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  Ishmael Community Guestbook

Ishmael Community Guestbook

Add an entry · Guestbook Home Previous 15 Records · Next 15 Records

Steven Earl Salmony    #15690
Chapel Hill    NC USA     Posted: Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7:12:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Dear Friends,

Please consider that a titanic struggle between human beings and the natural world is in the offing. It seems this struggle is fulminating now precisely because too many leaders of the 6.7 billion {soon to be 9+ billion} members of the human family generally do not share your perspective. Many too many of our brothers and sisters, especially those with great wealth and power, evidently see human organisms as separate from, and somehow superior to, life as we know it on Earth.

At least to me, it appears that an epochal contest is taking shape on the far horizon between the 'team' of "mother culture and father profit" on one side and 'Team' Mother Nature on the other.

This could be the greatest show on Earth in 10,000 years.

The team of "mother culture and father profit" appears adamant in its willful intentionality to stay the same old business-as-usual course of recklessly overconsuming limited natural resources; relentlessly expanding large-scale production and distribution capabilities without regard to physical limitations of the natural world; and overpopulating our planetary home, come what may for children and coming generations, biodiversity, the environment and the Earth's body.

Team Mother Nature simply is.

Which team will likely be seen by reasonable and sensible observers as winning the contest for success in 2012, 2020 and 2050, if the human community continues its idolatry of distinctly human overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities by choosing evermore unbridled growth just as we are doing now?

If the leaders of the family of humanity do not choose change, do you have any ideas about which team will prevail and when will the outcome of the colossal contest no longer be in doubt?



Steven Earl Salmony AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001

Sam    #15688
   USA     Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 at 12:26:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

gwagwagwe-A post from Daniel Quinn for you:

Sounds great! Please keep us posted!

Daniel Quinn

gwagwagwe    #15687
Luther    ok USA     Posted: Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 11:1:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Well the gods can be quite tricky, their signs are evident, but the meaning behind those signs can be dumbfounding. While I thought my future was with the Oklahoma food coop, it seems they had other plans for me. I didn't get the "job", which led me to the desperate measures of atempting to find a pyramid to push stones too... After a quick adventure climbing 300ft metal trees (cell phone towers) I discovered I wasn't afraid of heights. Well i went down to the local employment office and what did I see? A big sign "interviewing for high rise window cleaners now." I left that day with a job and have now turned it into a tribal venture, fellow window cleaners needed. Fowler Building Services is now cleaning and waterproofing commercial properties all around the OKC metro area. A rope and chair and will travel. I hope the gods of concrete and steel will be as kind to me as the gods of wood and water were in the past. Until next time

gwagwagwe member of the bison band a small part of the new tribal revolution.

Brigitte    #15686
Vienna    Austria     Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 17:13:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

As you've probably noticed, the entire world is exuberant about the change of administration in the US, and so am I.

I just hope that it really is going to be the kind of change we all would like to see. Because Obama won by getting the votes of people who don't necessarily share our agenda, don't forget that. And I am sure that he knows that as well. America is still a very conservative country, that didn't change over night, I'm afraid.

People with a really different agenda make up only something like a quarter of the population.

And: If America didn't have this - to Europeans - strangely undemocratic sealed-in-concrete two-party system which practically excludes everybody else and which doesn't even provide for the airing of debates of all candidates debating each other, i.e. the system does never provide a real marketplace of ideas and a chance for people to hear about REALLY competing and different visions, the country would be a different place. contains a pretty good analysis of what to expect, I find.

I.e. don't expect too much, although it does feel like we're all getting out of a dark tunnel. Let's hope for the best.

Steven Earl Salmony    #15685
Chapel Hill    NC USA     Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 14:44:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Dear Zotlynn,

Thanks for your many incisive comments.

I hope you would agree that the election of Barack Obama brings with it the dawning of a new day for the family of humanity and a good enough future for our children. We have good reasons for optimism, I believe. The agonizing throes of the severe and colossal storm we have endured in the past several years have produced an unexpected outcome. The air is being cleansed and the dark clouds that had been gathering on the horizon are being blown away.

