The Bnetwork Guestbook Archives: 16-31 January 1997

This way of thinking has not allowed me to have a decent conversation with anyone anymore. I dissagree with everything they say, because after Ishmael & B, Everything seems like a big lie. Please Mr. Quinn, i beseach you to go out like B and teach people on a question answer basis. Long live the leavers. May we learn from them the neccessary means to survive as a race.
Philip Silva <none>
Newark, nj USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 19:57:45 (PST)


Don't forget that you were warned about this. At the beginning of their work together, Ishmael told his student, "If you take this educational journey with me, you're going to find yourself alienated from the people around you---friends, family, past associates, and so on." What you're experiencing is exactly what he was talking about. I personally would like nothing better than "to go out like B and teach people on a question answer basis." But if I had proceeded in that way, you would never have heard the ideas expressed in ISHMAEL (unless I happened to visit Newark and you happened to be in the audience). Or if I'd proceeded in that way after writing ISHMAEL, how would THE STORY OF B ever have gotten written? I'm not kidding when I say that I'd love to go out and interact with audiences everywhere---but if I do that, how will my NEXT book get written? Hundreds of thousands of people will read my books who could never hope to sit with me in a public meeting hall. Until I can clone myself, the best I can do is to continue to work on my books while giving as much time as I can to readers through the medium of this website. It's my hope eventually to set up a sort of "living-room university" that will make it possible for students to come and spend a couple of hours a day with me for an extended period of time---but that's at least a year or a year and a half away.

Daniel Quinn

Incredible book. I am B. I will now try to continue the teachings of B to all i know. Thank you.
Paul Howard <>
Tempe, AZ USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 14:18:36 (PST)
I have not read the entire novel, however i have read Ismael and found it extremely interesting. You have my support.
Jesse Crawford <>
Eldorado, TX USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 12:39:35 (PST)
I need to address one point that was raised by Deborah McDonald. It is that of envisioning what it is that we are looking for and will create. To a large extent, I do agree. A very important thing one needs to rememeber, though, is that creating th e vision sometimes replaces creating the reality. Culture, as it is today, works for those that are able to keep it going. This works through a variety of means. One of them is turning offenses, if you will, around to take the defensive. For example, how often have you heard someone say in response to a legitimate question or stressed dissatisfaction with the status quo, "So what do you want to replace it with?" As if there necessarily needs to be some blue print ready to hand out at some rally or so mething. What needs to be known is that what exists DOES NOT WORK and NEEDS TO BE CHANGED. Again, I do not wholly disagree with Deborah's concluding comment, some sense of direction needs to exist---but sometimes, for however long it may exist, that sen se of direction can be _away_ from something rather than towards another. Thanks to all for their words. I am learning. Please tell me if anyone is meeting to discuss things. Being up here, I don't have that sense. I am certainly willing to get together if anyone is interested. I will be back in my home town this spring (B oulder, CO), perhaps then. A good Feb. to all!
Ramey Wood <>
Fairbanks, AK USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 11:48:16 (PST)
I don't know what to say...
DAVE MENSCH <bpb987@mail,usask,ca>
Saskatoon, SK Canada - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 21:06:53 (PST)
Hi all!

The Bnetwork continues to get noticed...over 2000 visitors (over 15,000 hits) in December -- double that in January...nearly 5000 hits per day in February! Word is spreading...hopefully a new vision is not far behind.

In response to lots of people asking for backrgound readings, Mr. Quinn asked me to find a place for this annotated list of suggested readings. I will, but by posting it here too, I thought you all could get first crack at them!

A reminder...there are hundreds of pages to browse here at the Bnetwork, and don't forget Both sites have a Site Index/Self-guided Tour at /index/ (tack that onto the url of either).

Farley Mowat, People of the Deer; Bantam Books, 1952. An intimate study of a Leaver people, the Ihalmiut, living in the Great Barrens of Canada.

Peter Farb, Man's Rise to Civilization as Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State, E.P. Dutton, 1968. A different sort of history, exploring issues central to Ishmael.

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline, 1990, Doubleday/Currency. An introduction to systems thinking (of which Ishmael is an example). A fairly demanding book, but the only one of its kind.

Marvin Harris, Cows, Pigs, War and Witches, Vintage Books, 1974, and Cannibals and Kings, Vintage Books, 1977. A distinguished anthropologist examines aspects of culture in a highly readable and accessible form.

Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce, HarperCollins, 1993. An important and influential study of sustainability issues.

Jean Liedlof, The Continuum Concept, Addison/Wesley. This book, almost a companion piece to Ishmael, shows why Leaver children grow up sane and healthy.

Jack Weatherford, Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America, Fawcett, 1991. A treasure house of little known information.

Webmaster <>
Houston , TX USA - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 19:44:26 (PST)

As with Ishmael, a profound reading experience. I have been a student of Zen Buddhism for over 20 years. The Story of B pushed me to the wall of understanding and began me anew on the Path. I am deeply grateful and believe every word that B had to say. Dan
Dan Kaplan <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 17:30:41 (PST)
Profound. The story needed to be told. It's like overlooking your heartbeat or sense of smell, the reality of our current path can't be ignored. I hope there is hope.
Nathan Brown <>
Denver, CO USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 15:07:39 (PST)
Deborah McDonald said something rather important, that we must envision what we want before we take steps to get there. There are three steps to this: transcending (being able to let go of what is familiar), envisioning (creating a vision and an i mage of what we want), and the transforming: turning that image into reality. But an image is more than just a visual: it is our core values and ideas about a desired ideal which have been arranged systemically (relationships between various values and id eas made clear). I am a research fellow with the International Systems Institute, the fellows of which are concerned with idealized social systems design. Not ideal as in utopian but ideal in the sense that we must always create that horizon and be reaching for it. M y particular team is called the Societal Design Team, and we converse about these issues. In November we got together and pretended that we were "the" stakeholders in a society (in reality all are stakeholders) and over the course of four days we articulated 96 different "markers" of an ideal image of a "good society" along with 85 "options" o r ways to go about actualizing that image. We considered the relationships between these, what would influence what, and how they may be clustered. Surprise! we found that all of the markers were in mutually-reinforcing relationships with all other marker s. Anyway, our yearly work continues and we shall meet again next November. So yes, Deborah, be able to envision what it is that you want in a better world. And, through a "designing democracy", perhaps we can make it a reality.
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 00:19:49 (PST)
Profound. I'm still trying to "awaken others" and hanging around the Ishmael List. Come see us!
Tom Warren <>
Las Vegas, NV USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 21:25:12 (PST)
Profound. I'm stilltryong to "awaken others" and hanging around the Ishmael List. Come see us!
Tom Warren <>
Las Vegas, NV USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 21:23:49 (PST)
All of Daniel Quinn's books are life changing experiences. I was once a strong Christian, and now I've come to the point of abandoning my faith. My salvation no longer lies in the hands of Someone I cannot comprehend, but in the world I can touch. I am B, as you are B, as the tigers and whales and insects are B. We all Belong to one world.
Amy Beerup <>
Champaign, IL USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 19:41:43 (PST)
I loved Ishmael. Most interesting book I have ever read in my life. I had trouble getting into The Story of B until the very end. Your views make alot of sense. Would like to share with others ideas on how to help heal the planet.
jennifer <>
federal way, wa USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 17:38:27 (PST)
I feel that the ideas brought about by Mr. Quinn are extraordinary as well as facinating. I hope to contribute to the cause, so to speak thru my work as an artist...
Shawn Hughart <>
New York, NY USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 16:03:44 (PST)
It is the most honest book I have read in a long time. I agree with others when they say it validates what has long been unspoken feelings within myself. I also believe that while this culture we created is on a course for disaster, that Mother Earth will survive, and so will humans, but not at all in the current form. Our culture is like a cancer and the antibodies are attacking. I am not suggesting apathy, but just the ability to let change happen, and sometimes that means going through darkness i nto light. Thank you D. Quinn for being the storyteller that you are.
Lauri <>
West Palm Beach, FL USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 15:36:13 (PST)
I would simply like to add my drop to the river. I have had this drop for what seems like forever, and it is very satisfying to find where it belongs. It feels like coming home. I am starting to think...there's hope. Thanks to Daniel Quinn (and som e other great thinkers and visionaries) we are starting to find each other! I think that's a pretty important step in the process -- the process of changing minds. I am not a mental giant, I admit. I need some help imagining what a modern animist culture would look like. Someone (earlier comment)has already talked about not necessarily abandoning every aspect of our culture that is taker-like, and it makes sense t o me that we would want it to be a gradual shift. That seem like a reasonable place to start: What could we keep, at least for the interim? What would need to be eliminated immediately (war, for instance)? How would the economy work? I don't know about you folks, but when I look at my situation (and I am more off-grid than most) I see that I am very much caught in a sticky-trap. I can trade with my neighbors for many things, but, the rich uncle will not take brown eggs at tax time. The power company is fairly well hard-wired into my life, too (Swim little fishy swim!). <> In Ishmael, there was the wall. We need to envision life on the other side BEFORE we can prepare to journey there. Any thoughts? DJM
