for millennia, it was the friendliest among us who had the most kids, and so had the best chance of passing on their genes to the next generation.

The scientific term for this is “self-domestication,” and there are specific traits that are involved with domestication. Domesticated species have thinner bones and smaller brains, and on average, they just look a bit cuter, friendlier, and puppyish. This may not sound evolutionarily advantageous, but our friendliness, our ability to work together, is the reason why we were able to build pyramids, cathedrals, spaceships, and more…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

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