The Bnetwork Guestbook Archives: March 1998
I've now read both Ishmael and The Story of B. I find myself in doubt of my lifelong beliefs in God. This is disturbing to me. I find it is tempting to rationalize these feelings and continue "forgetting". It shocks me how simple the solution can be, yet how easy it is to ignore it and hope things will just get better or assume they've always been like this and always will be. My daughter is one, and want the best for her. Quinn holds up a picture of what is and what could be, and I know I want what could be for my daughter.
V. Barrington <Vbarrington@juno.com>
golden, CO USA - Sunday, March 22, 1998 at 20:31:50 (PST)
how many people did you hope to address with the chapter in "my ishmael" named alan's ishmael that have written to you and this site over the last few years?
neil chambers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
clemson, s.c. USA - Sunday, March 22, 1998 at 14:27:21 (PST)
"The expectation of the founders of FuturePositive was that most of those who make use of the websites would be interested in helping to fund it. Unfortunately, that hasn't proved to be the case so far."
That quote is from the Web site at
http://www.futurepositive.org/faq.cfm#q11. It sounds like it's time to answer the question, "What can I do." Changing things is never free.
Jamie Myxter <email@example.com>
Redmond, Wa USA - Friday, March 20, 1998 at 19:07:33 (PST)
ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS...
... are you tired of reading that, only to find out that the book, www site, project, or whatever wasn't worth the time investment and could have better been spent on ANOTHER book/site/project, etc?
I hope to offer something DIFFERENT, something that will help ALL projects seeking to save the world, and will help all people who want to save the world find the one that they are able to do the most in.
Find out more at www.neteng.bc.ca/~jforrest/main.htm and i'll try to make it worth your while.
PS - also seeking submissions. If you have an essay/reference/book to recommend, write up a review and I will host it.
none (nomadic), USA - Friday, March 20, 1998 at 18:10:42 (PST)
i have read ishmael at least 5 times and still had not heard of "b" thanks for somewhere new to learn.would VERY much delight in giving of my time and energy to helping do something locally.PLEASE feel free to e-mail me with ANY ways i can personally help.
sean roth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
topeka, ks USA - Friday, March 20, 1998 at 02:06:57 (PST)
Re: Ted Wolf
I think your cited passages from Ghandi relate perfectly to the changing of minds from "taker" to "leaver"!
Thanks for the enlightening quote! Matthew Meersman
Matthew Meersman <email@example.com>
South Bend, IN USA - Wednesday, March 18, 1998 at 12:49:29 (PST)
In answer to the often asked question, "So now what do we DO?" Mohandas K. Gandhi may have an answer that is in accord with Quinn's vision.
"Inequalities in intelligence and even opportunity will last till the end of time. A man living on the banks of a river has any day more opportunity of growing crops than one living in an arid desert. But if inequalities stare us in the face the essential equality too is not to be missed.
"Every man has an equal right to the necessaries of life even as birds and beasts have. And since every right carries with it a corresponding duty and the corresponding remedy for resisting any attack upon it, it is merely a matter of finding out the corresponding duties and remedies to vindicate the elementary fundamental equality.
"The corresponding duty is to labour with my limbs and the corresponding remedy is to non-co-operate with him who deprives me of the fruit of my labour. And if I would recognize the fundamental equality, as I must, of the capitalist and the labourer, I must not aim at his destruction. I must strive for his conversion....
"Even if a single individual enforces this ideal in his life, he is bound to influence others." (p. 396 The Essential Writings of M. Gandhi, Raghavan Iyer, ed.)
Does this in any way relate to our discussion of Takers and Leavers and how to peacefully encourage the changing of worldviews?
Thanks for your time and thought.
Ted Wolf <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Harrisburg, PA USA - Wednesday, March 18, 1998 at 11:39:55 (PST)
I have so many thoughts running through my head that I don't know where to begin. To avoid a life story, I'll keep it short...
I've read Ishmael and B and was captivated by both. I've never been "at home" with any of the World's Major Religions - although I have learned much fom their teachings, and I've long been a student of indigenous cultures. With this background, many of the views expressed by Quinn struck a chord with me. I am encouraged that so many others have been equally struck by the force of Quinn's message; however, I must admit that I am pessimistic about our chances to change minds to the extent needed to save life as we know it from extinction - but that won't keep me from trying to do my part.
I'll continue to tune in to the website - it is an excellent forum for sharing ideas and experiences. Keep up the good work.
Andy Hollon <email@example.com>
Austin, TX USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 17:48:48 (PST)
another woman heard from. I just got my first computer and was happy to find this . Have read the books and finally realized that my lifelong search for a religion was pretty funny, so I am happy with what I started out with the day I was born. As for whether a male dominant society can solve these questions, I say, no. The thinking seems goofy to me. It is far too complicating. I guess I'll say what the other women have said-We are too busy doing the little everyday things. I live with a dog and when I want answers, I watch him. So, Kramer says Hi, too.
May Hall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
dallas, wi USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 17:13:44 (PST)
The question of surplus has raged through my mind for nearly thrity years. The consequence of having too much too easily is not always seen until it is too late. My fable entitled "The Lioness and the Fox" captures the spirit of excess quite well.
"The Lioness and the Fox"
With a great leap the hungry lioness cornered the fox against the
"Emmmm, what a delicious supper you'll make." she said as she looked
over the fox.
The fox, realizing he was sure to land in the belly of the lioness
unless he thought of something, quickly sought to bargain with her, "Now,
my beauty, don't be to hasty. There is something I would like to discuss
"Say on, but mind you, no folly." she responded with caution.
"I am willing to enter into an agreement with you. With your strength
and my cunning we could have all we wanted to eat with less effort on
"But I am hungry now, and fate has laid you at my feet." responded the
"But who is to say that a higher power has not made this meeting for
the purpose of a partnership?" questioned the fox.
"Perhaps you have a point, although instinct beckons that I listen no
further and eat you this very moment, " responded the lioness.
"Then you agree?" questioned the fox.
"I hesitate, but accept." answered the lioness.
And so the two began their daily hunt, the fox using his cunning and
the lioness her strength. They became so good at the hunt that they began
grow too fat for having too much so easily.
Before long the lioness was becoming sluggish and only able to catch
enough for herself. "You must go and fend for yourself, I cannot continue
with you." she said.
"But our agreement," reminded the fox.
"Leave now, I should have eaten you when fate set you before me on the
mountainside." she insisted.
The fox, now lazy and dull moved slowly on his way. A few weeks passed
and the lioness was out on a hunt. As she prowled about she came upon
who lay dead between some branches.
The lioness stopped a moment and spoke."At what cost, this partnership?
Surely 'twas not the grace of a higher power, for the fox hath not dignity in
his grave, and I have sloth in my gait."
