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【English/日本語】Read an English book📖英語の本を読もう📚Sapiens―chapter#3 Forager’s Life

英語でSapiens を読もう📖#3


For English learners!

Hello everyone, how’s your English learning journey going?😃 Reading an English book is sometimes a long journey. You might inadvertently stop if you are alone. But no worries. You are at the right place already. I would like to explore an English book here so that you can try reading the book with me. We are not alone. Let’s enjoy a fun time reading!

The book, which I picked up this time, is called Sapiens, published by Yuval Noah Harari. The Amazon Kindle link below allows you to read up to chapter 3. Today, I am covering chapter 3.

You can check out my recommending strategy of reading as well as a bit of information about this book with a link below. Okay then, let’s get started📖






Ch.3 A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve

第3章 狩猟採集民の豊かな暮らし

Grasp the structure!🦧構成を把握する

To grasp the chapter, you just try to see its hierarchical configuration. I strongly recommend drawing it either physically or virtually.


  • ‘gorging gene’ theory
    • gorge/binge on high-calorie food
    • a plague of obesity today
    • the instinct that wired into our genes
    • widely accepted
  • ‘ancient commune’ theory
    • live in communes rather than based on nuclear families
    • collective fatherhood
    • modern people suffer from the modern marriages that incompatible with our biological software
    • more contentious theory
  • Foragers
    • frequent moving
    • had to make do with only essential possession
    • mental, religious, and emotional lives were conducted without the help of articats
    • cannot rely on artefacts
  • modern people
    • own several million artefacts in life
Forager’s diversity
  • each tribe can have different culture
  • the ancient horizon of possibilities was much broader, and most of it is hidden from our view.

 🚧工事中 🚧

Sapiens and dog
  • domesticated from about 15,000 years ago for…
    • hunting
    • fighting
    • as an alarm system
Sapiens and privacy
  • loneliness and privacy were rare
  • spent most of time in compete isolation and independence
  • averagely encountered no more than a few hundred humans throughout their life.
Sapiens expansion
  • bands wandered outside their turf due to…
    • natural calamities,
    • violent conflicts
    • demographic pressures
    • initiative of a charismatic leader
  • the first parmanent settlment were fishing villages on the coasts of Indonesia around 45,000 years ago
Sapiens main activity
  • gathering food in an elastic and opportunistic fashion
    • picked berries
    • dug for roots
    • stalked rabbits
    • hunted bison and mammoth
  • foraging for knowledge
    • the growth patterns of each plant
    • the habits of each animal
    • which food were norishing
    • how to use plants as cures
The average forager
  • had wider, deeper, and varied knowledge of their immediate surroundings
  • knew a lot about their own tiny field of expertise
  • the most knowledgeable and skilful people in history
  • superb mental abilities
  • the size of Sapiens brain has decreased since the age of foraging : if they were not remarkable, their unremarkable genes were not to be passed.
  • varied and constant used of their bodies made them as fit as marathon runner: physical dexterity
Forager’s lifestyle
  • positive
    • 35-45 working hour per week
    • hunt one out of three days
    • gather 3-6 hour daily
    • a lighter load of household chores
    • ideal nutrition: varied diet
    • less likely to suffer from starvation or malnutrition
    • taller and healthier than their peasant descentdants
    • a good chance of reaching the age of sixty
    • less likely suffer from infectious diseases
  • negative
    • high child mortality
    • an accident
    • harsh attitude
      • ex.) The Aché people in the jungles of Paraguay

 🚧工事中 🚧

religions of ancient foragers
  • every animal, every plant, nd every natural phenomenon has awareness and feelings
  • immaterial entities, such as demons, ghosts, fairies, and angels
  • local beings, not universal
  • communicate through speech, song, dance, and ceremony
  • no barrier between humans and other beings
  • no strict hierarchy (⇔theism is based on a hierarchal relationship)
  • only the haziest notions of cultural belief
    • 50-year-old man with a hat decorated with fox teeth
    • children skeltons with 5000 ivory beads.

 🚧工事中 🚧

When did wars begin?
  • 1. the world of the ancient foragers was exceptionally cruel and violent
  • 2. war and vioilence began only with the Agricultural Revolution
  • castles in the air
  • thin strings of meagre archaeological remains and anthoropological observations
Anthropological evidence
  • problematic factors
    • foragers today live mainly in isolated and inhospitable areas: limited environment
      • Arctic
      • Kalahari
    • foragers have been increasingly subject to the authority of modern states
    • it might be influenced by the impact of European imperialism
  • available example for large and relatively dense populations
    • in North America in the 19th century
    • in northern Australia during the 19th and 20th centuries
  • what was observed
    • frequent armed conflicts
Archaeological evidence
  • problematic factors
    • scarce and opaque
    • no fortifications, walls, artillery shells, etc
    • fossilised human bones are hard to interpret
    • starvation, cold, and desease were the main cause of 90% deaths during pre-industrial warfare: how would we tell if it was because of war or anything else?
  • survey in the pre-agricultural sites
    • in Portgual, 400 skeltons, 2 skeltons had marks of violence
    • in Israel, 400 skeltons, 1 skelton had marks of violence
    • in the Danube Valley, 400 skeltons, 18 skeltons had marks of violence
    • in Sudan, 24/59 skeltons had marks
    • in Bavaria, half of 38 skeltons had marks
  • compare
    • in Portgal, Israel: less than 0.001%
    • in the Danube vally: 4.5%
    • in Sudan: 40%
    • in Bavaria: 50%
    • during 20th century: 5%
    • today, the global average: 1.5%
    • this exhibited a wide array of religions and social structures: a variety of violence rate

