Today, human beings are above and above all animals. Ten thousand years ago, humans, like other animals, lived on hunting and were basically in the same position as other species. However, what makes humans step by step to this day. Many people definitely think that it is - intelligence. Human intelligence is higher than other animals and is the most intelligent animal on earth. However, humans were already the smartest animals in the world about 10,000 years ago. The human being at that time was still a very common animal with limited influence on the surrounding environment. Obviously, intelligence is not the most critical factor in which humans ultimately override all animals.
The most crucial factor for human beings to finally conquer the world is cooperation. Among all animals, only humans can cooperate on a large scale and between strangers.
Some people think that animals such as bees, ants and orangutans can also collaborate. Why did humans win in the end?
The collaboration between ants and bees is large and complex, but not flexible enough. For example, the collaboration between bees is complex, but the form is very simple. The form of collaboration between bees thousands of years ago is no different from the way they collaborate today. A thousand years ago, humans understood the form of collaboration between bees. Today, we can still use it during the breeding process of bees.
The cooperative forms of human close relatives such as orangutans are not single, but the amount of collaboration between them is too small to be limited to between relatives and acquaintances. It's hard to imagine that two orangutans who don't know each other can do one thing together. Imagine that today's collaboration between human beings can only be based on friends and family. Can our society today still function normally?
So why do humans collaborate on a large scale, but other animals do not?
The large-scale collaboration of mankind is based on human imagination.
Max Weber said:
Humans are animals that hang on the net of the meaning of their own weaving.
The large-scale collaboration of human beings relies on imagination, but this kind of imagination is not a personal whimsy, not a personal one. This kind of imagination is mutual subject and is the common imagination of most people.
The most classic example is the use of banknotes. The paper money issued by each country has no value in itself. One dollar cannot be eaten, it cannot be drunk, and there is basically no practical use. However, almost no one does not like it and does not want to get him.
why? Because people all over the world believe in the value of the dollar. I believe that as long as I hold the dollar, I can exchange things like eating, drinking and living. If several people refuse to use the US dollar, do not accept the US dollar, nor use the US dollar for other things. Their actions will not affect the value of the dollar at all, but their own lives will be greatly affected. However, if the merchants in the market refuse to accept the dollar, then the dollar will lose value instantly.
There is never such an absurd example in real life. On November 8, 2016, Modi India suddenly announced the abolition of two large denomination notes of 500 and 1000 rupees, which caused 86% of the total currency circulation to withdraw from circulation. It caused panic among the people of India. People from all over India queued to exchange money all night outside the bank. Many people simply couldn’t change their banknotes. The painstaking efforts of a lifetime became waste paper overnight.
The same thing can happen to individuals, religions and laws. The value of a person and how many people believe that he is directly proportional, the more people believe, the greater his value.
Many people live together and believe in the same thing, then its meaning is born. Why do people get married to buy diamonds? Why do we have to go through a lot of festivals, and we have to do what we should do at that festival in different festivals? Because our friends around us think that we should do this, our parents believe that we should do this, even in a faraway place, people believe this. This belief is also constantly self-reinforcing, and the more people believe, the greater the value and meaning. The greater the value of meaning, the more people will recognize its value and significance.
Human beings can finally rule the world, relying on this network of meanings that they weave. These nets are slowly connecting more and more people through people's imagination, prompting different people to work together. Other animals cannot imagine things that they can't see or touch, such as money, country, religion, etc. Only humans can construct such illusory things.