The Ishmael Guestbook Archives: 1-15 January 1997

Thank you Mr. Quinn. You've explained what I was trying to figure out.
Alison jean may <>
Bainbrige Island, WA USA - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 13:58:27 (PST)
I have read Ishmael and The Story of B. I'm ready to do more than just talk about the message. If anyone is interested in actually changing the vision please contacted me.
Rene Ribant <>
Marquette, MMi USA - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 13:19:07 (PST)
I am also born in 1935. Don't believe in religion. Don't want to save the planets. Only wants to leave the European UNION. Thas all folks! Gorillas - why not?
Ole S.D. Hansen <>
Albertslund, ?? Denmark - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 11:52:47 (PST)
The book has changed mine and my peers lives forever. It's amazing how Mr. Quinn has created a completely new line of thought for us to follow (even though it's been staring us in our faces since birth)! I await the day his revelations expand and gro w into common global thought. Kudos.
C. Emerson Olander <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 11:20:13 (PST)
Thanks for a great book Daniel. It _changed_ my world view. You offer a plossible explanation to why we may be as we are. Thank you.
John Moyles <>
Castleton, VA USA - Tuesday, January 14, 1997 at 21:21:36 (PST)
"And though it will not happen in our lifetimes" Nathan Freier Why not I say. What if it is up to you and me to say "It is time for me to change the world. 1997 is it. This year will change the world forever." Make your lifetime the lifetime that changes all of humanity. GP
Greg Peterson <>
Phoenix, AZ USA - Tuesday, January 14, 1997 at 07:10:07 (PST)
Finally after 25 years of looking for someone who shares my thoughts without second guessing them and it turns out to be a Gorilla. Perfection , I think i see a light.
Todd Mayer <>
Dallas,Denver,anchaorage, tx USA - Monday, January 13, 1997 at 03:42:00 (PST)
I just finished reading Ishmael for a Comp Religion course at the University of Washington. I'm not sure what I want to say. I suppose, as an optimist, I can say that it is people like Daniel Quinn who are helping to save humanity. Does that sound t oo dramatic? Well, I think if you are here reading this right now than you know that humanity is ill. As dramatic as it may be, this is a truth none-the-less. And though it will not happen in our lifetimes, I believe humanity can save itself and again j oin the rest of nature in "the hands of gods." We, the concious, are an integral part of humanity's transformation ahead to the Leaver's way. Live the way and teach the way.
Nathan Freier <>
Seattle, WA USA - Sunday, January 12, 1997 at 23:17:33 (PST)
For those of you asking "What do I do?" I say reread page 248. All we can hope to do is to change people's minds about man's destiny being to conquer and rule the world. In the past year and a half, I've probably given away twenty copies of Ishmael. Ho pefully, some of those twenty copies have been read by people who "got it" and are now doing their part to try to reach other people also. At some point, we must achieve a critical mass of understanding, when there are enough people who understand the con cepts so that the Taker culture can be replaced. Thanks, Daniel, for giving us a chance.
Don Shepherd <>
Austin, TX USA - Sunday, January 12, 1997 at 10:12:41 (PST)
I once labored under the misconception that I thought I actually knew what culture was. After reading Ishmael, I have gained a great insight into the meaning of culture and the one in which I am currently involved; "the story I am enacting". This sight kicks ass. I found it on an Altavista search. It is well organized and has good design. In the links, I found exactly what I was searching for. Thank you for you informative and entertaining page.
Doug Clements <>
Highland, CA USA - Saturday, January 11, 1997 at 20:52:10 (PST)
Mr. Quinn has done an enormously important thing in writing this book - actually changing the way people think, rather than just entertaining them. Certainly that has been my personal experience.
Brian Sumner <>
Maidens, VA USA - Saturday, January 11, 1997 at 06:31:44 (PST)
Lorraine Olla <>
PORT MURRAY, NJ USA - Friday, January 10, 1997 at 16:48:49 (PST)
A friend left a copy on my door. I read it in one day. I am forever greatful-
Anthony Ghio <>
Sacramento, Ca USA - Friday, January 10, 1997 at 14:02:35 (PST)
Edward E. Glomski <>
Akron, OH USA - Friday, January 10, 1997 at 13:03:18 (PST)
Very profound....Gotta read it again
Alicia Rae Puckett <>
