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Ishmael Community Guestbook Archive


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

Libran #14883
, USA - Friday, December 7, 2001 at 14:30:59 CST (GMT -6:00)

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to share a particular quirk of mine that has lead to a slightly humorous conclusion.

From time to time, I construct imaginary scenarios and play them out as 'realistically' as my mind will allow. I choose some pretty strange subjects, such as being killed in multitudes of ways(eaten by a shark is my most feared). Recently, I have begun to focus my scenarios on a specific question. Here is one: "If I were alone in any kind of wilderness setting, what would be the one thing that I may discover that would make me feel safe"? To put it another way: "What might I discover that would tell me I was Home"? I take each discovery and push it further. For example, the dicovery of a modern city. What would I feel if that city was empty of people? Would I feel at home? The same goes for towns, neighborhoods, etc.

Keeping with the content of recent posts, I have started to run scenerios about 'what to do', tribal buisiness, inevitable collapse, etc. Today, a strange solution creeped into my head; and this is the humorous part:

What would happen if we started eating people?

Perhaps...

Onward, Libran


El Mono Loco #14882
Portland, OR USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 14:22:58 CST (GMT -6:00)

Stephen:

I think Marvin Harris' book "Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches" did more for my cultural understanding than anything else...aside from DQ.

Good luck, Marvin.

el mono loco


Stephen Figgins #14881
Monroe, WA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:58:37 CST (GMT -6:00)

Sara, I know some tribes would rent out the land in their territory they weren't using, say to another tribe who wanted permission to hunt there. Some would also charge tolls for other tribes to use their land as a throughway.

Also, "use" is a tricky term. Many settlers in North America felt justified in taking land from the natives because the natives weren't really using the land. Not to its real potential. They saw the Indians as wrongfully claiming territory they didn't need. You only had a right to keep land you would use.

Timber companies feel the same way about people buying up timber rights and not exercising them. And in a way this is also part of the point of land taxes. Use the land, or lose the land, you can't just claim ownership.

Not that our thoughts on property rights couldn't use some revision. I just don't know that ownership is necessarily wrong.


Stephen Figgins #14880
Monroe, WA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:47:29 CST (GMT -6:00)

I didn't criticize your discoures for not being the final root, Ameno, I just said you neither understood nor answered Ishmael's question: "what is the natural law Takers are unaware of?" You just found some differences in how Takers and Leavers have manifested their cultures. You are comparing the fruits of their stories.

On the evolution of our culture: anthropologists have also attempted to explain the development of our culture from positive to positive. Though they usually focus on the rise of hierarchy, armies, and agriculture. Looking at business rather than the needs of settlement as the driving force is novel.

Your explaination is a nice start, though it's doubtful the fisher and the hunter would have been too focussed on trading rabbits and fish. A hallmark of just about every leaver culture is that the food is shared. Maybe it was another thing they traded, weapons? Pots? Crafts? Even those things are likely to be shared within a tribe. Where you are more likely to find trade is between tribes.

Merchants were probably a later development. In most chiefdoms, it is the chief that plays the role of the intertribal merchant. Junior, as a collector and redistributer of things was more likely to become the tribal "big man" and eventually chief, than he was to become a merchant. Any wealth he gained would have been redistributed as a symbol of his greatness, not horded. In chiefdoms, all produce is brought to the chief and the chief, or his appointed people, then redistribute it among the people.

I don't believe the rise of a specialized merchant class comes until much later in civilization, for most in the last few thousand years or even the last thousand years. (For example, the rise of the Merchant Class in Japan during the Tokugawa period. This rise occurred well after the rise of armies and kings, defenders and rulers.

You might want to read Peter Farb's "Man's Rise to Civilization" for another look at how cultures evolved towards "civilization". Maybe even read some Marvin Harris, like Cannibals and Kings, take particular note of the role of the big man.

Hey, anyone else know that Marvin Harris died last month? What an amazing mind he had.


