Via Francisco Capella.
It takes far more than technology to farm; it also takes cooperation. Many people must work together with such high levels of trust that they can divide up the tasks and then toil for many months with no reward. When the harvest finally comes in, the farmers must be able to share it, store it, defend it, and make some of it last until it’s time for next year’s planting. It takes a village to raise crops. How did our ancestors get to the point where they could work together in villages, then city-states, then nations?
Our righteous minds made it possible for human beings—but no other animals—to produce large cooperative groups, tribes, and nations without the glue of kinship. But at the same time, our righteous minds guarantee that our cooperative groups will always be cursed by moralistic strife. Some degree of conflict among groups may even be necessary for the health and development of any society. When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and few people believe that righteous ends justify violent means. Not a very romantic wish, but one that we might actually achieve.
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