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Ishmael Community Guestbook Archive

Back to the *Current* Guestbook Previous 15 Records · Next 15 Records

David Theis #14958
Hackenheim, Germany - Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 15:17:26 CST (GMT -6:00)

Even if this is the most unecessary post right now, I can't hold myself back again. I enjoy it pretty much to just read right now, without participation, but, man, there are times.


since it's obvious to you how everyone would respond to your words and on the other hand to Sara's, let me give you an example how I reacted. Your words just seem to be arrogant and hypocritical. Sara's words seem to be honest and straight-forward. I have no reason to take one's side, this is just an neutral observation. To be brutally honest, I think nearly anything you say unbelievable. But, since you dismissed me like you do Sara now, and since I don't have the guts Sara has, I'm gone again, letting you swim a little more in your mature arrogance, which seems to be better than my adolescent arrogance. Recently someone said here that the young ones are the ones that should be heard. That's nothing for your ears, right?

goodbye everyone again, no problem if you take this as I didn't wrote a word

P.S.: isn't it funny that people call you a new member, since you're obviously not? just thinking/laughing

madrone #14957
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 15:1:17 CST (GMT -6:00)


the reason that so many of our cereal products are enriched is that we remove the vast majority of their naturally-occurring nutrients in processing. Eating white flour, for instance, before enrichment, amounts to eating cardboard--without the fiber. I am not arguing for or against any particular eating style. It seems to me that leaver people over time and across the globe have mananged to find exactly the kind and amount of food they needed for good health, in their own neighborhood--sometimes that was grain-based, sometimes meat/fish and veg/fruit-based. The human body is a miraculous creation that adapts and thrives under many different kinds of nutritional conditions, this is maybe the only thing we can be sure of. Back in the 60's Adele Davis was saying that people MUST have about 70-100 grams of protein a day to live well. Later, Frances Moore Lappe stated that about half that much was plenty. It turns out that many peoples have lived quite well on what we would consider very low-protein diets, all because the human body is able to make the best of available nutrients.

Now, I am not trying to say that grains are "high-protein" or the MOST nutritious of foods available. I am saying that it's a plain fallacy to say that they are mainly empty calories--because grains do indeed provide some protein and a good amount of other nutrients, and none of the calories are "empty", for all of them can be well used by our bodies in one way or another. Nor am I saying that one way or another of eating is "best" for humans.

The whole point of saying anything at all on this subject is that at times people speak as if they have the whole story on things, and thus THE answer to the question, when they don't. I like to offer what I have learned on these topics, for two main reasons: 1) to bust the idea that there is, or needs to be, one right answer to these questions; and 2) to show as often as necessary that the knowledge that is propagated from within takerdom's halls of learning is, by virtue of being accepted by takerdom, BIASED AND INCOMPLETE. Fraught through and through with the values, beliefs, prejudices and mysticism of takerdom. Designed to aid the continuation of takerdom!

Think about that. It really does make sense, don't you think?

And I'm sorry if this sounds, if I sound, arrogant. Maybe I could work on my delivery. And maybe those who are offended could work on opening your minds to the possibility that whatever my style, just maybe I'm onto something here.


madrone #14956
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 14:32:25 CST (GMT -6:00)


Thanks for your response to Sara...you said, about sustainable city living, what I would have said for the most part.

Karryn--thanks also to you. Yes, I can be a toughie at times, hard to take. But as my ex-husband, current co-parent and friend C sometimes tells me, "...it's just that, damn it, you're so RIGHT about things sometimes! I don't want to hear it but need to, and then I get so defensive" Now, before you think I'm just bragging, I will also say that at times I need as big a kick in the butt as anyone else. And also sometimes I'm too tough talking to get my message across to another, no matter how "right" I might be. Sorry for that!

I did say I'm still learning. I mean that. And I don't think I'll learn anything if I keep my mouth shut until I'm perfect.

Now Sara-- I suggest that you go back through all your posts to me. Not just to me, but on any subject really. Print them out, and ask a friend how s/he might feel to be the receiver of your words. You say you weren't, for instance, dissing the country way of living sustainably at all by saying "hippy-dippy". However, you went on to add things about what "you and your co-flakes" would be doing, and told us all about a research project you did on the commune subject and reduced it all to idiots arguing about who would feed the chickens, etc.