D J Lancaster <email@example.com>
Southgate, Ky USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 16:26:17 (PST)
I would like to add a few ideas to Mr Wolf's posting from earlier today.
I was also impressed by the work of Joseph Campbell, and I don't see his work as a challenge to the work of Quinn! I see Campbell's work as a vital step toward Quinn's work: AND Quinn's work as a vital step towards healing/saving our culture, and recognizing that other cultures are equally as valid as our way of living!
I find that Mr. Wolf fell into the trap that our culture portays as "the answer". By stopping thought at the point when we realize that humans have a basic desire to reduce physical and emotional pain, we should relize that not all human chose to relieve their "pain and fear" with our type of technology. When people in our culture pat themselves on the back and say things like "agriculture might have been a technological advance that no rational caring human would have rejected." The implication is that we know the right way to do things like agriculture, and not only this, it also says that if other cultures don't see our form of agricuture (and life) as better than their own then they are illogical and irrational etc. The next step is to force our way on others in the name of progress and/orGod. Then the few from other cutures who survive our attack only have our story of how thing got to be this way... "YOUR ancestors chose to live OUR way because our way is better, and the fact that you now live our way is all the evidence you need to believe this is true."
Campbell's work is a milestone but it is no more of an end than Quinn's work is.
What Quinn did that Campbell was unable to do was simply look at other cultures from a different vantage point than our own culture. And to look at OUR culture with the same tools Campbell used to study other cultures.
The fact remains that no matter how we pat ourselves on the back and say we are superior to others...There are many cultures who had technologies and agricultures like ours or better than ours, but they were wise enough to see that it COULDN"T go on forever. And, the momment they realized this fact, they were smart enough to changed their cultures.
I know their are a lot of Takers out there who insist that these ancient cultures were helped by Space Aliens or some other FOOLISHNESS!!! But, please don't fall into the trap of thinking that we are the only ones smart enough to outsmart Nature/God, that would only prove just how stupid and narrow minded we are.
To finish up the point about agriculture as the root of our situation. It isn't agriculture that is the problem, it is our belief that only one form of agriculture is best, and our willingness to enforce this idea on all life on the planet (as we do with our religions and technologies etc).
Once again I urge people to read:
SHAPESHIFTING by John Perkins
or log onto the Dreamchange Coalition web site at: www.dreamchange.org/dreamchange/
kevin bethel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
houston, USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 13:40:01 (PST)
I would like to thank Mr. Theel for his message below. Yes, I too have been inspired greatly by Joseph Campbell and his work with Bill Moyers.
In my mind, the greatest challenge to Daniel Quinn's Leaver/Taker thesis stems from basic questions raised by Campbell's work.
Here is the question: 1) human beings have an aversion to physical and emotional pain; 2) human beings have the ability to reduce or avoid this pain through reasoning. Thus, perhaps the fundamental problem with our culture is not "Totalitarian Agriculture," but that human beings 1) dislike pain; and 2) are able to reduce/prevent immediate pain through rational planning (over faith).
Seen in this light, agriculture might have been a solution to the basic human desire to reduce the physical and emotional pain of hunter/gatherer life and the SEEMING uncertainty of such a lifestyle. Agriculture might have been a technological advance that no rational, caring human being at the time would have rejected, but, like so many of our innovations, ultimately led us FURTHER away from where we wanted to be as a culture. When family members are starving, who in their right mind would decry a surplus of food?
Rather than being THE root of our current cultural problems, perhaps Totalitarian Agriculture is but a symptom of our ultimate problem as a culture--that we desire an end to the pain which comes from insecurity and physical loss. In other words, we desire planned, rational Totalitarian Agriculture over an uncertain manner of obtaining food based on faith in Mother Nature.
Thanks for your time and thought.
Ted Wolf <email@example.com>
Harrisburg, PA USA - Tuesday, March 17, 1998 at 11:52:30 (PST)
Have read "Ishmael" and am just finishing "B" - am quite taken with both! I haven't experienced so significant a paradigm shift since my first exposure to Joseph Campbell through "The Power of Myth" in the mid 80's. Does anyone else out there familiar with Campbell's work have thoughts about the similarities in mythology that Campbell found in both Leaver and Taker cultures?
Robert Theel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, March 16, 1998 at 09:08:08 (PST)
i am not the protagonist, yet i am not the antagonist. i will take the best of what i see in each view, and strive to incorporate it into that which is me. i can not embrace someone else's ideals or ideas completely. nor do i expect it of others. have a nice day.
provo, ut USA - Monday, March 16, 1998 at 00:44:12 (PST)
Why don't they teach this in school?
Thomas J. Gasser <TJG1502@Juno.com>
Cheyenne, Wy USA - Sunday, March 15, 1998 at 16:42:00 (PST)
A friend of mine just recently told me this story, and I thought it was appropriate-
In the beginning when the world was new, Truth walked naked over the earth. But because of her nakedness she was shunned by mankind. People turned away in discomfort when they saw her and never invited her into their homes.
At about this time, Story appeared in the world. Unlike Truth, Story had an amazing wardrobe! She had an outfit for every occasion. She moved easily among humans; they were entertained by her colorful apperance and always urged her to stay late into the evening.
During her travels Story came upon Truth. Truth was sitting naked on the street sobbing in lonely despair. Story sat beside her and consoled her.They talked. Truth explained her rejection, "They do not even look at me, much less invite me into their homes," she said bitterly.
Now perhaps Inspiration was also in the neighborhood, but I can not say for sure. At any rate, Story had a very good idea. She told Truth of her many beautiful clothes and offered that she borrow some to wear. "That will surely make the humans more comfortable," she encouraged. So that is what they did. And sure enough their idea worked. Truth soon befriended many people and was even welcomed into their homes and hearts. Truth and Story have been friends ever since.
And so... now you have heard how Story dressed up the Truth.
Becky Pylypink <email@example.com>
Burlington, MA USA - Sunday, March 15, 1998 at 16:05:52 (PST)
We are The Welcomed Consensus, a group (13and growing) living in SF. We have been together 11 years. We make our living teaching courses in sensuality, communication and group living. We read Ishmael about a year ago, and were impressed. A little over a month ago someone gifted us with My Ishmael, half way through the book, we bought 5 more copies, and checked out all of the copies of My Ishmael and "B" out of the SF Library system, and have since given the copies away to our student/friends.
Finally, someone else is saying there ARE other ways to live.
Food was not the only thing that was locked up ten thousand years ago, in the Garden of Eden, women's sexuality was also. We live by women's desires, intuition, and thoughts, and we feel that through writing herstory, we are finding a better way
We are looking at land in Northern California to expand our community. If you are done with doing things the way they have always been done, we invite you to visit our web site, and post on our bulletin board.