Al Gore has reminded all of us that now is the time for intellectual honesty and moral courage as necessary attributes for responding ably to the human-driven global challenges which are looming ominously before humankind. As the horrendous, once in a century storm is being swept away by benevolent winds of change, perhaps we will see that honest and courageous activities of many people will begin to replace cascading, self-interested behavior of a few misguided, greedy people who have been willing to do whatsoever is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially fashionable... come what may for our children.

Perhaps sufficiently reality-oriented changes in policymaking and action planning, changes that protect biodiversity from mass extinction, prevent more wanton environmental degradation and preserve Earth's body from relentless dissipation as well as the children from endangerment, are in the offing.



Steven Earl Salmony AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001

Zot Lynn Szurgot    #15684
crowded    planet     Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008 at 4:46:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Oh, Destry, you say the nicest things. You sure know how to flatter a lady.

"...story down so pat, anyway?" Why, thank you. Well, Quinn said it well in the first place, and just wrestling with it inches me along. Yes, extra-quinnian materials, like Scott's link to the Jensen-Abrams interview (Guestbook entry #15642) and those materials in that excellent pamphlet post that John Kurmann gifts us with periodically (thank you, John), and book after book of biology, ecology, anthro, economics, etc. And by all means go volunteer to help the tribes or tribal remnants nearest you, meet them in person, listen to their current concerns, learn what it takes to be polite to them, listen some more; start with an organization like AIM or FPcN or Bridges Across Borders. i'll send some other good links this weekend when i have time.

i think it is also helpful to practice, practice, practice towards becoming a B.

Do i think you, Destry, are being naive "calling the ball" like that (below)? No. i think you are being visionary, a lovely example. See, the future is impossible to see, and the present itself is damned difficult. In the midst of such fog, we are grateful to the Quinns and the Eislers and the Abramses, and the Jensens and the Ardrys and the Starhawks, and y'all, every nascent B. Call 'em as you see 'em. Also, calling is casting, and spells do have their effects: pushing the edge of the credible opens the edge of the socially possible.

It's great to see you back here, Steve Salmony! Hooray for the recent political victory that can rescuscitate real science. Welcome to new visitors to the Guestbook, please check back in 8-) . Always great to see you, Brigitte, and thanks a million for this gem of a phrase: "someone who is NOT drunk re the superiority of humans on this planet, like most people are...". And i did appreciate the discussion of Derrick Jensen and highlighting the contrast between his approach and Quinn's. Both are important, grappling with both is excellent exercise, and it is important to offer a direction to go in, more than just a direction to move away from. Thanks again to Sam, and to Dan for dropping an encouragement or two.

mzz zotlynn

destry    #15682
port land    or USA     Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 12:4:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Zot, it sounds like i was making the usual mistake of taking agriculture to be one thing (as opposed to a diverse set of techniques and practices). this is probably because we/i imagine everything we do to be the only way it's done. (i also erroneously typed "herders of the soil," by which i meant "semitic herders").

rockin' fucking analogy dude with the dna "story."

how DID you get the story down so pat, anyway? extra-quinnian materials? (my lame-ass "knowledge" of ancient history pretty much consists of the sketches dq's provided)

oh, do you think i'm being naive "calling the ball" like that (below)?

Curt    #15681
Springbrook    WI USA     Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 6:26:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Since reading DQ's work, and when it comes to voting for the President of United States, this comment by him has always stuck with me:

"Al Gore is the closest we've ever come to putting someone with a changed mind in the White House."

If Obama wins today, I wonder if we have come one step closer to putting someone with a changed mind in the White House.

