Key Takeaways from 21 Lessons From The 21st Century
This book is one of the best nonfiction reads that will force you to look at the glitches and problems of our advanced society and will teach you how to overcome them. Free book summaries and free audiobook summaries are available in case you are pinched for time.
The Twenty-first century, despite its glitz and glamour, has its fair share of trials and tribulations. Trouble comes in the form of technology, globalization, fake news, political and social issues, and terrorism to name a few. This book by Yuval Noah Harari provides us concrete proof of the harrowing problems of this century and ways to foolproof our future.
The world of Artificial Intelligence
Computer and its advancement have left most people behind, including political leaders and parties. The technological scenario has become so complicated that except for the highly trained professionals, the common man can hardly grasp the codes and strings. Unfortunately, it is also true for the political leaders who themselves have been pushed away from the world of algorithms.
The author harps about the lack of priority given to this technological disruption. An undesirable future where computers and machines overtake human employment is not just possible, but imminent. And the common man has realized it and this has led to political shifts like Brexit.
Though the advancements Neuroscience has made are commendable and have had a positive impact on society, it is undeniable that we are at threat. Advanced Neuroscience has deciphered many secrets of the brain, including its cognitive abilities. Machines that surpassed humans only in the physical aspect but were inferior to us in cognitive abilities, may now very well be on the path to surpass humans when it comes to this ability.
Matters regarding immigration
The issue of immigration has led to political debates in every nook and corner of the world. With the advent of globalization, more and more people are migrating to developed nations that provide better employment opportunities. But this has sparked tension amidst the immigrants and the locals.
In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the author harps on the issue in Europe. In recent years, there have rise two clear-cut groups of fascist anti-immigrant and pro-immigrant. Anti-immigrants have pushed for stringent measures to ensure all immigrants assimilate their culture as their own. While the pro-immigrants believe that assimilation to a vague identity that most Europeans do not identify with, is absurd. And this is slowly becoming a major issue.
The power that terrorists have over our psyche is undeniable. They might not be able to cause massive harm to a nation’s army, infrastructure, or economy as a whole, but with well-directed and well-played attacks on the most vulnerable sections of a country, they have played the mindsets of governments like a fiddle. For these organizations, it is all about sowing fear and discomfort in the minds of the people and forcing the hands of the government to allay these fears.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century provides us with the example of the 9/11 attack of al-Qaeda on the Twin Towers of the USA. It was a massive blow to the nation’s psyche and has pushed the Government to take action against these militant groups. This resulted in them declaring war on these groups in Afghanistan and the Middle East erupted in chaos, the effects of which are still felt. The author’s lesson was that terrorists win when governments overreact.
Ignorance in the individual level
This is a malady nearly all millennials suffer from and are not aware of. Our century has advanced in many fields and our comfortable lives are a result of this advancement. However, this knowledge gained is accumulated in a very small section of the population, the rest of the people live under the knowledge illusion. When we see a car or even a watch, we automatically assume we know all about it, when we only know how to use it and not about the mechanisms that make the car or the watch.
In short, we have collective knowledge, but when it comes down to the individual level, we are highly ignorant. Perhaps even more so than people of the Stone Age where every individual was equally skilled. This is a dangerous situation since our societies are formed with the inherent idea that everyone is a responsible, erudite individual.
Analytical thinking in children
Today’s schools focus on imparting previously earned knowledge and information to children to ensure that they are well able to cope with today’s society. But what they fail to consider is that information is everywhere. A single search can lead to scores of content. However, there is an equal amount of misinformation and baseless facts. Being only taught to receive knowledge, today’s children who will be adults of tomorrow fall into a well-devised net of misinformation.’
As such, the author suggests that teaching analytical thinking to children is paramount. They should be taught to analyze and identify facts from rumors and stop this vicious spread of wrong information.
Thus, these are a few of the many lessons that this book will impart to us. It is eye-opening as we are forced to focus on imminent issues that had previously never been anyone’s priority.