Deborah McDonald <>
Scotts Mills, OR USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 14:59:43 (PST)
It drastically changed the way that I view the world. What others call "news" now seems totally irrelevant.
Jason Boley <>
Austin, TX USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 20:51:24 (PST)
Like many of the ideas presented by Quinn the perils of the homogonazation of the human species can be veiwed from an ecological perspective. Diversity of organisms is imperative any given organism. Example: A fox may feed on rabits, mice, carrion, f rogs or other rodents. If some factor wipes out any one of these populations but not the others the fox still has food to live on. This relationship can be applied to humans. If a certain lifestyle becomes ineffective the human then must adapt to one t hat works. Yet, if no other lifestyle exists to which we can model, the human species will not ive. The same case applies if the humans are unwilling to adapt. The diversity of cultures will save humanity. The realization that our way is not working w ill save humanity. Praise Quinn for pointing out that it is only our culture that is flawed, not humanity!
Matt Smith <>
Richmond, IN USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 20:42:41 (PST)
greensboro, nc USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 06:22:44 (PST)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 23:31:08 (PST)
I am reading The Story of B a little at a time at the local Barnes & Noble. (Shhh, don't tell). I'm up to p.75 as of tonight. To tell you the truth, I'm reading it more for the intrigue than for the message, because I internalized the message long ago. But I enjoy works along this theme. I've already read Ishmael and found it enjoyable. I'm not going to go off into the streets and advocate for Quinn's books, but I am going to advocate for projects which can make a difference. But not just "program" projects; projects which are underlain with a new mythos - a mythos being a sense of journ ey which binds us to each other and to Nature. This mythos is a story of an evolutionary journey which began at the beginning of the universe and now finds its cutting edge begun anew 200,000 times every day, which is the number of people born each day. The evolution I speak of is the evolution of the individual in the course of their own lifetime as it is inextricably linked with and embedded with the evolution of the cosmos. I borrow the basic biological term "coevolution" and apply it to this: the coevolution of nature, culture, and individual. Several years ago I completed a book called One Nature. The bulk of the work is called the Theory of Natural Culture - "On the three-way relationship between nature, culture, and individual fulfillment", drawing heavily from anthropology, humanistic psych ology, etc. It lead to several major conclusions about this 3-way relationship and what markers a culture will need to provide greatest support for people and for the ecosystem they are a part of. The last part is called Coevolution: Principles and Organization, which traced the evolutionary path I mentioned earlier and suggested what we can do to make the most powerful difference. Just to indicate that there are many folks around today who might be called "B", Jonas Salk called me after reading One Nature and said that "It is heartening to see that someone has finally appeared on this planet with a paradigm appropriate for our time s." Well, there are many who are becoming linked into such a paradigm. Later on, I started Coevolution Southern Idaho, as a movement to encourage people to participate in the evolution of their culture at the local level. We started an education reform project which is now very powerful; a project called the Partnership for Spirituality and Environment in Idaho to look at the relationship between Judaeo-Christianity and ecology, conflict and cooperation. A clergy survey has been completed and we'll soon move into dialogue phase; an environment-related project in the wings wo uld seek to get the "Genuine Progress Indicator" adopted in Idaho - it's an alternative economic indicator. The common theme here is culture-change (at the roots) in a way which brings people together, not attacking each other. And it is underlain and tied together with a mythos that you live with all the time; not a religion, but a connecting journey. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book The Evolving Self, proposed local "evolutinary cells" to help change how we live in the world. I met with him and he said that what we'd done is closer to the spirit of what he meant than anything else he'd seen. I don't want to give you the impression that we're "successful" in all - or even enough - senses of the term. We're not self-sustaining yet, and there is far too much work done by one person (me). Boise is a relatively small place (pluses and minuses), an d the state is generally HIGHLY resistant to change (not that they aren't anywhere else!) Projects have suffered from lack of enough people. I don't have enough resources to keep having meetings at the library and sending out the newsletter and putting in triguing ads in the local paper. But this is definitely something for you action-seeking folks to think about: start a Coevolution whereever you are. Pick an aspect of your culture which affects the future - ecologically or human developmentally, understand it at your local community lev el, then figure out how that might be "consciously evolved" through dialogue, education, alternatives. Oh, and think about starting with your next door neighbor rather than with the "like-minded" at the cafe. It'll be harder, but more powerful in the long run, I think. Be well, Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 23:19:36 (PST)
