Leavers & Takers

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?

As you have so often stated Leaver societies work(ed) because they were time tested for thousands of years. Having destroyed the wisdom of most of these societies, how can one be optimistic for our culture to survive our impending cultural collapse?

The generations after our culture has failed will not have any other option but to “invent” systems. Even with a tribal paradigm how can it be expected to work?

In the response to one question, #551, you said, “Among Leaver peoples, food is free for the taking. Takers keep it under lock and key so that you have to work for it.”

Meanwhile in a response to another question, #552, you described the Maya as Leavers. But didn’t the Maya put food under lock and key and force people to work to get it back? Or if they didn’t, how did their civilization exist? Or is the difference simply that the Maya considered that they had a choice with regard to what they did with their food, as proven by the fact they eventually did return to a lifestyle in which food is “free for the taking”?

It seems that in Leaver cultures children are thrust into their adult role in their society much more quickly than people of our Taker culture. We have such an elongated social adolescence where one can experiment with many different aspects of society.

Why has the social adolescence of our culture grown into such an extended period of time, while Leaver cultures seem to push their children into their role at a faster rate? Is it because of the Leaver vs. Taker education systems that are outlined in My Ishmael?

Mr. Quinn, here is an interesting question that a member of our discussion group asked: DQ relies heavily on natural selection as a framework to explain why early American civilizations were abandoned—they didn’t work as well as another form of social organization (presumably tribalism), so the people “walked away,” (like the children of Israel “walked away” from Egypt, pillaging and looting).

So my question is, what’s to stop anthropologists and other naive puppets of Mother Culture from using the same argument to explain why tribal peoples “walked away” from tribalism to civilization?

DQ would say that wasn’t a free choice; they were misled and coerced—but how do we know that the people of, say, Teotihuacan weren’t misled and coerced, when we have no records of what happened and there are signs of conflict (or at least looting and pillaging)?

DQ might then say that the civilizations weren’t environmentally sustainable, while the tribal cultures that our civilization “civilized” were sustainable.

But how does that figure into natural selection when the unsustainability is not yet affecting mortality?

The way our civilization wiped out tribal cultures was no less “natural” than the way crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis) wipe out other species of insects. Meanwhile, the Teotihuacanis and Maya had not even come close to reaching the environmental limits of their surroundings . . . so their behavior is “not” explainable by natural selection.

In your books you say that a simple way to determine the difference between Takers and Leavers is to examine how they get their food. This makes perfect sense to me.

Do you think burial practices could also be an indication of a people being Taker or Leaver? It just seems to me that Taker culture is the only culture that is so preoccupied with preservation that it fills up bodies with toxic fluids and locks them away from nature in airtight boxes so they can’t become food for other forms of life.

I wish I could take a course on Leaver vs. Taker society or something. Anyway . . . One current dilemma of mine is technology. Now, I know that you’ve said that Leavers aren’t inherently technology deficient, but in a Leaver society, I can’t see what the impetus for scientific advance would be.

I guess I’m calling technology and scientific advance products. If Taker economy is an economy of products, and Leaver economy one of services, where COULD the products come from? Who would bother?