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 am in college and I am struggling quite a bit. I’m having trouble finding the motivation to stay in such a horribly run educational system that mother culture has given us. I’ve hated the way school is run for many years now and after reading My Ishmael and Providence, I now know that there really is a problem with our schools. I’ve thought about dropping out but I’d feel like a failure. So if you could give me any advice on the subject it would be greatly appreciated.

I am a Junior majoring in History and was assigned Ishmael as reading for my geology class. It is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I too, feel the exact same way about what we are doing to the planet. However, i feel totally overwhelmed at the task of doing something about it, especially in the US, where it’s almost trendy to convert the earth into a playground for the rich and affluent, and screw anyone or anything else that gets in its way. . . . I don’t think joining Greenpeace or EarthFirst! is doing enough, do you? Who or what can you get involved with that will make people listen?????? Or maybe I’m not getting the point of Ishmael after all. I don’t know. Just the same, things need to change. But how?

While I think you point out some legitimate examples from history of people “walking away,” you also acknowledge that the “jungle option” no longer exists. If history is any indication, people do not act to change circumstances in civilized societies until those circumstances have become intolerable. I fear your books amount to shouting for the driver to hit the brakes after the car has go off the cliff.

After having been enthusiastic when reading Ishmael, I am more and more wondering about your real goals. What do you look for?? Increasing your community of Ishamel’s addicts (CONSUMERS), and by the way your OWN income? Why don’t you say anything regarding the real world events as WTO meeting is Seattle?? What do you do about that new Stalinist Way of getting huge wealth for a “happy?” few, by convincing the People of the World that they are going to get more and more civilized if they buy more and more American shit, and enjoy U.S. stupid Entertainment industry (including Ishmael’s fairy tales ???)

In the “Second Guess dialogue” you said that while you consider yourself a feminist, you feel that men and women are both victims of a vicious cultural system, hence, deal with this victimization in different ways. You went on to say that many feminists disagree. I am curious about this and was wondering if you could elaborate a bit. My conclusion would be that since our culture assumes that there is one right way to live, men and women in our culture assume that there is one right place for a person, according to their sex. What’s your take on it, and why do many feminists tend to disagree?

I’ve sensed a growing dissatisfaction occurring in the cultural mainstream. Examples abound of everyday people picking up and leaving their lives, or changing their lives radically (I noted this as a parallel to Mayan activity). This is primarily found in popular culture (e.g. movies, music) but also occurs on an individual basis very frequently. Do you feel this is merely an indication of something as simple as a baby-boomer universal mid-life crisis only to return to old values, or is it people changing and possibly rejecting the cultural memes we’ve adopted in favor of better alternatives?

Yes, but how are the strategies proposed in Beyond Civilization supposed to eliminate pollution, overpopulation, crime, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, poverty, police brutality, political corruption, racism, child abuse, violence against women, homophobia, pornography, violence in film and music, exploitation of the elderly, date rape, judicial malfeasance, insider trading, road rage, and media bias?

I know its impossible to know exactly how our world would look after a New Tribal Revolution (nobody who lived before the Industrial Revolution could have predicted our current state), but how do you think goods and services will be made available after this revolution? There is almost no doubt that people will still want to have things that they are now accustomed to (e.g., televisions, computers, books, recorded music, chairs, restaurants, etc.). Who would produce these things and how would it be decided who gets them in an economy based on give support/get support instead of one based on the exchange of currency. Won’t service and manufacturing industries collapse in a world where children are encouraged to do what they like? Last time I asked anyone who bagged groceries or worked in a factory what they thought of their jobs they weren’t exactly enthusiastic.

I’ve come across many people, including myself at times, that are so dissatisfied with Taker culture, from which there is no immediate escape, that life is unbearable. It is evident from your books that you’re aware of this. I’m a teen now and have no desire to enter this literally damned Taker culture. But there is no Leaver culture accessible to me, except the one that I may help create in the future. Question is, what can be said now to appease the pain, the despondency, the unbearableness? I see kids at school committing and plotting suicide, I hear kids saying how much this sucks, but what can be said to them? Is there an answer? What would Ishmael say to the depressed captives as we are pulling at the bars of this god damned prison?