Fort Collins, CO USA - Friday, January 10, 1997 at 11:46:22 (PST)
Is Ishmael a real gorilla? We're all intrigued about Ishmael being a real, albeit telepathic, gorilla, but the construction of the story makes for another intriguing possibility. Could Ishmael be the narrarator's own subconscious? A gorilla would be a very suggestive archetype as medium for the message: it represents the part of us still in the forest, and now speaking to us across space and time from a forgotten area of our own brain. This goes along well with Mr. Quinn's own admonishments to look to ourselves for the "hows," rather than adopt a specific program.
Greg Bill <>
mpls, mn USA - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 17:52:28 (PST)
So what do we do? How can I help? Is taking a little less enough? Is simplifying enough?
Fred Fisher <>
Wilmington, NC USA - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 13:33:05 (PST)
let me think for a moment.... our culture is based on the premise that we rule the earth - that we know best who and what should live and die. we teach it to our children; not explicitly, just as the social contract is never written out and signed by our world's newest citizens, but with every action that demonstrates this is what i need to do to live, and i dont care who has to die so that i may go on living. so the takers and the leavers are not two distinct groups after all. we are all human. and what makes us human is that we know of the future. we may have forsaken god, but if we also forsake the gift of intelligence which god has provided then we are doom ed. so here's a suggestion: this is a perfect time, we are coming up to what some people see as a landmark - the millenium. some just see it as another oportunity to pronounce immenent doom and try to ensure their own security, but let's think on a millenni al scale. ishmael focuses on the question of how we got here. let's turn that around and decide where are we going. a thousand years from now, what should the earth be like?
lee <>
USA - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 12:55:31 (PST)
Another book of incredible depth and insight and critical importance to be considered is "An Unused Intellegence" by Andy Bryner and Dawna Markova (Subtitle "Physical Thinking for 21st Century Leadership") by Conari Press, Berkely, CA - 1996 - - forward by Peter Senge
Mike Filipiak <>
Milwaukeee, WI USA - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 08:45:04 (PST)
Do you have an "advanced reader's" version of the concepts introduced in Ishmael, Providence, and The Story of B? Not to sound snotty, or anything, but I'd like to get straight to the "hard core" of the interrelated concepts, and skip the "kid glove s" necessary for gentle introductions. I"m in no danger of the damage that abrupt alteration of one's worldview can inflict. Ishmael, and the Story of B, have helped me make more sense of the contradictions I've noticed than anything else I've ever come across,...the only other thing I've seen thAT comes close was Gwyn Dyer's "The Human Race" series on CBC a couple of years ago. And, surprise, after two episodes it vanished into thin air without comment or apology. Irritated me no end, I must say. (G uess somebody freaked out on too much truth let loose on the public all in one lump.) Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm bothering you with this, except to give myself the feeling that there are others out there that aren't unlike myself. ((It gets kinda lone ly thinking that you have to hold your own in a world full of folks with a vastly different worldview,...and armed with the fear and desparation ((not to mention assumed justification!) to force it on all others regardless . A lot of the stuff in the boo ks wasn't totally new ((in concept) to me, but more like taking stuff I'd figured out in random sequence and doing the job of sorting shuffling, and representing it in an order that made sense. Now I'd very much like to clue in to some practical ways of applying it, both in my own life and for explaining it to others in ways they can relate to and use. Any suggestions? My address in full is ,...5 Hamlen St., Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, B1A 3J5. (Please excuse me if I'm going about this the wrong w ay,...I'm a "technopeasant" on a borrowed computer.)
harolyn j. gourley
glace bay, , NS canada, B1A 3J5 - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 08:27:03 (PST)
