Many readers feel that influencing the people around them is not “doing” enough. They’d like to have a “real plan.” But of course this is precisely Ishmael’s message (and my message): that changing minds IS a “real plan”—and the only plan we are going to have.

If you imagine that the president of the United States (or of Exxon or any other company or country) is going to come up with a “real plan,” then you will do what we MUST NOT do, which is . . . to WAIT. We must NOT wait. We must do the one thing that is within our power, whoever we are and wherever we are, which is to change the minds of the people around us.

The point I was making in Ishmael is a subtle one—a bit too subtle, perhaps—and I’ve made sure it’s less so in The Story of B. If we’re going to survive as a race, we’re going to have to change the minds of the six billion of us who are devouring this planet at such a disastrous rate.

There are many other useful things to be done, but unless we change people’s minds, NOTHING will save us—no government, no environmental organization, no great political leader, no global police force. Others may not agree with this assessment, but this is the assessment embodied in all my work: Our hope for salvation is to bring a new vision to the people of the world.

This is work that can be done by anyone, anywhere. You don’t have to be rich, powerful, or even influential. It might seem that I have a great advantage in this endeavor, since (after decades of struggle) I’m now in a position to reach hundreds of thousands of people with a single book.

But in fact it wasn’t I who reached hundreds of thousands of people with Ishmael—it was people like you, who brought Ishmael to friends, neighbors, colleagues, parents, teachers, and children. Without people like you all over the world, Ishmael would be a forgotten book—and no one would be publishing my later books at all.

ID: 64
Posted: 08 Feb 1997