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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 84)...

    The way of thinking I've learned in ISHMAEL and THE STORY OF B doesn't allow me to have a decent conversation with anyone anymore. I disagree with everything they say, because after reading these books everything seems like a big lie. You need to go out like B and teach people on a question answer basis.

    ...and the response:

    Don't forget that you were warned about this. At the beginning of their work together, Ishmael told his student, "If you take this educational journey with me, you're going to find yourself alienated from the people around you---friends, family, past associates, and so on." What you're experiencing is exactly what he was talking about. I personally would like nothing better than "to go out like B and teach people on a question answer basis." But if I had proceeded in that way, you would never have heard the ideas expressed in ISHMAEL (unless I happened to visit Newark and you happened to be in the audience). Or if I'd proceeded in that way after writing ISHMAEL, how would THE STORY OF B ever have gotten written? I'm not kidding when I say that I'd love to go out and interact with audiences everywhere---but if I do that, how will my NEXT book get written? Hundreds of thousands of people will read my books who could never hope to sit with me in a public meeting hall. Until I can clone myself, the best I can do is to continue to work on my books while giving as much time as I can to readers through the medium of this website. It's my hope eventually to set up a sort of "living-room university" that will make it possible for students to come and spend a couple of hours a day with me for an extended period of time---but that's at least a year or a year and a half away.

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