In my nearly three decades on Earth I have spent relatively little time trying to understand why the world is the way it is. Through my efforts of building the skills required to do my work I’ve kept a myopic view of the wider world and instead focused inwardly on what directly matters to me.
It’s only recently that I have begun to see the importance of understanding the bigger picture. Having an opinion on matters less selfish gives you something to say and with that something to say, purpose for your work can be found. I think this is perhaps a journey that many of us take, some sooner than others, and in my case at 28, later than most.
It’s in this position, with a less than basic understanding of how the world ended up the way it is today, that I found myself reading Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and its follow-up Homo Deus. Both of which are essential reading.
To summarise both books, Sapiens focuses on how we ended up where we are today. Homo Deus shows us where mankind is headed.
Of the two, Homo Deus is the more difficult pill to swallow. As a liberal millennial who has grown up believing in the humanist values of equality and free will, it was especially hard to grapple with the fact that to date we have found no evidence of the soul or ‘true inner voice’ that we’re so often told to listen to. In short, liberalism is as much a fiction as the religions I parted from years ago and is soon to face the same defeating blows that religions have suffered.
If that paragraph has you confused then join the club. For all of the enlightenment that Homo Deus gave me, it left me with an equal measure of unanswered questions — as any good book should.
I read Homo Deus on Kindle and highlighted more passages than perhaps any book yet. I intend to return, spending time to digest and ponder upon on these unknowns. From there, I imagine more books and more questions will follow. In the process, I hope to continue to broaden my worldview and, in turn, formulate opinions on which to design my purpose.