Humility Essay Summary

In the essay”Humility”, the essaysit Yuval Noah Harari presents humility as a quality that most  cultures lack across the world at the present time. There are Indians that believe that the invention In the essay ‘Humility’, the essayist Yuval Noah Harari presents humility as a quality that most of nuclear science should be credited to them. The Jews believe that monotheism should be credited to them and that they are a significant group in the world the top three religions. But there are only 15 million Jews and there is no reason to think that they should be considered more important than the Hindu religion that has far more followers,

The essayist argues that each group and civilization believes itself to be the centre of the universe and the inventor of the most important philosophies and contributions. But no group is truly unique some forms of their philosophy and beliefs have existed before them. The religions that survived are those that were the most violent they managed to convert the largest number of populations to their belief. For example, the Biblical phrase that Jews take credit for “love thy neighbour as thyself” has appeared before in China.

Similarly, monotheism can be traced back to Egypt and is not originally Jewish. Monotheism has contributed to catastrophization in the world and one should not be proud of having invented it. Christianity a few centuries after its inception banned all religions except for the Jewish religion although many Jews were still persecuted, while Islam today considers all history prior to Mohammed to be irrelevant.

In a similar vein, the Chinese nationalists believe that many great ideas of the modern world trace their roots to be originated in their culture. The author in the text also criticizes the view of his yoga teacher which claims that yoga was invented by Abraham. In addition to this, the essayist also condemns the belief possessed by the mainstream Jews that the entire cosmos exists just because of the reason Jewish rabbis can study their holy scriptures and that if Jews stop this practice, the universe will come to an end. While some sages have called for religious tolerance, the prevailing trend throughout history has always been to persecute those who have different beliefs. And this is ironically the same self-centeredness that most religions have warned against in theory and what people have done, i.e. just opposite to the theory, in practice. Hence, the essayist in the essay suggests us to be sceptical and promote humility and peace in the world, which is the essence of humankind. And for this, we should first criticize the shortcomings and malpractices of our own people and only then, we can point out others.. Moreover, if all people criticize themselves and their own cultures, traditions, beliefs, and religions, then the world be an ideal place to live in.

Humility Essay Exercises Solution

Understanding the Text

Answer the following questions.

a.Describe the claim of the Chinese nationalists about the human history.

Ans.: Chinese nationalists retort that history really began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties. They also consider that Westerners, Muslims and Indians theory is all fake and just a copy of original Chinese breakthroughs.

b.What do pious Muslims believe about the human history? 

Ans.: Pious Muslims believe about the human history that human history was originated after the Prophet Muhammad and the revelation of Quaran to revolve around the Muslim ummah.They too believe that all history prior to Prophet Muhammad is largely irrelevant.

c.What did the Aztecs firmly believe about the universe ? 

Ans.: The Aztecs firmly believed that without the sacrifices they performed each year, the sun would not rise and the entire universe would disintegrate.

d.What, according to the essay, are the universal human abilities? 

Ans.: According to the essay, the universal human abilities are mortality, art, spirituality, and creativity which are embedded in our DNA.

e.How are the basic yoga postures derive from the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet? 

Ans.: A yoga teacher that the author met in Israel stated that all the basic yoga postures derive from the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. He gave the logic that the Trikonasan posture imitates the shape of the Hebrew letter aleph, Tuladandasana imitates the letter daled, etc.

Reference to the context

a.How do Hindu nationalists refute the Chinese claim that human history really began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties? Who do you agree with. and why? 

Ans.: There has been a conflicting controversy for a long time about the origin of human history between Hindu nationalists and Chinese. The Chinese claim that human history really began with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia and Shang dynasties. They also think that the same claim made by other westerners, Hindus and Muslims are nothing just a pale copy of original Chinese breakthroughs. While Hindu nationalists refute the Chinese claim about human history and discoveries. Hindus argue that even acroplanes and nuclear bombs were invented by ancient sages in the Indiana subcontinent long before Confucius and Plato. Hindus consider Maharishi Bhardwaj as the inventor of rockets and aeroplanes. Vishwamitra invented and used missiles and Acharya Kanad was the father of atomic theory. Mahabharat describes about nuclear weapons. So, these all controversial discoveries claimed by both groups is to provide evidence to trace their history older and more glorious than each other.

