Greetings to all, Although I expect to be universally reviled for what I am about to commit to this record, I feel that it must be pointed out. First, I will begin by saying that I agree whole heartedly with the statements put forth in "The Story of B". He has isolated the root problems of our society, given words to the terrifying reality that had never been openly spoken of before. Unfortunately, I am here to make it worse. I have examined to the best of my limited ability the problems facing our civilization, and, after much deliberation, I have reached this conclusion: 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. None of these efforts will be taken, however, for several reasons. Number one: The stunning majority of people don't care, and couldn't care regardless of the evidence shown them. Much as it would be nice to believe otherwise, Socrates was wrong. People do not always act in their own best interests, even knowingly. This is especially true when a change in perception and/or vision would require deliberate effort. Even DQ aknowleged that the conversion from the "leaver" lifstyle to the "taker" one was largely precipitated by the force of arms. People were conquered, enslaved, and slaughtered to bring about this civilization. What makes anyone think that anything less will required to reverse that trend? How many people reading this would be willing to take up arms and go to war against their fellow man in order to spread this vision? How many of you would suffer death or worse (and trust me in this, there are far worse things than death that can be leveled against those who seek to change the status quo. One need only look to the Inquisition for evidence of this.) to defend it? Number two: Has anyone stopped to consider what would have to happen for the last 36 years of population growth to reverse itself? 3 BILLION people will have to die. Assuming, for just an moment, that this "new vision" does take hold. A return to the "leaver" lifestyle will not support the current population of this planet. The cessation of "totalitarian agriculture" will result in a corresponding decrease in available food. How will this food be allocated? Who among you will decide who eats and who does not? Or will we simply organize ourselves into tribes and fight it out? Given that route, WWII will seem like a playground scuffle in comparison. That war was fought over ideals. How violent, bloody, and savage do you think a general worldwide melee over food resources would be? In short, I admire the ideas put forth, and the fact that at least a few people are willing to listen. It seems to me, though, that while the realities of the problem has been considered, the realities of the solution have not. Peace to All Who Desire It, The Reverend Slick
By the way, I am on the edge of my seat on this ENRON court case because of the close ties of our administration to its leaders (same people), or their best buddies, and because of this administrations uncanny way with the court system, a supposed seperation of powers that seems to have broken down.
This ability of the courts to check power of so many interests has been instrumental in getting attention focused on environmental issues and native causes and so many human right issues that are central in the struggle of "life versus power" However spotty the record.
If the courts cave in here is there any longer any pretense of democracy now, rule of actual law? Principle? ...as opposed to the sheer exercise of absolute power, royalty??? Our taxes literally going right into these Ass-les overstuffed pockets...
OK, i have a lot to say, so i'm going to say it disjointedly.
first off, about the development of agriculture. i actually just got finished studying this in anthropology, so i feel pretty up to speed on how this works. of course, people like madrone who don't like my ideas will say this must all be wrong because it's all from science and books and college and all, which is mother culture and therefore wrong. this idea is ridiculous, but if it's what you want to think, whatever...
first of all, there is a key idea that is being ignored in this discussion. the difference between agriculture and horticulture. so far the discussion seems to havde accepted that growing your food yourself = agriculture, and is inherently bad, and is the reason for all our problems, etc. and the only other option is foraging.
this is, to put it succinctly, wrong.
agriculture is known, in anthropological circles, as the practice of growing staple crops. characterized by extremely high land usage for starchy plants that have virtually no nutritional value, only carbohydrates. basically, agriculture is the principle that you should use your land to grow as much food as possible, to keep as many people alive as possible, so that those people can then come and work in the fields and grow more of whatever starchy staple crop you chose to start the process. This, i agree, is at the root of practically every problem the human race is experiencing. however, it's not the growing food that is the dangerous part, it is the starchy staple crops and the practice of expending all your land to grow food that keeps the maximum amount of people going with the minimum amount of actual nutrition. this is the beginnings of the vicious cycle, not the idea that if you put a seed in the ground you can decide when, where, and what you'll eat.