Sara #14879
NYC, USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:40:33 CST (GMT -6:00)

one more thing --

we do agree, we just used different terminology. when i say owning property, i mean owning land, or owning a certain part of a river, or whatnot. this is mine and you have to pay to use it, even if i'm not. i didn't mean no one can own objects. if i make an axe, it's my axe. or if i make an axe and give it to you, it's your axe. if i gather food, that basket of nuts is mine. i can share it with you, and what i give you then belongs to you. i could also sell it or trade it to you (though that isn't the way tribes generally work). but i can't say "this part of the forest is mine, and you have to pay for all the food you gather there." objects and food are fair game, land, resources, and intellectual property aren't.


Sara #14878
NYC, USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:31:30 CST (GMT -6:00)

ameno, i think you misunderstood what i meant.

our society is the society where one person would cut the tree and do nothing else for a living, someone else would take that tree to the lumberyard and do nothing else for a living, someone at the lumberyard cuts the tree into lumber to make his living, someone who works for a hardware store buys the lumber, someone else who also works for the hardware store sells the lumber (but that person has never met the person who bought the lumber), a contstruction company buys the lumber and uses it to make a house, and a person who most likely knows nothing about trees, lumber, buying and selling hardware, or building houses moves into the house. None of these people ever meet, and none of these people do anything for a living other than that one isolated activity. and a lot of people are even more removed from careers that meet actual physical needs.

however, in a tribal society, rather than specialize ("i thatch roofs and do absolutely nothing else; if the rest of my tribe disappeared i'd be screwed"), everyone knew a little bit of everything. you would know how to find edible plants, hunt or fish at least a little, help make tools or other equipment, help get a roof over your head, help raise a child, etc. if you looked around your hut or whatever you wouldn't have personally made every single thing, but you'd at least have had a hand in making a lot of things. it would be somewhere in between the modern scenario of "crate & barrel makes my dishes, a construction company makes my house, the Gap makes my clothes, Toyota makes my car, Kenmore makes my appliances, Gateway makes my computer, Pathmark is where my food comes from" and your idealized system of "i made this pot, i made the clothes i'm wearing, i built this house, i hunted/gathered this food, i made this axe, i tanned this hide, etc."

you wouldn't know how to do absolutely everything yourself, but you would know how to do some things. and you would have an idea how to do other things. this is the way a "true" tribe would work.


Ameno #14877
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:9:1 CST (GMT -6:00)

Sorry for three posts in a row, but the post below just made it really obvious to me why a native american hunter would kneel beside a deer he had freshly killed and say a prayer of thanx to the great spirit. The great spirit had just taken something that she once possessed (the dear) and changed it into a possession for the hunter (meat, fur, etc.). And it's ok, because the hunter knows that when he dies, he will once again be property of the great spirit as well. I know the hunter wouldn't articulate it that way, but it is a beautiful thought, no?


Ameno #14876
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 13:5:6 CST (GMT -6:00)

And Sara-

You and I actually don't agree on the ownership thing. I believe that "ownership of property" is a natural tendency. A dog "owns" a bone, a mouse "owns" a burrow, but only while they are using it.

My problem is with the ownership of NATURAL RESOURCES. A Leaver wouldn't articulate it as such, if I offered to sell him the deed to an area of land with a river passing through it, he would say, "Bwana, how can I own a river when it is already owned by the great spirit who made it herself. And besides, why would I want to own it, she has never held it away from me. She has taken care of the river for many generations, and taking care of a river is too much work for me Bwana. Besides, she has been kind and generous and shared the river with my father and his father and his father's father. Why should she take it from me? And why should I want to take it from her?"

Not property, natural resources. Besides, in one way, the Leaver above is very right... it isn't really mine unless I can "take care of it" and make sure it functions, something that no human can do for a natural resource.


Ameno #14875
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 12:51:51 CST (GMT -6:00)

I want to thank everyone, through your discussions I have been able to draw parallels that I could not have otherwise. I already have my next 3 discourses outlined. THANX!!