The Welcomed Consensus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
San Francisco, CA USA - Sunday, March 15, 1998 at 11:21:28 (PST)
Dupree Heard wrote--
"Quinn didn't need to put his reasoning in story form to get his point across.... I think that Quinn sucker punched me." And later wrote "why the need for the story as a crutch?"
'sucker punched'? Unless you were forced to read Quinn's book (or books) this can hardly be so. Nothing wrong with disagreeing with him (or anyone else) in whole or part -- but charging an author with trickery or deception while providing no explanation seems disingenuous at best. As for "why the story" format, you might think about how many people would ever have heard of Quinn, much less read him, if the presentation had been made as a scholarly essay in whatever esoteric journal (circulation 5,000 tops) might have accepted it for publication. Whatever the merits of the case, the format he chose reached a great many more people than that.
Tom Carey <email@example.com>
Norcross, GA USA - Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 18:04:46 (PST)
RE: Lack of postings by women on the website.
I agree with Nikki in that the majority of women are too busy living and affecting change in their life as well as the lives around them to have a large presence on the website. Ishmael, The Story of B, and Daniel Quinn have had a profound affect on my life which I am still reeling from. I spend my time now trying to put my new world perspective into practise in my day to day reality. I have found some guidance in the book "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for something to continue the journey until Daniel Quinn's next book. Please let me know if you have any other sources that you may feel to have been helpful and let me know if you have thoughts on Voluntary Simplicity.
While this might be a male dominated posting area, I truly believe that DQ's message is not gender specific and can have a life altering affect on all.
toronto, Canada - Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 16:15:15 (PST)
I gave the wrong address for subscribing to the ishmael list! You should send your subscription message to
The other address is for messages to the list itself. If you already sent a message to ishmael-list, I will make sure you get subscribed.
Sorry about any confusion.
Stephen R. Figgins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 12:08:06 (PST)
I'm eagerly awaiting the next book. The others have given me hope for the future for myself and my daughter.
Tracy Blakeman <email@example.com>
Liberty, OH USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 20:49:28 (PST)
I'm eagerly awaiting the next book. The others have given me hope for a better world for myself and my daughter.
Tracy Blakeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Liberty, OH USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 20:46:19 (PST)
Why a fictional story?
I think I have heard Quinn's reasoning on this before... He said something about it being a good vehicle for his message, and easier to absorb and remember and relate to than laying out a bunch of arguments. I think he likes it specifically for the way it has punch, and something more cut and dry would not. Is that a crutch for bad logic? Is it unfair? I don't think so. It certainly has more impact than simple facts alone. You can read those in Suzuki, Hawken, Gore, and many other author's books.
I actually like the vehicle. I find it entertaining, and I do think I absorbed it better because of it. I know others that hated it. Pretty much the same way they hated Plato's writings. The thought it was polemic and it put them off. Obviously it is a format that does not appeal to everyone.
I am not sure where you get the idea that the Church is all nice when it comes to threats to their power. The inquisition is one good example of just how vicious it can be. There are also the thousands of people murdered as witches. Perhaps a more appropriate example wolud be Galileo. Kuhn felt that in the face of a proposed paradigm shift there was always some chaos and a violent reaction by the threatened proponents of the old system. Even in the face of obvious nutcases like Wilhelm Reich, the establishment can get a little crazy.
I didn't find it too far fetched that the church might feel a need to have someone executed. Nor that some faction of it might be obsessed with destroying the anti-christ. It made for some good drama. I thought the story line in Ishmael was lame. Quinn was a bit more creative with Story of B. And I think My Ishmael is another improvement. Still not great fiction, but certainly more enjoyable.
Problems in Quinn's logic? Yeah, there are undoubtedly some. I certainly have a few differences with what he has to say. I don't expect him to agree with him on everything though. Quinn has some wonderful ideas, and an ability to look at things systemically I admire that. I appreciate the way his writings have got my own creative juices flowing. He introduced me to some new ways of looking at things.
Dupree, maybe you should come join us on the Ishmael mailing list where we often hash over these things. Just send an email message to email@example.com. Put the word "subscribe" as the only word in the body of your message.
You can see some of our past messages archived at: http://www.seanet.com/~camw/Ishmael/ishmael.htm
Stephen R. Figgins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 16:30:43 (PST)
At the risk of sounding repetative I wish to thank you ladies and gentlemen for your input. I have looked over the Q&A section and a lot of my questions have been answered by the letters. In fact, a couple of his responses made me think more than reading the books. However, it seems to me that many of the questions asked could have gone so much deeper in depth. I understand that Mr. Quinn doesn't have all day to answer questions but some of his answers appear less than complete. (a minor criticism on my part)
My next question is as follows:
Why the need for the fictional story of B?
At least it is my understanding that B is a fictional story. But Quinn didn't need to put his reasoning in story form to get his point across. This may appear to be harsh, but, I think that Quinn sucker punched me.
PLEASE LET ME EXPLAIN
Through the vehicle of the story we are made to feel sorry for Father Jared, B and all his followers in the story right? After all here is this small group of people out to save the world and here comes the big bad church with its evil Catholic leader who is willing to go against every vow he made in order to defeat B by murdering all who follow him. We are MADE to feel sorry for B. We are MADE to feel anger toward the established organized religions. After all its not fair that people are killed for their beliefs. In essence, in some way I feel slightly manipulated to support an argument through an emotional sucker punch. And what is so sad is the fact that this manipulation is not necessary.
Quinn's REAL facts about the state of the world don't need to be propped up by this story. What Quinn is stating in his messages it really good logic. We know that unchecked population growth will not lead to a happy ending. However, because Quinn did decide to put this in story form, my suspicions grow that there might be something inherently problematic in his logic else why the need for the story as a crutch?
Thank you for your patience in dealing with one such as I.
Dupree Heard <email@example.com>
Washington, DC USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 14:12:36 (PST)
For most of my life I've felt like an "outsider"...one who could not have that blind faith that comes so easily to others. Now I finally understand why...I am B and I've finally come home.
Tracy K. Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
S. Williamsport, PA USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 11:34:44 (PST)
I'm a budding B who is looking for ways to spread the truth. I'm a natural teacher who believes passionately in changing world culture, I'm just having problems findings avenues for delivering the message.
Let's hope a movement will spring from all this and we will learn to see how things are NOT!
Rob Turgeon <email@example.com>
Petawawa, On Canada - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 09:30:10 (PST)
What to do? Start by learning about the theory behind "NEWWORK". Check out this website, www.vcn.bc.ca/newwork/ then link to newwork homepage at the University of Michigan and learn all you can about Professor Frithjof Bergmann and his work to create a better working environment and ultimately, a better living environment.