That idea is at the root of a far more healthy form of food production, Horticulture. under horticulture, you would grow, not a whole gigantic field of corn or yams or whatever, but something akin to a vegetable garden. you're growing -- on a small scale -- foods that actually nourish you, like vegetables, fruits, gourds, legumes, etc. it's far easier than agriculture, which needs huge plots of land, heavy equipment, complex irrigation, and lots of manpower. many of you probably have experience growing under a horticultural system. all you really have to do is prepare a small plot, put in some seeds, water the seeds, weed the garden, and hope the weather does the rest. any 5 year old can grow a garden with a little help from his parents. the system is also far more systainable becuase it uses far less land, meaning that rotation is realistic even if you can't devote a lot of land to growing things.
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.
If you dont see these societies as having ended in ruin as do many others...how about the great and powerful Enron company which seems to be in the center of our mighty culture now.
This is now the greatest bankruptcy in history and the thirty some leaders of this company hope to walk away undamaged from literal frauds which robbed a generation of workers of their life savings, just business, when truth came out. Now their lawyers are saying, nothing innapropriate being done here. In the meantime having siphoned off half the budget of the state of california ovrcharging for energy and then getting a nice one fifty mil from the Bush administrtion. A classic Roamn Empire looting.
This is not a sustainable culture core, self interest and power disconnected from responsibility..back to your nature as grocery store analogy which you handily abandoned.
YOur point was that these cultures did not end in ruin, Others dissagree, and that our culture is not in ruin at its core? By the way we learn today that the CEO of Time AOL has had his sons murdered and is walking away to try to "Do Something"
This mans culture is now in ruin.
Someone wrote me that although our culture is generally immature and self centered it contains many wise and mature "Elders." Of course it does, but they are genreally marginalized in terms of any real influence, Noam Chomsky, so many other voices...while at the same time we all know they're absolutely right about the state of our institutions and power structures.
I wouldnt debate history with someone with a pile of references in front of them, but you havent adressed my point at all. By the way I havent read but a small portion of this exchange lately so I may be missing things, but not what is obvious.
Bev, thanks for the clarification. Yeah, you don't hear about a lot of tribal ventures here. I have spoken some about the Wilderness Awareness School, which is going okay. I am still trying to find a position for myself there that will cover the needs of my family, but I give it what I can in the mean time, volunteering my time some, occaisionally doing a bit on contract for them.
About a year and half ago, I got fed up with dragging stones to someday in the future buy my way out. I bailed on it and became a free agent. That cut my income in half, but my time is now more my own. Although I don't have everything I want just yet, I am striving to live my life now, not save to live my life tomorrow. I know I could drag stones and get money faster, but the price is the precious energy of my life, and I don't think it's worth it.
Not to me anyway. Though I do lament not having the money to buy land sometimes, I know I am on the path in my life, right where I need to be.
I have heard it proposed by anthropologists that the turn to agriculture likely occurred at the edges of a very fertile region where things weren't quite so fertile but the conditions weren't bad for some interior crops that could be transplanted and grown out on the margins.
In other words, it was people on the edge trying to obtain foods enjoyed by people in the interior. As the fertility waned in the interior, the habit spread inward.
Those on the inside didn't have a reason to invent agriculture, they were fat, those way on the outside still had a way to live that worked for them, hunting and gathering, but those on the margins... they could either go bush or try to make things more like where they came from in the interior. They had a reason to adopt a an agricultural lifestyle.
That seemed pretty plausable to me. People are more likely to hold on to what they have than invent something new.
Ameno, using my quote didn't exactly make that easier for me. "All living things except Takers" would suggest all members of set A excluding subset a. Which does not mean that subset a is not a member of set A, but rather this characteristic does not apply to it.