Zot Lynn Szurgot    #15678
   USA     Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 17:19:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Destry, they didn't. They used new ag techniques, brutally slaughtering the plant competition of their food grains, and waging war upon the competition for their food grains, until they impoverished their local ecology in a way that produced less total food but more of their favorite food. The upward pressure of this food excess expanded their population, and they responded to overcrowding by stealing the land of their neighboring tribes and doing unto others with the surviving neighbors. In some cases, they just turned them straight into fertilizer, in other cases, they enslaved them, and in yet other cases, they absorbed them into their own population, again using a brand new technique of conversion and assimilation, never before seen in history.

Either the slaves or the assimilants told the story of totalitarian-ag (not other ag, but totalitarian-ag) as punishment. These ex-neighbors knew how much harder totalitarian-ag was, and their stories reflected that. The stories were strengthened by their dismay at the hard edge of these invaders, and included attempts at explaining how human beings could go so wrong. Cursed by the Gods was one such explanation, and the stories survived even within the kingdom being built by the tillers of the soil. Perhaps the tillers' worshipping of Gods prone to cursing helped. By mistake, or fate, or through misunderstanding, or as part of the assimilation process, these surviving stories got repeated by tillers themselves, either tillers who were once dismayed agglomerators, or tillers who took on the stories as their own without editing the parts they didn't understand.

It wasn't their story, that's why their ways are depicted as a curse. And, y'know, deep down, they knew this refusal of membership in the living world was a curse, just as you and i and everyone here does. That may be part of why the "foreign element" was retained in the story.

A similar set of events happened, perhaps multiple times, to single-celled organisms early in evolution. One ate another, could not digest, and the other found the interior to be a protected place, and managed to stay on (that is, in). This is almost certainly how our cells gained mitochondria, how plants gained chloroplasts, and rather likely how eukaryotes gained nuclei and nuclear membranes. Or did those organelles gain "our" cells? Or both? See the work of Lynn Margulis, and endosymbiosis. Just as the story of cursed tillers survived inside empire, so does the "story", told in entirely separate DNA, survive inside the mitochondria of our every cell.

Please respond here, thanks.

destry    #15677
eugene    or USA     Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 14:38:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

If the herders of the soil (emblematically calling themselves "Abel") knew that they were the "second-born of agriculture," then why did they depict agriculture as a punishment from God?

Steven Earl Salmony    #15676
Chapel Hill    NC USA     Posted: Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 9:17:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Thanks to Dan, Sam and everyone else for what is being communicated in the Ishmael Guestbook. At least to me, this work is vital.

Dan and Sam, you are honorable people. You neither hide nor are you willing to hide from empirical evidence. We need your example displayed in the actions of many other leaders who presently seem to be unwilling to communicate openly certain understandings about what is real and true to them. The science of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth is a case in point.

So far as I can tell, your work is helping people to see more clearly as it is the wondrous world we inhabit and to more deeply appreciate the miraculous beings that humans are.

Of course, your reporting is occasionally off-putting precisely because the message from science that you bring us is apparently unforeseen, distinctly discomforting and most unwelcome.

Reports of good science, when that science is new, is routinely difficult to acknowledge, much less address. But that is what we are called upon to do. Grasping good science and adjusting to whatsoever could be real is required of us, I suppose. If today's leaders intend to provide a good enough future for our children, then nothing other than productive adaptation to the requirements of reality will do. It appears that the human community could soon have genuine, human-driven, global challenges to overcome.

Despite all the efforts of denialists and naysayers, leadership has responsibilities to assume and duties to perform, just as you are doing, by urging the family of humanity to open our eyes and see what looms ominously before us on the far horizon. By willfully avoiding scientific evidence, we are losing the exquisite value found in one of God’s gifts to humanity as well as threatening the wellbeing of our children, life as we know it and Earth.

Remaining electively mute in the face of good science related to the human overpopulation of Earth, the reckless dissipation of natural resources and the wanton degradation of the environment cannot be allowed to prevail. Even though reasonable and sensible scientific evidence comes into conflict with what our culture validates as real and true, still the evidence has to be carefully examined.... and not ignored. Is it possible that the standard for determining what is real and true in our culture is too often this: whatsoever is widely shared, consensually validated and judged to be economically expedient, politically convenient, socially agreeable is true and real? In that case, much of the scientific evidence from Ishmael presents many too many leaders and opinion makers in our culture with evidence of inconvenient truths.