Now, in my personal and maybe outdated slang vocabulary, a flake is an irresponsible leach, basically. To give you just one example of the way you talk that some might find passive-aggressive, condescending and judgemental, just as you accused me of being.

Also, you used the term "passive-aggressive maternal" about one of my posts. Well, I'm sorry, really sorry that my tone offended you, but it was YOUR OWN misinterpretation of me, not my intention to offend. And I don't own your perception of my message, tho I do regret that I didn't do a better job of reaching you with my intention of support. I tried to tell you later that I was offering that message out of good will and a sincere desire to offer support, but you still don't buy it. What the hell am I supposed to do? Also, I didn't "attack" you about your "living sustainably in NY" post. I DISAGREED with you. There is a big difference, Sara!

But go ahead, I dare you. Go back through your posts--and mine, for that matter--print them out and show them to an impartial person. And ask how they would feel to be the receiver of your messages (and mine).

And by the way, I still think you need a better understanding of both biochemistry and nutrition. I am well aware of many of the things you state about dietary changes with the advance of civilization, and have also looked into the kinds of diets that some ancient (or more contemporary) leaver people have had. Yes, many had meat and veggie-type diets, rather than grain-based. But biochemically speaking, you are wrong about protein as a source of energy. Yes, protien can be used for energy--but only because protiens are the longest and most complex of all "food molecules". This means that the sugar needed for energy can be extracted from protein molecules. Some "experts" say that this is a very wasteful way to use proteins, needed for the building of tissue--and that this idea of using protein for energy has been one of the main causes of things like coronary heart disease, for instance, not to mention our horrific enslavement of animals for food (no, I am not a vegetarian, but I have seen, being a country dweller, the conditions that market animals must endure, and slaughter-houses as well). Besides the fact that, again, fruits and veggies are primarily starches.

I'm only saying these things to try to tell you that while I can see you are intelligent and thoughtful (and I do mean that honestly), you are having way too much confidence in a fairly narrow and incomplete knowledge base. And with that, coming off as supremely arrogant...to me, anyway. You are so sure that your college education must be the be-all end-all of knowledge. As if nothing you learned in college could possibly be wrong, or incomplete, or the least bit assailable by anyone else's knowledge--and it looks to me like you're dialoguing with a bunch of pretty well-educated folks here.

It's not a contest. I am not your adversary. To say that you are making choices is only to remind us all that we are ALL doing that all the time. I agree that times are hard for you right now, and that you have a right to feel the angst of that. I also know that most others on the planet have it far worse than you or me--and I for one, find it much easier to count my blessings and smile and keep dreaming up another option when I remember that UNLIKE so many others, today I will eat enough, and have a shelter, and not have to worry too much about soldiers killing my mother in front of me or raping my sisters or.....Do you see yet? I am not discounting your pain, to say that you are making choices or that others have it far, far worse than you. I am trying to offer you some relief! and a way to transform your present experience of living (not your circunstances, mind you, just your experience of those circumstances)--offering two ways that have worked for me, that do work for me to empower me and increase my good cheer and sense of possibility. Damn, woman, if I had survived the WTC bombing, I think I'd be feeling mighty special, like the universe had really special plans for me or something! It's not "all in your head"--but by golly, a whole bunch of it really is.

Now, you seemed to say (without asking me directly, but just by inferring it with your remark about how I just wouldn't drop it) you seemed to say that you wish this could be dropped. So, from now on, it's dropped by me, I even invite you to have the last word. I promise, I won't respond, even if I don't like your choices of words or tone.


Libran #14955
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 14:23:28 CST (GMT -6:00)

Damn Sara,

You seem to have your hands full here! It's amazing that you bother posting at all- seeing as Ameno and Madrone already have everything figured out!

Madrone, I don't know where you got the idea that the cereals we produce are in any way 'very nutritious'. I don't think that there is any evidence that would support this. Rice, wheat, barley, refined sugar, corn starch, and corn syrup do indeed supply 'empty calories' when compared to foods such as nuts, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and insects. If our main sources of calories(2/3) were so nutritious on their own, then why are they all fortified and/or enriched? As far as obtaining energy is concerned, fat blows carbs out of the water. Additionally, I don't see how biochemistry could ever be twisted into a form that would back your claims. Of course, there is some nutrition in these foods, but it is low proportionate to its weight. Using a modern food pyramid to make your arguement really makes no sense to me at all. Our recomended daily allowances have been determined after ten thousand years of eating those very same foods, and a certain amount of adaptation is inevitable. That adaptation cannot make a case for relative nutritional value. As far as calorie exchange is concerned, our cereals are about the worst imaginable- and you can bank on that.

