Would you make any changes to My Ishmael now if you could?
I did make one change between the hardcover edition and the paperback edition, adding the following on page 224:
“Perhaps it will help if I point to another example of tribal life that has survived (and even thrived) in your own culture: the circus. You might call the circus a business run on tribal lines, but of course no circus owner ever sat down and deliberately crafted the business that way. Rather, circuses came into being as tribes and would cease to be circuses if they ceased to be tribes. Their legendary tribal solidarity, so unlike the society through which they move, makes them an irresistible lure, and people of all ages ‘run off to join the circus’ to be part of that solidarity. They’re especially important as models for our revolution, because, unlike aboriginal tribes, they’re seldom exclusive along ethnic lines. The border around them is solid against the general public but will open to any circus person from anywhere.”
This idea is developed even more fully in Beyond Civilization. I generally don’t look back to think about how I might improve past work, I look forward to think about what I’m going to do next.