The Ishmael Guestbook Archives: 16-31 March 1997

Very strange! I had left a posting after Jim here, but the next time that I visited, the posting had vanished. Wow, I hope that Ishmael doesn't have an ego. Anyway, I was talking about the point that Jim had made on how stark the contrast between leaver and taker is and how there is no in between presented. As much as I love the idea of running away to the backcountry to join a group of pure leavers, I lack the ability to do so. Therefore, in the spirit of Daniel Quinn, I do what I can do. I read "A Reasonable Life" by Ferenc Mate, which hits a middle ground and some ideas on how to acheive that lifestyle. Much softer on our mother Earth and all of her children, including ourselves. But Ishmael, I really love you!!! I lend your book to all that I can entice. I am working on my children. That is the place to start, if you are a parent, teacher or have any influence on our young people.
JoAnn <>
Middletown, NJ USA - Monday, March 31, 1997 at 20:11:24 (PST)
Just to respond to the last few messages... I too wish that I could live in paradise perfectly under "the hand of god"... But it can be dangerous to think as the leaver lifestyle as ONE way of living.... We have to remember that there are many ways to live, and our way of life(TAKER)is one out of thousands of cultures that exsisted before and with us(early on)...Its hard for us to imagine many different culturers living together in the world, so when we read a book like Ishmael, we say to ourselves " Well, I don't think its possible to go back to that (one) leaver lifestyle of're doomed...".. We(as a collective totalitarian argriculture civilization) have to remember that there is more than ONE right way too live.... We have wiped out of our collective conscience the memory of other cultures and now live in one that demands all others join our way of life or perish..... There are many posible ways to live... What I am doing is looking for them..... They are there, we must remember that..... Reply if you have any Ideas or just wish to respond... I'll gladly write back....
Kurt Finguerra <>
Bend, OR USA - Monday, March 31, 1997 at 16:29:59 (PST)
To comment on the previous message: Yes Jim, I also found the extremes of either be a leaver or a taker so great that it would be impossible for everyday folks to bring themselves to make a differnce, giving little hope for change. However; I read another book, called "A Reasonable Life", by Ferenc Mate, which offers sound alternatives to taker living. It speaks of the home garden, the true cost of material items (are they really worth it?) Sundays, what happened to them? The Myth of a Steady Job. to name a few topics touched on in this book. Try this one out, frustrated Ishmael fans. I wish that I could run away to live in Paradise as a leaver. Not going to happen. So I will do what I really can, rather than wishing I could do what I won't.
Jo Ann Hickman <>
Middletown, NJ USA - Sunday, March 30, 1997 at 20:15:56 (PST)
I found it a bit of a rant, but with many interesting ideas. Paramount, I think, is how arrogant we are to assume that creation is "for us" and that we are its highest end. God, I hope not! The dichotomy between the takers and leavers I think is a little too absolute. I don't believe that all agriculture-based societies are takers by definition. I have been reading lately about the Amish, for example. While they do distinguish themselves from the rest of society (whom, in America anyway, they call "the English"), their agriculture is consciously one of self-imposed limits. The use of horses is not because of a prohibition on any kind of technology, but because of a deeply-ingrained sense of sustainable systems. You can only farm so much with a team, and the team in a sense comes from the land, and returns to it. I see the Amish as a middle ground between leaving and taking. I wish the author had ranted a little more about Commerce and Greed! I think today the seeds of our own demise are more to be found in the rampant consumerism that grips our culture and our "leaders". Part of the reason I see myself leaving a lucrative high-tech career is that almost all of the computer companies now are salivating in their visions of the entire world sitting at computer screens, surfing the world wide web, and pushing buttons marked "BUY THESE THINGS"! There doesn't seem to be any room anymore for simple intelligence.
jim glading <>
Nashua, NH USA - Friday, March 28, 1997 at 08:21:36 (PST)
I have never read a book that challenged me in this same way. I resisted reading it for two years - the "gorilla" didn't translate to my kind of book. Now that I've read it, read much of it to my husband, it has become a standard that I use to measure my world view. That sounds odd - but I am a cynic and even distrust myself.
ahab <>
savannah, ga USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 18:25:11 (PST)
I feel that the comments recived on ISHMAEL do not, seem to generate any impact on the enviroment conservation aspects.****
John.D "Sam" <----@---->
Pasadena, CA USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 12:17:44 (PST)
I was surprisd, fascinated, and educated with ISHMAEL from beginning to end, then went on to res THE STORY OF B which has brought me this point of wanting too hear from D. Quinn and others who have read these books. I must admit I'm not sure that this world can be saved but I'm willing to try. I am "up in years" but have children and grandchildren to to think about in the future after I have gone to "the happy hunting ground. I guess that is about the gist of what I have to say at the moment and hope to hear from you out there on the Internet and hopefully from Daniel Quinn himself
Marion F. Hendrich <>
Jamestown, NY USA - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 11:28:40 (PST)
Beautifully written book; tremendous impact on my thinking. Ishmael will be with me for the rest of my life.
