I am interested in finding any models of new tribal economic ventures that get into the details of how a group in this mode can successfully operate.

For example: How do groups structure decision-making and other tasks that have usually been embedded in hierarchical structures?

Do they place a value (monetary or other) on different tasks in a more complex group, or does everyone share in the success and/or failure equally?

How do groups deal with questions of venture capital? Or is there a more flexible model for funding and investing?

A population that is overrepresented beyond sustainability will feel some sort of backlash (I think this is called the revenge effect). Is the human species collectively able to make the choice to stop an overall population increase before there is a revenge effect?

If we were to suppose that all humans were capable of this trait, we would also be acknowledging something that (to my knowledge) has not happened in our evolution; an entire species choosing not to further increase their representation in the gene pool for a long term view of survival.

This has been a consistent road block for me.

Were you influenced by any of the works of C.S. Lewis? Particularly I’m referencing “The Great Sin” excerpted from his Mere Christianity.

In this, Lewis goes in depth on how in the Bible it is pride which is Man’s greatest sin. He cites how in the Bible Satan tempted Man to seek independence, and from this “human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, slavery, etc.,” resulted.

He even uses an analogy similar to your pilot analogy (the man in free fall) where he cites a machine that “seems to start up alright and runs a few yards” only to fail because it is not being run on the proper fuel.

The similarities are there, even if you weren’t at all influenced, I wanted to thank you for perhaps opening my eyes to some truth.

I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion lately regarding transhumanism, gene therapy, using nanobots to clean people’s arteries and eat cancer cells. I’m aware of the DARPA project to create “superhumans” in the military.

Primarily, all of this talk seems to be geared toward the idea of prolonging individual lives . . . fighting human degeneration. Many authors who are products of Mother Culture debate whether the applications of these technologies will create a utopia or a dystopia.

It seems that the ramifications of this technological “paradigm shift” on our population crisis are pretty obvious, but I assume that there are other factors (maybe even positive global factors) that I am not considering.

I’m curious as to your opinion regarding all of this technology. Furthermore, I’m wondering if maybe you could go over some pros and cons for these technologies as well as the technologies that are products of biomimicry.

A new reader of Ishmael recently suggested that we ought to let the “weak, old, and handicapped” die in order to decrease population and live in the hands of the gods.

I remember in The Book of the Damned you wrote that part of the Leavers story was that in each generation some would survive and go on to reproduce while others less suited would return their substance early on and that this is how we are shaped.

Does this in anyway come close to “social Darwinism”?

My question concerns your thesis regarding food production and population growth. If you are right, and I rather think you are, then a human community should not grow beyond its ability to subsist on locally produced food sources.

My question is this: how do we define local? I would like to define local ecologically in terms of “bioregions.”

For example, my bioregion, northern Canada, produces no bananas, oranges, grapes, etc. But it does produce very good raspberries. So my fruit diet should consist of raspberries. And if I recover a bit of old wisdom I could learn how to preserve a variety of rasberry products for use over the winter. This makes perfect sense to me, although in an era of global trade it does limit my food choices. Still, ecologically this makes sense to me.

So the second question is this: Do you think the ideas of global trade and competitive advantage (not to mention cheap oil) have led us to an artificial understanding of things like food production? Is this one more source of our disconnectedness with natural processes?

If I am understanding you correctly then the modern “supermarket” is a disturbing place, but the local “farmers market” is to be supported and encouraged. I would be interested in your response.

I recently saw a show on the Discovery Channel that attempted to explore the life of a tribal society (though for the life of me I cannot remember their name). In that group, young women are married off by their fathers to men they have never met.

The young women are guarded day and night (and this reminded me of the tale of the adulterous wife in one of your books, but in this case the women are not loosely guarded, they are FIERCELY guarded), and many young women choose to take their lives, since they are not capable of flight as an alternative to marrying the men they have been assigned to.

I have mixed feelings here. How can I hold true to a “there is no one right way for a people to live” philosophy while still regreting that here is a society that unnecessarily sheds life because of one of the rules of its culture.

Taker culture says that they should not do this. How can I say that it is “OK because it is THEIR culture” without sounding like some sort of monster?

Please help me understand. My own research tells me that Leaver cultures (generally, of course) divide the fruits of their efforts equally among all members (some going so far as to reward choice pieces via the whim of the tribe, but not much more than that).

I cannot understand how such equal division can work in an organization that is made up of multiple members, who (for the sake of argument) contribute the same amount of work, but have differing levels of education that prepared them for the skills needed to give their part.

How can I pay a Master in Business who works just as hard as the Bachelor in Business the same amount? The thought is so awkward it’s painful! Wouldn’t the Master be out all those years of education-investment? And if not, how can “working together as equals” truly be maintained under different socio-economic statuses?