Beyond Civilization

In this day and age it’s hard for the young generation. I myself am 17 and just “woke up” 2 years back and only just stumbled across Ishmael. I read your book and it all clicked in. I believe myself to be a bright and talented individual, except I lose out when it comes to bothering to do anything. It’s already so hard leaving school and then deciding whether or not to further pursue education for a better prospect. And then to have Ishmael answer all those questions I wondered about, makes things worse.

There is so much pressure from every corner that choosing to continue contributing towards the problem or to improve on what we already have and spread hope is a difficult choice. On one hand we can improve, find hope, spread hope for saving these people and this world—not at the click of a finger but through small steps. But life has been and is already tough—how much more can one take?

We have the conventional ways that at least lead to social satisfaction—like drowning yourself in the Takers society just because it’s really too hard to find hope and struggle to give hope to others.

I find that people are deaf and will listen and return back to their search for “gold digging.” its sounds like a silly excuse but what hope is there for young people who are after seeing so many knocks in life and maybe more in the future. What I mean to say is Takers need the future generation.

How can we put a stop to it? How can we make ourselves want to put a stop to it when we are promised “gold” if we continue digging? I myself can say I don’t want the “gold,” but if it means having to blend and have some peace from the hard knocks then “Why not?” is the uneasy question that comes up.

Pre-Taker tribes were in a relatively constant state of low-level warfare against their neighboring tribes and this was accepted as part of life by these tribes.

Wouldn’t reverting to living tribally be divisive and eventually lead to “gang” warfare amongst groups who create their groups along racial, religious, or some other “powder-keg” divisions?

After having read your books My Ishmael and Beyond Civilization, I am intrigued about the idea of making a living tribally. I did some research and found out about the band “The Gypsy Kings.”

They apparently have an estate where all of their families live together and take care of each other and school is looked at like this: If you don’t go, fine, but you have to do something here to support our families. If you do go to school, then the kids are encouraged to learn about things that will help the band (law, business).

Is this an example of tribal living? And, of course, the band is multi-generational. Cool, huh?

On page 192 of My Ishmael you say “This is how you must differ from revolutionaries of the past, who simply wanted different people to be running things. You can’t solve your problems by putting someone new in charge.”

This is a theme you’ve echoed repeatedly, and undoubtedly it is impossible for anyone to take office in this structure and save the world within it.

My question is, do you not agree that it is important, however, to try to get someone in office who is at least PERMISSIVE of letting us make the necessary changes, or as permissive as possible.

I feel that nobody will ever come into office and set into motion policies that will save the world. But, there are many who will come into office and set into motion policies that greatly inhibit the ability of others to do so.

Do you agree with this concept of at least minimizing the force with which government prevents us from walking away, even if it will never assist us in that process?

I must admit that I was greatly disappointed with Beyond Civilization. Perhaps I am still too entrenched in the philosophies of the Takers, but I was hoping for something more tangible, a path to follow in my life. Writing this now, I feel like a whining child asking a parent how to get himself out of sticky situation but I feel that I must put it down anyhow.

You speak of tribes as if they are a dime a dozen, people just waiting around on street corners to abandon the only thing that they know to follow in this endeavor. I am sure that you speak to many people on this subject and you realize that the reason they have come to feel lost in society is because they are disconnected from those who might understand them.

Of all the people that I know (some who are the most intelligent and caring individuals that I have ever met), not one is willing to sacrifice the advantages that our culture has to offer for a heightened sense of personal fulfillment. Most believe that they can find everything they need within our culture, and I am not sure that they are wrong.

I do not have a tribe, Mr. Quinn, and I would go so far as to guess that most other people do not. It is frustrating for me to read your work and then apply it to my life. I am $20,000 dollars in debt to the federal government (the cost of improving myself through a college education), I work waiting tables while I try (unsuccessfully) to publish my short stories, and I save up money to travel to places around the world where (somewhere in my heart of hearts) I hope to find some kind of real freedom.

You have a wife that seems to share your ideals and (I assume) a group of friends and followers, you have had a successful job in publishing, and you are currently a successful writer. Surely you see that your plan is more easily applied to yourself than to those like me. There are no circuses in town for me to join (nor would I want to become a part of them) and I do not wish to live a homeless lifestyle if I cannot help it.

I feel like I’ve been lulled back to sleep, and I’m absolutely terrified. Maybe it was meeting so much apathy in so many people; as the school year ended, I found I no longer had the ability to be B.

I have never suffered such a loss of identity, and I simply do not know what to do. Mother Culture has convinced me that there’s no point—that nothing can be done.

She screams it at me so loudly that I can’t even get through a chapter of your books anymore—and when I try to make myself believe again, terror and shame overwhelm me and I go back to sleep.