Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Opening paragraphs.........................

At the dawn of the third millennium, humanity wakes up, stretching its limbs and rubbing its eyes.  Remnants of some awful nightmare are still drifting across its mind.  'There was something with barbed wire, and huge mushroom clouds.  Oh well, it was just a bad dream.'  Going to bathroom, humanity washes its face, examines its wrinkles in the mirror, makes a cup of coffee and opens the diary.  'Let's see what's on the agenda today.'
     For thousands of years the answer to this question remained unchanged.  The same three problems preoccupied the people of twentieth-century China, of medieval India and of ancient Egypt.   Famine, plague and war were always at the top of the list.  For generation after generation humans have prayed to every god, angel and saint, and have invented countless tools, institutions and social systems - but they continued to die in their millions from starvation, epidemic and violence.  Many thinkers and prophets concluded that famine, plague and war must be an integral part of God's cosmic plan or of our imperfect nature, and nothing short of the end of time would free us from them.
     Yet at the dawn of the third millennium, humanity wakes up to an amazing realization.  Most people rarely think about it, but in the past few decades we have managed to rein in famine, plague and war.  Of course, these problems have not been completely solved, but they have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. ...

-Yuval Noah Harari,   Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

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