I enjoyed this most thoroughly. I obtained it from my ex-girlfriend's mom. It totally blew me away. Since then, I have totally quit eating beef products since so many acres of rain forest are being destroyed for grazing lands. The world is in horri ble pain and it needs our help. The problem is greed. Human greed. The search for profit. Fuck the world, we want money! (Excuse my language, but I was expressing the ideas of so many people) We need to change our ways while we still can, we may not ha ve much longer. Thanx for the eye-opener
Aaron B. Day <>
Pocatello, ID USA - Wednesday, January 08, 1997 at 21:51:45 (PST)
This book has given me a new perspective on life. We are using it in our church to initiate discussion on religion, philosophy and enviromental issuses. Thanks.
Dave Mareske <dave1aim>
Overland Park, KS USA - Wednesday, January 08, 1997 at 19:35:10 (PST)
This book has given me a new perspective on life. We are using it in our church to initiate discussion on religion, philosophy and enviromental issuses. Thanks.
Dave Mareske <dave1aim>
Overland Park, KS USA - Wednesday, January 08, 1997 at 19:35:06 (PST)
I read Ishmeal over winter break from college and could stop reading it! Ishmeal holds such thought, deepth and meaning!!!!!! Ishmeal is a truely wondrful book. It was recomended to me by a friend. I recomended it to my friends. It is profound, provocative, meaningful beyond words! Ishmeal is the book I have beenwaiting for. Quinn writes about what I want to hear. I too,want to change and or save the world in my own special way. I hope that is enough. I want to be a leaver and not a taker. I is so hard though in such a taker society. I enjoy reading Thoreau, study ecology and love nature but I am a part of the American culture and way of life( Consumerism, materialism, and other isms)...I want to give all I can to the world but still search for life's inner meaning and secrets. Ishmeal made me think about humans, animals, life and the state of our world today. Thank you for writing Ishmeal Mr, Quinn. I wish I can be as much of a success as you. I am now starting to read the story of B. By the way... The college I attend, Hampshire College in Amerst,Ma., is a place where the studentsare known to be thinkers, innovaders, free-spirits, and want to make a difference in the world ( save the world.) Ishmeal is truely an inspiration! difference in the world.
Sarah Schuyler <>
Bristol, CT USA - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 20:35:05 (PST)
As a deeply religious person, but one who has moved from major religion to major religion for 50 years in search of truth, I was confounded and enlightened by my reading of Ishmael; confounded by all the rethinking I must do at a very basic level of my being; and enlightened that the answer might be so easy and right in front of me. I must reread the book as my children are reading it.
Daniel Manning <>
Ridgely, MD USA - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 19:41:58 (PST)
There is nothing more to be said that it hasn't already said. Let us now destroy Internet...
Jim Kloss <>
Addison, ME USA - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 09:45:56 (PST)
Having just finished reading Ishmael (at the urging of a friend) and having read your recent comments, may I offer a few of my own. Either we have the right to kill others for sport or we don't, and if we don't (the NRA notwithstanding) then we must s ee to it that this practice is stopped. I recently saw a documentary about an indigenous group in South America fighting off oil company interests that threatened their sanctity, and was appalled to learn that Catholic missionaries were fronting for the oil companies, "civilizing" the natives and softening them up so they would more willingly cede their rights. If Mr. Quinn is correct and we must protect these pockets of leavers, then missionaries should be the next extinct species. I have an 8-year ol d son. What are others of you telling your children if they are too young for the curriculum found elsewhere at this site? I'm thinking that it is imperative to debunk the cultural myth of "man made to rule the earth". Anything else (besides providing a sustainable example for him to follow)? Is anyone writing children's books that espouse a similar philosophy? I would prefer to look to Native American sources as being more easily understood in the Plains where I live. Any ideas?
Deborah Torgler <>
Lincoln, NE USA - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 08:26:25 (PST)
Hello, my name is Laura and I've just finished reading Ishmael and I've got some observations/comments which I'd like to share and discuss with others who've read the book (please pardon me for the length of this essay).


