‘Humankind: A Hopeful History’

Translated from Dutch, Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists) has made a compelling case in this book, debunking the fundamental belief that humans are by nature selfishly-motivated. He covers human history and challenges some seminal studies and stories that have promulgated that belief, including the Lord of the Flies, the Stanford Prison Experiment, the Nazi era and much more.

These days book covers and the first few pages provide a smorgasbord of recommendations from other erudite writers, which are presumably intended to convince the potential reader to take the book in their hands to the cashier for payment. In this case I’ve chosen Stephen Fry to support my recommendation:

“An extraordinarily powerful declaration of faith in the innate goodness and natural decency of human beings. Never dewy-eyed, wistful or naive, Rutger Bregman makes a wholly robust and convincing case for believing – despite so much apparent evidence to the contrary – that we are not the savage, irredeemably greedy, violent and rapacious species we can be led into thinking ourselves to be.”

And Yuval Harari even makes it on to the front cover:  Humankind challenged me and made me see humanity from a fresh perspective.” A generous endorsement from the master himself.

So, highly recommended for those interested in human behaviour.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Peter,

    Rutger made his reputation by going to Davos and calling out the super rich participants as tax avoiders etc.

    Then this interview with Tucker Carlson, one of Rupert’s minions.

    I haven’t read his book(s) but is he that much different than another Julia Baird? Not much point telling us how to live our lives and make change for the better, overcome adversity, whatever, when said change is only available to the few who are more equal than others.

    I doubt things will change because privilege, by those who have it, is defined by not having to understand or consider, those that don’t. That includes Rutger, his boosters and a good number of ABC people.

    Homo sapiens throughout history, and multiple iterations of governance, have failed make life more equitable for all. Now with very survival at stake and supposedly being more intelligent than ever, we still careen toward a foreseeable armageddon that should have been rectified decades ago.

    A surprise to me has been Joe. He’s hit the ground running (although I wish he’d use the handrail). He may yet instigate the promises Obama failed to for-fill from the first hurdle. Also have to give credit to AOC, Bernie and comrades for shaking up the Democrats and kicking them off the centre. The mid-terms will be crucial.

    I’m wondering if Keating has became a speech writer:

    ‘The only thing successfully rolled out by Scott Morrison is Malcolm Turnbull, from the leadership.’

    ‘This Government couldn’t run a choko vine up a back fence’

    – Anthony Albanese

    Know that you would have been gutted the straw man of the Liberals fell off the twig. A reminder of what Keating said on Peacock regaining the Liberal Leadership in May 1989.

    ‘A soufflé doesn’t rise twice.’

    Was there ever a more apt description of a politician?

    M

    >

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