So present is this capacity in all of us that it may as well be another limb. Yuval zeroes straight in on how the success of humans as a species is a result of this psychological apparatus, a superpower that secured our ascendancy over our stronger, mightier Neanderthal siblings.

If you have a common myth, whether that’s a god, an idea, a philosophy, a football team, or a blockchain, you are able to connect with strangers, trust them, trade with them, transcend the immediate social and familial group, and build a much bigger, more powerful network.

As I write this, I’m sitting in St. Albans, a city 20 miles north of central London. The place takes its name from St. Alban, Britain’s first recorded Christian martyr, so motivated by his newfound faith that he was executed by the Romans, who thought his ideas presented a profound inconvenience to their interests.

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