読者です 読者をやめる 読者になる 読者になる

サピエンス全史 興味深い文章マーカー #1 (p12-36)


 Other Animals at the top of pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into the position gradually, over millions of years... prevented from wreaking too much havoc. As lions became dealier, gazelles evoleved to run faster, hyenas to cooperate better...In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust. Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years domination have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like banana-republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from thhis over-hasty jump. *1





The most common answer is that our language is amazingly supple. We can connect limited number of sounds and signs to produce infinite number of sentences...Our language evolved as a way of gossiping.Social cooperation is our key for survival and reproduction. It is not enough for individual me and women to know whereabouts of lions and bison. It's much more important for them to know who in their band hates whom, who is sleeping with whom, who is honest and who is a cheat...Do you think that the history professors chat about the reasons of WW1 when they meet for luch, or nucleat physicists spend their coffee breaks at the scientific conferences talking about quarks?Sometimes, but more often they gossip about the professor who caught her husband cheating, or the quarrel between the head of the department and the dean, or rumors...Gossip usually focuses on wrongdoings.*2

まず物理的な要素として、 人間は他の動物に比べて、異なる音節の音を出すことができ、それをくっつけて意味をもたらすことができた。次に社会的要素として、人間は協力して過ごしていたため、集団の情報を共有することが必要であり、それが言語の進化に寄与した。これはしばしばゴシップとして私たちの生活に現れるもので、普段にみえる雑談も進化にとって大切な能力なんだというのを暗に示している。ただ、なぜゴシップや噂話では悪いこと話題になるのだろう。



Separate groups seldom, and tend to compete for territory and food..Humans, like chimps, have social intstincts that enabled our ansestors to from friendships, hierarchie and hunt together, and adapted only for intimater groups...Sociological research has shown that the maximum 'natural' size of a group bonded by gossip is about 150 individuals...Succesful family businesses usually face a crisis when they grow larger and hire more personnel...The secrect was probably the appearance of fiction. Large number of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths. Churches are rooted in common religious myths. States are rooted in common national myths. Judicial systems are rooted in common legal myths. People easily understand that 'primitive' cement their social order by believing in ghosts and spirits. Yet none of these things exist outside the story that people invetnt and tell one another. There are no gods in the universe, no nation, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings. What we fail to appreciate is that our modern institutions function on exactly same basis. *3




The legend of Peugeot affords us a good example. An icon thar somewhat resemble stadel lion-man apears today on cars is the hood ornament that adorns vehicle made by Peugeot, one of the oldest and largest Europe's carmakers. Today the company employs about 200,000 people wordwide and these strangers cooperate so effectively, produced more than 1.5million automobiles, earning revenues of about 55billion euros in 2008. The company owns factories, machinery and showrooms...A disaster might kill every single one of employees, and go on to destroy all of its assembly line, but Peugeot still exists. But if a judge were to mandate the dissolution of the company, its factory would remain standing and its workers and managers would continue to live - but Peugeot would immediately vanish. Peugeot seems to have no essential connection with physical world. So it exists in legal entity. The idea behind such comapnies is among human's most ingenious inventions. During most of recorded history property could be owned only by flesh-and-blood humans. If in thirteenth-century France Jean set up a wagon-manufacturing workshop, he himeself was the business. If a wagon he'd made broke down a week after purchase, the disgrunted buyer would have sued Jean personally. If Jean had borrowed 1,000 gold coins to set up his wagon and business failed, he would have had to repay the loan by selling his property - his house, his land, he might even have had to sell his children into servitude. If he couldn't cover the debt, he could be thrown in prison by the state. He was fully liable, without limit, for all obligations incurred by his workshop. And indeed this legal situation discouraged entrepreneurship. People were afraid to start business by taking economic risks. This is why people began collectively to imagine the existence of limited liability companies. In the US, the technical term of limited liability company is 'corporation'. The american legal system treats corporations as if they were flesh-and-blood human beings.

 So in the same way that priests and sorcerers have created gods and demons throughout history. It all revolved around telling stories and convincing people to believe them.

 Telling effevtive stories is not easy. The difficulty lies not in telling the story, but in convincing everyone else to believe it. Yet when it succeeds, it gives Sapiens immense power, because it enables millions of strangers to cooperate and work towards common goals.

 This fiction is not a lie. Monkey can lie when they saw a banana by calling 'Careful! A lion!' and eat it. ( I think fiction becomes a lie only if the fiction was proven to be a lie.) That's why we still believe human rights because we can't see and prove it.

Ever since the Cognitive revolution, Sapiens have thus been living in dual reality. On the one hand, objective reality of rivers, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and cooperations.   



今では誰でも起業できる時代だが、昔はとても勇気のいるものだった。例えば、中世のフランスである人がワゴンを作るビジネスをして、お客からクレームが出たと。借金をして商品を改良するものの、なかなか売れなかった。彼は自分の土地や身分を売り、困窮状態に陥ってしまった。しまいに借金を返せなくなったら、投獄され生き地獄になってしまう。こういった経済リスクから当時の人々は起業を敬遠する傾向にあった。そこで法的に整備され、例えばアメリカでは、有限責任会社limited liability companyなどがある。


*1:The Cost of Thinking p12-13

*2:The Tree of Knowledge p24-26

*3:The Legend of Peugeot p29

*4:The Legend of Peugeot p28-36