For 10 weeks, every Thursday stood on our doorsteps clapping as loudly as possible with our families, housemates and neighbours, me specifically for my brother (consultant surgeon), sister-in-law (A&E doctor), as well as various uncles, aunts and cousins, all engaged in this ‘war’ against Covid-19. The entire country has been participating in a mass sonic demonstration of humanity; a coordinated appreciation of the NHS and other key workers on the frontline. This hugely powerful, emotional, shared human experience is rooted in a key stage in human evolution - the birth of language, when sophisticated combinations of animal calls became detailed phonetic information conveying thoughts and ideas alongside our emotions. The emergence of language allowed us to develop trust in others beyond family bonds, encouraging coordination and specialism on a scale that accelerated us as a species far beyond all others. This period is classified as ‘The Cognitive Revolution’ in Yuval Noah Harari’s best-selling book ‘Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind’. Harari argues that language, in tandem with imagination, helped foster belief systems such as gods, society, nations, money and rights.
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