I've a question: is "limited competition" different from "cooperation"? Why "limited competition" rather that "cooperation"? Seems to me that "limited competition" seeks merely to minimize a negative while "cooperation" would ENCOURAGE a positive. Is it not better to encourage a positive rather than merely to limit a negative or is encouraging a positive simply too much of a leap for competitive lifestyle to make at this point (one step at a time)?

Anyway, what I see as the REAL "Law" of Life is not so much the "law of limited competition" (chapter 8) as the "law" ("principle" might be a better term) that "we should take only what we need and leave the rest alone." Indeed, toward the end of the book this is stated outright (chapter 11.4, p. 222). "Takers" take more than they need. Takers are motivated by WANT, not just by NEED. "Leavers" leave the rest alone. This is why it is indeed most appropriate to call them "Takers" and "Leavers" respectively. One problem I see with this, though, is that it's not so simple to identify the difference between "needs" and "wants". Sometimes we THINK we need something when we do not. Sometimes we need something and don't even realize we need it or know what it is we need. The difference between "needs" and "wants" is relative to one's entire value system (do you really NEED that 4 bedroom house when more than one person can sleep in a room? that 27 inch TV when a 13 inch will do or you can read a book? that shinny new luxury car when that rusty pickup will get you to work?).

Essentially, the problem is Takers are egoistic, selfish. They want everything for themselves, always getting "bigger and better". They are hoarders (although hoarding is not bad in itself, many animals are hoarders). What Takers are is FEARFUL of the risk of NOT hoarding what they consider to be enough to see them through an extended period of time (e.g., through drought or flood, etc.). The problem is humans are farsighted but apparently not farsighted enough. Creatures who are not nearly as farsighted as humans don't "worry for tomorrow". Interestingly, the solution to this problem is not necessarily being LESS farsighted. The solution can be found in being even MORE farsighted than we are - to realize the ultimate ramifications of what we are doing. Either extreme would be a step to solving the problem. For the sake of our own survival we will take even the life of others. This is not very farsighted for the life of others supports our own life in the long run if not immediately. We tend to be concerned about relatively short-term interests and ignore long-term effects of our short-term actions.

We tend to go with short-term solutions, the "quick-fix". We can see this tendency in our governmental solutions to various social problems. The "quick-fix" tends to placate specific interest groups but is NOT the REAL solution. The real solution to many problems, be they social or global, will hurt at first. We have to be willing to take the risk, to make the leap, if we REALLY want to solve a problem. But, to get back to Ishmael...


The discussion in chapter 8.1 asks "what do Takers do that Leavers do not do?" One thing Takers do, which was not even hinted at anywhere in the book, is that we make DRASTIC modifications to what nature gives us. That, in my observation, is the main difference between "civilized" and "non-civilized". Again, this falls under the heading of "taking more than we need". We can build housing out of raw materials like termites and beavers and "primitive" peoples do. We don't NEED all the technology we use to create lumber and bricks and concrete and steel which do not as easily return to the earth when we are finished with them. We can eat the raw food which nature offers without the high production we go through to process and package it.


I'm not so sure the problem, as outlined in Ishmael, actually has its roots in the 10,000 year old agricultural revolution as it does in the several hundred year old INDUSTRIAL/TECHNOLOGICAL revolution. I feel that the REAL culprit behind these problems which Ishmael is concerned with is modern technology and industry. Any look at the bell curve of population growth and damage to our environment will show that it is only in the last couple of hundred years that the damage is exploding exponentially. This is a sign of the problem and it coincides with the industrial revolution, NOT with the agricultural revolution and NOT with the development of "civilized" religions. This all relates back to my previous comments regarding the problem being a matter of "want vs. need". Agriculture feeds our needs - it is OK. It is technology which feeds our "wants" and that is where we go too far.

We might be able to argue that the urbanization made possible by the agricultural revolution enabled the younger industrial/technological revolution to be born and our urbanized religion both grew out of as well as contributed to the mind set which encouraged human civilization to continue in this fashion. But agriculture and religion did not cause the problems nor are they directly responsible for them. It's even likely that modern technology has caused agriculture and religion to become part of the problem when they are not inherently problematic. I don't think it fair to BLAME agriculture and religion for the problems caused by industry and technology just because agriculture and religion contribute to industry and technology.


