Our class had a phone interview with Mr. Quinn yesterday (10/10/02) and he mentioned that “politics should be the last to change.” I disagree with him because I came from Korea and the government passed couple of laws that force people to recycle.

For example, the government passed a law in the early 90s that people should use trash bags issued by the government. Of course, the majority of the people refused and had many complaints about it. However, at the end, people came to recycle more and restaurants tried not to use plastic cups and dishes because the more trash they produced, the more money they had to pay. Even though Mr. Quinn was skeptical about politics, isn’t it better to influence the politicians as well?

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 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 “closed-minded” 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 Earth First! 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 ???)