Questions & Answers


In both your books and your lectures, you appear to critique archaeologists’ names for the Stone Age, Bronze Age and others. You say that these names define the people of these times by what they produced. However, these names derive from the fact that archaeologists rely on physical artifacts to classify periods of time. Saying “stone age,” simply means, “this is the age during which all the stone tools we”ve found were made,” not, “these people are defined by their use of stone.” Although I understand the sentiment behind it, I think that particular objection is unjustified. There are more apt places to find examples of our culture’s “product focus.”

Are the food race and totalitarian agriculture the same thing? Even if we stop increasing food production to respond to population growth, I still think that people will insist on keeping the food locked up and making people work for it. Whenever I suggest the idea that food should be as free as oxygen or sunlight, people look at me funny. What do you think is an approach for changing minds to end the “locking up” of food, rather than the food race?

Pre-Taker tribes were in a relatively constant state of low-level warfare against their neighboring tribes and this was accepted as part of life by these tribes. Wouldn’t reverting to living tribally be divisive and eventually lead to “gang” warfare amongst groups who create their groups along racial, religious, or some other “powder-keg” divisions?

Mr. Quinn, here is an interesting question that a member of our discussion group asked: DQ relies heavily on natural selection as a framework to explain why early American civilizations were abandoned–they didn’t work as well as another form of social organization (presumably tribalism), so the people “walked away,” (like the children of Israel “walked away” from Egypt, pillaging and looting). So my question is, what’s to stop anthropologists and other naive puppets of Mother Culture from using the same argument to explain why tribal peoples “walked away” from tribalism to civilization? DQ would say that wasn’t a free choice; they were misled and coerced — but how do we know that the people of, say, Teotihuacan weren’t misled and coerced, when we have no records of what happened and there are signs of conflict (or at least looting and pillaging)? DQ might then say that the civilizations weren’t environmentally sustainable, while the tribal cultures that our civilization “civilized” were sustainable. But how does that figure into natural selection when the unsustainability is not yet affecting mortality? The way our civilization wiped out tribal cultures was no less “natural” than the way crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis) wipe out other species of insects. Meanwhile, the Teotihuacanis and Maya had not even come close to reaching the environmental limits of their surroundings . . . so their behavior is “not” explainable by natural selection.

After having read your books My Ishmael and Beyond Civilization, I am intrigued about the idea of making a living tribally. I did some research and found out about the band “The Gypsy Kings”. They apparently have an estate where all of their families live together and take care of each other and school is looked at like this: If you don”t go, fine, but you have to do something here to support our families. If you do go to school, then the kids are encouraged to learn about things that will help the band ( law, business ). Is this an example of tribal living? And ,of course, the band is multi-generational. Cool, huh?

Is there an afterlife in animism? Without an answer, I would assume that the answer would be something to the effect that “One’s life-force is simply re-inserted into the cycle of life, and one’s energy sustains other lives. In practice, a deer continues life after being eaten by a mountain lion in the form of the mountain lion.” That much I assumed is the animist afterlife. What I want to know is whether one’s consciousness continues after death, as it does in the Christian interpretation of a “soul”?

In Providence, you describe how you became disenchanted with the Catholic Church. You described how the Church’s actions seemed to reject you. I know this isn’t quite the case, but it serves well enough for me to pose the question. Why did you automatically assume the Catholic Church was speaking directly for God, as they claim to do? I have been raised Catholic and I began to realize that it was just a big show. I assumed that the Catholic Church could not speak for God, that he could only speak for himself. See, I was still clinging to the thought of a singular, heavenly, benevolent God. What made you decide to abandon GOD instead of just the structure of the CHURCH?

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