Evolution

A central and repeatedly stated assertion of the two Quinn books I read is that at some time humans lived in a stable equilibrium. That is not a worldview, that is an assertion of fact. A particular fact that is problematic in proving, yet Quinn claims to know it is true. He actually waters it down at one point and says that human population did grow steadily before some arbitrary level of agricultural innovation, but that it was slower than in recent times. My question is: Why should I believe that modern humans ever existed in a stable equilibrium? I believe that the growth rate has not been constant, yet how could I know that the early history of humans is fundamentally different from exponential growth in which growth is relatively slow for a long time early on?

Is it possible that human culture evolves as do biological life-forms? It is well-known that some life-forms actually do overtake other life-forms so that there is an imbalance in a particular eco-system to the short-term favor of the aggressive life-form. So, isn”t human culture, which is, in a very real sense, our tribal “nest” also prone to these same short-term imbalances?

I find it difficult to teach the “unteachable,” or better yet, to “unteach” them. Please, don’t get me wrong here – I am not suggesting that they are intellectually inept but rather that they are unwilling to listen to anything that goes against their conditioning. Do you think that this fact (?) will seal our fate? I only ask because I find that the types of individuals who are drawn to books such as yours are the ones looking for an alternative in the first place. I find that most people I talk to either don’t want to be challenged or truly believe in this “lifestyle” because they don’t know any better. I am sorry if this question sounds redundant as I have read your views on this but what is your approach for the most “closeminded” individuals, or isn’t there one?

I was interested in your response to Question No. 579, in which you say that the subculture of Taker culture is growing explosively and could be as large as 2-3 million in 2002, from something like twenty thousand in 1992. If I quote this to someone and they ask where it came from and I say, “from Daniel Quinn”, the answer is going to be “Oh, he would say that”. So where do your estimates come from? From sales of Ishmael? From a gut feeling? Or where? Just for interest, are you able to reveal the global sales figures for Ishmael? At least I could quote that to people with some sense of satisfaction.