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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 726)...

    In an article titled "Comprehension by Crucible" (which was originally published in ILLUSIONS magazine in A.D. 1996 and can now be read at http://mshadow.com/illusions/vol1pp6.htm#COMPREHENSIONBYCRUCIBLE) you are quoted as having written the following: "Our task is indeed not to be like Leaver people but rather to be Leaver people. We must be Leavers who drive cars and build skyscrapers and use computers--because if we don't learn to be such then we're going to become extinct." Assuming those are your words, do you still think this is the case after nine more years of thought? Do you still think we can both have those technologies and be Leavers--which is to say, live sustainably? If so, why?

    ...and the response:

    The question can't be dealt with as a simple either/or. As I've said in many different places, if we go on as we're going right now, we're going to become extinct. But flipping a switch that turns off all the technologies we've developed is not the only alternative to "going on as we're going right now." I wrote Beyond Civilization to propose another alternative, and there I addressed the matter this way: "The world can support a few million pharaohs, but it can't support six billion pharaohs." At the moment, "going on as we're going right now" means working to produce a world in which every inhabitant is a pharaoh, and this is what must be abandoned. I feel sure than anyone who hopes for a voluntary global abandonment of all our technologies will hope in vain.


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