I am writing to follow up from a response I received to question ID #657. I think I need to clarify my question, as I was labeled a “poser” in your response.

I am struggling with deciding whether or not to have children with my devout Catholic husband. If we do have children, he will find it as important to teach them the lessons of the bible as I will to teach them everything I know and believe through reading Ishmael, My Ishmael, The Story of B, Providence, etc.

I’m sure we will not be the first couple to raise children with opposing belief systems. I agree that the ideals of the Church are in direct conflict with animism, but does a child not take in everything he/she learns from parents, friends and the rest of their environment and form his/her own judgments and beliefs? For example, my parents are polar opposites in their personalities, but I’ve never felt I had to BECOME one or the other. Along the same lines, someone raised by two devout Catholics is not guaranteed to become one themself.

I have been “spreading the word” of Ishamel (as well as actually sending the book to many people). I do this because I feel it is important to the future of the earth and all creatures residing on it, including humans. I know two things for certain: a) that I will be spreading the word to my children, and b) that at the same time my husband will be taking them to church and teaching them about Jesus.

Surely you must be aware of others who are in relationships like mine and have been successful. If you do not, I can understand why you would have no guidance to offer me.

It’s been over a decade since Ishmael was published. My question is, how are we doing?

You once described the potential for exponential growth of the ideas in Ishmael. Has this been the case, or do you think there may come a time when “Quinn-changed minds” are relegated to the ranks of cultish idealists?

My friends and family have put me in such a category for years, and I’m starting to believe them.

After reading My Ishmael school seems unimportant. I don’t want to fall into the job market flow and i don’t want to be a Taker. I want to spread the knowledge without going through this pointless waste of time people call schooling, yet if i drop out i’ll be looked at as a failure.

Its difficult to know what to do, should i stay in school and be a Leaver at the same time? is that possible? i’d like to hear your views please.

While you were writing the Ishmael Trilogy, did you think/feel that the Copernican Revolution you were experiencing (and putting on paper) was not much unlike what Descartes, Hegel or Marx experienced as they produced volumes which would eventually create their respective cultural alterations? The self-evident difference being their volumes contributed to the Taker way and, well, yours are the antithesis thereof.

This is regarding Q&A #603 on this site. It’s worth pointing out that the questioner is wrong. Some rule-based systems have been found to be chaotic, but chaos theory itself isn’t purely about chaos—it’s about how there are strange aspects of order underneath certain kinds of phenomena that we might think of as purely chaotic.

The questioner seems to be using the colloquial meaning of chaotic rather than the technical meaning. Further, and more importantly, complexity science (which has big intellectual ties to chaos theory and systems thinking/theory, and all of these are deeply tied to each in conceiving of non-linear dynamic systems) is all about how certain kinds of systems based on even a few simple rules can produce incredibly dynamic results that are defined as “complex”—being on the “edge” between order and chaos, showing enough order to make sense but enough chaos to be dynamic and interesting.

In a very big way, this idea is at the heart of “living in the hands of the gods,” of doing things “with nature,” of seeing the universe as a fundamentally friendly place, and having good things sort of effortlessly flow as a result—as opposed to insisting that control be exerted to get things done and having so many bad things flow effortlessly as a result, impelling you to exert more control, ratcheting up the revenge effects and the vicious cycles.

This questioner has confused rules in the sense of underlying principles (which very often take the form of what we call natural laws—biological evolution, the functioning of ecosystems, the rise of solar systems, etc., all occur in conformance with particular underlying “rules”) with rules in the sense of human laws which dictate what must be done.

Your answer to this question is totally appropriate in itself, but I feel that many of your site’s readers will nevertheless come away from Q&A 603 with misinformation simply as a result of the way the question itself has been put. It’d be nice to educate them a bit on this other stuff I’ve mentioned here.

I’m 18, a senior in high school and ready to conquer what my parents refer to as the “real world.” After discovering Daniel Quinn’s books my sophomore year I have worked hard at what his message to me specifically is.

This leads me to my question: I’m planning on going to college and studying philosophy and psychology. The question of where still remains. I have been drawn to a small Great Books college named St. John’s, but can’t quite figure out if the things that it teaches are consistent with the values upheld in Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B.

The thing is, it teaches everyone the same things through seminar classes and the “Greatest minds” of Western culture. I only hesitate because there is more out there than simply Plato, Aristotle, Freud, and Wagner, and I’m afraid that I’ll become ignorant to everything else. What is your opinion?

How are you different from the prophets who tell people how to live thier lives? I know it is not your intention to do so, but I feel like through reading other questions and talking with other Ishmael readers, that your ideas revolutionize the way we think about the world.

In turn, how we live is ultimately shaped by you. Gutting out our system of understanding and replacing it with that of Ishmael changes how we think and live, right?

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.