I’m currently reading The Story of B,in which you distinguish between our singular culture (Us, or Takers) and 10,000 other cultures (Leavers). You include both Eastern and Western peoples as “us” based on the similarities in the way we procure food.

Why then do you keep refering to the Leavers as “10,000 other cultures”? Using the same logic, shouldn’t we refer to all hunters and gatherers as a singular culture rather than a collection of cultures?

Regarding the “lies” of Mother Culture, there is one lie (actually it’s just a widely held misconception) that I’d appreciate hearing your take on. A pervasive belief of our culture is the belief in (and reliance on) the Rule of Law.

Most people will concede that we need rules in order to have an orderly society, and that without rules there would be chaos. It was precisely a hundred years ago that the French mathematician, Poincaré, first discovered that even very simple rule-based systems were chaotic.

Today, most well educated people have at least heard of Chaos Theory (Edward Lorentz, James Gleick), Fractals (Benoit Mandelbrot), and Cellular Automata (Stephen Wolfram). It is not exactly a secret that rule-driven systems are now known to generate chaos rather than order. But it occurs to me that most people don’t fully appreciate the significance of those esoteric mathematical diversions.

For some 3500 years, Western Civilization has operated under the unexamined and unchallenged belief that rule-based systems are inherently orderly. Now we discover that this foundation belief is an astonishing misconception.

Have you spent any time regarding this observation? How might it be possible to reveal this (perhaps disturbing) finding to the lay public, along with some insights on how we might craft and introduce into our culture a more highly evolved and enlightened regulatory mechanism capable of delivering the “divine order” it promises?

In your response to question 579 you said that closed-minded individuals would most likely change their views as social conditions change because they will feel compelled to “fit in.” However, what if there is a greater motivation to remain a Taker?

Take, for instance, one of the largest groups of Takers, Christians. Christians are compelled to remain Christian and to convert others by the belief that all non-Christians will go to hell. Even further motivation comes from the belief in an imminent doomsday. Also, at a book signing I attended in Atlanta, you said that Christians feel as though they do not belong to this world, and that it is merely a way-station until they can reach heaven.

Taking into consideration all of these factors, why would any practicing Christian feel compelled to give up their belief in Christianity (thus relinquishing the chance to have life in a place they feel they belong to) just so that they can fit in with a world that they themselves don’t even feel they fit in with in the first place? Especially if they think the end is always near.

What do you think of Robert Carniero’s theory of environmental circumscription?

This seems to be the most widely accepted theory on why tribal societies become state societies. He does, of course, speak from a background influenced by Mother Culture, and seems to think that population automatically expands and food production must be expanded to accommodate it, but would you say that his theory holds true if the societies he studied were already in the food race?

He studied South American societies but applied his theory to the Western one as well. He begins with agricultural tribes and doesn’t address hunter-gatherers or semi-agricultural peoples.

Would you agree that circumscription was a catalyst for abandoning tribalism in the cases Carniero studied, but that he simply hasn’t gone back far enough in their history to pinpoint the adoption of totalitarian agriculture as the real reason?

What do you believe IS the reason that people abandoned tribalism? It begins with complete dependence agriculture, doesn’t it?

I have seen references to teenagers in some of the questions. However, my question is in regard to how adolescents and teenagers act in aboriginal (Leaver) cultures as opposed to modern (Taker) cultures, especially North American.

The reason I ask is that I believe young people are the canaries in the mine and react according to the environments they’re raised in. It’s not news that youngsters in Taker societies have a very difficult time, and it seems to be getting worse.

Have there been any studies comparing modern teen behavior to aboriginal teen behavior? Are teens in all cultures basically the same, or are there significant differences that point to cultural stressors?

First of all I would like to say that i am 17 years old and I just read Ishmael for the first time and I thought it was an amazing journey. It has opened my eyes to many different things and I can never thank you enough for what I have learned.

But my question is about your response from question #538 where you say that knowledge of the gods/God is unattainable. Is it unattainable or is it simply that it’s not on our maps? I’m sure it’s attainable, but in your search you just may end up in new territory, and I think that’s something we’re afraid to do.

I recently finished The Holy, which I found clever and thought-provoking. Had I merely read the book, I’d simply see the many connections between it and your other work, and that would have been that.

But I’d read Rennie’s account on your website of the childhood event that partly inspired the book—your encounter with the part-man-part-animal. There is much I don’t know about the world, so the last thing I’d do is just discount this experience of yours.

However, I have to admit great surprise. What (admittedly little) I know of you is that you’re a lover of science and a skeptic—this is evident in your work, on your website, and in much of our previous correspondence, in which you have spoken scientifically in general and, in some cases in particular, directly against “new age” or “occult” beliefs and phenomena.

I’m very curious to hear how you reconcile this childhood experience of yours with your scientific knowledge—and, by extension, what you might tell your science-loving fans (like me) who might not understand how they should reconcile these two things about you, these two things that, not knowing better, we might see as contradictory.

I’m also incidentally curious about the extent to which your portrayal of the “yoo-hoos” is fictional, i.e., simply for the purposes of fleshing out the story, as opposed to things you actually believe. For example, that they themselves represent what ancient cultures thought to be gods and what older Taker cultures thought to be demons/devils—that they are matter-based and yet immortal and possessing of shape-changing abilities, etc.

According to information found on this website, the prologue to The Holy is based on an experience you had as a young child. From reading Providence, it seems pretty clear to me that other aspects of the book are drawn from your life as well. Some examples: the strong similarity between your experience in the garden at the Trappist monastery, Our Lady of Gethsemani, and Tim Kennesey’s experience in the desert; the Chicago setting; and David Kennesey’s background in educational publishing.

I’m curious about the source(s) for other events in the book’s narrative, though, particularly regarding Howard Scheim’s early attempts to discover what happened to the old, “false” gods of the Bible.

What experiences/research did you draw on in writing about the rite Howard participated in with the Satanists Verdelet and Delices? What did you draw on for Howard’s meeting with the tarot reader, Denise Purcell?