This short book is one of three related new works written by Charles Johnston for difference audiences with similar intent: to help people understand the times we live in and to make sense of what the future will require of us as a species. It is intended for a general audience wanting to better understand the tasks humanity now faces.
Hope and the Future introduces the concept of Cultural Maturity and examines how Cultural Maturity’s changes are necessary to a future that is at all healthy–and perhaps even survivable. It also looks at ways in which Cultural Maturity’s changes are already happening, and how, when we are ready for them, needed changes can see surprisingly straightforward: indeed, like common sense. It describes how their potential is developmentally build into us.
Here Charles Johnston explores the “new common sense” on which our future depends. He describes how culturally mature understanding will be needed not just to address the most critical questions before us, but simply to make sense of them. Some of the specific questions Hope and the Future touches on include: How, given the growing availability of weapons of mass destruction, do we best support a safe human future? How do we successfully address the very real possibility of environmental catastrophe? How will we make love work in the future, with gender roles and expectations today so in flux? How, in times ahead, will we deal with numerous new concerns that require global decision-making—such as terrorism and the need for stable and trustable global economic structures? How will we make the moral decisions demanded of us—given both their growing complexity and the weakening of cultural guideposts that we have relied on in times past? And most ultimately important, how do we best conceive of progress, if our actions are result in real human advancement?
The concept of Cultural Maturity provides a direct answer to this last most important of questions. In doing so, it provides a compelling guiding story for going forward. It also provides concrete guidance for taking on the tasks before us.
Because it is short and written for a general audience, of Dr Johnston’s new books Hope and the Future is for most people the place to start for understanding his thinking. It is also the work that is most readily adapted for use in teaching situations.
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.