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Book Review – Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari

November 27, 2019

Homo Deus: A Brief History of TomorrowHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A lot of fascinating future scenarios considered in this epic sci-fi novel, just lacking the spice of Dune…

More seriously, there is a certain unevenness to his accounts geared towards the idea of making people feel powerless in the face of technological advances. It reads as an insightful account of the mindset of some of our elite people currently, who really do despise human feeling and being and can barely disguise it. Yuval is no exception here, and sets out to destroy and undermine belief in human spirit and being from every angle possible, drawing on half science, half science fiction accounts to tell us that we have no soul, we have no free-will and we have no self. He pretends that he is just warning us, yet at the same time he quietly confirms that there is nothing we can do to change it. And if there is no free will as he is so sure science has told him, then why bother trying anyway. Yuval doesn’t seem to know if he is an actor on the stage or a director behind the scenes, and tries to bounce between each so as to not have to commit to any role himself in this dystopian scenario, because he certainly does not want to give people any sense of hope, that much is clear.

His objective is clearly to make a bad state of affairs come about, solely by believing it is already inevitable. Unsurprising, once he gave up on free-will in one of the earlier chapters, it was hard from there to take anything he says seriously. Because if he genuinely believes there is no free-will, then there is no point me discussing or interacting with him or taking him as being honest and sincere, given that he also doesn’t exist as a self apparently.

These kind of basic traps of reasoning that many a philosopher is well aware of, Yuval is blissfully ignorant of, because he doesn’t need to think about life for himself, science can decide for him, and he insists also that science should decide for you also, based on his idea of what the consensus in science is. It alternates between sci-fi casually hypothesised and the rantings of a firm believer in the sci-fi hypotheses he has just proposed.

At no point in the book is feeling or human interaction considered such as in relationships with others we feel have significance in their own right, purely for the semantic content of these experiences, and purely based on what the objects of those experience, the other people, bring to that relationship. The reality is that nearly all regular people still mainly engage in these types of activities and value them over and above pure technological creations. It feels as if from his own intellectual elite ivory tower, perhaps Yuval has not had many of these experiences, and is trying to project his own dreams and fears on to all of us.

In this way, one can see this book as the nightmare that an intellectual elite in control of the rest of us, through technology, would like to create. At times unwittingly with the author exposing himself as a part of this cabal and agenda..

He ends the book with three questions that sums up his whole strategy. The first two present it as an open choice how we may consider our place in society in the future. The last one slams the door shut by assuming the correctness of one side of the debate in relation to the first two questions, and asking of us only to consider our impotence.

A dangerous book by a dangerous, either misinformed or purposely misinforming, person. For this reason though, all the more reason to read it and be aware of this for yourself, because these are the kind of ideas that can infect the memes of a generation before they start to think it through clearly and pick it a part.

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