The discussion about population growth in chapter 8.5 suggests that Takers are over concerned about "growth" as defined as increasing and maintaining numbers of people at all cost to anything other than people. This is, of course, egoistic human centrism which holds that humans are better than everything else. This is the premise which the entire book is challenging. I would suggest that a solution to the problem this concern for growth causes would be NOT to eliminate this concern but to REDEFINE what "growth" means. "Growth" does NOT have to be a matter of quantity (numbers); it can be a matter of QUALITY. I think this understanding of "growth" might just make us rethink our entire value system and change our style of living (of course, we'd have to determine which quality is best). One specific result of this thinking would redirect such pursuits as medicine. We would not be so concerned with quantity of life (i.e., NUMBER of years - extending life) at all cost including quality. We would be more comfortable with letting people die when it is their time to go (letting the "gods" decide who will live and die and when rather than having the doctors "play god", trying to control this ourselves).


(I'm going to be a bit critical here but please bare with me, read through what I have to say in this section before writing me off.)

The discussion in chapter 8.7 suggests that various peoples/cultures should leave each other alone. Essentially, "live and let live". This sounds all well and good but I have a little problem with this concept. It is, essentially, "separatism". I feel that a mixing and mingling, a sharing between cultures creating one HUGE culture, is actually very ENRICHING to every individual in that culture. The problem, as it stands now, when cultures encounter each other is that they are in competition with each other rather than in cooperation. They see each other as a threat rather than as an opportunity to expand their horizons by exposure to and learning from each other. I work in the field of religion and see this competition as a major problem in our "global village", multicultural society where interaction between faiths is unavoidable.

A comment at the end of chapter 10 also suggests that separatism is the way to go: "Leavers accumulate knowledge about what works well for people. But not for ALL people. Each Leaver people has [its own] system..." Essentially, this is to say that different groups of people are different, separate from other groups. The problem that Taker lifestyle has wrought in the world is that they have PRESUMED that THEIR system of living is best for all people. Again - egoism. Again, this sounds like a reasonable criticism but there's something about this criticism that bothers me. The Leaver view of "what works best for us" is based on an "us" and "them" mentality. True, it's a mentality which enables people to leave each other alone but this is merely a toleration or even ignorance or how others live. What it says is that "there is nothing we can learn from them, they have nothing to do with us". Again, I see this as a mentality in the field of religion and I think it is not healthy.

The tendency among takers which has led them to take over the world, thinking their lifestyle is THE ONE BEST WAY, is the tendency to think in BIGGER terms than the Leavers think - the tendency to identify universals. While the direction this tendency has taken us is not good, I think the tendency itself can have GREAT benefits. Takers see all human culture as ONE culture and seeks to identify universal "laws" which are common to ALL people, not just a specific people. Takers have their sights set on what UNITES all humans as a SINGLE race. Takers seek a LARGER understanding of who/what humans are beyond parochialism and cultural relativism. I will grant that Takers seem to have failed in identifying the true universals, presuming to think they know when they do not know, imagining that Taker values are universal for all people. But I don't think the solution to the problem laid out in Ishmael is to adopt the attitudes of Leaver peoples. Leaver attitudes in this regard may have caused less problems but I don't think these Leaver attitudes will help to advance human evolution (which Ishmael is NOT against - see chapter 12.4).

I'm concerned about unity, not separation. But this would be a unity which brings ALL cultures TOGETHER AS one, not a unity where ONE culture (or creature) TAKES OVER and eliminates all others. Unity is important because it is what binds us together as one. Of course, ultimately, this unity would be understood to include ALL life, not just all human life. This is, for me, a SPIRITUAL unity, a unity which sees not just Taker people as gods but sees ALL LIFE as God. Recognizing this unity naturally results in realizing that all are interconnected, interrelated, NOT separate and independent of each other. The world, the universe, does NOT advance if the various members of the world/universe do not cooperate, interact with and learn from each other, pooling their resources and knowledge. This is very different than the current situation where one part of life ("Takers") think that only THIER knowledge and lifestyle is superior to all others and THE universal guideline for how all life should be run.


