Questions & Answers

Q&A

In your books you stress the idea that the Taker way is unsustainable because our style of agriculture breaks the law of life. Then in Beyond Civilization you wrote about how to move past the Taker way.

The book was really interesting especially with the examples of creative ways people are organizing themselves differently, but I wondered why you didn’t talk about how to redo our agricultural food system.

What do you as an animist think about mental illness? I understand that you feel that we should work with our “naturally human” sense of intelligence to ward off viral and fungal infections, but what about mental illness?

On one hand, the purpose of medicine is to make one’s life easier and thus to prolong it. On the other hand, you suggest that “if there’s a cancer growing inside of you, the gods aren’t on your side against it, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw up your hands and allow it to destroy your life; defend yourself against it with every resource you can bring to bear” (Providence, page 162).

From one animist to another, I want to know how mental illness is considered: as another illness of the body, like diabetes or infection, or as a beast of another kind.

I can’t agree with your reply #757, where you say that Totalitarian Agriculture produces food the same way as any other form of agriculture.

Reading about different types of cultivation, I see that agriculture is a way of cultivating by catastrophe, where people till the soil to emulate the effects of a flood (and this method doesn’t tolerate diversity on the landscape) while permaculture/horticulture is cultivation by participating in ecological succession and aiding in building up the soil and fostering diversity in the landscape.

In the response #551, you wrote: “I’ve never said that Leavers and Takers can be distinguished by the way they get their food. They can be distinguished by what they DO with their food. Among Leaver peoples, food is free for the taking. Takers keep it under lock and key so that you have to work for it.”

If locking up the food is a trait that can be used to identify a culture as Taker, why isn’t the act of getting the food through Totalitarian Agriculture such a trait as well?

A while ago a friend of mine and I spent some time discussing our ever-growing planet-killing population. We parted as perplexed as before, but he continued to mull the problem and came up with something to talk about—more a sort of “thought experiment” than a plan anyone could actually put into operation.

Suppose, he said, that someone developed a highly deadly, highly contagious air-borne virus and was able by some means to spread it very rapidly throughout the world, reducing the human population to three or four billion.

If a decimation of our population could be achieved by such means, would you endorse it?

On 1/11/13 the national academy of sciences released a draft report on climate change that’s open to public comment for three months. This could be a good time for Ishmael.org to inform people about this.

What I found interesting was there policy on agriculture. Chapter 6 page 228 line 1 specifically talks about efficiency in increasing agriculture production in climate change.

How can it be that they do not see the danger of increasing food production. Is it greed? Or they just don’t know?

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