Katharine Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Redford, MI USA - Friday, March 13, 1998 at 04:41:48 (PST)
For all you "B"s out there Daniel Quinn is giving a lecture at Kent State University in OH, at 7:30 on Apr. 23. If anybody in the surrounding area would like more information or maybe even carpool, you could email me. Also, I don't go to Kent state, so I'm trying to find out where it's it's being held and if there's an admission price for non college students.
Hope to here from somebody,
Dennis Feeney <email@example.com>
Canfield, OH USA - Thursday, March 12, 1998 at 18:19:12 (PST)
"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,/
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait/
for love would be love for the wrong thing; there is yet faith/
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting."
Exactly so, I feel. And painstaking, but less so in a community where such can be spoken and not only felt.
steven olson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Wednesday, March 11, 1998 at 06:35:34 (PST)
It all makes sense. The books; I love them. They have made a profound impact on the way I perceive many things. I would like to know of any recommended reading that also is in the fictional form? Thankyou Daniel. Your friend Tim.
Timothy Petrie <NCombs email@example.com>
Holt, MI USA - Tuesday, March 10, 1998 at 10:10:37 (PST)
Thank you Mr Quinn for these words. There simply is not enough being done today to engender free thinking in our world today. Especially concerning our place in it. Again, thank you. Think people, think!!
Mark Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
San Marcos, Tx USA - Tuesday, March 10, 1998 at 09:24:37 (PST)
I believe that programs are a vital part of changing our culture's " vision". Many years ago in college I had a psychology class where we discussed the concept of "cognitive dissonance". That is, if people are acting one way, like recycling because its the law, their belief's will eventually fall in line and they will recycle because they want to. Their thoughts and actiions will be in harmony, because its uncomfortable to act one way and believe something different. We want people to behave in a more environmentally friendly way, and I believe that a good way to achieve this is though laws when necessary, through education, and through a myriad of different programs that will appeal to different aspects of the solution. There isn't just one answer, we all need to put on our thinking caps to see in which direction our own individual talents take us,and then get out there and try!
Lana Fayman <LFayman@aol.com>
USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 19:58:10 (PST)
In my case, you've hit the nail on the head. I don't like to argue, and I guess that I worry that my thoughts will be attacked. I'm much more likely to correspond with someone through email than on message boards. Just recently, though, I was emailing someone who I felt was attacking my views, and it's made me do a lot of thinking. I know that he wasn't intentionally hurting me, and I wonder if maybe I am too sensitive. It just felt that everything I said was criticized by him. In a conversation, I try to make a point of not being overly critical. We all have different values, and when they are attacked, it can feel rather crushing. It's one thing to give advice, even better just to share your opinion without coming across as trying to force it on someone else, but in attacking someone's ideas, we are saying that we know what is best, that our way is right. I think that it's important to hear from people with differing thoughts, but I hate nothing more than someone who comes out and tells you you're wrong, or you're making a big mistake, etc.
I also wanted to make a comment on the program vs vision discussion. I feel pretty strongly that a new vision is far more vital. The town can make my parents recycle, but until they recycle because they want to, because they can't imagine not recycling, then nothing is truly accomplished. What is any action that lacks heart? As much as I would love for the gov't to have sticter laws when it comes to environmental protection, it would be hard to count it as a success when you know that nobody really wants to follow them. It's not enough to save the environment, people's hearts need to be opened. People need to want to change their lifestyles for the sake of life itself.
Becky Pylypink <email@example.com>
Burlington, MA USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 15:15:22 (PST)
Haven't read either B or Ishmael yet, but have glanced through B and found expressions of thoughts I have been searching for.
Christopher Paul Beamis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 15:11:04 (PST)
The vision articulated by Daniel Quinn via Ishmael and B, fill me with passion, desire and hope. It is my desire to spread both the promise and the wisdom of this vision to as many people as possible. That is the only way to stem the flood-is to be the change you desire to see in the world. To not linger in the death of an old mind, but to rejoice and exclaim the potential and wisdom of a new one.
As a songwriter and vocalist, this is how I am going to express and teach others of the vast opportunities that Daniel Quinn and other like minds possess. We are not bound by anything but our own imagination. So, be creative.
i am presently attending the FuturePositive seminars here in Houston, TX and I welcome all correspondence regarding this or any other related matters. Also, if you have not had an opportunity to visit the FuturePositive website, I recommend personally that you do (www.futurepositive.org).
"We do not inherit the earth from our grandparents. We borrow it from our children."
With warmest regards and anticipation of a positive future,
Scott Valentine (B)
Scott Valentine (B) <email@example.com>
Houston, TX USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 14:58:36 (PST)
For God's sake, I made a strong point of saying that many women do not share that fear of the wilderness-- and more power to them! But in all the places I've been, including growing up on Long Island and Chicago, and at school in Connecticut and France, there have been all too many women with irrational attitudes towards the 'wild', towards animals and insects and dirt. If you can call that observation a sexist statement I suggest you open your mind! Look around you! For every woman who's open minded and unafraid of nature, there are many who aren't, and if you don't see that you're just plain blind, it's just part of society. I am offended-- any reasonable reading of my posts should make clear that I'm anything but 'ridiculously sexist', geoff. So do your homework and read whole posts before you go take things out of context and jump to conclusions. If you actually read my post instead of just glancing at it, you'd see that it was phrased as a question-- i.e. this is a thing that I've noticed in SOME women, what do people think? What deeper blindnesses of society can we draw from it?
Discussion of issues, on this page and in schools, tends to take a somewhat argumentative form. From junior high school onward, girls, even when just as or more intelligent than the boys in their classes, tend to quiet down, not speak up in class, not want to be seen as smart (or don't want to seem smarter than a given boy), not want to argue because it's adversarial. I'm not saying this is good-- it's not-- nor am I saying that women aren't as smart or smarter. But conventional discussion formats in American schools, for whatever reason, seem to discourage women's participation, which is a shame for all concerned.
I relish the chance to have my ideas intelligently examined, probed for weaknesses, criticized, even attacked (within bounds; 'ridiculously sexist' is way out of line, inaccurate, personal, and indicates someone who doesn't read carefully.). I suspect I share this with many of the males who write in as well.
Matthew Mausner <MQEST@aol.com>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 12:42:06 (PST)
I read Ishmael about two years ago. I have since read B and My Ishmael. I've read the postings at this site often over the last year and a half. I finally have something to add.
As to why there aren't many postings from women and how we fit into the culture in general: Hate to say it guys , but women are BUSY. Look at the women you know - they work full-time and then come home each night to be the primary caretaker of a household as well as the primary caregiver of any children. I am not trying to imply anything negative about men. If you don't believe what I say, just take an informal pole among the people that you know - men and women - and see how they spend their time.
