Saturday, December 4

Yuval Noah Harari: ‘I wish I had dated when I was 16 or 17, and not 21’ | Life and Style

BBorn in Israel, Harari, 45, earned his Ph.D. from Oxford University. His best-selling books are Sapiens: A Brief History of Humanity; Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow; and 21 lessons for the 21st century. Next week he will publish Sapiens: A Graphic History Volume 2 – The Pillars of Civilization. She lives with her husband near Tel Aviv and teaches history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

When were you happiest?
Now. I learned to adjust my expectations to reality better than when I was 20 or 10 years old.

What is your biggest fear?
That we will destroy our humanity without even realizing what we have lost.

What is your first memory?
My earliest historical memories are from the First Lebanon War and the Falklands War when I was six years old. I remember watching the sinking of the ship HMS Sheffield on television. It left a very deep impression.

Which living person do you most admire and why?
On a personal level, the friend who is a single mother and is raising two children alone during this Covid era. She is a true hero. If he is a historical personality, I choose Mikhail Gorbachev, who probably saved the world from World War III.

What is the trait you most deplore about yourself?
Each trait has positive and negative potential. The key is learning how to use it. For example, anger and justice are the same trait: you get angry or you seek justice.

What is your most prized possession?
My body.

Describe yourself in three words
I don’t think anyone can be described in three words.

What would your super power be?
Being able to observe things as they really are.

What do you dislike the most about their appearance?
It’s hard for me to smile, especially when commanded. In almost all my photos I look a bit grumpy.

If you could revive something extinct, what would you choose?
It would save the coral reef; It is not extinct but it is on the way.

What is your most unpleasant habit?
I’m not very good at thanking the people around me. I’ll take it for granted that they know I appreciate them.

What scares you of getting old?
Losing my mental abilities.

What book are you ashamed of not having read?
None. I don’t think any book is a must-read.

What did you want to be when you were little?

What is the worst thing someone has said to you?
I have spent years in meditation putting these things aside and I think I have succeeded.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty for the pleasure.

What do you owe your parents?
A lot of gratitude. They were always there for me. Sometimes they didn’t know how to help or what to do, but they always did the best they could, even when I was young and I threw a lot of shit at them.

Who or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, Itzik. Although we come from the same small town in Israel, we met on one of the first dating apps 20 years ago. We got married in Toronto in 2010

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
When I was 16, at the beginning of summer vacation, I was working in an industrial valve factory and was a far worse producer of industrial valves than a historian.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
That I still don’t understand life. When I was young, I thought that at some point I would find someone who would. I am 45 years old and it is very likely that I will never meet someone like that.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would like to go out at 16 or 17, and not at 21.

When did you last cry, and why?
When my dog ​​died a couple of years ago. We were in Greece on vacation and a friend was looking at her at her house and she was bitten by a snake. We ran home, but we were a few hours too late.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something important?
This year, with Covid. I am a big believer in the need for global cooperation to solve major problems, and looking at the world over the past year made me realize that it is going to be much, much more difficult than I thought, and maybe even impossible.

What is the closest you have been to death?
I was almost hit by a bus when I was 13. And in 1991, in the Gulf War, an Iraqi missile fell near my home.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That everything changes, people are never satisfied and all identities are fiction.

What happens when we die?
I’ve written quite a bit about it. I think that consciousness is not a lasting entity, but we have the feeling that it is: that consciousness is now the same as it was a minute ago, or a day and a year ago, but in reality it is not entirely clear what really it links the consciousness of one moment with the consciousness of the next. If we could understand that, we would also understand what happens when we die. I certainly don’t understand it, so I don’t know.

Tell us a secret
The people who run the world don’t understand it.

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