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David Anderson    #16293
   USA     Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012 at 21:11:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I think that the book After the Apocalypse: The New Way concludes that the Prophet David's ideas and in particular his idea that no collective knowledge can be used to improve the human conditions is nonsense. In the end it's the New Way Plan that is rejected. Greater New Babylon emerges as a society with a mix of hunter gatherers, non-totalitarian agriculturalists and knowledge seekers that does use collective knowledge and that could potentially achieve sustainability on Planet Earth in the hands of the gods.

Of course without the knowledge that was preserved in the Hidden Node homo sapiens could live another 100,000 years in harmony with nature. The difficulty is combining the knowledge with sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps Greater New Babylon will be able to achieve this.

Sam    #16291
   USA     Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 at 18:10:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

This, from Daniel Quinn, is in response to the post by David Anderson:

Having authorized the posting of David Anderson's Guestbook message, I felt obliged to read his After the Apocalypse. In his 500+ page book, a New Way Plan authored by Prophet David Anderson and his Apostles has been brought into existence by a Supreme Council after the coming Apocalypse. This New Way Plan is followed in an area of the United States, but is surrounded by hunting-gathering groups, groups of those banished by the Supreme Council (for arguing with the Plan), and other groups not under the direct control of the Council.

Contrary to what you read in his post, the book is not fundamentally in agreement with my books and is very far from bringing my ideas to "their logical conclusions." Most obviously, the Plan ultimately fails because, in the author's view, humans are fundamentally tainted with the desire to "play god." This obviously ignores the fact that Homo sapiens (not to mention earlier forms of Homo) showed no inclination to "play god" for more than a hundred thousand years, and that "playing god" was the obsession of a single culture that used totalitarian agriculture to take over the world starting just a few thousand years ago. Anderson remarks that any form of agriculture represents "playing god" and may not be tolerated (ignoring the fact that many Leaver peoples that practice non-totalitarian agriculture have lived in stable harmony with their environment for longer than they can say–thousands of years.

Perhaps the ultimate absurdity of the New Way can be found in this flat statement: "The most important stricture of the New Way is against using collective knowledge to improve your conditions in any way. This is playing god." What this is is puritanical nonsense. How could tribal law have come into existence if the members of the tribe didn't systematically use "collective knowledge" to improve the conditions under which they lived their lives? Were they somehow born with tribal law implanted in their brains in some ready-made fixed form?

David Anderson    #16290
   USA     Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:22:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I read Ishmael, My Ishmael and the Story of B a couple of years ago and was really inspired. What Mr. Quinn says makes eminent sense. Since then I have written a book that takes Mr. Quinn's ideas to what I think are their logical conclusions. Please visit where you can download my book for free.

The Alchemist    #16289
   USA     Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 20:54:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

The electrical grid went down for a few days in the Northeast. Gas pumps wouldn't work. You needed candles after dark. We started to hang out on the porch and talk with our neighbors discussing how we'd get food if this lasted weeks. Those with guns would go hunt birds & squirrels. The point is, we were starting to form tribes, hunter-gatherer groups, to feed ourselves and get by once modern civilization couldn't meet the need. It's the default position for humanity, remembered and fallen back on in times of need & crisis. If civilization collapses, we'll become tribal.

I've only read Beyond Civilization, no other book by Quinn. Civilization has so many discontents that I'm not so sure the meme taught us that it has to keep going is strong enough to do that. Desmond Morris in his book The Human Zoo suggests that civilization rewards & excites us, that's why we stick with it.

We used to wake up and do nothing but look for food like all other creatures in nature. Agriculture & civilization may then be a detour. Bad? Only if 8-10 billion people can't sustain themselves and we end up offing the species. Inequity & elites? Well, even tribes has chiefs (though many could not accumulate wealth to the extent than people can today).

Dawn of Sex suggests sex was universal and the tribe raised all children. Porn may show what sex was like in pre-civilization. could man evolve in 4.6 million years without selectivity? Women find muscles & money sexy in civilization because they point to survival of the fittest genes. It also had to be somewhat like that in pre-civilization for evolution to take place. If everyone screwed everyone how could the species evolve? What separated good genes from poor? Strength & food. Also, a willingness to hurt others. This is what evolved us into civilization but, now that we are here, and need to be co-operative, it works against civilization. We still have the uncaring alphas and it leads to war, exploitation, and wealth accumulation. But maybe there is no getting away from this. Maybe it's built in to what we are as people.

Quinn sees the mass of humanity working for an elite & suggests we walk away & return to the tribal. It's hard to look down a city street and picture all the buildings empty because people have left for the woods but perhaps it's possible. However, if tribes of old were still hierarchies and not communes, where things were shared, but...the chiefs and the alphas still took charge of the wealth and the women, then I'm not sure humanity can just walk away from civilization into a completely equitable arrangement. Perhaps more equitable, but not entirely.

