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Ishmael Community Guestbook Archive

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

Ameno #14778
, USA - Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:34:56 CST (GMT -6:00)

My bad, people were not BORN with 100% survival value, but learned it early in life.

Carry on...

Jim Linder #14777
San Jose, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:33:31 CST (GMT -6:00)

Karryn, how about shortening it a little further to Ishis. Ishi was the last wild Indian in California. I’m reading a very good book about him now.

Ameno, I am afraid I must disagree. I think my first step will be to change minds. Any effort before that will probably worsen the situation. I guess to put it into your parable, in the early stages of the hijacking, only a few doubted the captain. If these few had tried to take the cockpit, the armed men probably could have stopped them. Their first task must be to convince more of the passengers that something is amiss so that they have a chance of taking the cockpit. Also, if they haven't convinced the others, they might even help the armed men, and try to stop them.

Not saying this is the one right way to go about this, but it's the way I am going about it.

At the same time, I am building a parachute. I am going to enroll in the Wilderness School and try to shake off some of the civilization in my head. And I am working up to pulling my son out of school to homeschool himself.

I am hoping in the next few months to form some ties to “Ishis” in my area, to convince more of the passengers in our plane that the captain is not on our side.


Ameno #14776
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:32:5 CST (GMT -6:00)

As an entrepreneur myself (but any MBA can tell you the same)- business is NEVER product-centered. Business is PROFIT centered. That is why one company can make 30 bowls and sell them for $60 and make $10 profit, and another company can make 30 bowls and sell them for $60 and make $50 profit. If you understand THAT scenario above, you will understand why a 10 year old in Thailand is sewing dresses for Gucci at slave wages and thousands of acres of rainforest are being chopped down to raise beef for Tokyo.

And the whole idea of "locking up the food" is Quinn's first fallacy. I will adress it in the discourse, but here is food for thought here:

When THEY (whoever they are) started "locking up the food," people were still born with 100% survival value. Not only that, there was plenty of food still available in the "wild." So, who would be bothered by someone locking up some food, there was plenty available. No, it was a conscious DECISION that it was better to do it this way that bread this system.

I will tell you this, no one locked up the food, and it is still not locked up today. All that has been locked up are our minds. This is what I will prove in the discourse.

Verevolf- Quinn has sold plenty of books. People can read HIM for themselves, as I have. Please do not just repeat what he says like rote. Think about its reality and frame it to fit YOUR wolrd (because yours may just be different than his, and I'll wager it is VERY different)

VerevolfTheGrouch #14775
, USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:22:4 CST (GMT -6:00)

Also, Beyond Civilization discusses the issue of people "walking away" from their civilizations.

VerevolfTheGrouch #14774
, USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:17:21 CST (GMT -6:00)

Business results from product-centeredness which results from locking up the food. There is no doubt that product-centeredness is hurting us, but it's not what's going to kill us if we fail to escape us.

What is going to kill us is our relentless onslaught against the rest of the community of life under the belief that the world, and therefore all the food/biomass in the world, belongs to us, coupled with the belief that ours is the one right way to live and the belief that we are separate from the rest of the living community. The only danger we face that absolutely must be overcome is rendering this planet uninhabitable for the human species.

I'll await what you have to say, but I remain highly skeptical.

Ameno #14773
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:12:57 CST (GMT -6:00)

Todd- Like you said ascetics were "escaping an intolerable life." Well, they were FLEEING then, just as I said. People FLEE or FLOCK TO, but never just "walk away." And those ascetics had MUCH more knowledge of how to actually live off the land than do all but aobut 1% of the populace of the western world.

Ameno #14772
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:8:57 CST (GMT -6:00)


I know what Quinn's strategy is. I have not read Beyond Civilization yet (In fact, I read the 3 parable books in just the past 2 weeks).

Where Quinn and I differ in the solution, and why I don't think tribal business has a snowball's chance in hell of working lies mainly in Quinn's belief that Totalitarian Agriculture is the virus. I would take up a whole page of this GB discussing the fallacy of his arguments. I will definitely do so, and will have a link up by this weekend for all of you to see what I believe to be the true virus.

Quinn is just as confused as everyone here as to HOW to "walk away." Tribal businesses are not the answer because "business" itself is not tribal. A tribal business is a contradiction in itself. And, as I will seek to prove in the discourse I am writing, "business" itself IS THE DISEASE. Totalitarian agriculture didn't create our culture, business did (it created totalitarian agriculture for a very specific reason, which I will discuss).

Many of you are taking for granted that Quinn's answer of "walking away" is the correct one. Think first. He himself says humans will only be humans. So... show me when humans have ever collectively "walked away," and you will have shown me the model for your revolution.