The criticism in chapter nine was that Takers think they are gods when they are not. This is also problematic for me, given my own philosophy, for I think we (all life in the universe, even the universe itself) ARE indeed God. Pantheism, yes. And pantheism seems to be a general tendency of belief among Leavers and among spiritual environmentalists. But let me share my version of this and how I see it not as antithetical to Ishmael but as an ally to what Ishmael is saying:

My saying "we are god" does NOT allow us to say "we can rule over them" (which is the Taker version of this belief and an "us" and "them" mentality). My belief says we ALL (everything in the universe) is God, a part of God like cells in a body. Thus all must cooperate [in "limited competition" if you must] or the whole (God) will die. This is what I was talking about above regarding unity and against separatism: we all are one (there is no "us", no "them").

Ishmael wants us to recognize that "only the gods are gods". I suggest that either extreme belief ("only the gods are gods" OR "we all are God") will accomplish the same result of promoting life. The belief of Mother culture which says that one group of people is better than all the rest, is god over all the rest and can "lord it over" all else... that belief is dangerous. Saying "we all are god" eliminates the danger as well as saying "only the gods are god". But, I feel, that saying "we all are god" is more beneficial than saying "we are NOT god". Saying "we all are god" continues to acknowledge our awareness of self-determination and self-esteem which Taker culture will find most difficult to give up. Promoting "we ALL are god" will extend that self-esteem to all others as well as INSIST that all others be given the same level of respect as we give our self.

Indeed, as suggested at the end of chapter 11.4, the attraction of Taker lifestyle is the idea that we can be our OWN god, that we can determine our OWN destiny. Takers will resist any attempt to take this power away from them. What we CAN do is ADD to this idea: that OTHERS are ALSO god and that THEIR ability to determine THEIR own destiny must be equally respected. The notion that there is only ONE God is most important for this to succeed. For if we imagine that every creature is a DIFFERENT god then we can continue to allow unlimited competition between the gods just as we have unlimited competition between creatures now. Seeing all creatures as parts of ONE God, as a SINGLE organism, brings home the point that we must cooperate if we are all to survive.


And I think the issue is not just mere survival but thriving and growing (evolving). I think this point should also be made as it is even MORE attractive then mere survival. For some creatures to survive others must die. That was made clear in the book. But one will not shy away from death if one has had a full and thriving life. If one has really lived WELL then one will be READY to die when it is time. If one has grown and evolved, one will recognize that "there is a time to live and a time to die" and that one's own death will enable others to thrive. An evolved being will WANT others to thrive. And such an evolved being will also know that they can NEVER die, that their death gives life to others and even that the end of this life for them means the start of another with a whole new range of experiences from which they may continue to grow.

Thank you for listening.

I welcome and look forward to responses and a continuing discussion. I hope some of my thoughts here will be useful for further promoting "the cause" - perhaps some ideas as to how to implement the beginning of a solution.

LES - 1/3/97 Laura <>
Falls Church, VA USA - Sunday, January 05, 1997 at 17:56:27 (PST)