As to why we are more receptive to DQs ideas--it may be partly do to the above. The Taker lifestyle hasn't done us any favors. Besides the problems that men suffer with in this Taker world, we have the added threat of violence. Most of the people lashing out are men and most of the victims are women and children.
You'll never convince enough people that we were not put here to rule the earth to make a difference. Over population is the real threat anyway. I agree that a movement like the Industrial Revolution is the answer. The key behind that was money and power, not programs. The answer lies in making change profitable for big business and government.
I don't have that answer. Maybe it can be found by Future Positive. All of you who keep asking "What to do?" This is your chance. Join. Maybe the answers can be found. And while you're at it, don't have that second, third, or fourth child!
Nikki Calhoun <firstname.lastname@example.org>
lakenheath, England - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 12:34:17 (PST)
I think a lot of your questions have already been asked and answered in the Q&A section of this web site. You should check there to see what clarifications DQ has already made.
You asked "How do you have a revolution without organization and programs?" I don't think that Quinn has said that the revolution would be void of organization or programs, just that there would be no revolution without there first being a change in vision, a change in minds. Programs alone cannot unleash the creative talent of millions of people, but vision can. Vision is the seed from which the revolution and the programs and the organization must grow.
I believe he draws a lot of this from Peter Senge's book, The Fifth Discipline. Peter points out how many companies fail to actually make changes, because they do not first challenge the mental models that currently drive the company's behavior. They institute a program, but it never really takes, because everyone is still working on the old model. The same would be true for the work ahead of us. We can't just introduce a program, we have to change the way that people think, then the actions we take will not be counter to our vision, they will have sprung from and will support our vision.
Quinn's big model for this is the Industrial Revolution, where the imagination of people all around the world was fired by a change in what they saw as possible in the world. Governments got behind this revolution because they too had altered visions of what was possible, and they liked what they saw. The industrial revolution was not just a collection of organizations and programs, it was a movement, a creative, transformative movement. And that is what we will need to turn this juggernaut around.
So, don't just pass out copy's of Quinn's books. Let the new vision fire your imagination, and see what new things you can do, what you can create, and get to work doing it. But if inspiration fails you, or even if it doesn't, it never hurts to open a few more eyes, change a few more minds. Changing minds is perhaps the most crucial thing that we can do. From that may grow organizations and goverment involvement, and programs that embrace the new vision. But the change in minds is what will fuel that, it is what we will need to make any effective change.
Stephen R. Figgins <email@example.com>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 12:26:12 (PST)
Mr. Figgins I will take up your advice concerning sources for agriculture research. Mr. Meersman I am now searching for a copy of the text that you mentioned in your statement. I cannot promise that I will read them right away but I will read them. I thank both of you gentlemen for you input and interest in furthering my education.
I too would like to get a larger number of people to speak on this medium. And that would of course include women. But I cannot force women to type anything and I know of no solution that will help make this gender issue become less problematic. Indeed, it will be women who will decide whether or not
the future will be populated AT ALL. And by looking at the fact that so few women have responed to Quinn's messages does not bode well for our future.
My next question is as follows:
Mr. Quinn states that he believes that the change in culture to something similiar to leaver societies must come from a particular kind of revolution. A revolution that is based upon vision and not programs. A cultural transformation similiar to the industrial revolution. Mr. Quinn states that the industrial revolution came about without programs. Instead it formed due to the individual efforts of many people who had a vision concerning the future and decided to act in their own ways to bring about that vision. My question then is simply how is it possible for this kind of revolution to occur?
I have difficulty accepting that this kind of revolution is possible. From what I understand of the industrial revolution, it also had programs. Corporations themselves are programs bent on supporting a particular "vision" and they have been around for a good little while. The industrial revolution was aided by military programs intent on making rapid fire weapons and better wagon wheels. Government programs particularly in Britian set the proper stage so that industry could have its first revolution three hundred years ago.
How do you have a revolution without organization and programs?
Passing a Quinn book around doesn't seem to me to be enough of an appropriate response.
Dupree Heard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washington, DC USA - Monday, March 09, 1998 at 11:07:03 (PST)
The gorilla and the antichrist have changed my life.
Michael Raczyla <email@example.com>
Decatur, IL USA - Sunday, March 08, 1998 at 20:29:37 (PST)
Just read Ishmael over the weekend on a recommendation from a professor @ Millsaps College. As one very interested in philosophy and theology, many of the issues and theories Quinn puts forth appealed to me. I don't "buy" all of his claims, but overall this book has changed the way I look at many things. I'm currently reading "B" and finding much to like also. I'd like to talk to others about this book, but I have no source for this.
Michael Upton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
madison, ms USA - Sunday, March 08, 1998 at 15:47:54 (PST)
Thanks Geoff for bringing up a point which has been on my mind and I think is very important. To add a couple of thoughts......
I would love to see more postings from women here. I think that then we would be able to learn much more and carry this taker/leaver discussion much farther.
I also ask myself (and you) the question on why we don't see as many postings from women. I think if we can answer this question, we will have learned much.
From my simplistic point of view, it was the masculine dominance/perspective that has given rise to the problems with a taker culture. Can a masculine dominance/perspective also be used to solve the problems?
scott kruis <email@example.com>
Corvallis, OR USA - Sunday, March 08, 1998 at 12:37:29 (PST)
ive noticed something very interesting on this website, and that's an ABSOLUTE male dominance.. in almost all of the ways that i can see. for one, the basic usage of the word MAN to refer to the entire human species disgusts me (though i must admit i have caught myself guilty of it before), as it discounts an entire half of the human population. tell me, boys, how do you expect to have a "revolution" in cultural thought and cultural practice if you continue to only agknowladge 1/2 of the population? in fact, daniel quinn has stated himself that he sees taker culture as basically a male ordeal, and that the gender unbalance is part of the cause of both the great forgetting and our continued taker affair. if you look carefully, you will see it. so i think that we need to start to get in touch with our feminine sides, as well as with the female people among us, before any true return to a leaver-type society is possible. what bothered me the most, however, was that when somebody brought up the fact that on this website there was an inherent inequality among the ratio of men to women, it was completely ignored and disregarded.. indeed, ive seen that when ANY women mentions something, or tries to start a conversation, especially about gender inequality (which will NOT go away, no matter how hard you try to ignore it)... it is not taken as seriously as if it were a man saying it. so here it is.. a man saying it. c'mon, guys, get yr collective asses in gear.
