As you read in Sapiens, Harari contends that myths are necessary in order for humans to live in large groups cohesively. He contends that until we had myth making, we remained living in small clans of extended families. So myths certainly serve a purpose, and they certainly can unite and do good; however make no mistakes—they serve the purpose of mind control.
At this point, it’s important to comprehend that “mind control” is not meant to be a pejorative term. Mind control can be used to create a society of caring, loving, intelligent and altruistic humans. However it can also be used for a variety of other purposes.
The point of this activity is for you to become aware of the myths that surround you so that you can examine the origins of your beliefs as well as the knowledge you consume.
Download and work through this learning helper: Myth Making
Oh yea, get excited! Humanism matters! It’s not just some annoying, old, esoteric term that has no relevance to you beyond term dropping it on some exam! To see what I’m talking about, read the excerpt titled, “The Humanist Revolution” from Yvul Noah Harari’s book, “Home Deus” below:
The Humanist Revolution
See link below to lots of great knowledge questions for every 2017/18 TOK essay prompt, generated by you!
Take out a pencil and a piece of paper. This will be step 1 to elevating your analytical skills!
- Write clear directions regarding how to make a paper airplane
- Read your directions to your partner while they follow them. Repeat the process for the other partner
- We’ll discuss as a class!
Test Time! Study these learning outcomes below and don’t be like Alicia
- Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes
- Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology on behaviour
- Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour
- Discuss the extent to which genetics influence behaviour
- Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour
After watching the TED talk by Dr. Anil Seth below:
Meditate on the following questions in TOK JOURNAL form:
- What are implications of “reality as a shared hallucination”?
- For knowledge acquisition?
- For Truth?
- For Shared Knowledge?
- For Perception?
As an aside, my favorite quote from the talk, “When we agree about hallucinations, we call that reality.”
Karl Popper, a famous Austrian philosopher of science from the 20th century put forth the thesis that too much tolerance is a bad thing.
Watch the Vice Media coverage of the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi gathering/protest below and assess your position on tolerance and censorship:
Questions to Consider:
- What arguments exist that the group should the group NOT be tolerated? I.e not allowed to protest and spread their ideas?
- What arguments can you come up with that the group should be tolerated and allowed to protest and spread their ideas?
- What dangers exist in letting the group speak? What dangers exist in preventing them from speaking?
- How would this issue be viewed from a utilitarian perspective? How would the issue be viewed from a Kantian perspective?
Popper’s argument against too much tolerance is summarized below, what logical fallacy could you argue is present in his argument?
And lastly, let’s return to our title question: is tolerance the root of democracy’s demise?