All other living things know this law, because if they didn't they would either be extinct or headed for extinction (and probably dragging a bunch of other species down with them.) It would be obvious to anyone on the outside that they were marked for death, that they didn't know how to live. Maybe the word know is throwing you off. We aren't talking about conscious knowledge, but knowledge built into us through the process of evolution, the way that flying birds all know the law of aerodynamics.
Just wanted you to say that I am not logically inept here. There was nothing logically wrong with the statement.
One correction for you: yes, some civilizations fell to ruin, or more to the point, they were trashed by invaders and their wisdom, world view, religions and philosophies were burned down with their homes and gardens, industries, temples and libraries--the people massacred and/or enslaved. It is those who were the invaders, successively--probably much as you described it--who appropriated the privilege of passing on their philosophy to the next generations and following civilizations. And they took this privilege by force and violence, which force and violence became a formative, fundamental aspect of the their philosophies that we live by, even today.ii
I will remind you as I have reminded Sara and others here who tend to hold "what they learned in school" a little too high in esteem: what passes for history, science and other knowledge in this culture is determined by the values and religion of the dominant order(yes, I said religion, what else do you call a way of life that sees itself as divinely ordained? and what else can you call most professors but "priests", passing on the sacred knowledge of that way of life?). Thus, we still in America celebrate Columbus Day, as if Chris Columbus were a daring hero instead of a wanna-be aristocrat, seeking mainly material wealth and obtaining it through, in part, many many acts of personal cruelty to the people he found in "the new world".
Your college classes may have given you some history--but that is only the history that has been cleansed, certified and sanctified by takerdom as properly reflecting who we like to believe we are as a species. In fact, there are enormous gaping holes in that history, as well as outright lies.
We all need to look to knowledge that is not accepted by the established intellectual priesthood, to look beyond the parameters imposed by a naturally self-serving culture, if we are to have a hope of thinking new thoughts and creating a new world. That knowledge has many possible sources, one of them being intuition, and another being the written explorations of history and science which the established educational order considers heretical or otherwise invalid.
I thought this quote of yours was kinda funny: "Isnt it inetersting that in Western Civ. we look at the successive civilisations from which we derived, all arrived in ruin at some point? And then there is us, hmmm. "
I assume you are talking about Egyptian>Greek>Roman>etc... Well, philosophy students get a great deal of this history, and I can tell you that these civilizations did not arrive in ruin at all. Instead they were transmuted, improved upon, and then the new and improved culture came in and took over. The Greeks were actually slaves of the Egyptians (along with the hebrews). That is where they learned egyptian thinking, which was improved upon in Greece and used to take back much of the lands the Egyptians once had. The Etruscans were the trading partners of the Greeks. Those Etruscans (who would become Romans), improved upon both Greek and Egyptian thought and took over nearly all of their known world. The Hebrews were the unwitting subjects of the Romans,and the story of one of them, named Jesus, so inspired Constantine, that he set up the first Holy Roman State. And so on and so on ad infinitum. None of the civilizations truly "fell to ruin." We know that because their philosophy is the backbone of our own.
Hi there. I just wanted to say that I read Ishmael a couple of years ago. I read Beyond Civilization this past summer. I have begun a couple of the others and have the rest in my bookshelf waiting for me. Daniel Quinn and his books have changed my life. I am now 21 years old, in my fourth year at Queen's University. I am studying Philosophy and Environmental Science, but the best things I have read have been read on my own and written by DQ. I have found friends who have been yearning the way I was to read this book without knowing it, and many have read it. I am spreading the word. I do not yet know how I will choose to act on my new found perspective, but I know that I will. I am currently involved as a student leader, and I will use those skills to aid me in my life and in my quest to spread the word and to make a difference. I just wanted to say thank you. Ishmael and BC speak directly to the heart and soul of my generation. We appreciate the insight, but not as much as we appreciate the hope. Thank you and good luck.