oh yeah, and in response to matt's comments on women's fear of nature, uhm... i dont know what type of women you've been hanging around, but i know that when ive gone hiking with girls, i get my ass kicked, and indeed i think that many women are much more in touch with nature than men are. on top of that, it was a WOMAN that first introduced me to the work of daniel quinn, and most girls ive found are alot more receptive to his ideas than guys. so... yeah. that's the most ridiculously sexist thing ive ever heard. not to turn this into a personal attack (though i know it is), but thats plainly offensive.
so... yeah. sorry to go off on my feminist rant, but somebody had to do it.
geoff boyce <firstname.lastname@example.org>
bloomfield hills, mi USA - Saturday, March 07, 1998 at 18:55:04 (PST)
I am not B, I do not claim to be. Not yet anyway. I do try to teach others what I have learned. Suprisingly, the so called Earth Religions (Wicca - Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc - neo-paganism, druidism, etc, seem the hardest to make see. In a religious order designed to love the earth, one that adobts more animistic beliefs than any Taker religion, you would think they would want to hear this. Then it hit me. The "Old Religions" are supposedly the oldest of the Taker culture, this means in the thousands of years since their birth, they have adopted an incredible defense against outside influence. They can all, miraculously, ignore the teachings of B. This isn't an attack on these religions, rather a warning. Religion supports our Vision, more so than anything else. Before other faiths become so steeped in our cultural vision that they cannot hear anything else, they must be told. We can't let Christians, Muslims, or Hindus build up the resistance to blasphemy that pagans have developed, our Revolution will surely fail. Then our culture will fail, finally, we will fail. Extinction sucks. Fight it.
Erik Safewright <email@example.com>
Independence, VA USA - Saturday, March 07, 1998 at 15:12:59 (PST)
In reply to Dupree:
For more information of permaculture, and other forms of earth friendly agriculture, I would suggest books by Bill Mollison on Permaculture, or books by Wes Jackson of the Land Institute.
There is a lot of good information out there on this kind of agriculture. I will put together a list of links and add them to my web page. I will try to get that up next week. But you could start your search at Yahoo by doing a search on the work permaculture.
On Quinn's vision as you interpret it... that seems pretty close, but I don't think he is saying let's stop and declare a truce, he is saying let's replace it with a new system based on the ethic, the leaver vision, that we belong to the earth, rather than the earth belongs to us. He isn't saying, lets become neolithic people, he is saying, let's learn from the wisdom that guided us for millions of years up to the great forgetting. Let's reclaim that wisdom and let it guide us in our thoughts and actions. Let's merge it with the knowledge we have gained over the last 10,000 years, and create a new sustainable culture for ourselves, for our children, and for all that which we will destroy if we do not. If we change the vision we are enacting, we can do it. If we do not change the vision, we will crash hard and soon.
What personal transformation that change of vision will cause in your life, he cannot predict. What you will do to bring about this new way of life, he doesn't know. But he does know that unless our minds change, it will not happen.
That is what I get from him anyway. Your mileage is sure to vary.
I have to agree with Matthew, there is no "organized belief in what occurs after death." Almost every religion/culture has speculated on this. Their answers have some similarities, but there is no consensus. Like Iris Diment, I am willing to just "let the mystery be". I speculate sometimes, but I am not driven to know. I guess I will find out in time. :-)
Quinn's big beef with salvationist religions seems to center on the idea that there is something wrong with us, something that means we need to be saved. He suggest that we are, and always have been, just what we are. An animal, a part of nature. And that we evolved like all other creatures we share the earth with, just fine. There is no flaw compelling us to destroy the earth, or even to live as we do. We are still in the state of grace we have always been in, and the only flaw is the illusion we have built over the last 10,000 years that we are not. The flaw is in how we live, the vision that we are inacting, but it isn't us. We are not ourselves flawed. Salvationist religions as a part of our culture have traditionally tried to maintain and reinforce that illusion.
Can Christianity, or Islam, Buddhism, or even Neo-paganism be reconciled to a new vision? I think so. I think that because these religions evolved as a part of taker culture, that there will be challenges to overcome, but I don't think they are irreconcilable.
But we will need to see the way that they reinforce our taker vision, and deal with that.
Stephen R. Figgins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Friday, March 06, 1998 at 12:37:05 (PST)
I would like to apologize to Dupree Heard for refering to him as "Mr. Dupree". I'm sorry for some reason when I posted I thought Dupree was your last name rather than first.
Sorry! Matthew Meersman
Matthew Meersman <email@example.com>
South Bend, IN USA - Friday, March 06, 1998 at 00:09:13 (PST)
I haven`t been in for a good while, doesn`t mean I`ve been lazy, just the opposite.
As currently residing in the US, TX, and after reading Earth in Balance by Al Gore (I heard he`s the Vice President or something), I am permanently astonished, that most US Citizens either don`t know him at all, or don`t know he wrote a book, or that he`s an environmentalist, by now I haven`t met ANYBODY who read it. I mean, even if you favor visions over programs, you`ll have to deal with those ruling your country and their politics. Not that I totally agree with what he wrote, nor would I go as far as the EarthFirst! Journal to give him a wolf just for upsetting the congress with Kyoto (For US citizens, the Climate Conference took place there), but still he did a good analysis of our situation and offered a lot of concrete plans for a change.
(I don`t like his ideas of HiTech solutions, especially Genetic Eningeering)
Anyway, I didn`t mean to offend anyone, it`s just that I`m a little bit upset and disappointed. Al Gore would definitely deserve some more support!
Alex Neumann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Thursday, March 05, 1998 at 22:23:54 (PST)
There is an interesting point expressed in Mr Mausner's posting from Feb 26 1998. At the end he possed the question that a LEAVER world view might have to be imposed on takers by force or some other way.
Anyone who finds this question interesting, provoking or even frightening I would like to recomend a book that address this question in a very creative, practical way. The book is called SHAPESHIFTING by John Perkins. Of coarse the book is about mor than this, but to give you a hint of how reading this book can help, I will TRY to summarize:
Ancient cultures all around the world have techniques used to answer and address the questions we are just begining to formulate on this web site. If we can re-learn the techniques used effectively for 100,000 years or more by our species and all life forms on this planet, then we will grow/evolve/shapeshift into a sustainable culture.
kevin bethel <email@example.com>
houston , texas USA - Thursday, March 05, 1998 at 14:16:43 (PST)
A reponse to the following from Mr. Dupree:
"Quinn attacks the God of Salvation... But what of death? What of what occurs after death? By undermining the salvationist religions, we possess no organized belief in what occurs after death."
I believe that Quinn attacks the "God of Salvation" and the belief in it because it fosters the idea that "Salvation" (human salvation in particular) can only occur through the belief in this "God of Salvation". Quinn does not attack the "God of Salvation" because of what it says about the afterlife.
