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The Ishmael Companion
Beyond Civilization
 Study Guide

  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 711)...

    Its obvious from the book and your answers to questions that you have knowledge on a broad range of subjects. Furthermore, to develop the unique perspective presented in ISHMAEL requires a special blend of disciplines (e.g., theology, anthropology, ecology, history, etc.). How did you acquire this knowledge and how did you develop the arguments used in the book?

    ...and the response:

    ISHMAEL draws on a lifetime of reading on all the subjects you mention. You might say that, starting in about 1960, I adopted the life of a cultural detective. One clue led to another across all conceivable disciplinary lines. This hasn't changed. Recent reading includes a study of African divination systems, an anthropological history of preindustrial Europe, a study of feral children, a study of war in prehistory, and a study of the Gnostic tradition in Central Asia. Here are some of the books lined up on my waiting-to-be-read shelf: A study of feeding strategy (Behavioral Ecology); a study of borderline personality disorder; a history of blasphemy; a study of the "secret knowledge" of medieval and early modern times; a study of the development (and aberrations) of personal identity in early eighteenth century England; a study of how saints become canonized in the Roman Catholic Church. How did I develop the arguments? Painstakingly. Slowly. Atom by atom. In an almost evolutionary way, by a process not unlike natural selection; every bit of it was challenged by every test I was capable of devising. (This is one reason why so many teachers find it acceptable for use in their classrooms.) It all seems very obvious--once it's said. It certainly wasn't obvious when I started.

    category: I Have a Question About the Books/the Characters,I Have a Question On a Specific Subject
    keywords: Anthropology,Education,Ishmael,Religion,Writing and Publishing

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