As much as this subject may be interesting to some, I think the paper I just read(address given in my last post) sealed the deal for me. It is the only account of the transition to full-time agriculture that has ever made sense to me. The fact that it is fully testable is also an advantage.

I don't know why it exists on a vegan straight-edge website, but it is very interesting.

I'll give the address again:


Later, Libran

VerevolfTheGrouch #14954
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 14:17:2 CST (GMT -6:00)


Although I won't disagree with you that living off the back of the Taker world is not exactly sustainable, the reason for that is not due to the fact that it couldn't continue without the Takers, per se. It's unsustainable because the Taker way is unsustainable.

Sustainable means, barring massive environmental changes, a way of life can continue indefinitely. The Takers way of life is unsustainable because it is causing massive environmental changes that will cause the world to be unable to support human life. It is not because each individual Taker can't survive on his or her own. That Takers can't survive on their own is why they are captives, not why they are doomed.

Ameno #14953
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 13:16:3 CST (GMT -6:00)


I just read you last post to Madrone. You say you have found a way to live tribally and sustainably in the city?

Well, damn, why are we even talking anymore. Tell me how. If you have TRULY found a way to live tribally and sustainably in the city, then our problems are over.

I really want to know how you are living in NYC (remember I live in LA), and are managing to get food, shelter (and obviously a computer) by living tribally and sustainably. There is a group of people living tribally and sustainably in NYC, and if you look out your window you'll probably see one sleeping on the sidewalk. But, should everyone else in NYC vanish, even they would go hungry (no more trash or people to panhandle from). Sustainably means that if society just magically vanished, you would have no problem CONTINUING the way of life you have RIGHT NOW. That is something that Leavers have. If all the Hopis vanished and all that was left was a man and a woman, in no time flat, there would be another tribe of Hopis. The man and woman could go on living EXACTLY the way they were before the rest of Hopi society vanished and they would be ok. That is what sustainably means, and that is what we are here to try and master.

Ameno #14952
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 12:56:7 CST (GMT -6:00)


The koan is PERFECT for this situation. Imagine the master is Mother Culture. Imagine the student is the people in that world. We all feel imprisoned by the culture and so we say we want to be set free. Culture asks us to show us the chains and she will cut them.

Our job is to find the chains, and mother culture will cut them herself. Slick, stick around, you have something very beneficial to add to this discussion.

Ameno #14951
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 12:49:42 CST (GMT -6:00)


Read my discourse and you will see that I don't believe in the animal that is Totalitarian Agriculture. I only believe in agriculture within a competitive market and agriculture independent of that. The Hopi and Navajo are agriculturalists with no competition. In otherwords, there is no reason for a Hopi farmer to grow more corn than he and his family can use. Totalitarian agriculture, as Quinn has described it, is not "totalitarian" because of methods of farming, but because of the MOTIVATION behind how much you grow.

But even Quinn never fully articulates it like this so people like you who read it get confused. The Hopi do NOT practice totalitarian agriculture.

Rev. Slick #14950
Kitankagusuku, Okinawa Japan -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 12:13:51 CST (GMT -6:00)

Greetings To All,

To Ameno: Gracias, amigo. Que Bueno! Thank you for a new viewpoint, and a new angle on the situation. I, too, have a passing familiarity with Spanish. By that, I mean that it passes further from me with each day I don't get regular practice. Due to my current residence, I'm in the process of learning Japanese(but I won't even try to use it here) and when my fluency has increased a bit, I will apply your technique to that language. You have hit on an interesting point: The application of language as a vehicle for the expression of thought. Change the language, change the terms of the debate. Excellent!

Your mention of the man with his hands tied in your example reminded me, for some strange reason, of a zen koan of sorts that I had read some time ago. I'm not sure of the relevance yet, but I will relate it to you as best as my failing memory allows.

A young student went to the master of his temple and said to him, "Master, I feel confined here. Is there nothing you can do?" To which the master replied, "So you wish to be free, then?" "Yes, very much so." replied the student without hesitation. The master then said, "Show me your chains, then, and I will break them for you." The student was perplexed, then, and said, "But master, I have none." The master then smiled and said, "Then why is it that you only wish for freedom?"

Again, Ameno, my sincerest thanks for the eye-opener.