But, as a student of history (ALL history, not just recorded), I tell you that "the old ways" die hard. And this "old way" is ingrained in the mostpowerful places and people ever, and has been for 10,000 years.

I know it is scary. Fear is a HUGE element, and a great tool of Taker culture. You do not find FEAR in Leaver societies (something Quinn never really touches on). The feudal Japanese were so aware of the reality of fear, that potential samurai traveled the world with one goal: to conquer fear of death. Only with that done could they be a real samurai.

Yes, a time for revolution has come. But people will be people. If Quinn can keep you buying his books by telling you only half truth (the problem, but not the true solution), then so be it. But as thinking people, you owe it to yourselves to understand the full ramifications of a SUCCESSFUL revolution.

Todd #14771
portland, Or USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 22:3:31 CST (GMT -6:00)

I've been reading just a few of the comments in the guest book and am really excited to see people taking part in what seems to be progressive discourse.

I haven't really read all the comments, but I would like to just throw a couple of things out there. Well first I'd like to mention that I haven't had much schoolin' so if I seem a little ignorant or don't have the facts right, please forgive me and let me know where I've strayed.

vervolfthegrouch mentioned something about people not becoming selfless. This may very well be the case. There certainly doesn't seem to be much evidence to support the contrary, however this idea is kinda of modern. Not all that modern, but it is a piece in the paradigm of our thoughts. During the age of enlightenment Thomas Hobbes and John Locke (strange bedfellows) suggested that before civilization, in a state of nature, our lives were short and brutal. The assumption that enlightenment thinkers and liberal thinkers make are that we are self competing individuals that somehow must be governed if we are to coexist. But during the age of enlightenment, we see the rise of trade and individual merchants attempting ot make profits and compete or become as important as the noble class. This is the essence of the American revolution, that merchants could partake in trade without the intervention of an opressive state. But as Quinn points out, before civilization there existed hunter and gathering societies with no real form of government. Agriculture produced wealth and this kinda creates war and inner conflict. Property becomes something to fight over and to protect. Before that there were groups attempting to survive and working together was much easier then going at it alone, or so it seems. Prince Peter Kropotkin, suggested that humans survived as long as they did, not because we competed, but because of mutual aid. He was largely writing in response ot Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

The other thing I wanted to throw out there is that Ameno suggested that there are no examples of people "just walking away." In the time of the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, there were people simply walking away, ascetics. People were leaving the cities to go live as hermits, off theland. Life had become so intolerable that it simply wasn't worth it to live in cities. They wanted to escape materialism in a sense because they saw it as evil, wicked, whathave you. Though this might not be the greatest example, it kinda comes close to an example of people walking away.

I enjoyed Ameno's thoughts and think Ameno has a lot of great ideas, keep up the good work. todd

VerevolfTheGrouch #14770
, USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 21:35:24 CST (GMT -6:00)


People being better than they have been seems to be what you are asking for. You're asking for people to be selfless, and that isn't going to happen. However, if you show people that there's another way to go that will get them the things they want and need as humans, then you can expect them to be the same as always and selfishly go after those things. You seem to be laboring under the idea that this all has to happen at once. The point is that those who are awakened walk away as much as they can while at the same time awakening others. The others who are awakened make it possible to walk away a little bit more, and a little bit more, until a point is reached where we have something else to turn to besides being a Taker or death.

That quote about people giving up things they want for things they don't refers to the notion that we have to, for example, simply swear off any and all technology to live sustainably. People like technology, so our revolution can't be dependent on telling people to give up technology.

I suggest you read Beyond Civilization... it doesn't sound like you have. Quinn's advice is...WALK AWAY. And he gives a strategy for starting to do this: tribal business. It's not the one right strategy...it's just a way that could work.

You're absolutely right that city dwellers with no survival skills can't just get rid of their dependence on the Taker machinery to get their sustenance overnight. No one here is making that claim.

And I won't just give up if somebody points a gun at me (although the likelihood of that happening is debatable). But neither does that mean I'll just sit back and say, "Ok, shoot me."

Vered #14769
, South Africa -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 21:7:6 CST (GMT -6:00)

Hi All :-)

Ameno's story # 15105 is the best thing I've read here lately.

Since I have just recently read James lovelock's book " Gaia - a new look at life on Earth " ( with a new itrodution) I see how very apt the allegory is.

You can extend it and imagine that people on a flight would behave as they do on Earth. Some would grab all the resources, ( pillows, toilet paper ...:-) some would demand that the other passengers serve them and regard them as superior.