First, the purpose of discourse #1 was to do one thing, to show that our culture's evolution was from positive to positive, just as any creature's evolution is the same. Those creatures that die out are the ones who either have a mutation that does not allow them to survive, or are forced out by creatures that have mutations that make them BETTER able to compete for resources. This happens over generations. As I said STEPHEN, at the beginning of my discourse, mine is not the final word or the final root. Mine is only a springboard for the next evolution. In reality, there is NO final root. There is no final solution because the universe is infinite. That is just like trying to find the SMALLEST number. Someone, right now, find a mathematician and tell him to find the number that is CLOSEST to zero, and can never be divided again. You see?

Sara, I want ot comment on your post because it is important, you said: "also, tribal systems are so much smaller than our systems. we have a lot of people in one place who know how to, say, run the machine that cuts logs into planks to build a home, and then we have a lot of people in another place who know how to mix the cement. and those people have nothing to do with the people who cut down the trees to get logs or mine the lime that makes cement, and neither do any of those people have anything to do with the people who eventually will be living in the house that is built by the fruit of their labors. it has a lot to do with the size of the system."

You proved my point. Everyone you mentioned is actually producing SOMETHING, a finished product (the logs, the cement, the lime, etc..). I am not saying that everyone has to produce EVERYTHING, but everyone is producing SOMETHING. In my discourse, you will notice that Junior and the merchants produce no FINISHED PRODUCT. They live off the reorganization of the products of others. However, they themselves are in need of those same products. So, when everyone was producing, all the time before Junior, there was somewhat equal distribution of wealth. That is tribal. When Junior enters the scene, he and the other merchants not only start controlling the distribution of wealth (it isn't his "fault" though, it is only an evolution of the market), they also create more non-producers (the bandits, theives, and the Defenders). Look to the tyrants of this world. Tyrants are ALWAYS non-producers. And they are tyrants precisely because they have the power to reorganize the products in their favor.

There will be more in further discourses. I have some really cool stuff people, I can't wait to hear what you think.

For those who still haven't read the discourse and have no clue what we are talking about, it is at http://www.evolutionrevolution.net/part1.htm


jaret #14874
Vancouver, Canada -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 12:38:5 CST (GMT -6:00)

Hey all!

Let’s just see this from Stephen again. You word things so nice.

Quinn was writing about a different animal than the mom & pop business. He was writing about businesses where people do what they do because it is their passion and they take what they need from the business. The business essentially exists to care for the people that make up the business and engage their passions, to help them keep doing what they love doing.

It's a walk away because it's a refusal to drag stones for the pharaohs. Instead you follow your passion, you live your life fully and now. You work together as equals with others who share that love, to keep doing what you want to do and make sure you all get what you need. That is what Quinn means by tribal business.

Sooooooo cool that Vered is back! Hello Vered! I’ve thought about you and hoped you would be back….you “middle aged housewife improving the living conditions for my family and working on growing old with some dignity” you!

I’m hoping that the Okanagan of BC Canada is going to be another location of a little group like what you have formed. Truly amazing, I’m sure guests are welcome??

How are the car pools going? Bummer personal prediction.

Jim, for me it is the whole wheel that is tumbling still. Population growth, TA, the whole mentality of depending on the system, mass systems like schools, prisons, governments, how children and woman are treated (especially in other area’s of the world) the influence and power of mass religions, pollution, global warming.... without all changing, the whole structure, well who knows....Can't wait to see though.

But I have to say the battle is on and I think the outcome will be A okay, though the worst is yet to come.

