Ishmael.org
 
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 This site exists to aid in the exploration of issues central to the novel Ishmael and the ideas of Daniel Quinn. Here you can learn more about Quinn's ideas and come to a deeper understanding of our culture and why things are the way they are.

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FOR TEACHERS
The Ishmael Companion
Beyond Civilization
 Study Guide


 

  • An update from Daniel
    September 26, 2016
    Many thanks to all of you who’ve commiserated, offered good wishes, and sent hopes for a speedy recovery from the misstep that resulted in my hip fracture in July. I’m back home now, still getting regular visits from a physical therapist and working toward walking on my own. But the X-rays assure us that all is well, and I’m at least part-time back at my computer and regular routine.

    Seventeen years ago, when I finished writing Beyond Civilization, I would've agreed that my major work was done, that in Ishmael and the books that followed it I’d said what I principally have to say and was free to resume a career as a fiction writer, with novels like After Dachau and The Holy. Happily, I was mistaken.

    Therefore, the major part of the routine to which I must now return is getting back to work on the new book that I've been embroiled in for the better part of a year. This is my most important book by far, and it's almost as difficult to get down on paper as Ishmael was. I'd like to think another year will see it finished. Or maybe two. Oddly enough, or perhaps one could say "providentially," this accident and forced hiatus made me realize that I was moving in the wrong direction with the book. Being forced to stop the writing, I was able to rethink what I'd been doing, and so about two months worth of work that I would have done and then had to scrap has been avoided. All because I unwittingly stepped into that hole in the street in the midst of a rainstorm. I vividly remember, while lying there in the rain and howling for help: "I'll bet you think this is just a coincidence!"

    Anyhow, I know that for the foreseeable future I’m going to be busy with this book virtually every hour that I’m awake. This means that, as much as I enjoy hearing from my readers, I’m going to be less generally available than I have been and that every form of social media is going to find me even less responsive now than I have been in the past. I appreciate the way you've communicated with each other through the Guestbook here and on my Facebook page and trust you'll continue that practice, even though my own participation will be limited. (I will, of course, always be available to teachers and classes for telephone conferences.)

  • A message about Daniel
    July 24, 2016
    Last Monday about 2 p.m., during a torrential rain in Houston, Daniel suffered an accident that resulted in a hip fracture. He has had surgery, and tomorrow morning begins physical therapy to restore the use of his right leg. It's very likely, therefore, that messages regarding telephone conference calls and other special requests may not be dealt with immediately.

    Though therapy will be grueling and painful, he's cheerful and eager to get back to normal as quickly as possible!

    --Rennie

  • Daniel Writes About 500 Writings About the Meaning of Life
    March 28, 2016

    I was recently invited by Nicolae Tanase, founder of the Excellence Reporter, to write what amounts to an essay about the meaning of life. I would be joining 500 others who have done so, writing either about the meaning of life in general or about the meaning of their own lives. The 500 are all of a piece, all very idealistic, all very spiritual (and all written by members of our culture exclusively). Assuming he knew only my name or reputation (rather than my actual writings), I told him that what I had to say would be decidedly contrary to the other offerings on the site, that he would most likely dislike it intensely, and that if he thought there was any chance at all that he might just bury it, I would prefer to skip the whole thing rather than spend eight or ten hours writing it.

    To my astonishment, he said he definitely wanted my essay and was looking forward to it. So I gritted my teeth, spent the predicted eight to ten hours grinding it out, and sent it off, half expecting to hear no more about it ever again and to see it nowhere on the Excellence Reporter website should I ever care to look for it (or perhaps to see it there slashed to ribbons). To my amazement, none of those cynical expectations were fulfilled. In just two days my offering was posted, complete and just as I wrote it. Mr. Tanase proved to be an open-minded and trustworthy person. See it here.


  • August 25, 2015

    The anthropologists who imagined that pre-agricultural peoples lived "brutal, hand-to-mouth" lives haven't kept up with their reading. I don't expect them to have read my own books, but they should by now have read Marshall Sahlins' STONE AGE ECONOMICS (1972), in which he called theirs "the original Affluent Society," pointing out that OURS is "the era of hunger, unprecedented. Now, in the time of the greatest technological power, is starvation an institution."

    This British study that confirms Sahlins' assertions is most welcome. Thanks to Blair Brown and Ariel Appel for the link. First Britons.

  • Is civilization unsurpassable?
    August 25, 2015

    Does it represent the one right way to live? For an exploration of this topic, please tune in this Sunday, August 30 at 9:30 a.m. PST, to The Living Earth Connection on KMUD. Host Amy Gustin will present selected readings from Daniel Quinn's Beyond Civilization. Amy says: " Daniel unearths the cultural myths that prevent us from living more satisfying and sustainable lives, and offers a vision for improving our lives right now, rather than in some utopian future." KMUD-Living Earth Connection.



The Teachings front cover

 
Links

  • Pan Earth: a site dedicated to a scientific, holistic approach to world problems (and population in particular).

  • Read Ishmael: a site created by Quinn readers to reach out to other prospective readers.

  • Friends of Ishmael Society: find local groups (and more).

  • Cultural Survival: partnering with indigenous peoples to defend their lands, languages, and cultures.

  • Sacred Land Film Project: dedicated to protecting the Earth's sacred places through education and action.

  • Ishmael's Annex: your source for shirts, bumper stickers, and other Ishmael-related artifacts (featuring DQ designs). It provides much of the funding that keeps this website going.

  • Here are some new Facebook pages established by people who want to share and discuss Daniel's work and related subjects. They're all somewhat different, depending on the focus of the creator, so check them out and interact with them as you see fit.


  Our culture is dynamic (as we perceive it) because our memes are often very volatile: newborn in one generation, swaggering with power in the next, doddering in the next, and laughably old-fashioned in the next. Nonetheless, there is a central core of culturally fundamental memes that we've been transmitting with total fidelity from the foundation of our culture ten thousand years ago to the present moment.

Beyond Civilization

 

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