We used to be “wild about Harry”; today everyone’s wild about Harari. After “Sapiens” (see my posts “Self-Evident Truths”, January 2, 2017, and “Required Reading : Yuval Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ “, February 21, 2017), “Homo Deus” has made him the talk of the town. People who have read neither book do not hesitate to pontificate on the questions – and the threats – the brilliant young professor raises. Magazines save us the trouble of reading books. For example, sharing opinions on the following three sentences in the French weekly “L’Obs” of September 7, 2017, could consume the greater part of yuppie cocktail parties anywhere : “How, then, use the new technologies properly ? That is the most important question today : the future of humanity and of life itself depends on it. And nostalgic ravings of nationalism and of religion have absolutely nothing to say on the subject.”
Mind you, to do justice to what Harari is quoted as saying, you need at least to read (diagonally will do) the rest of the article, to flesh out the fluff to be exchanged between refills of Bloody Marys and Tom Collins. However, rather than try to sound intelligent by talking about artificial intelligence and conscience (and the priority of the latter), about ultra-sophisticated algorithms and their capacity to compose music, diagnose illnesses, wield war and win games of chess, as well as about the death of democracy, I prefer to stick with just that remark about the irrelevance of religion. It is reassuring to read a popular genius agreeing with the central message of the 650 posts (to date) in this Blog.
P.S. No need to mark today’s anniversary by a special post on 9/11. That catastrophe will never be forgotten. Mother Nature (no doubt with our help …) made Harvey and Irma happen; religion made 9/11 happen. Religion is irrelevant in that it has nothing to say about anything. But it continues to poison everything.