I think Jared Diamond's theory is more unbelievable, and Quinn puts it succinctly: Starving people don't do agriculture. The reason why is that fields must be readied, crops must be planted, then protected while growing, and finally harvested. This takes a long time and alot of energy. Starving people are short on both time AND energy (which is dervied from food). When was the last time that something was "invented" by a group of starving people.
And when I said that Leavers treat nature the way Los Angelenos treat the supermarket, I only meant that that is the place where you go when you need food. Nothing more.
Also, I am amused that you think that these problems are a WHITE thing. I am not white (Black and Hispanic) and I understand that just fine. Takerdom has nothing to do with race. Go to China at a time before Marco Polo and you will find all of the problems that you described as endemic of white culture: "drink to stupor and fight and wreck cars and beat their women." Except we'd have to change "car" to "cart"
And it's Ameno (pronounced like "domino")
Ameno, got it...
Were all pretty clear leavers dont defend against takers sucessfully, but the problem is that takers kill everything INCLUDING themselves at some point.
Isnt it inetersting that in Western Civ. we look at the successive civilisations from which we derived, all arrived in ruin at some point? And then there is us, hmmm.
To some our way is a future tragedy, to others one past...and it will be turned around, but HOW?
Okay be calm....
Verevolf: These are all your quotes.
First: "They wanted something that the Taker life could give them." Whatever this something was, it was something that Leaver life could NOT give them, otherwise they wouldn't have sought it elsewhere. In other words, like I said 3 times already: There was something lacking in Leaverdom that was not lacking in Takerdom. You are just restating my point and you don't even realize it.
Second quote: "Evolutionarily superior strategies aren't self-eliminating as the Taker strategy is." Actually, whether something is evolutionarily superior nad whether it is self-eliminating have nothing to do with one another. Giong back to the white-footed mouse. Let's imagine that there was a mouse who was so good at competing and killing the offspring of rivals that he literally wiped his rivals from the face of the planet. That means that all of the new mice born would have his genes. Therefore, we have a new species of mouse (or at least a subspecies, we can call that species white-footed mouse- badass version). That mouse was certainly evolutionarily superior to the other, older version mice. How do we know? The same way we know anything is evolutionarily superior, that mouse is the one who is able to reproduce and his genes live on. The genes of the other mice do not. So, the mouse is evolutionarily superior.
Unfortunately for that mouse, the mutation of the gene that made him so good at killing, also mutated another gene that gave his offspring a congenital heart defect. Because his genes are the only ones in the environment, all newlyborn mice have this gene. As the generations go on, the life expectancy of the mouse continues to decrease, due to the fact that the disease gets progressively more pronounced each generation. Soon, there are no mice that live long enough to reach adulthood, and therefore, no more mice have the ability to breed. These mice cease to exist. What you are looking at is a perfect analogy to our issue here. That mutation of that mouses genes made him BOTH genetically superior AND self-eliminating.
I want to give another example, because this just popped into my head about how my work is derivative of Quinn's. This one is for all the tribal business peeps.
Back during the time when Europe was ravaged by the Black Plaque, there was one particular ethnic group that never got sick. This group was the Jews. Pretty soon people started noticing that everyone else was getting sick and dying, at an ever increasing rate. Basically, Quinn is like the guy who says, "Wait, everyone, the Jews aren't getting sick. Look to the Jews, that is your cure." Unfortunately he stops there. This is the problem with Quinn's solution, and the reason why he is pretty nebulous about it. Some are so scared of death that they say, "Man, screw you guys, I'm gonna go convert and live with the Jews. I can give up all the stuff I have here, no problem." This is the few of you who want to just throw it all away and go back to nature. That's actually fine, you are right, you won't get sick, hopefully. Then there are you "tribal business people". You are saying, "Well, we don't really have to go live WITH the Jews, we should just live as much like the Jews as we possibly can and try to convince others to live that way too. Then we can hopefully avoid too many more people getting sick." The unfortunate problem with this is that you don't come from a Jewish background and you can only mimic Jewish behavior that you see. Not only that, you still get sick, and so do the people around you.
