I’d Like Some Advice

I’m 18, a senior in high school and ready to conquer what my parents refer to as the “real world.” After discovering Daniel Quinn’s books my sophomore year I have worked hard at what his message to me specifically is.

This leads me to my question: I’m planning on going to college and studying philosophy and psychology. The question of where still remains. I have been drawn to a small Great Books college named St. John’s, but can’t quite figure out if the things that it teaches are consistent with the values upheld in Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B.

The thing is, it teaches everyone the same things through seminar classes and the “Greatest minds” of Western culture. I only hesitate because there is more out there than simply Plato, Aristotle, Freud, and Wagner, and I’m afraid that I’ll become ignorant to everything else. What is your opinion?

I can recall sitting in gov’t. class and my teacher, a well-known-so-called Democrat, whatever that is, told “his” students, “If you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to complain.” I didn’t raise my hand and explain why I strongly disagreed with what he just said. Instead I just sat there thinking he is “full of it.”

I don’t vote because casting a vote for any of these candidates is a vote for failure. The politicians that are elected still have in there heads “people are kings of the world and supposed to be kings of the world.” If you listen hard enough, you can hear them say we are the world. And if you look at them hard enough, that is what they are representing.

No one asks these people what the true world means to them or what is our niche, our contribution, along with the rest of the community. If anyone has a right to complain, it’s the nonvoter. What do you think?

I am writing a short story about a small community in present day California that decides to implement your ideas from Ishmael and My Ishmael (e.g., not locking up the food, laws that work for the way people are, an education system that lets children follow their noses and learn from thier environment, etc.) into their society as social experiment.

I am a fiction writer, and I think this will help me to understand your philosophies. This has been a fun and challenging project.

I was wondering if you have a vision of what a modern day “leaver” society would look like? I would be interested in comparing your vision with my own. I have searched the Q&As to the best of my ability and did not see a specific answer to this question, if there is one, could you point me to it?

You ask a capitalist how he expects to survive without biodiversity, and he calls you a tree hugging communist. Defending yourself against the abuse of a vegan, you point out that you believe you have as much right to eat meat as a lion does to eat a gazelle, and he calls you a capitalist pig.

I think, that amidst the war and turmoil of the world at the moment, people are being whipped up into a frenzy of irrationality. It seems to me, that as the water around the frog is reaching boiling point, people are pedaling away at the taker mobile with a renewed, and alarmingly frantic urgency.

With extremist voices being heard the loudest in a time of war, I find myself desperately hoping for a period of calm, in which your message can be heard clearly, without being bludgeoned into submission by fear and the blind pursuit of reckless, idiotic leaders like Bush, Howard, etc.

What do you think? How can the turmoil of the world show people the inherent flaws in the taker lifestyle, rather than make them pursue it with an increased urgency?

I am a LCPL in the Marine Corp. I am 2 years from finishing my contract, and going to college. Recently I returned from Iraq and while over there I read Ishmael. It changed me. Or it defined something I already knew. My question is this, and I think it apply to all military personnel interested in Ishmael and its message.

My being in the military, is it an asset, a way to understand and maybe grasp the weaknesses of the ultimate symbol of taker influence or is it a detriment? A brand making me a liar to my desire to, as you say “save the world.” That’s my question.

I am a U.S. sailor recently returned from a deployment to the Mideast. While I was out there I read a couple of your books—Ishmael and The Story of B. As most of your readers have said, I was profoundly moved by your work.

However, I do not know how to balance my choice of a career with my choice of philosophies. I guess my question is: Do you think it’s worth ruining my future by leaving the service early or should I try to be as active as the military allows and finish my time?

I would love to try a sustainable, healthy lifestyle in accordance with the environment; I would love to live on some isle or a nice chunk of land, taking only what I need just like everything else, completely subject to the consequences and limitations of nature.

I think I need to feel like I’m a part of the greater whole, the greater picture, and that I’m a part of it in such a way that is wholesome and nutritious for the earth, not hazardous.

I’m just sick of being in a place that lacks respect for what there is. I NEED out.

I am father to a beautiful 4-month-old girl. As she grows, I want her to learn what she can from her schools, while at the same time I want her to be able to look through the eyes of someone who has had the cultural blindfold removed.

I am in a unique situation as I have a chance to begin from infancy to teach someone a “new” old idea, and I really don’t want to screw it up.

Could you give some advice on when to begin teaching and how much to teach at a time?