Anne Depner <>
Seattle, wa USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 20:21:30 (PST)
Good thought provoking book.
matt beckstedt <>
Reno, NV USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 08:08:13 (PST)
Ishmael is a wonderful book. It really makes you think about life...are u a Taker or a Leaver?? Does being a leaver get you anything in this world anymore??
Nicole Wagner <>
Norfolk, MA USA - Sunday, March 23, 1997 at 16:03:09 (PST)
I have read Ishmael, The Story of B and Providence, and can't begin to tell you how wonderful they are. I'm telling everyone I know to read them. Mr. Quinn has put into words vague thoughts about ourselves and our place on this planet that have been bouncing about in the back of my head for many years. I am especially pleased that so many young people seem to be reading the books. As an old fogey (nearing seventy) there is little other than recommending the books that I can do, but the young people can spread the word and, who knows, may yet save the planet. Thank you Daniel Quinn.
Harold Butterworth <Halsbooks@AOL.COM>
Fresno, CA USA - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 16:27:12 (PST)
I am a 7th grader at Wredling Middle School and about 2 months ago we started reading Ishmael. My outlook on alot of things are beginning to change just from one book. I understand alot more things and I have been treating the Earth alot better because I know alot more about it. I have also begun to look at things in a phyilasofical perspective. I want to thank Daniel Quinn-THANKS.
Kristin Kutella
Saint Charles, IL USA - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 12:55:41 (PST)
My class is reading this book, and we all think that it is very different. We are making out own web page about this book. It encourages us to think in abstracts, and to think about topics that we have never thought about before. It is really interesting. Thax for writing such a thought provoking book.
Jenni Hilgenberg
St. Charles, IL USA - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 12:41:31 (PST)
I thought this book was not the greatest book in the world, but it was not the best. I am not all the way through the book but it still seems like an O.K. book.
Alexis Zanis
St. Charles, IL USA - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 12:37:54 (PST)
Hi, Rennie and Daniel! Just want to tell you that I found the Ishmael website and have read many of the reader comments. I'm proud to know you both. Send me an e-mail message when you have a chance. I will get your e-mail address from that message and write you back. This is the only way I know how to get in touch with you at the moment. Marsia
Marsia Hart Reese <>
Austin, TX USA - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 19:02:49 (PST)
just finished reading it for the second time - gobbled it up delightful story on top of everything else that's good about it! I want to buy 50 copies and give them to all my friends. But alas! It's now $18! Yikes. I really want to use it in teaching - for an environmental science course (grade 10+ level) at an alternative school. See it as an essential companion to the study of science (science as a worldview) and as a tool for hope and empowerment work. My students are so fatalistic I can't teach them about global warming and all that without dealing in positives as well. Ishmael gives us good context for study of science and for a dialogue on cultural change.
jennie barron <>
Toronto, ON Canada - Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 21:42:46 (PST)
I read Ishmael through an english class. At first, it scared me. I felt as if it were my own thoughts being pulled out of my head. I had never suspected that literature such as Ishmael or the Story of B existed. I must say that now I recommend both books to people of all sorts, but I don't feel like that is enough. I have almost no hope in us, in us Takers, but I hope Quinn's novels will help us get the message through. I am anxiously awaiting My Ishmael. Mr.Quinn I personally congratulate you on being able to put into words what simply NEEDED to be said.
Alicia Surveyer <>
Kirkland, Quebec Canada - Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 19:41:14 (PST)
I think that Ishmael's thoughts would be read by everyone. In Sweden isn´t the book so well-known but I am trying to get people to read it. Our local library doesn´t even have the book, but I´m trying to make them read it and then I´m sure that they will buy it. Please mail me if you have ideas that can help me spread this brilliant book. Michael
Michael Öhman <>
Bollebygd, Sweden - Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 03:18:31 (PST)
I think that Ishmael's thoughts would be read by everyone. In Sweden isn´t the book so well-known but I am trying to get people to read it. Your local library doesn´t even have the book, but I´m trying to make them read it and then I´m sure that they will buy it. Please mail me if you have ideas that can help me spread this brilliant book. Michael
Michael Öhman <>
Bollebygd, Sweden - Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 03:17:22 (PST)
Ishmael rules!! He's the smartest gorilla I know!!
The Agnostic <>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 17:34:57 (PST)
it kind of opens up your head like a fifty pound anvil falling thirty stories (yes exactly).
leo sanfilippo <>
kingsville, tx USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 16:37:05 (PST)
Life changing!
Susan Daves-Nobles <>
Granbury, TX USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 07:10:56 (PST)
I like it, except for the fact that ch 10 took about 3 readings to fully understand
Brent Levangie <>
Vancouver, BC Canada - Sunday, March 16, 1997 at 22:28:08 (PST)
Lent the book myself, I now lend it to everyone I know. And if I don't have it to lend, I recommend it. I walk them to the bookstore, out it in their hands and say "read this -- it'll change your life." A big thank you to all the chance circumstance s that led that book to my hands.....
Sara Walsh <>
Chiacgo, Il (Grand Rapids, MI), USA - Sunday, March 16, 1997 at 00:57:27 (PST)