Each culture presents its membership with much that is real and also much less that is illusory. From the standpoint of a psychologist, because humans are shaped early and pervasively by cultural transmissions in our perception of reality, it looks like an evolutionary challenge for humankind to see the world as it is.

It appears that cultural transmissions or memes generated within a culture may at times mesmerize human beings in that widely shared and closely held memes occasionally “produce” illusions of the world as it is. Some research seems to disturb us in basic ways because this scientific evidence comes into conflict with certain ideologically/culturally derived notions that are adamantly held by leaders about what it means to be human and about the “placement” of humankind within the natural order of living things. Unexpected scientific evidence of this particular kind is uniformly difficult for people to see, I suppose, because such evidence undercuts the ‘pedestal’ from which human beings prefer to hubristically look upon other living creatures and nature. We humans may introject biased and empiricially unsupportable cultural transmissions that confuse human reasoning and promote a certain cortical conceitedness which is not helpful when trying to see what is real. For a long time certain illusory memes appear to have been passed from generation to generation, distorting human perceptions and making it difficult for the human family to see scientific evidence for what is real about it.

Dan and Sam, with your leadership and assistance, perhaps we will come to more fully appreciate the difference between specious illusions borne of ideological/cultural bias and evidence derived from the careful, skillful and rigorous deployment of science.

Dan Borchert    #15674
Minneapolis    MN USA     Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 10:39:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

This is the one book that pushed me over the edge. I've always felt the need to change and didn't know how to change. Now I know where to start -- by sharing what I learned from reading Ishmael.

Eilidh    #15673
   UK     Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 6:23:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Well, I have just written a lot to register, now I have to remember what I originally wanted to say about the book. The one I read is 'my Ishmael', and needless to say I loved it.

It's that feeling of rightness unredeemed bookworms like me get when they have hit upon a true book. I've been given a number of nice self-improving books over the last few years by friends who are spiritually questing and find my will-power just draining away when I try to pick up some of them after an interval of having left them alone. Perhaps I am just not yet ready for these works; perhaps they don't say anything I need to hear at this point in time; perhaps these two possibilities add up to the same thing.

But when I read 'My Ishmael' I instantly recognised my own life's quest - even to the extent of sharing Jeffreys outlook - minus the wealth and with the motivation to pursue an artistic life, which is not really that different in our society as having no motivation...

I left my home-country as soon as legally able aged 18 to find that part of the world where I could feel at home in, after a longish spell of depression following the deaths of a friend by suicide and some other acquaintances by Drug OD and/as well as suicide. This indicated strongly to me that all was not right with our world. I found no understanding at all in my family, who I had by then separated myself from, and very little from my friends. Now reading this book, so long since I set out for Ireland, it wonderfully clarified the key issues for me. Ahh the love of wisdom. Here's a health to Daniel Quinn, and my thanks for a wonderful sharing of thoughts.

destry    #15672
eugene    or USA     Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 13:41:0 CST (GMT -6:00)

Here's something originally unoriginal (whatever i may or may not mean by that :-) I'm calling the ball. We got this. Actually, say it with me, and pronounce it "dis." Tipping point - reached. The building is as yet ablaze, but there are now clearly a sufficient number of people who are out there waking people up AND SENDING THEM ON THERE WAY TO WAKE OTHERS. The world has made it clear it's ready for something new. Will we survive? No one knows. But will we, a thousand years from now or a hundred years from now, or a million years from now, ever try to pull this shit again? Don't think so. Be like herding cats or rounding jews back up --- ain't gonna happen.

Sam    #15671
   USA     Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 11:55:0 CST (GMT -6:00)


Knowing that I've managed to inspire others is an inspiration to me (and perhaps the greatest inspiration there is!). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Daniel Quinn

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