Verevolf said it nicely too. I’m just looking at direct things to help work on. Number one being freeing people in to believing in themselves and not a system or religion so that they can love their community and world. For FC who might think that his religion helps create beleif in community also, well, I'm still waiting to see it work and its couple thousand year old track record just shows failure. Whats the definition of insanity, some thing like doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

Bev, I agree with you on how your going sustainable. The tribal business I think just helps individuals get sustainable. When your making your own home made lip balm and soap and growing that garden you got, it might be easier if some things were made by others and all shared. Especially getting started, you need capital. Well I just read your last post and obviously you agree with sharing the work, but it depends on having others and you don’t have others yet, right? Me neither, I have to do the same. I am buying property and building a self sufficient living area and cabin on it. Having the tribal business off of it is how I want to meet others who might want to live near by too that are like minded. Need capital for that though, but I’m incorporating that in my getting sustainable planning to have the resources to run a business from there. Have to start with my hut though. Cheers all

Jaret


Stephen Figgins #14873
Monroe, WA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 11:57:54 CST (GMT -6:00)

Yes, Ameno, I have pointed out in the past that our human made economic system behaves much like our biological economic system. In the end, it's all about the calories. Our constructed system however differs from the biological in its throughput though, in the biological system the only waste is low grade heat loss, everything else feeds back into another system.

Naturalist Thomas J. Elpel writes about this extensively in his field guide to money Direct Pointing to Real Wealth. I have found it a useful book in my own walk away.

Ishmael asked Alan to look for the unbreakable Law of Life we are ignorant of. Something equivalent to the law of aerodynamics. He told Alan to find this Law he should look for what Takers do that all other animals (including the Leavers) do not do. Alan finds that Takers wage war on the community of life, itself. They, alone, have claimed the knowledge of what should live and what should die. They alone seek to perfect the world. And so Quinn writes of the Law of Limited Competition, you may compete, but not wage war.

I have my quibbles with that expression of the law. I think it actually is a kind of shorthand for three other laws of ecology, the Law of diversity, the law of interdependence, and the law of complexity, sometimes called the three principles of ecology. But that's another story.

There are myriad things you will not find in Leaver cultures but will find in Taker cultures. Pursuing different stories, these different kinds of cultures are going to have many differences, but enumerating them was not Ishmael's challenge to Alan. Ishmael said, find the unbreakable natural law of which Takers are ignorant.

If you were to bring these things to Ishmael, he would challenge you to look deeper, to find the unifying principle behind all of these differences. What is the natural Law that the rest of the community of life is aware of, that Takers are not?

I am not saying you are wrong in your examination of differences between Taker and Leaver cultures. Quinn has suggested we look to Leaver cultures for clues on what we could do differently, and you are finding many things that are meaningful to you. I am just saying it isn't yet an answer to Ishmael's challenge. Find the unbreakable Law of Life, and you have an answer.


Sara #14872
NYC, USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 10:43:28 CST (GMT -6:00)

I'm done venting spleen, now it's time to get back to business.

Ameno's Three Things That Are Different:

"#1. In Taker society there are masses of people who produce nothing. When I say "produce" I am referring to necessities (food, shelter, clothing) or capital goods to get necessities (pots, hunting and farming tools). These individuals however, are still in need of those necessities. It therefore becomes necessary for a producer to produce more and more each year as more people become non-producers. This has a huge effect on the market, population, and the environment as I will show in my next discourse. Ask a leaver if there is any in the tribe who has never built a house, hunted, fished, farmed, made a bow, or pot, etc. He will look at you crazy and say EVERYONE does those things from the time they are old enough to walk. It is part of being a Leaver."

I don't think it's that simple, even though, in spirit, i agree. It's not that NO ONE would have lived their lives without having done ALL the things you list, but that rather than everyone specializing, each person would have pitched in do do a little of everything. Not many people would have built a whole house themselves, but maybe someone would have thatched a lot of roofs, someone else knows how to mix the mud and straw for the walls, etc. It's not that Leaver cultures didn't specialize, it's that they specialized in different ways that were more flexible (the person who mixes the mud and straw also hunts rabbits with amazing precision and makes stone axes pretty well too, but he doesn't know how to make a pot or thatch roofs).

