Reality and the Imagination


“Freedom” by akshay moon

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about meditation, the need for stories, the power of technology to erase the boundary between fact and fiction, wealth inequality, the problem of finding meaning in a world without work, religion as a virtual reality game, the difference between pain and suffering, the future of globalism, and other topics.

Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in history from Oxford University and is a professor in the Department of History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He specialized in World History, medieval history and military history, but his current research focuses on macro-historical questions: What is the relation between history and biology? What is the essential difference between Homo sapiens and other animals? Is there justice in history? Does history have a direction? Did people become happier as history unfolded?

He is the author of two blockbuster books, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

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What Do You Take for Granted?

Do you ever stop and imagine, “We are living on a giant rock that is hurtling through space around a gigantic ball of fire!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “There are people sitting in seats, flying across the sky!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What would my life be like before man harnessed electricity?”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “The nearest star to the sun is about 25 trillion miles away!”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What is it in me that perceives?”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “It’s inevitable that I will literally cease to exist in the future.”

Do you ever stop and imagine, “What the fuck is going on! How am I not myself? What the hell is a self?”

Do you ever just stop… just… stop… and observe… really… observe?