My route is different. Quinn has said look to the Jews, and I tell you now, "Look to the Jews, but look deeper. Look to what it is that the Jews do that we could do also to stop us from getting sick anymore. It is probably something very small and simple." As it truns out it was something small and simple. The Jews, because of kosher law, took their trash out and burned it on the outskirts of their villages. It wasn't their kosher law that we needed to follow, it was only proper disposal of trash, instead of leaving it in heaps on the streets for the animals to carry off. And, as it turned out once people started burning trash, the disease went away. My "trash burning" theory for "saving the world" is the subject of the discourses.
Now, all I said was burn trash, I really didn't know much more than that. But after people started burning trash, they noticed something: there were alot less rats. So someone else said, "The trash isn't our root problem. Burning trash solved the sickness but it isn't the most efficient thing. The real problem is the rats." Still later thinkers realized that it wasn't the rats themselves, although ridding the city of rats helped curb the disease. In reality, it was the fleas on the rats. Still later people realized it wasn't the fleas, but what they were carrying.
Now, is that a clearer analogy than the mosquitos?
Aveeno is it?
Nice to know your credentials. Philo...ist...something?
I am a carpenter twenty years out of school and I know nothing, But many of us have been weeding out the thorns in DQ's thoughts as we find them a while now. Few here buy it wholesale, but we still find his work incredibly insightful. As well as others work.
His idea of how takers came from leavers is not important. Frankly I never read his books twice. Persoanllly, I find the guys attitudes distasteful. Hes arrogant and I dont like that. I have some Quaker roots, "friend." And Peace:)
Its the ball he started rolling that matters to me. Well, it has always been there....this idea...
Many find Jared Diamonds description of taker origins much more believable, that under great distress possibly in time of climatic change some humans had a much shortened lifespan and lost much of their ancient cultures and begam farming to survuive. Something most hunter gatheres would do in limited ways and certainly well within their knowledge and ability all along, and from the archaeology there appears to have continued a very hard life with short lifespans and undernourishment in this time that may have marked at least one of agricultures possible beginnings. The beginning of a way of life that is not a way of life. This way based on power and walls and guards and laws, ...secrets in books guarded by priests...
Life?? Takers are alive, but their culture as many of the great teachers through history tell us, is a way of death. The natives possibly trusted here in America that whites would learn and stop the insanity at some point, that as you say "they are life" and so they translated their names to english (Why, do you think?)and shared their teachings as they did their food and as they still do. Only because they are not racist and feel all humans are human, in spite of their culture but one which is a way of death and not life.
And this is a truth that the wise prophets and "great lights" have said from within taker culture all along. That the rich are full of emptiness and kings will all fall, Ozzymandias and the rest. That we msut stay low, so the fall will be less damaging...that we are dry bones (ezekiel) and walking dead.
Leavers did not treat nature as a supermarket, as you say. They did not then and now, yes natives on reservations do this! They waste wildlife and dump fish and so on! They do it as an expression of the total devastation of their culture, jsut as they drink to stupor and fight and wreck cars and beat their women, ...and they become tragic cartoon versions of the white culture that has crushed their respectful way which formerly provided long peaceful lives with loving happy communities.
Unless maybe you mean that whites pay the store for what they take from it so as to assure the store would be successful so it will always be there for their needs.
We learn that Leavers did this in many ways as we look into these cultures and their traditions. They paid the store well in fact and in spirit both.
They saw the animals as beings with a right to strive to survive and as co creatures on the earth, not material to meet thier needs, but relatives who nourished them and to whom they were responsible profoundly. And they deeply internalized this knowedge so violating it was unthinkable.
Soo Aveeno? Am I making any sense, brother?
Ok...scratch that whole evolutionarily superior thing. I know that's not what you were saying.
Now, I really am going to bed.
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