I do not see the belief in an afterlife as being problematic to our success as a species, however Quinn shows us that relying on the "God of Salvation" to save us from our problems can and has been very problematic.
Mr. Dupree says that "By undermining salvationist religions, we possess no organized belief in what occurs after death." The way this is stated makes it sound like there is in fact an ORGANIZED belief in what occurs after death among salvationist religions. I am highly skeptical of this claim. To me it seems as though there are MANY different views of what occurs after death even within salvationist religions. I don't see any organized belief in what occurs after death now and see no need for organized belief in what occurs after death later.
SOME THINGS ARE SIMPLY NOT SUBJECT TO WIDESPREAD AGREEMENT. These things tend to be BELIEFS such as what occurs after death and who or what created the universe.
If you wish to know Mr. Quinn's beliefs about the afterlife all you need to do is pick up a copy of "A Newcomers Guide to the Afterlife" written by Mr. Quinn and Tom Whalen. After checking this book out you will see that Mr. Quinn apparently does believe in a quite elaborate and complex afterlife.
Mr. Dupree, your confusion is COMPLETELY understandable!! I think all of us (Taker raised humans)who have opened our minds have either been there or are still there. It's easy to give up and fall back into the old groove, it takes a lot more work to question the things we have been given as "facts", and it takes even more work to try and figure out what to replace those taken for granted "facts" with. This is where Mr. Quinn and those who share his worldview can help.
Keep asking questions and don't give up!!!
Matthew Meersman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
South Bend, IN USA - Thursday, March 05, 1998 at 13:17:01 (PST)
I wish to thank Mr. Demko and Mr. Figgins for their comments. In particular, I would ask Mr. Figgins for possible book titles concerning alternative forms of agriculture.
I feel as if I must confess something and this seems to be an appropriate forum. I hope that this doesn't sound too harsh but here goes. I am really sorry that I read these books. I was comfortable with my world view. I was happy with what I thought the cosmos had in store for me. Now I have read them and I am very confused. My questions come from this confusion. The logic of Mr. Quinn's books is very difficult to ignore. I do not like confusion. But I do know what to do. I consider myself to be a reasonable individual and if Mr. Quinn's arguments are stronger than my questioning then I will have to do some changing in my life to match the new paradigm I will follow.
This is my (very short) answer to Mr. Figgins question:
Mother culture teaches us from birth that we are at war with nature. That nature is our enemy and must be conquered. The main weapon of this war is totalitarian agriculture. In return for more pain brought about by following mother culture, our population grows and our growing population increases the number of ideas available which leads to new technology. This growing population assisted by more technology gains a kind of control over its environment (plus more products) and this is the payoff for the added pain. Mr. Quinn wants us to stop the war, declare a truce, and clean up the battlefield.
My next question is this:
Quinn attacks the God of Salvation. He attacks their unity of purpose in what is "right." He calls the course of Jared the course of "People of the World." He supports the belief in the unity of life. He supports the existance of the gods. And that these gods hold together the delicate webs which hold together our biosphere. Quinn asks that we put our fate in the hands of the gods once again. That we admit that when we ate from the tree it did not give us the power to se the difference between right and wrong. And ultimately we must admit that we cannot conquer the world without causing our own death. But what of death? What of what occurs after death? By undermining the salvationist religions, we possess no organized belief in what occurs after death. What does Quinn say about that (except for the fact that I will be food for another someday)?
Once again thank you for your time and comments.
Dupree Heard <email@example.com>
Washington, DC USA - Thursday, March 05, 1998 at 12:09:02 (PST)
I justread 2 articles in The Sun magazine about James Hilllman. a psychologist who is old enough to have studied w/jung in the fifties, but is now considered a maverick. He says that analyzing our childhoods is fine, but it isn't the real issue. The here and now is of crucial importance. This struck me as directly coorelated to the discussion I've been reading in this guest book. It sounded like children in a dysfunctional family trying to analyze the past. To a point, that is valid, healing., interesting, educational, and kind of a fun challenge, but our real challenge is what we all do with ourselves tomorrow,eh? That's the one I struggle with. I will continue tuning in for more food for thought - and action.
margi shindler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
gearhart, or USA - Wednesday, March 04, 1998 at 18:09:54 (PST)
Hi again Dupree!
You said you didn't think the vision Quinn was proposing would work for us today. Could you clarify for me what you think Quinn's vision is?
From what you wrote, I think that this might answer some of your concerns. Permaculture is an environmentally sustainable approach to agriculture that works with, rather than against, natural systems. It outproduces our current agricultural practices. So it is possible to feed our population, or an even greater population in an environmentally sustainable manner. Agriculture is not fundamentally at odds with nature, just Totalitarian Agriculture. A more sustainable agriculture could be (and historically has been) a part of a leaver vision.
I still think we have a population problem. Even using permaculture a growing human population would put a strain on the diversity of life on our planet. I am saying that embracing a leaver vision does not necessarily mean we become hunter/gatherers, nor does it mean that we couldn't feed ourselves in an environmentally sustainable way.
Stephen R. Figgins <email@example.com>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Wednesday, March 04, 1998 at 16:44:03 (PST)
I was born a revolutionary (I was born with Pluto in my First House) and I would like to help to SAVE THE WORLD.
I am interested in crop circles, Kryon, and astrology.
I am part of The Network For a New Culture and also support PFLAG.
Lucas Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Eugene, OR USA - Tuesday, March 03, 1998 at 13:11:49 (PST)
To Dupree Heard, below,
The problems you mention, overpopulation, the ticking enviro-time bomb are very real problems that we will face regardless of our adopted ethics. The difference in adopting a leaver (biocentric) ethic, and a taker (anthropocentric) ethic will determine how we face and deal with these problems. And therein lies the difference, one ethic that works with nature, and one that works against it. In fact, working with nature greatly expands our tool bag and our options because 1; nature is much more complex and resourceful than our technology, 2; because nature varies greatly by bio regions, and 3; because the natural systems of the planet (geological and biological) are self healing and self regulating. Adopting a leaver ethic actually expands our resources, rather than restrict them.
It is absurd to think that our reductionist technoculture could offer more and better ways and means to live than the natural world, but it seems that this is what we have been lead to believe. And the story that synthesizes and perpetuates this has gained so much energy through the centuries that it is hard to imagine anything that anything exists out side of its gravitational pull. But is possible to escape mother cultures pull, there is a source of anti-gravity which allows many and more of us daily to break free, although I cannot tell you what that source might be. For Daniel Quinn it was an epiphany in a monastary, for others maybe a book, a thought, an experience in nature.
The point I'm trying to make is that you cannot, as you appear to be, make DQs "vision" fit within our cultural vision or cultural paradigm because it exists outside of it. It always has been, always will be. It is somewhat like those pictures that show one image to the casual observation, but when you squint your eyes and look past the superficial image another totally different picture appears.
