21 Lessons for the 21st Century

I’m a big fan of Yuval Noah Harari, whose remarkable scholarship and insights amaze me. In his latest book, “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”, he touches on meditation in the final chapter. Yuval meditates two hours every day, and does one to two months of silent retreat every year. He credits his practice of meditation with helping him write his remarkable tones. Also noteworthy is chapter 20 on “Meaning: Life is Not a Story.”


Will you be interviewing him anytime soon?


Mention of this “noteworthy chapter” sent me right to the public library online and - woah auspicious - BOTH the eBook and Audiobook were

  1. even in the online catalog
  2. AND available!

That never happens.

I nabbed the eBook, glossed over the chapters. Legit insights. He even looks in the mirror and calls a spade a space. Credible author, instant respect! Then I clicked madly to ch. 20.

And so I’ll share a book I’ve been wanting to get for over a year now. The reference came to me by someone who’s wisdom I respect, saying he read it 3 times. (only I have to read a book 3 times to remember mostly what was in it! :wink:) Also, that this book completely changed the trajectory of his life, the decisions he was making, etc…

Apparently the book rattled the cage of the one “love & light!” :rainbow: :unicorn: :sunflower: peanut gallery reviewer:

Not that nihilism is a term he would endorse. His book is so remorselessly, monotonously negative that even nihilism implies too much hope. Nihilism for Gray suggests the world needs to be redeemed from meaninglessness, a claim he regards as meaningless. Instead, we must just accept that progress is a myth, freedom a fantasy, selfhood a delusion, morality a kind of sickness, justice a mere matter of custom and illusion our natural condition. Technology cannot be controlled, and human beings are entirely helpless. Political tyrannies will be the norm for the future, if we have any future at all.

Reality is a symptom. Interesting.

Again, I haven’t read it.
But I really want to!


On first look at your post and the attention-grabbing image, I thought it was a recommendation for the old Dustin Hoffman movie.

ha! So THAT’S what comes up every time I google the title! I have to add “book” to my search :slight_smile:

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WOW, that description of Straw Dogs makes it sound amazingly toxic and unhelpful!


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The reviewer is reacting to his own belief in a never-changing, never-ending worldview being shaken. So he’s gonna hate and put a dark spin on a deep thought.

Yah, yah, I know philosophers have no cred here. The truth is where they cannot go by thinking.

(it took about 4 minutes but I did finally get the DesCartes wine joke lol!!)

This guy seems to push the edge though. Humans are unique only in they have created identity structures to further abstract away from what is a mere hic-cup in the overall scheme of things, and then hit the pause button to admire their permanent and important role.

Or am I the only one that is thiking about myself all the time? :thinking:

(maybe I’m just grumpy on the cusp of losing faith in humanity…again…)

Amazon’s book description says this:

" The British bestseller Straw Dogs is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the New Statesman , called Straw Dogs his book of the year: “I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good.” “Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book” ( Sunday Telegraph )."

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Short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYVpSegnRyY&

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Here is a very interesting review of Harari’s book Sapiens by a queer African woman: Sapiens: groundbreakingly original in the history it tells, predictably disappointing in the history it leaves out



I just ‘caught wind’ of the title “Sapiens”. I have it noted as one to check out. Thanks for the link!

(I have lots of notes lately, gotta make some sense of them!!!)

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And AH! Hey @ArthurG! Hey Noble One!

She says in the review that the author said everything meshed 500 years ago for humans.

I’m reading “We” by Robert A. Johnson. A jungian interpretation of “Tristan and Iseult.”

He says in the forward:

“I have apatped the myth mainly from the famous Bedier compilation of the turn of the century, translated into English by Hilaire Belloc and Paul Rosenfeld.”

He then goes on to say he condensed the material and it’s NOT a scholastic pursuit but rather a modern exploration of a myth from 1000 years ago - when “romantic love” first came into the human consciousness.

He also references the myth “Psyche and Eros” - I don’t remember that one, it was high school…

Geography and biology :heavy_check_mark:
English and Literatire :heavy_multiplication_x: (crickets)


At least by p. 49 (1/4 of the way through, whoo-hoo!), he spells out “romantic love” is an ideal never to be consummated. And how humans got that all confused with “human love” on the kitchen sink.
teehee! :blush:

The point is - it was 1000 years ago.
The review of ‘Sapiens’ talks about 500 years ago - and “the relative absence of sub-Saharan African actors from the pre-modern world stage illuminated by Sapiens.”

An example of how this came up in the Shambhala community: A massive, beautiful thangka was rolled out and on display. It took 12 years to paint. It is unique in that it includes everyday people in it - not seen in the tradition. And not one person of “african descent.” The reason? The artist was Tibetan and had NEVER SEEN a person with dark skin before!

The response before Things Fell Apart for Shambhala: “this is being corrected.”

Points again to States vs Structures. No deliberate omission, it was not in the respected artist’s experience!

Meh! - it’s all relative! :wink: :upside_down_face: :crazy_face:
We can get uptight, or we can try on anothers’ shoes. To not stop at blame for me means ‘blame = potentially identifying a problem’ and challenge ourselves how to expand FROM that point to seek a better solution.

(life is a process - if you remember basic algebra elementary school picutures, the process is a box with a feedback loop based on the output. So we keep taking feedback from our output/actions and learn/churn out a more refined output)

– Courtney
(a Hopeless romantic)

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