Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Humankind: A Hopeful History, by Rutger Bregman

Second paragraph of third chapter:
En de mens? Die verscheen op 31 december ten tonele, rond 11 uur ’s avonds. Toen hebben we eerst nog een uurtje als jagers en verzamelaars rondgetrokken, om op het laatste moment, rond 23.58 uur, de landbouw uit te vinden. In de zestig seconden voor middernacht voltrok zich alles wat we ‘geschiedenis’ noemen. Met piramides en kastelen, ridders en jonkvrouwen, stoommachines en vliegtuigen. And we humans? We made our entrance on 31 December, at approximately 11 p.m. Then we spent about an hour roaming around as hunter-gatherers, only getting around to inventing farming at 11:58 p.m. Everything else we call 'history' happened in the final sixty seconds to midnight: all the pyramids and castles, the knights and ladies, the steam engines and rocket ships.
At the end of last year I read and largely enjoyed Bregman's Utopia for Realists. This has a grander sweep - the story of how humanity is much nicer and well-intentioned than people think. With some detail, he debunks the Stanford prison experiment, the Milgram electric shock experiment, and the Kitty Genovese case; and looks at the true story of the shipwrecked kids who failed to go Lord of the Flies and at various other statistics supporting his thesis. Fundamentally I want to agree with the book; I'd much rather that people are nice to each other. And mostly it's convincing; what is lacking is an answer to the Problem of Evil, though I guess that the point of the book is more the Invisible Prevalence of Good. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired last year and also my top uread non-fiction book. Next on those lists respectively are Time Must Have a Stop, by Aldous Huxley, and Paul: A Biography by Tom Wright.
Tags: bookblog 2021, writer: rutger bregman
Subscribe

  • My tweets

    Fri, 18:08: Exploding School to Pieces: Growing Up With Pop Culture In the 1970s, by Mick Deal https://t.co/R41z99rpwg Fri, 18:32: Friday…

  • My tweets

    Thu, 12:56: RT @ FinancialTimes: Opinion: Boris Johnson's character and his government, with its taste for brinkmanship, mistrust of diplomats…

  • My tweets

    Wed, 12:09: This was taped exactly 58 years ago, 1 Dec 1963, & has been giving me joy. The Beatles perform 3 songs and banter with…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 2 comments