I Need Some Clarification

My growing and learning beckons questions which crave answers. One particular area in my studies is man’s “spirituality.” When asking myself about the essence of “religion,” I also want to feel back to what “religion” was before the Great Forgetting (GF). I feel the animist-glow sometimes and then follow the linear evolution until the ability to think in abstract ways seemed also to form (or allow room) for “the gods/God,” etc. I trust I’m making sense to you: the concept I’m trying to convey.

After reading all your books to date and listening to “The Book of the Damned” on audio I keep wondering what exactly you mean by “the gods”. I took it to mean that Leavers were, and still are living at the whim of nature and simply taking what comes free and not worrying about what is to come next. I assumed that you did not actually mean any god or gods in specific. Am I interpreting “The gods” correctly?

What is my question to you? Simply whether you find any value in any FORM or KIND of techniques, practices, or exercises to edify your “spirit” (if I may say that), to connect to your creativity, wisdom, etc. that’s within you. Whether or not Leaver peoples do this, I do not know. But as a writer, thinker, and resident of civilization (Houston even), do you find time, room, and place for this? If too personal a question, do you shrug your shoulders at such things, finding it yet an irrelevant question?

I just read Ishmael and found it thought provoking in many ways. The central tenet seems to be that Taker culture, in its present course, has harmed and will eventually destroy the environment. I am familiar with much of the literature that supports this apocalyptic vision. However, I find Bjorn Lomborg’s book “Skeptical Environmentalist,” in which he discredits much of this premise, to be quite credible. My own research and observations put me in varying degrees of agreement with Lomborg. Do you have any comment on Lomborg’s research and have you considered the possibility that your assertions of imminent environmental destruction are exaggerated or simply false?

In Jared Diamond’s excellent book Guns, Germs, and Steel, he addresses the question of the origins of agriculture at some length and concludes that food production developed independently in at least seven places – the Fertile Crescent, two different areas in China, New Guinea, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and the Eastern present-day U.S. – and possibly as many as eleven. Furthermore, in at least five of those places agriculture could have been characterized as “totalitarian” – prompting large alterations to landscapes, supporting of a large social hierarchy, and yielding aggressive expansion into lands inhabited by non-agriculturalists (either killing or converting them). Diamond also points out that the areas that did not develop intensive food production were the areas where it was not possible to do so given the existing local wild edibles. He also argues that many of the regions that “received” agriculture from elsewhere did so through trade, not necessarily through expansion of existing Taker societies. So yes, the actual course of events turns out to be much more mottled and complex than the theory. My question is, doesn’t all this somewhat undermine your basic notion that the rise of intensive agriculture took place in just one or two small locations and then expanded everywhere else through population growth and conquest? Doesn’t it strongly imply that the momentum of people more or less everywhere was towards food production? If Mr. Diamond is to be believed, the number of societies that willingly gave up Leaver lifestyles for Taker ones is far, far greater than the number for whom it went the other way around.