As far as I am concerned with these two groups, I found the standpoint of both groups to be self-centred and exaggerated. I don’t stand with both of them. In these days of science and technology, we cannot accept such myths that lack genuine evidence. Scientists can trace the age of any ancient material using the carbon dating method and the study of several fossil fuels has indicated differently. So, without any concrete scientific evidence, we cannot stand blindly upon both of those claims.

b.The author has dealt with a controversial debate on human history. Why do you think history has been a major contested issue in the present world? 

Ans.: Human history has always been a major debated and contested issue among historians and others in the world. There are several factors why history has been such an issue in the present world. Some of the possible reasons are as presented below.

i.Varying evidence from historians: Sometimes the same subject possesses different evidence due to different methodological findings, concepts, researches, etc. used by the historians. Such differences could cause debate and contest among people.

ii. Superiority-complex: Many people throughout the world have the feeling of ‘superior- self and inferior-others’. These people because of this reason deviate consider their history superior, older and glorious than others, no matter what the fact is.

iii. Lack of secured data and facts: Some histories are very old that their evidence gets destroyed or damaged over time, so it creates confusion on tracing back its reality and originality.

iv. Political motives – Politicians for the purpose of their political benefits distort history in their favour. They often glorify and vilify the history of the people in order to get their own political benefits. And, the controversy in the real history arises thereafter.

V. Security motives – Many people (and countries) distort or try to distort history, for the reason of the security of their own people and nation. For example – India claims Lipulekh and Kalapani to be part of India because owning this part would immensely. help India to secure its country from its Chinese counterparts in case war or conflict occurs.

vi. Economic benefits -People (and countries) distort or try to distort history’ for their economic and other benefits. For example, both Pakistan and India claim their own land, deviating the history in order to get the economic benefits of Kashmir.

Reference beyond the text

a.Write a short essay on ‘The Conflicting History of Human Civilization’.

Ans: The Conflicting History of Human Civilization The term ‘civilization’ refers to the stage of human, social and cultural development and organization that is considered most advanced in its form. In other words, civilization is a process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social and cultural development and organization. Different civilizations evolve, foster and even die with the period of time. Likewise, some civilizations transform from one form to another with the gradual passing of time. There can even be the assimilation of one form of civilization into another form.

With different civilizations existing at the present time, the people of present time bring conflicts and controversy regarding the history, values, beliefs, attitudes, customs, languages, cultures, traditions, religions, races, festivals and ways of living from one civilization to another. The conflicts among civilizations result from the cultural difference as well as economic and political differences between the civilizations. In addition to this, the major thing that brings conflicts. among the civilizations is the ego and tendency of human beings that glorify their own civilization and vilify the civilizations of others.

The conflicts among the civilizations are too deeply rooted and complex to analyze in one single concept. Political events have incredibly important impacts on the inhabitants of a civilization. The rivalry between two people is caused by their cultural differences; or the thrill of competition, conquering others and exercising supremacy. The origin of these conflicts is an area of debate, but the artwork influenced by them is remarkable. Within every piece created, there lies a factor of the motivation behind it. There are different causes that bring conflicts among civilizations.

Battles and wars between kingdoms or nations are some of the major causes of conflict among the civilizations. In ancient times, battles were often fought simply for the expansion of an empire and economic gain. More land for the empire meant a larger collection of taxes from citizens, and economic prosperity for the kingdom. The thrill and fame that comes with victory often causes a ruler to dream about the truly heroic status of being a war veteran and to show power by expanding the kingdom.

Another cause for conflicts of civilization is the difference in cultural values. Cultural conflict is a type of conflict that occurs when different cultural values and beliefs clash with one another. Conflict is triggered when there are cultural differences between individuals within an organization or through general interaction with one another. This often leads to cross-cultural conflict which generally occurs in the context that individuals are not willing to understand each other’s diversity in cultures. People don’t easily try to understand other cultures and traditions. Declaring one’s culture as supreme one is the issue because all people want to uplift their culture to the highest level. Extreme nationalism and imperialism are other reasons that bring conflicts among the civilizations. The idea of extreme nationalism and fascism believes that the nation should be congruent with the state. Likewise, imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonization, use of military force or other means, such as culture, educations, language and so on. Fascism and imperialism lead to wars, for instance, the outbreak of World War I and II can be taken.