So just squint your eyes and try to look past mother culture. You cannot always pick out the image immediately, and maybe the act of looking for something rather than looking past the superficial is a handicap. I don't really know. But I do know that once the absurd contradictions and fallacies of our culture become apparent you will wonder how you, and everyone else could have missed them.
In the Irish tradition it is said that "you get wise by asking questions, for the well packed question carries its answer on its back, as a snail carries its shell... For when you must yourself answer the problem that you have posed , you will meditate your question with care and frame it with precision... and come to understand by what successions a good question grows at last to a good answer" Good luck with your inquiries.
Jim Demko <email@example.com>
Petersburg, AK USA - Tuesday, March 03, 1998 at 10:14:57 (PST)
Leaver humans, like any other successful species, were successful and continued to slowly grow until they filled their potential niche in the environment. At this point in the existence of other species, their very success works against them, and natural checks and balances such as overfeeding, predators, disease, or whatever serve to knock that population back down to a balanced or sustainable level. Humans have this tendency to love each other, which makes us reluctant to let ourselves die off when we do have the knowledge of how to support ourselves beyond what the environment can support.
Leaverism worked until its very slowly growing population had filled all the niches; then it was no longer adequate. So LEAVERS all over the world made small decisions to start down the Taker path, accelerating their population growth, until the pressures resulting from that inevitably larger pop. caused much larger clashes with other groups, and larger-scale slavery, etc... modern amoral, aspiritual Takerism evolved out of this.
If Leaverism really worked, then at that crisis point 10,000 years ago there would have needed to be some sort of global agreement to preserve the status quo and limit population, keeping within the limits necessary to allow all groups to have enough resources and space to continue their leaver lifestyles. There wasn't-- because Leaverism was NOT equipped to deal with the global picture, only with the local.
We know that Takerism doesn't work. But what it DOES do, what it HAS accomplished, is to bring a global consciousness to everyone on earth. It HAS served to make EVERYONE from rich Americans down to poor Calcutta beggars AWARE of the finite and fragile nature of our shared earth (not enough people CARE yet, but everyone knows). WWII made everyone get involved-- not just British and Russians but Navajo, Maori, and Zulu recognized that they had a vital stake in ensuring that the Nazis and Japanese did not win. Global media (for all its flaws) and, increasingly, the internet, are helping make the information available to everyone that they'll need to make informed decisions about how to live on earth.
Oppenheimer, who led the building of the bomb and was AGAINST its use, wrote a fascinating letter to Truman. He advocated that the bomb be used ONCE, on the Japanese, to end WWII, precisely BECAUSE it was so horrible. The sheer magnitude of its destructive power, he hoped, would cause all humanity to recognize that war was no longer a viable way to resolve conflict. Guerilla and civil wars aside, the bomb may have achieved that goal of ending large-scale war on earth...
The threats to humanity posed by the Nazi and Japanese worldview DID serve to unite damn near everybody else in a positive cause. The advances of Taker production, technology, and global communication made that global unity possible-- and made that victory over barbarism possible.
Hopefully we can fuse these positive advances and TOOLS of Takerism, and the positive values, wisdom, and spritual awareness of Leaverism, into something new that does work but does not require mass reductions of human population. (Ironically the Nazis also thought there were too many people in the Eurasian ecosystem; so they aimed to 'thin' slavic population, by about 30 million, to a more sustainable level!) My next post will be one idea how...
Matthew Mausner <MQEST@aol.com>
Brooklyn, USA - Tuesday, March 03, 1998 at 08:59:22 (PST)
I would first like to thank Mr. Richards and Mr. Figgins for their comments. They were most insightful and I now have more to consider. Please do not consider my questions as an attempt to attack these books. These books have caused me a considerable amount of confusion. Because of this confusion I continue to question and so I ask this:
You are stating that the route that Mr. Quinn wishes for our culture to take is not about right or wrong but about practicality. In essence, Mr. Quinn's vision works in complience with the physical laws of our biosphere and thus it works. However, the present course of this cultures vision is not in complience with these laws and thus does not work. I can understand that. However I cannot see us using Mr. Quinn's vision. Why? Because what he is attempting to make as a vision an ideal that worked for perhaps 10 or twenty millon people but cannot work for a population of close to six billion. Certainly we could stop air polution and the burning of certain irreplacible plant life. But remember we are food and we require food to continue. If we are able, by some miricle, to settle off the human population at lets say seven billion, there are still serious complexities that will require seven billion people to maintain themselves on a planet this small. This kind of population will require technology to continue to produce the food it requires. I have read some journals on agriculture (I am not an expert on the subject by any means) and I have come to the general conclusion that this technology will cause continued serious waste. (disappering topsoil, water toxins etc.) Even if we never have a single increase in the population after today we would only be delaying the inevitable eco-bomb that is ticking under our feet. Recognize also I am talking about the more benign forms of agriculture that do not include the use of heavy insecticide spraying. I am concerned therefore that Mr. Quinn's ideas may be more or less a holding action against eventual catastrophic biosphere collapse and not a vision that would place us in accord with the laws of life.
Thank you all for your input whether you write it here or only in your minds.
Dupree Heard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washington, USA - Monday, March 02, 1998 at 13:05:42 (PST)
I am a devoted follower of your work and have passed the message along to those who will hear. However, I am surprised that you have not expounded on the Patriarchal religions being instrumental in setting up and perpetuating our current cultural system. Religion came with the Takers, and as I see it the church has perpetuated some very unproductive beliefs through the emphasis on male dominance. I'd really like to see you address this.
Jane White <email@example.com>
State College, USA - Monday, March 02, 1998 at 06:45:37 (PST)
I am so heartened that Daniel Quinn has articulated something I have felt for over 20 of my 42 years. Back in '79 we were protesting nuclear power plants in N.W.Washinton state. The Government tried to build them any way. We bought 5 acres and tried to live simply, boy was it hard w/out adequate finances. We tried always to garden organically, recycle, compost, reuse and there are times I thought I was weird as I watched my formerly idealistic friends become yuppies. I could not name the malaise I felt, I thought it was me, that I lean too far toward pessimism. Now I know that I am the frog in the kettle, and maybe am more sensitive to heat than some of the other frogs. It is so liberating to know that I am not alone. Now what do we do? I feel so ready to work toward a better vision. Thanks for being out there Ishmael people!
margi shindler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
gearhart, OR USA - Sunday, March 01, 1998 at 16:00:44 (PST)
Thanks for the work on an insightful book.
Edmonton, Canada - Sunday, March 01, 1998 at 12:28:24 (PST)