I just finished reading the book. It has made me lose confidence in the way we are handling ourselves as a culture. If we could only live in harmony with our world rather than destroy it. The trouble is that it's hard enough to write a book on the subj ect but harder still to make people understand.
Alex Usatine <>
Orangeburg, SC USA - Saturday, January 04, 1997 at 21:49:55 (PST)
This web site, found through a whole in the supernatural ether is a "real" experience. I am sorry to state that prior to this, I was not aware of the novel or this site. I will go out today to find Ishmael. One of the interesting things about the site is the entry way. You asked: Are you ready to save the Earth? If you press "no" you go to a site for a resident of the Cato Institute. How thoroughly appropriate. After all, if saving the Earth is the last thing on your mind, and enriching yourself with no regard to social responsibility is your goal, then the Cato Institute and similar "libertarian" (what a terrible bastardization of a fine concept -- I happen to be a democratic libertarian, or libertarian socialist myself) institutions, and the realm of free-market "socialism for the rich" (as Noam Chomsky calls it) is the purgatory in which you will dwell. Let me suggest some other enligtening web pages. Check out the New Road Map Foundation's Light Living website, and the engaged Buddhism site with a fine link to the life of Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Ghandi. I imagine you've already heard this, but the "yellow" colored words/frames on your site are unintelligible against the background. That's too bad. I really appreciate your reaching out to express the need to seek an ecological solution to Western society's run toward self-destruction. Also, on the same subject area -- I highly suggest a book, which I fear may be out of print now, entitled "Columbus and Other Cannibals", by Professor Jack Forbes, Head of Native American Studies at U.C. - Davis. In it Forbes lays out the epidemiology of the disease of Western civilization called "wetikoism", and describes the difference between western/industrial culture and the life-centered and Earth-centered worldviews of indigenous peoples. May peace be your companion, always signed, Richard A.I. Weigel, Director Hawaii Sustainable Lifesyle Network Aiea, HI email:
Richard A.I. Weigel <>
Aiea, HI USA - Saturday, January 04, 1997 at 12:16:40 (PST)
Ishmael encourages us to look beyond our current culture and to question our lifestyles. Many of the conflicts we now suffer stem from our self-deception that we are the ONLY species on the earth, and the only one worthy of respect and consideration. If we are to move beyond this specieist mindframe as a society, each individual within the society much change thinking patterns, too. Now, how to do this, that is the question. One way, I believe, is through examining what we eat. We impose suffering upon the world and other animals by convincing ourselves that we "must" eat particular animals and plants. We guarantee suffering by sa ying that everyone else must also eat only these animals and plants (and that no other animals or plants may eat our food). Thus, if we are to challenge this totalitarian agricultural worldview, we as individuals must not participate in or support totali tarian agricultural practices. Some books I highly recommend to further the exploration of social/systemic change are Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "Lila", Rifkin's "Entropy" and "Biosphere Politics", Singer's "Animal Liberation", Shepard's "The Others", Czis kentmihaly (?) "The Evolving Self", Slater's "The Pursuit of Loneliness", and Fellman's forthcoming book "Beyond Left and Right". Ishmael, Providence and B have given us great inspiration. Now let's begin!
Jonathan Crane <>
Notre Dame, IN USA - Saturday, January 04, 1997 at 11:05:24 (PST)
The book left me very sad. I try to live lightly on the earth, as lightly as I can, but I know it's not enough.
Steve Kratochwill <>
Evanston, IL USA - Friday, January 03, 1997 at 18:06:17 (PST)
I just want to say...WOW!!! I first read Ishmael in April of 1996. I re-read the book about two weeks later. This book has changed my life. I can't begin to explain everything that I have done since reading Ishmael, but I will say that I found more answers to my questions in that one book, then I have in all the other books that I have read in my 37 year existance. I will only say this: as a result of having read Ishmael, the life path I now walk is completely different from that which I was on a year ago. And I am determined that these changes shall be permanent and that I shall do all that is within my power to open other people's eyes to the simple truths and wisdoms that are to be found in Ishmael. My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Daniel Quinn for having written such a brilliant book.
John Austin <>
Worcester, MA USA - Friday, January 03, 1997 at 15:52:48 (PST)
Ishmael and B have profoundly changed my life. Thank you Mr. Quinn.
Keri Fox <>
Greeley, CO USA - Friday, January 03, 1997 at 14:54:12 (PST)
I read Ishmael a few years ago and it changed my way that I look at the human race.
Jacob W. Denmark <>
Hollis, NH USA - Thursday, January 02, 1997 at 09:41:57 (PST)
