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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

Questions and More Questions...

    Your request found 161 questions.
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  • 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?

  • The Question (ID Number 684): How do you spot one of Mother Culture's Big Lies? Are there patterns, clues, signs you look for?

  • The Question (ID Number 683): How can people teach themselves to escape Mother Culture's story and start creating a new one?

  • The Question (ID Number 682): This is regarding Q and A #603 on this site...

    It's worth pointing out that the questioner is wrong. Some rule-based systems have been found to be chaotic, but chaos theory itself isn't purely about chaos -- it's about how there are strange aspects of order underneath certain kinds of phenomena that we might think of as purely chaotic. The questioner seems to be using the colloquial meaning of chaotic rather than the technical meaning. Further, and more importantly, complexity science (which has big intellectual ties to chaos theory and systems thinking/theory -- all of these are deeply tied to each in conceiving of non-linear dynamic systems) is all about how certain kinds of systems based on even a few simple rules can produce incredibly dynamic results that are defined as "complex" -- being on the "edge" between order and chaos, showing enough order to make sense but enough chaos to be dynamic and interesting. In a very big way, this idea is at the heart of "living in the hands of the gods," of doing things "with nature," of seeing the universe as a fundamentally friendly place, and having good things sort of effortlessly flow as a result -- as opposed to insisting that control be exerted to get things done and having so many bad things flow effortlessly as a result, impelling you to exert more control, ratcheting up the revenge effects and the vicious cycles. This questioner has confused rules in the sense of underlying principles (which very often take the form of what we call natural laws -- biological evolution, the functioning of ecosystems, the rise of solar systems, etc, all occur in conformance with particular underlying "rules") with rules in the sense of human laws which dictate what must be done. Your answer to this question is totally appropriate in itself, but I feel that many of your site's readers will nevertheless come away from this Q&A with misinformation simply as a result of the way the question itself has been put. It'd be nice to educate them a bit on this other stuff I've mentioned here.

  • The Question (ID Number 681): While you were writing the Ishmael Trilogy, did you think/feel that the Copernican Revolution you were experiencing (and putting on paper) was not much unlike what Descartes, Hegel or Marx experienced as they produced volumes which would eventually create their respective cultural alterations? The self-evident difference being their volumes contributed to the Taker Way and, well, your's are the anti-thesis thereof.

  • The Question (ID Number 680): I have been reading the book "My Ishmael" and I was wondering if/when we save the world, after a while people might forget about this culture and start locking up their food again, starting a whole new "Mother Culture." This whole saving the world will be essentially pointless if some one messes it up again. Would we have anything to keep us from doing that again?

  • The Question (ID Number 678): I am a doctor of chiropractic practicing in Canada, where, as in the US, much of the "health industry" is controlled by the big monies of the pharmacy companies. I would like to implement a system of care for my patients so they know that they will be taken care of regardless of their ability to pay. The laws currently will not allow us to barter for services and when I do discount the fee, I feel the patients don't value the service and almost feel guilty receiving it for free since they know the exchange has to be a monetary one. In our current system, it is hard to deal with this. I would like to drop the grip that this exchange(money) has on our office, but obviously it keeps us running and able to purchase supplies. Any thoughts on how to implement a system where everyone takes care of everyone and therefore everyone gets exactly what they need?

  • The Question (ID Number 667): It's been over a decade since Ishmael was published. My question is, how are we doing? You once described the potential for exponential growth of the ideas in Ishmael. Has this been the case, or do you think there may come a time when "Quinn-changed minds" are relegated to the ranks of cultish idealists? My friends and family have put me in such a category for years... I'm starting to believe them.

  • The Question (ID Number 663): Okay, so you have grown up in this society that is ruled by mother culture's values, and lived your whole life in it. How did you see the invisible questions and rules that Mother Culture tells you day after day, week after week, year after year, to write down in your books? What caused you to see these messages that are repeated so often that no one knows they're there anymore?

  • The Question (ID Number 661): I recognize the fact that cultures are subject to a form of natural selection, in which unlivable practices are abandoned or changed by the members of a tribal society over time. However, what I do not understand is how one can look at a tribal society today and make assumptions about their past. Members of a tribe may say, "We have done this since the beginning of time," but the oral tradition changes along with everything else, and it isn't really reliable. In several answered questions, you have replied to a person's inquiry about an unpleasant cultural practice with a response along the lines of, that culture has been proceeding for thousands of years, anything unsustainable to its people would have been eliminated by now. But how can we know whether they will be eliminated in the future? If a practice is eliminated in a tribe, does that render our previous criticism of it "correct" from an evolutionary perspective? Destructive practices must exist for a short time before they are abandoned, so how can we tell if the last few hundred years out of thousands in a tribe's history aren't the most internally destructive, or a radical change from what enabled them to survive before?

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