 🚧工事中 🚧

What can or cannot fossilized bones tell us?
  • possible
    • human anatomy
    • human technology
    • human diet
    • human social strcture
  • impossible
    • political alliance forged between neighbouring Sapiens bands
    • the spirits of the dead that blessed the alliance
    • the ivory beads secretly given to the local witch to secure the blessing of the spirits
The curtain of silence
  • tens of thousands of years of histroy is shrouded
  • there are all mere guesses
  • probably never know what ancient foragers believed or what political dramas they experienced
  • we shouldn’t stop asking and dismiss 60,000 of 70,000 years of human history and consider their lives as nothing of importance

 🚧工事中 🚧

Summarize the chapter concisely🦧章を一言でまとめる

To summarize, check the hierarchical configuration and make sentences with important points of each.


Sapiens’ social and psychological characteristics were shaped in the hunter-gatherer era, therefore our post-industrial environment makes us feel alienated, depressed, and pressured. What would be like living as a forager? Pre-agricultural forager society seems to be the original affluent societies than ones we have today. Forager’s mental and spiritual life were based on animism, but their cultural beliefs were only to be guessed. Sapiens had invented sociopolitical codes. Anthropological evidence shows violence and conflicts, meanwhile archaeological evidence shows a wide range of violence rates. Even though what we have and what we can guess are limited, foragers survived for 60,000 years out of 70,000 years of human history. They shaped the world around us to a much larger degree than most people realize.


Make questions to discuss🦧ディスカッション用の質問を作ろう

To discuss, make questions. It gives you a great topic to talk about in English.


Evaluative question 全体的な評価についての質問

How effective is the presentation in whole or in part? Why did the speaker/author make these choices and how well do they work?

Many possible answers can be found outside of the presentation but it’s a reference.



My opinion: In this chapter, I see the author particularly keep warning that argument about this era is not much based on sufficient evidence and they are rather guesses. What I see is that nevertheless, the author wanted to allocate one chapter for life in the foragers’ era. If you just want to be a cautious scientist, you can choose to stay away from it and ignore the part you are not sure about. On the contrary, the author still wanted to tell the importance to ponder what a life of a forager would be so that readers can guess and think how their time would affect today’s Sapiens life. Personally, his saying was enough for me to understand it is a kind of castle in the air.


five questions for discussion🦧ディスカッション用の5つの質問

How does this make me feel? What does it remind me of?

There are many correct answers that are related to one’s experience; they can be found outside of the text/speech.

  • Have you ever…?
  • Does it make you angry when…?
  • Which part did you like?
  • How hard was this to understand?



  • こんな経験ありますか
  • こんなとき、怒った気持ちになりますか
  • どのパートが気に入りましたか
  • これを理解するのは難しかったですか

What does it say?

One correct answer is found in the text.

  • Who is …?
  • What happens first?
  • Where are …?
  • What is the difinition of this word?



  • これは誰?
  • 何が最初に起きた?
  • これはどこですか?
  • この言葉の定義はなんですか?

What does it mean? How are the parts connected? what is the reason for people’s actions?

There is more than one possible answer, but the viewer’s opinion is based directly on the text.

  • Why did the speaker…?
  • What can we say about the speaker’s point of view?
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • What did the speaker mean when they said…?



  • どうして話者は...?
  • 話者の視点について、どんなことが言えますか。
  • タイトルにはどんな意味があるでしょう。
  • 話者が...といったのはどういう意味でしょう。

What is the message beyond this presentation? What are the greater issues or questions this piece deals with?

The presentation is not directly referenced in the question. There are many possible answers found outside of the presentation, but it’s a starting point.

  • How do people…?
  • Why do people…?
  • What is the truth about…?



  • 人々はどうやって...?
  • どうして人々は...?
  • ...の真実は何でしょう?

How effective is the presentation in whole or in part? Why did the speaker/author make these choices and how well do they work?

Many possible answers can be found outside of the presentation but it’s a reference.

  • Is it realistic when …?
  • How does the speaker use … to show …?
  • Would this be better if …?
  • Is the speaker biased towards/against…?



  • この箇所は現実味がありますか。
  • 話者がこの...をどのように表現しましたか。
  • もし...であればもっとよかったですか。
  • 話者は...の考え方に偏っていますか。

Expressions and terms🦧覚えておきたい単語・表現

Pick some terms that you are unfamiliar with from sentences you high-lightened and memorize them because you need them to discuss this chapter!!


termexample sentence
trademarkSuch cooperation was one of the important trademarks of Homo sapiens and gave it a crucial edge over other human species.
affluentThe wholesome and varied diet, the relatively short working week, and the rarity of infectious diseases have led many experts to define pre-agricultural forager societies as ‘the original affluent societies.’
irretrievableIf the larger picture of ancient forager life is hard to reconstruct, particular events are largely irretrievable.
forgeThey reveal nothing about the political alliance forged between neighboring Sapiens bands

It is often heard that the reason people easily eat too much is that because it is their instinct which was developed in the hunter-gatherer era. I think a lot of people would agree on it, including myself. But how about our depressed, alienated, and pressured feelings? Would they come from the same origin and the discrepancy between the hunter-gatherer environment and the post-industrial one trigger us to feel these feelings? I found this very interesting to think about.