also, tribal systems are so much smaller than our systems. we have a lot of people in one place who know how to, say, run the machine that cuts logs into planks to build a home, and then we have a lot of people in another place who know how to mix the cement. and those people have nothing to do with the people who cut down the trees to get logs or mine the lime that makes cement, and neither do any of those people have anything to do with the people who eventually will be living in the house that is built by the fruit of their labors. it has a lot to do with the size of the system.

to relate it to business, you can look at a tribe as a small mom&pop business, and you can look at us as a multinational corporation. in the mom&pop corner store, you have like 10 people who do pretty much everything for the business -- they keep the books, hire people, order inventory, stock the shelves, help the customers, and clean up at the end of the day. but in the corporation, you have an office full of people in one place who deal with the money, and you have an office somewhere else where people decide who to hire, and you have other people who aquire things, and still others who sell those things, etc. the whole system is so big that the people who do the buying and the people who do the selling have nothing to do with each other. This, of course, is not terribly dangerous to the life of a corporation. But its parallel in our society is dangerous. it makes the vast majority of careers meaningless. if i'm that guy cutting lumber, like i'm going to care if i do it right so that the guy who builds the house can do his job right, and the people who later live in that house are happy with it. but if i'm the roof thatcher, i know the people who are going to live in this house i'm helping to build, and i know the other people who are working on it, so i'm not going to do a lazy job of it. also, if i do a lazy job of it, i know that i am going to be the one to fix it when the roof falls in or the rain gets through or whatever. as the guy cutting lumber, i don't get the satisfaction of seeing what my work went to and how i contribute to the world. whereas, if i'm the thatcher, i can see very clearly how i fit into things. i think this is a main reason our society is falling apart -- the sheer size of it.

"#2. In Leaver society you will find private property. For instance, you, as a Leaver, may own a bow, or a house, or a bowl, or even a field (notice I said FIELD specifically). In otherwords, you can own a finished good (something that has had human energy put into it). You cannot however own a piece of land beyond your field if you are not using it. The only reason it is your village's plot of land is because you are there and using it. Once you leave, you have no claim to it, and if someone else wants to use it, you see no point in stopping them, unless and until they start causing problems with your new village. But so long as they go on being Leavers, they can have it. In our society, and it is due to market competition, an individual can and WILL lay claim to any and everything so long as he has the might and muscle to stop another from using it. I believe Quinn calls the Leaver strategy the "Law of Life" or something similar. I have just narrowed down the places where Takers have broken it."

This is probably the only point you and i agree on. The ownership of property is, i think, one of the main things we need to get rid of to save the world. of course you can own objects, and you can call land your territory if you're using it, but you can't just decide, "oh, this piece of dirt here is mine, and you have to pay me to use this," or, "i wrote this song, and you have to pay me every time you sing it."


VerevolfTheGrouch #14871
, USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 10:12:49 CST (GMT -6:00)

I don't get the sense that "the story" is in any sense a mystery. How, exactly, it came into existence is not entirely clear to me but the premise of the story is stated many times in all three of the Ishmael books: the world was made for man.

That's the premise; the story itself is not finished yet.


Ameno #14870
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 9:56:33 CST (GMT -6:00)

Stephen-

No. I owuld not say dismantle the merchant class. As I have said before, I blame no one. "As above, so below." The ecomomic system (story) we are enacting is based on biology. If you study economics and study zoology, you can draw parallels between businesses and their relationship with one another and animals in the circle of life.

In Ishmael, you'll remember that Ishmael tells Alan to look for things in Taker culture that one does not see in Leaver culture. In otherwords, what is it that they have and we don't or that they DON'T have and we do. Find the right one and you've found the ROOT of your problem. Once you are at the root, then you can fix it. Now I don't mean for you to say, "Well, they don't have airplanes or cars or computers, and we do." That's just technology. They have technology, whether it is bows or tracking or agriculture. Ours is more evolved, but it is just an expression of the same thing. What we are looking for is a base idea here. Even Quinn notes that.