The beliefs of one’s religious supremacy over others also bring conflicts among people. sometimes religious conflicts arise as followers of one religion take to the extreme and impose their religious beliefs on the followers of other religions. A striking example of religion-based conflict is the massacre that occurred during the partition of British India into two dominions: India and Pakistan.

The view of considering one’s own race and language supreme over others also brings conflicts in the history of human civilization. Considering one’s own race and language supreme to others and forcing others to accept one’s supremacy also leads to a clash of civilizations. The formation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan is an example of this. Whatever be the above causes the major reason behind the conflicting history of civilization is the view of ‘superior-self and inferior others’. The people of one civilization having ego of the supremacy of civilization and exercising their power over the civilization of others is one of the main reasons for the conflicting history of civilization. And, for this, people of one civilization deviate and manipulate the evidence, facts and available data in order to exercise their own religious, cultural, “educational, linguistic, social, economic and political powers to the people of other civilizations. Hence, the conflicting history of human civilization exists.

In order to remove such conflicting history of human civilization, people should be impartial to historical evidence, facts and available data. In addition to this, people of one civilization should have the feeling of mutual understanding, respect for others, virtues of tolerance, a sense of cooperation and fraternity with the people of other civilizations. Only then, peace can prevail among the different people of different civilizations and of the whole world as well.

b.The author claims, “Since it is more polite to criticize one’s own people than to criticize foreigners.” Do you agree to his claim? Give your reasons. 

Ans.: Criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. A person criticizes other people or things when he/she does not like the behaviours, activities or attitudes of that people or things. However, we as wise beings should not criticize others irrationally. We should criticize others only when their behaviours, activities and attitudes are harmful and counter-productive to other human beings, the environment or the whole world.

The most important thing that we should do before criticizing others is criticizing ourselves. For instance, if we are not happy with the values, beliefs, cultures, traditions and living of other people and we find them illogical, disgraceful and harmful to the whole mankind and the entire world in one way or another, we need to criticize them. However, before criticizing the values, cultures, beliefs, traditions and ways of living of other people, we need to criticize our own values, cultures, beliefs, traditions and ways of thinking. We should not take anything for granted and we should be sceptical about everything we encounter in our daily life. Only after this, we can criticize the values, beliefs, cultures, traditions and ways of living.

Moreover, criticism of other people shouldn’t be just for the sake of criticism. The criticism should be carried out to show the areas of disapproval and to overcome these areas of disapproval in order to bring positive and progressive changes to the things, we make

criticism of. And for this, we need to make criticism by giving the instances of criticism of our own values, beliefs, cultures and ways of living that are harmful to others. If we do so, it makes other people too realize their weakness and encourages in attempting for improvements. The action of criticizing self first then others is considered to be polite and respectful. For instance, the author in the text criticizes his yoga teacher’s claim that yoga was invented by Abraham. Likewise, the author also criticizes the notion that mainstream Jews believe that the entire cosmos exists just to that Jewish rabbis can study their holy scriptures and that if Jews cease this practice, the universe will come to an end.

The author in the essay had made such criticism of one’s own people, and then only other people have also believed his writing and made this essay immensely popular so that we are reading this essay as a part of our curriculum. There is a human tendency that the people usually do not like to hear anything bad about their own culture, religions, traditions, customs, cultures and ways of life since all people are grown up in the way of ‘superior-self and inferior others’ from their early age. Hence, making the criticism of them in a direct and humiliating manner is considered to be rude. Therefore, we should as far as possible should not criticize others until and unless their values do no harm to mankind and this world. However, if we find something irrational, wrong or harmful in their beliefs and practices, we should criticize them in such a way that they are happy with our views and logic. And, for this, one can criticize others by criticizing oneself first, which is considered to be the most logical, polite, suitable and appropriate way of criticizing others.