When it happens in a defined and confined space it is obviously detrimental to a social structure. When it happens where we can pretend it will ' go away if we just sit it out ' we tend to get angry at the 'rebels' who 'rock the boat'.

Who said : " telling the truth is a revolutionary act" ?

We have to reeducate ourselves. Most people would not survive if they were handed a selfsuffient working farm. Very few people would survive in our abundant Nature if they were set free.

Getting back the knowledge ( that we are deliberately not taught in school) on how to survive in nature is a parachute - acquire it.

Love to All :-) Vered

Ameno #14768
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 21:5:20 CST (GMT -6:00)

David- If you go back and look at the story, I did not say there was ONE way to get into the cockpit. What I did say was that we MUST get into the cockpit, or die. That means, the world MUST be changed, or we are doomed (THAT IS NOT UNREALISTIC, THAT IS REALITY). In a story, or parable, literal readings of it are unnecessary.

The reason for the story is to say this: If you are willing to RISK your life, you might survive and see the changed society, or you may end up a "martyr." But if you are unwilling to risk your life, you ABSOLUTELY will not see the changed society. I know this because there are enough people (powerful people) willing to risk their lives to keep this culture. ANd your life is all you truly have to give.

Ameno #14767
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 20:52:40 CST (GMT -6:00)

To clear up your questions on my little story...

The armed men are the systems that have been put into place to support the hijacking of society toward the Taker way. It truly is a hijacking, because no one is happy, but the survival instinct takes over and people go into a mode of just wanting to stay alive.

As for Walking Away... Ishmael says that the failure of utopian thinking is that it relies on people to "be better than they are or have ever been." Your idea of masses of people just up and leaving this system is just fantasy. Quinn says it himself in My Ishmael (it's page 215 in my copy):

"Any revolution that depends on people voluntarily giving up things they want for things they don't want is mere utopianism and will fail."

People either FLEE FROM or FLOCK TO (or a combination of the two). In other words, people will trade for something better, or give up something that can be tolerated no more (but if it can be tolerated, it usually will be). You cannot show me a single historical example of people just "walking away." The closest approximation that we have is the Maya. They were either fleeing overpopulation or some disease, or flocking to a renaissance of another kind. It is just like the man who says he hates his job. If you tell him "walk away," you better have somewhere for him to walk to. This is one of the seeming fallacies in Quinn's work. He is VERY good at discussing the problem, but when it comes to the solution, it's tough for him. In 3 books (Ishmael, B, and My Ishmael), he devotes about 10 pages to the solution (toward the end of My Ishmael), and it ain't convincing.

I actually BELIEVE that YES, the solution WILL be a MASS of people "walking away." However, that is putting the cart before the horse. Just like the answer to slavery was masses of people "walking away" from the idea of enslaving others. And masses of people did, in this country, to the point of extinguishing it. But first, there were the brave few to fight the system. There is going to be no magic moment or impetus for people to just unanimously decide to "walk away."

The reason why I say there are no parachutes is simply stated in My Ishmael. In the Leaver societies, the children have 100% survival value by age 8 or so. This means that on their own, just aobut any individual can survive if seperated from the tribe for a time. In other words, they can "walk away." How many of us could honestly say the same. Drop me into the bush and I'd prolly do better than most, but my chances are slim.

God forbid that city dwellers all just "walked away." Remember, people are going to STILL be people. So, the system has been abandoned, and in Los Angeles, some 60 miles from the nearest farmland, nothing works. The stores are closed, because no one will work them, because no one can be paid because the banks are closed as well. How long do you think the honeymoon will last before people get hungry? Hmmm? 2 days? 2 hours? This "walking away" is the anarchists motto.

No.... there must be SOMETHING in place for those initial "walkers" to go toward. And if you think that Taker culture is going to just let that happen, please, send some of the dope you're smoking over to me. This initial phase is going to be EXTREMELY dangerous.

I don't know how many of you have ever incorporated a company or understand what it means to be a corporation. I have incorporated a company, and I work for an attorney service specializing in bankruptcy. What incorporation is is, quite simply, the creation of an entity. The best corporations are created in such a way so that they basically "run themselves." In otherwords, individuals aren't important, just bodies with certain knowledge. The big ones, like GE work like that. If you think for a minute that when people start "walking away" that others won't just take their place, you're SOOOO wrong. Remember, people will be what they will be. A corporation is a literal "beast" and is even treated like a seperate, living thing in the eyes of the law. Our own CONSTITUTION (which is basically the exact same as articles of incorporation) created a business known as the US Government. It goes on with or without the masses' consent.