In My Dinner with Andre, Andre wakes up to feeling by living off the grid, but Andre's friend defends his electric blanket, he doesn't need to feel cold to feel alive, he needs to feel warm so he can sleep. Here are two visions of the pros & cons of civilization. Some will reject any sort of neo-primitivism in favor of comfort. If people are richer & more powerful & life is spent pyramid building, that's ok, as long as there are Twinkies and Video games. The tribe has been bribed & atomized by consumer goods.

Quinn is correct that civilization can't fix the problems, and that it IS the problem. There are alternatives to civilization, but, since we evolved into civilization, moving beyond it or returning to our default position of the tribe, may not be so easy. Even if civilization was destroyed, the survivors would try to rebuild it, not stay tribal or create something new. I'm not sure if civilization created the ego or the ego created civilization but it takes serious drugs or years of meditation to weaken the ego and the feelings of individuality and separateness it creates. Until people see all as one, individualism and not tribalism will be preferred. We can strike against civilization, but we need to defeat the left-brain dominance in our heads, break down the self, to ever really go beyond civilization.

Stevie    #16288
Woodside    NY USA     Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 at 9:22:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I am hoping to share these books with everyone I know. They should be read by the world!

Sam G.    #16287
   USA     Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:49:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Pantheism. Synchronicity. Patterns. Temporal. Reflection. Just the words which came to mind when reading Ishmael for the first time, yesterday. A friend passed it off to me. While the structure of the dialog was very simplistic, I believe it had a purpose in being that way. The messages conveyed within must be accessible to all people. Sometimes simplicity is the efficient mode of information travel. And the information within is certainly of value to humanity.

Props. I'm gunna go read some of these other Quinn books now.

Any person is welcome to contact me for dialog of any sort!

By Files    #16285
LA    CA USA     Posted: Monday, April 2, 2012 at 3:39:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I read Ishmael in High School and it affected my thinking deeply. As an adult, now struggling with all of the problems of western culture as presented in your writing and the work of many others, I find a renewal of hope. Thank you so much.

natalie sophia    #16284
madrid    spain     Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7:3:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

came in search of change.. thank you for writing what i have been thinking for so long. equally saddening as refreshing.

Morgan    #16282
SanAntonio    TX USA     Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 10:15:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I just read the part in "My Ishmael" where Ishmael explains the whole corrupt educational system to Julie. This is kind of funny because I've always loved learning but I never understood why they taught us things that we don't really need to know and promptly forget. I was actually just thinking about it the other day and next thing I know I'm reading "My Ishmael" and Ishmael explains the whole thing to me and it makes so much sense! I love these books!

Morgan    #16281
SanAntonio    TX USA     Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 at 22:54:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

My first time on this site. Just looking to see what it has to offer.

Samantha    #16280
   USA     Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 at 17:13:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Jennifer--I, too, read ISHMAEL multiple times. If you have not read THE STORY OF B, MY ISHMAEL, PROVIDENCE, BEYOND CIVILIZATION as well as *If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways *Work, Work, Work *The Holy *After Dachau *The Tales of Adam *The Book of the Damned *Beyond Civilization *The Man Who Grew Young (out of print) and,*Essays, Speeches and Parables on this website you are in for a treat! Daniel Quinn's works are the only ones I've read this way...over and over. Best, Samantha

Jennifer (Dean) Vickroy    #16278
   USA     Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 at 6:52:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I found Ishmael when I was 25 (I am now 43), have since reread it mulitple times, and shared it with family and friends. I get something new out of it every time. Thank you, Daniel Quinn for introducing me to Ishmael!

Sam    #16277
   USA     Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 4:52:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Hi Lukas--This is what Daniel Quinn has to say specifically to your question: "In the industrialized West, agricultural production increases while population is stable, because the increased food that is grown in these countries is grown for export to food-poor nations in which population IS growing. When the world's food production increases, the world's population increases, regardless of where the food is grown." You can find more information in the links to the left of the web page. Thanks for your post. Sam

Lukas Lash    #16276
   USA     Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 14:39:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

I have a question about population growth and food production: In "The Story of B" Mr. Quinn says that an increase in food will ALWAYS be followed by an increase of the population of a species. In the West, countries like Switzerland, Germany and others completed dempographic transition and population there is going down even with a higher food production. I understand that the global population still increases because of developing countries. But lets say all these developing countries could reach the same stage in the demographic transition as for example Switzerland...the population growth in the world would stop, even if we continued to produce more food (of course farmers wouldn't produce more since nobody would buy it, but it still speaks against Quinn's statement). I'm not saying the world has enough resources to get every country to that stage, but proves that more food doesn't ALWAYS mean more growth. Or am I missing something?

Andre Ornish    #16275
Santa Barbara    CA USA     Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 1:37:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

This book is brilliant. Eloquently puts into words what I have held to be true since I began asking questions. Read: Shantaram, the Alchemist, the Little Prince

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