To Madrone: Thank you for your comments. I did not mean to say, however, that we as individuals are without the power (or poder, if you like) to effect change. I merely wish to point out that it will not come without action, and it will not come without sacrifice. We should all aquaint ourselves with that fact if our actions are to have any meaning.

Peace To All Who Desire It, The Reverend Slick.

P.S. Has anyone here ever heard of Utah Phillips? Folk singer, with some incredible things to say. Of particular note are the two collaborations he did with Ani DiFranco.

Sara #14949
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 12:13:1 CST (GMT -6:00)

Ameno -

ok, let me get this straight.

you've read Ishmael. You grasp the concepts of Totalitarian Agriculture and the cycle of food production, population increase, and more of the same. And you understand how those things are at the root of the problems. You've obviously grasped on to the Taker Leaver dichotomy.

So your one example of leavers still in existance is a tribe that practices Totalitarian Agriculture.


Ameno #14948
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 11:55:15 CST (GMT -6:00)

Buzz- You asked me where the quote from Quinn about starving people not inventing agriculture (I said "doing", but the question is really INVENTING isn't it.) You wanted to read it in context.

In my copy of The Story of B, it is on page 92. The exact quote is: "They didn't begin a new way of life because they were starving, because, as I've said, starving people don't invent lifestyles any more than people falling out of airplanes invent parachutes."

Sara #14947
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 11:42:37 CST (GMT -6:00)

and another thing, madrone. i don't have any big problem with you. however, YOU attacked me in the first place just because i said that i'd found a way to live tribally and sustainable in the city. something that obviously offends you. it doesn't bother me that your preferred way to live tribally and sustainably is in the country. it's not what works for me, and i don't think it's the best way to affect large cultural change, but if it's what you want to do, that's cool by me. however, when i talked about all the resources i have which are important to me in the city and which help me live according to what DQ describes in his works, you attacked me, saying that i must not know what's really going on because i'm "priveleged" AKA wealthy. When you don't know me, you don't know my situation, and you probably aren't even familiar with the city i'm describing. You attacked my standpoint on the basis of some friends and family you have who live in chicago. which is a totally different city than new york.

i was really insulted, so i tactfully defended myself, describing how i'm not particularly "priveleged" and certainly not rich. you then still felt the need to knock me down, insisting that, even though i'm monetarily poor and in a hard situation, i still have a lot more than a lot of other people on this planet, so i have no room to talk about anything. i agreed that i did have some advantages, but that the idea that i can't contribute to a discussion on living tribally in the city because i'm not the poorest most unfortunate soul to be found is ridiculous. which it is. i don't know of anyone who thinks you have to have the worst situation in the world to be able to know about or comment on anything. after i continued to defend my position (which was that it is quite easy, if you're creative, to live tribally in NYC), you suddenly turned all passive agressive maternal, insisting that you were just trying to help me and give me the benefit of your older and wiser ways. which i have a hard time believing because YOU attacked me in the first place, and YOU condescended to me after i defended myself, and YOU won't let the issue drop.

And the only reason i can find that you might have disliked what i had to say in the post that started all this was that i said that it's probably best, from a cultural change standpoint, to get away from the flakey new age image. which was not in any way meant as a personal insult. i also never said that there's no room for "hippy-dippy" in Ishmael, or that those who want to do the back to nature thing shouldn't. just that there is more than one way, and that the best way to get the message to the masses is to de-emphasize the back to nature stuff, especially because it isn't even among the main tenets of Ish, and also because it isn't palatable to the people who need to hear about Ishmael the most. As far as i can tell i never outright insulted you, i merely hinted at the fact that i didn't agree 100% with the way you were going about things. and i never outright condemned those ways or insisted that my way was right and yours wrong. i just said that, if you're trying to bring about large-scale change, and if you want to get to the mainstream, then you probably should go about it in a certain way. a way that you didn't like and decided to take me to task for.

Ameno #14946
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 11:38:26 CST (GMT -6:00)

For Madrone and Sara regarding agriculture v. horticulture.

Sara- you said," Basically, what changed during the agricultural revolution was not the practice of putting a seed in the ground vs. picking some fruit off a tree. it was the things people were growing and the ways they were eating. the problem is not, therefore, the idea of growing your food, but the idea of subsisting on empty calories that come from grain or potatoes or whatever."

