Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: serialised in quotes VII. The luxury trap

One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.

The story of the luxury trap carries with it an important lesson. Humanity’s search for an easier life released immense forces of change that transformed the world in ways nobody envisioned or wanted. Nobody plotted the Agricultural Revolution or sought human dependence on cereal cultivation. A series of trivial decisions aimed mostly at filling a few stomachs and gaining a little security had the cumulative effect of forcing ancient foragers to spend their days carrying water buckets under a scorching sun.

We will see time and again how a dramatic increase in the collectve power and ostensible success of our species went hand in hand with much individual suffering.

The Agricultural Revolution was the turning point where Sapiens cast off its intimate symbiosis with nature and sprinted towards greed and alienation.



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