Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review of Harari's Homo Deus

In this document. A teaser from Chapter 1:

Concerning the goal of immortality: “Many people are likely to dismiss such statements as teenage fantasies.” The discussion following that quote assumes capitalism is inevitable as motive for progress to end the specter of death. Yet earlier he notes that climate catastrophes are a consequence of our human foibles. Tech itself is not going to change our motives and socioeconomic systems, which currently are leading to mass deaths and soon.

He notes that when immortality is a likely possibility we “will refuse to go on pulling the rickety wagon of art, ideology and religion” (p. 28). That reinforces that such a vision lacks the humanities to constrain such tech fantasies.

The section on happiness reiterates that what makes us happy is a never ending spiral of increasing growth of the things that make us happy. It’s reductionist capitalism 101, that our only concerns for happiness are things that trigger our ancient urges. It even suggests that we can “forget economic growth, social reforms and political revolutions,” as we just need a feel good buzz. Gone are the hierarchy of the higher needs that also make us happy and have little to do with this buzz.

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