I’m afraid I don’t have a list of people or places of the kinds you describe, but this is not just a case of bad record-keeping. I have no desire to foster the impression that “living what Ishmael has been talking about” means doing big splashy things that catch national attention. Ray Anderson and Patch Adams may be heroes to be emulated, but this has nothing to do with what Ishmael is saying.

Ray Anderson is not an example of how to live but an example of how effective it can be to change someone’s mind–in this case, the mind of Ray Anderson. In writing about Ray Anderson, I’m not holding HIM up as the model to be followed, but rather the person who persuaded Ray Anderson to read Ishmael.

Ishmael’s commandment is not “create sustainable industry” (which is what Ray Anderson is trying to do, very commendably) but rather “change minds” (which is what the person who gave him Ishmael was trying to do). From this point of view, the heroes are all the very ordinary folks who grab the people around them and say, “Look, this is a book you’ve got to read.” THEY are the ones who are “living what Ishmael has been talking about.”

I have nothing against “inspiring innovators.” I’m all for them, in fact. I just don’t want to give people the false impression that this is what Ishmael is all about. If the world is saved, it will not be by inspiring innovations but by people with changed minds (who may indeed produce some inspiring innovations).

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ID: 456
posted: 02 Feb 2000
updated: 01 Apr 2002