Seventy thousand years ago, there were at least six different human species on earth. They were insignificant animals, whose ecological impact was no greater than that of jellyfish, zebras or chickens. Today, there is only one human species left: Us. Homo sapiens. But we rule this planet.
The course, A Brief History of Humankind, takes us on a breath-taking ride through our entire human history, from its evolutionary roots to the age of capitalism and genetic engineering. It focuses on key processes that shaped humankind and the world around us, such as the advent of agriculture, the creation of money, the spread of religion and the rise of the nation state. The course invites us to question the basic narratives of our world. Its conclusions are enlightening and at times provocative. For example:
History began when humans invented gods – and will end when humans become gods.
Editor’s note from Coursera: Consider our minds expanded, Dr. Harari…