Dear Concerned People, Since people are seeking concrete suggestions, and since concrete is my specialty :), I thought I'd offer some: (1) Expand your knowledge base beyond Quinn books by reading books related to the relationship between civic action and the evolution of culture. These include Ervin Laszlo's "The Age of Bifurcation" and "The Choice: Evolution or Extinction"; Mihaly Csiks zentmihalyi's "The Evolving Self"; Bela Banathy's "Designing Social Systems in a Changing World" (new). I also recommend a wonderful book from 1918 called "The New State" by Mary Parker Follett, and Robert Bellah's "The Good Society." (2) Become a systems thinker by considering issues - in your life, in your community, on your planet - as interdependent and interrelated. You might also wish to become familiar with the basics of systems concepts such as non-linearity, chaos and complexi ty, and general evolution, because they are a direct answer to the linear, reductionistic, mechanistic worldview that has dominated the Western world since the Enlightenment. We must thank Descartes, Bacon, and Newton for helping us get where we are as a civilization, but now we've come full circle and caught up with a little of the ancient and "primitive" wisdom we left behind. Please look into systems theory, chaos theory, g eneral evolutionary theory. (They're not just theory.) (3) Learn how to use dialogue and co-creation to integrate diverse perspectives and "grow" democracy in your own family, workplace, and neighborhood. Then you will be prepared for higher-level involvement. Look into David Bohm's stuff on dialogue. (4) Find a few like-minded people and start a "co-evolution cell" in your community. Learn about where you live, start with a root aspect of culture at the local level which affects support for human development or a sustainable relationship with the envi ronment, and work to (a) raise general awareness of the issue, (b) get people to think of alternatives, and (c) create ways to make those alternatives a reality. But because it's all inter-related, be ready for a spider's web. Some projects we've done / are doing here: Designing Idaho Education for Tomorrow; the Partnership for Spirituality and Environment in Idaho; wrote a holistic community profile called The Southwest Idaho System. Working to grow a democratic and evolutiona ry consciousness in my neighborhood in Boise, beginning with community-based design of an interactive newspaper, and then design of a new neighborhood council, and then teaching other neighborhoods how to design and empower via dialogue and co-creation, a nd then...? (5) Seek out the Un-like minded people, too, for only in the open interaction of such people is true creativity and power grown. (6) There has been too much networking going on without substance to send through the networks. Create something where you are and THEN show others - seek out the same. (7) Personal transcendence is the starting point - are you ready to change? Then interpersonal transcendence (you + others intimate to you, relationships of love and interdependence). Then transpersonal transcendence, which is the basis of a new kind of d emocracy / demosophia (power of the people / wisdom of the people). (8) Rediscover the fine art of conversation ("to turn together"). Conversation is a powerful trigger, especially advanced forms like dialogue ("flow of meaning") and design conversation (used for designing the future). Consider how overrated are de-bate ( "to fight over") and dis-cussion ("to shake apart") in our society. (9) Engage (your) children in conversation and dialogue often, and encourage from an early age an appreciation for the inter-related nature of all things. (10) Think Stewardship: responsibility to and with others (but not FOR others). (11) Think of a different kind of mythos: life as adventure, an adventure which began before you were born and which will continue after you die. An adventure which binds you to others and to nature. You can sit on the shore and watch the stream go by, or you can ride in the stream, or you can be the stream. The epic of evolution requires us being the stream. A harsh but accurate test of whether you are there: (1) Do you live in the moment, the moment being forever? (2) Are you prepared for death? (12) Keep exploring - there are many, many different ideas and movements out there on the same theme. That is no accident, for we are at a turning point in history. But which way things will go depends on how - and how many - people wake up from their pas sivity. Be well, Matthew p.s. I've done all of the above, in case you're wondering. ;)
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Thursday, January 02, 1997 at 02:01:18 (PST)
Provocative book. Still reading it but should finish this week. Who's going to work? How can the plane be saved?
Alan Banister <>
Stonington, CT USA - Wednesday, January 01, 1997 at 14:01:42 (PST)
Ismael is exciting in its clarity and focus. I am so grateful to have it as a tool for sharing with others about this different way of being. And many thanks for the website: it was wonderful to find it and continue the learning. What an encouraging wa y to begin 1997!
Beverley Neff < >
Bridge Lake, BC Canada - Wednesday, January 01, 1997 at 10:18:46 (PST)