Speaking of, there is a close example of people sort of "walking away" in this country. Thomas Jefferson chronicled it. His missive is called the Declaration of Independence. If those men and women had not been ready to give their lives for INDEPENDENCE (which is what we are asking for here is it not), they never would have had it.

In this cause, the true will be pushed to their breaking point. If your breaking point is SHORT of death, then you will not be successful, because all that the opposition (and there will be opposition) need do to make you give up is to start killing. If you don't think it won't happen, as the Freedom Riders of the 1960's. People will be people, and will not be anyhting better than they have ever been.


David Theis #14766
Hackenheim, Germany -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 20:51:5 CST (GMT -6:00)


now just look how easy you dismiss me. As if I was just responding to FC, I mean, come on. I've wrote a lot what I think about feminism and this is all you can respond? That's not the best way to convince me to participate. Thanks a lot!


you're pretty good in dismissing too, sorry to say that. After all the things we discussed about your posts this is all you can come up with? Just another story which shows the extreme. Gordy did that often and honestly, I hate that. It's such a typical taker behavior to build up an extreme unrealistic situation to show the consequences of one's behavior. You know discussions about death penalty. After a bit of talking someone shouts angrily: "What if you kid was raped and killed, huh? Wouldn't you want to see this piece of shit die?" Well, as to your parable, it is misleading. If it was that way we only had one way to get outta here. But this is not true. We're not sitting in a plane with hijackers. We live in a world which is ruled by a culture we don't want and there are many many ways to get rid of that culture, either by ignoring it, by fighting it or changing it. And every one of them contains another many ways. That is the point. If you really think your way is the one right way, then, well, then I can just wish you good luck, help yourself.

Debbie #14765
, NJ USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 19:54:54 CST (GMT -6:00)

Takers tend to like to make their stories into giant epic battles of Good versus Evil. Just look at some of the most popular stories of our time- Beowulf (I HATE that story!!), Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, our government's version of the events of 9-11, etc.... so it's not exactly suprising that we, as taker children, tend to try and find these stories in real life. It's very very tempting to do this with the taker/leaver mindset that Quinn has provided for us.

Okay Ameno, I'm going to try and go with your story and correct what I see as some of its flaws.

First off, I see no difference between the goals of the radical leftists in your story and what you think we should do. Leftists would love to get in the cockpit and redirect the plane. But the truth is, there is no malevolent force at the pilot's seat that the leftists can push away and save us all. Because the plane's failure is written in the plane itself, the engineering that designed this plane doomed it to disaster, and no amount of crafty piloting can save it because there is no evil pilot trying to doom it!

Leftists would be right along with you, blaming the pilot (our leaders and corporate giants) but not the plane itself. They assume that since we're in this plane, this is how humans were meant to fly, and if someone else who had the best interests of the people in mind instead of this evil pilot of yours was to fly the plane, everything would be wonderful.

There are men with guns guarding the cockpit, as leftists have learned time and time again. But there are no guards blocking the way out.

And as for those who want to "walk away," why are there no parachutes? Bringing this back to real life, why do you have such little faith in people that you can't believe they can live without the support of civilization? Your answer before basically amounted to, this won't be enough because people won't follow. Well, in your story, people followed the radicals who wanted to rush the guards because they saw it was in their best interest. How is this any different than having faith that people will follow those who walk away when they see it is in their best interest?

Unity is not the answer. Diversity is.


That story was beautiful, thanks for posting it.

VerevolfTheGrouch #14764
, USA -
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 19:43:52 CST (GMT -6:00)


Who are the armed men in your little parable? As Daniel Quinn has said, the Taker culture can and will survive upheavals. What it cannot survive is a discontinuance of support, which is what "walking away" means.

There are several problems with your parable. First of all, the danger is NOT something that will continue if people start walking away. The danger with Taker culture is that there are so many people living this one particular way that it is wreaking havoc on the world. The Taker machine requires the support of its members to keep going, just like any other cultural machine. You speak of walking out of the plane as if walking away from the Taker way is dropping off the edge of the Earth. That's one of the things Mother Culture wants us to believe. The Leavers can't tell us how to land the plane. The only ones who can tell us how to land the plane are the ones who have actually successfully landed the plane -- those who abandoned their civilization experiments -- and they landed the plane by walking away.

You seem to think that the change that must be made is something like overthrowing the government, if that's not exactly what you mean. Something like that would be incredibly unlikely to work.

I can't comment any more on the parable without an explanation of who the armed men are. Please provide one.


Unless there's a huge misunderstanding as to what you're saying or you're simply ignoring my comments, I have been addressing the things you've brought up. If it's a misunderstanding, then please tell what issues you've posed that haven't been discussed.

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