One thing about my discourse that you will notice is that the merchants themselves didn't really do much damage. They are the pivotal point that the market centers around and therefore their existance and the existance of the system indirectly causes the Defenders and Producers to do damage.

Quinn says these things are locking up the food and totalitarian agriculture and the ever nebulous "story" (which he never really tells... I attempted to flesh it out a bit). I can point to three aspects that I believe to truly be the core of the destructive nature of our story. These are 3 things that you will NOT find in Leaver culture. That is why the first discourse was only part one. In my next discourse, I will discuss these three aspects and explain where they came from more fully. Quinn does not touch on these, and I don't know how he missed them.

#1. In Taker society there are masses of people who produce nothing. When I say "produce" I am referring to necessities (food, shelter, clothing) or capital goods to get necessities (pots, hunting and farming tools). These individuals however, are still in need of those necessities. It therefore becomes necessary for a producer to produce more and more each year as more people become non-producers. This has a huge effect on the market, population, and the environment as I will show in my next discourse. Ask a leaver if there is any in the tribe who has never built a house, hunted, fished, farmed, made a bow, or pot, etc. He will look at you crazy and say EVERYONE does those things from the time they are old enough to walk. It is part of being a Leaver.

#2. In Leaver society you will find private property. For instance, you, as a Leaver, may own a bow, or a house, or a bowl, or even a field (notice I said FIELD specifically). In otherwords, you can own a finished good (something that has had human energy put into it). You cannot however own a piece of land beyond your field if you are not using it. The only reason it is your village's plot of land is because you are there and using it. Once you leave, you have no claim to it, and if someone else wants to use it, you see no point in stopping them, unless and until they start causing problems with your new village. But so long as they go on being Leavers, they can have it. In our society, and it is due to market competition, an individual can and WILL lay claim to any and everything so long as he has the might and muscle to stop another from using it. I believe Quinn calls the Leaver strategy the "Law of Life" or something similar. I have just narrowed down the places where Takers have broken it.

#3. The third thing is VITALLY important in our day and age and is a sort of evolution of number 2. In Leaver culture, you have no right to stop others from using your ideas. In otherwords, if you figure out a new way of farming or hunting that works better, you do not hold that knowledge back from the rest, you share it and everyone benefits from your brilliance. This is very smart, because as I said before, no knowledge is new knowledge. Without the rest of the tribe, and their generations of knowledge, you could noty have drawn the connections that allowed you to formulate that new method. But, in Takerdom, we call it "intellectual property." We have patents and trademarks, etc. This is why technology is moving slower than it ever has. There have not been breakthrough advances, only slow movements. Think about how much has REALLY changed in the past 70 years. Cars aren't essentially different, they are just faster and prettier. Same goes for advances in digital technology. The only are that has seen unprecidented growth is the one are where sharing of knowledge is encouraged- the biological sciences and medicine. But this is changing rapidly. As medicine is privatized and commercial uses are found for things like the human genome project, you'll see less and less info freely shared, and more and more patents bieng filed.

Number 3 is the most dangerous of all. BEcause it is growing the fastest. IT is creating a class where only the privileged few are at the controls of the means of production, and the rest are only consumers. Do this... look around your house. How many things there could you make RIGHT NOW if I handed you the raw materials and tools. Yet these are things that you use everyday. Now, ask a LEaver to do the same thing and he'll look at you crazy because, "Bwana, I DID make all of these things."

So, I guess I know what the next discourse will be about. "The problem as it stands".


Faith Contender #14869
, USA -
Friday, December 7, 2001 at 9:26:24 CST (GMT -6:00)

Sara: I'm not accusing you of betrayal. I'm just saying that your recent comments to madrone have given me a different impression of you than I had before.

Grouch: While no one is Beyond Betrayal, there are those that seem less likely than others to betray. My initial impression of Sara was one of those who would be less likely. I have since recanted that impression based on several comments she has made of which I highlighted one.

...
Meanwhile, the GB should remain on High Alert until Sara and Madrone smoke each other out of their sacred caves.


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