Not only did you say it, you said it with such assuredness. Reality would beg to differ with you. I have mentioned before that there is still one leaver community that exists in the United States. That community is the traditional Hopi at Hotevilla. Guess what Sara? They are Leavers through and through AND they farm corn. They have a corn-based diet on a level far beyond the rice-based diet of asia. Nearly all of their calories are gained through corn. It is so much a fact, that their mythology and cosmogeny actually STARTS with Maasau (their great spirit) handing the first people on Earth a planting stick and corn seeds.

The Hopi's ancestors, the Anasazi, were also very much Leavers, and very much agriculturists (also corn). You said: "it's far easier than agriculture, which needs huge plots of land, heavy equipment, complex irrigation, and lots of manpower."

I ask you to travel to the anasazi ruins in Arizona. You will see that the Anasazi had developed all of the things you describes in the MIDDLE OF THE DESERT. As a matter of fact, their irrigation system was so advanced that even today, with the Anasazi ancient history, the irrigation canals flow with water. The difference you will notice with the Anasazi is they used what was already there (springs, rock formations, etc.), whereas Takers would have tried to change the environment. Instead, the LEaver Anasazi simply developed technology allowing them to USE the existing environment.

Sara, agriculture is not the problem. It lies somewhere else.


Others may not have read what you wrote CAREFULLY. I absolutely agrre with what you said and was even thinking about how to explain it two days before you wrote it.

Slick said: "Our society will destroy itself, and ther is nothing that will be done to stop it. Notice my use of the word "will" rather that "can". The fact is, there are several things that could be done to reverse the situation, efforts that could begin to show results almost immediately."

His statement, which he thinks is the reality of our eventual doom, actually holds the key to our salvation. The key is in the words "can" and "will" and their relationship to one another.

I also speak Spanish, and in Spanish, the word that would be used for "can" ("to be able to") is "poder." If you look at that word, you can probably guess what it's DIRECT translation is. "Poder" is also used as a noun in Spanish and it directly translates to "power." So when you say "poder" as a verb, you are really saying, "to have the POWER to do." The next thing you have to look at is the word "will." Best way to define it is to use the phrase, "where there is a will, there is a way." So basically, we understand that just about anything "can" be accomplished if there is a "will" to do it. Pretty self explanatory right.

Now, you have to understand the relationship between "can" (physical and mental power) and "will" (spiritual and emotional power). What we are saying to people is, "WILL you save the world please?" We already know they CAN, we all know they CAN, even the reverend. But they don't have the will. Why?

I look at it like this. If you are next to a glass of water and I say, "Will you hand me that glass of water please?" Most of you would say ok and it would be no big thing. Now, if I moved the glass far away (maybe 100 yards) and made the same request, most of you would probably still go and get it (if you had nothing better to do), but some of you would say no (you didn't have the will to wealk that far. Now, if I tied your hands and feet and asked you the same thing, most of you would say, "Dude, my hands and feet are tied, how the hell am I supposed to get you a stinking glass of water, I have my own problems." There would be a few who would have the will to break the ropes, travel the 100 yards, and go get me the water, but this would be a tiny percentage. Where there is a will, there is a way.

So basically, the less power you have physically and mentally, the more "will" it takes to accomplish anything. The more poder you have, the less will it takes. So, if you want people to have the will to save the world, what do you have to do? Not keep trying to convince them to do it befor eit's too late. Instead what you have to do is give them the physical and mental power to do it.

For those of you who know psychology, this is actually an expression of Maslow's Hierarchy. So what is our task then?

What we admire in LEavers is their ability to just "walk away." They can do that because they have alot of poder (Quinn calls it 100% survival value). We need to find a way to give the masses the poder they need. That is what my discourses are leading to.

Buzz Bloom #14945
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 11:33:27 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Jaret re: 15250: Thank you for the clarification of the poem excerpt. I guess as a sort of a pep talk to a sports team its OK, but its language just hit me the wrong way. I usually think of this kind of thing in more neutral terms as in your restatement or extended context, something like "If you don't try you can't succeed," and "Confidence is half the battle."

Best wishes,

Buzz Bloom #14944
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 11:32:35 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Bev re 15078: Thanks for the kind words. I really like the description of what you are doing. "...moving towards living sustainability," through "Is there time to save the W? Only time will tell." I would be very interested to hear about any interactions you have with people whose minds you try to change, whenever.

Best of luck with progress towards your priorities.

Best wishes for happiness and successes in all aspects of your life,

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