The Voice of a Million Ancestors

28.2.2017 kl. 00:36 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Harari writes in Homo Deus:

The scientists not only sanctified human feelings, but also found an excellent evolutionary reason to do so. After Darwin, biologists began explaining that feelings are complex algorithms honed by evolution to help animals make the right decisions. Our love, our fear and our passions aren't some nebulous spiritual phenomena good only for composing poetry. Rather, they encapsulate millions of years of practical wisdom. When you read the Bible, you get advice from a few priests and rabbis who lived in ancient Jerusalem. In contrast, when you listen to your feelings, you follow an algorithm that evolution has developed for millions of years, and that withstood the harshest quality tests of natural selection. Your feelings are the voice of millions of ancestors, each of whom managed to survive and reproduce in an unforgiving environment. Your feelings are not infallible, of course, but they are better than most alternatives. For millions upon millions of years, feelings were the best algorithms in the world. Hence in the days of Confucius, of Muhammed or Stalin, people should have listened to their feelings rather than to the teachings of Confucianism, Islam or communism.