Originally posted by BRussell
Can you explain this further? What was so different about farming that led to different conceptions of morality.
The question's not 'do we have an idea of morality?' but 'are we intrinsically bad
And no, we're not, not if history's anything to go by. For 90% of our history we've been hunters and gatherers. That's 90,000 years, tops. We've only been farming for 10,000 years. That's nothing.
Farming changed everything. Cultivation gave us the ideas of 'property', 'labour' and 'wealth'; farming made it rational to treat animals, plants and soil itself as commodities. Fighting to defend your labour is not something we did before 10,000 BCE. Hunters and gatherers do not 'labour' (something that particularly affronted European settlers in Australia, Africa and the Americas.) They're too busy doing the hunting, gathering, making things, seasonally starving / dying of thirst depending on their whereabouts. Their cultures are ritual, and those rituals are believed to be directly useful to their day-to-day survival.
Their bands are stable in size, maintaining low population densities by ritual taboos and naturally low birth rates. They do not views land as 'good land' or 'bad land' or 'wilderness'. They do not recognise the notion of 'history', viewing and describing the world in mythical terms that account for its bounty, its cruelty, its generosity and its heartlessness, particularly the beauty of its animals, some of which are so frightening that you can't actually call them by their real names.
Ritual is vitally, materially, important. There's no fighting over doctrine or interpretation since they aren't 'religious'there's no 'heresy' or 'blasphemy' since their spiritual beliefs are there to assist in the day-to-day survival in places where there's no recourse to farmed meat or plants in tough times. The stakes are much higher.
They are cooperative and 'manners' (gift-giving, food-sharing) are ritually-codified.
Farmers measure wealth in land and sons who need land of their own, which is why all settlers are agriculturalist. The first thing they do when they see land that isn't being worked, that 'belongs' to people too lazy to work it, to people with no obvious beliefs, religion or idea that land might be worth something, is to kill them. Ironic, since to hunters and gatherers, where they live defines their culture and their spiritual beliefs, and land and 'faith' are utterly bound up with one-another.
What you get when the imaginative resources that have been so useful for so many tens of thousands of years are no longer useful to your day-to-day survival is 'religion'. Instead of shamans, which might be a quarter of the adult men and women, you get priests. Instead of shared rituals observances and myth you have scripture.
When you're comfortable you get gods with good manners. And those gods tend to be OK with you killing people by the tens of thousand, as happened in Africa and the Americas, and even demand that you spread their message, even if it means force, and death, and the destruction of cultures entire.
It's no bed of roses, being hungry and thirsty and afraid in the deserts of Southern Africa, but there's no hunting for sport, selling your labour gouging minerals from the earth to make others rich, genocide, class, caste, despoilation or dogma. These are most of the things that are causing us so much trouble and they're all very recent inventions.