I have read both Ishmael and the story of B. I enjoyed thom both because they brought up the subject of where we as a culture are at and how we arrived here. I aggreed with DQ's ideals, but I believe he left out the most important part, which is what s et our culture on the course it choose? I believe the reason for our choice is what dooms us to carry it to its final conclusion. I believe our culture of totalitarian agriculture allowed one man to have power over another and once this power was discover ed it became and continues to be an addiction the cannot be overcome. I believe we as a culture will go the way of the dinasour. That may not be a bad thing. I do believe that it is a course that can no more be changed than one or many could change the co urse of the planets. I may be wrong, but I also believe our short history as a culture may prove me right.
Thomas J. Williams <>
Evansville, IN USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 20:38:17 (PST)
This is the first time that I have started to discuss this with anyone, I guess I'm not really discussing either, but I have found Ishmael and B and I am glad. Someone commented on the "new theories that I now subscribe to", my reaction was to think t hat first there is nothing new about this and secondly I was confused, Could you subscribe to fact, to truth? Anyway what I'd really like to do would be to talk directly to others, my E-mail is, give me a ring.
Matthew Smith <>
Richmond, IN USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 13:22:59 (PST)
One important aspect missing from Quinn's wonderful deep (border?) ecology weltanschauung is the innate visceral fear of ourselves being eaten. Our abilities to see into the "future", anticipate events unfolding, and tell stories allow understanding of a horror visceral enough to be the source of all bad dreams and horror stories and the root of any Taker behavior.
Sam Ruben <>
Longview, WA USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 23:42:24 (PST)
Ishmael and B shake the very foundations of our society. I think alot of readers still have trouble letting go of mother cultures hand. Religion is one issue that ties people to the great forgetting. The salvationist religions i.e.christianity etc are a direct result of the taker lifestyle. My question is how can anyone believe in christianity? If we are the one species created in Gods image then why are we the only one that is flawed? The good news is we are not flawed. We lived in peace on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years before we became th e "chosen ones". Chosen for what? To destroy the earth and everthing on it? I hope that everyone will one day wake up and realize that the earth is our mother, the sun our father and all the creatures on earth are our brothers and sisters. For if it wasn' t for our mother and father we would not exist. B has opened so many eyes and minds. I just hope we can change things fast enough.
Brandon Boley <>
broownwood , tx USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 20:56:02 (PST)
I think the message and what to do with it is alot like religion. No wonder why there's been some sparing amongst readers as a result. In my humble opinion we should put more energy into our own personal convictions and try to effect change on a dail y basis even if it seems ever so insignificant. Less engergy should be wasted on trying to convert the world with some sensational show. In my experience, setting an example may work better than forcing the issue on others. In any event,
Christine Kollmorgen <>
Rochester, MN USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 09:12:16 (PST)
Very thought provoking. From the looks of whats here it boils down to the already well traveled cliche 'Think globally, act locally'.
Craig Nackerud <>
Mpls., MN USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 17:08:41 (PST)
Ishmael was a great book. B was a bomb - Quinn has presented mostly a rehash of Ishmael with no real solutions other than to starve people to death, and God is dead. I have a much longer review at:
Scott Taggart <>
Pine Grove, CA USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 12:09:15 (PST)
No comments yet. Too much to think about. I'm awfully concerned at this point about what we can really do. Just getting people to think in terms of being of the world rather than in charge of the world doesn't seem like much in light of the problems we face. Is there any way to avoid a disastro us reckoning?
Phil Davis <>
Bloomington, mn USA - Thursday, January 23, 1997 at 19:03:39 (PST)

I'm not sure where to begin... I was looking for B for two years before I even heard of Daniel Quinn. It was very interesting for me (to say the least) to have someone come along and say, "You were right Brian! There is something bigger going on--something that the World doesn't know or seems to be ignoring." I usually try and explain this to those who think I'm on some New Age band wagon constructed by some guy who want's to make money. I try and tell them that B is much bigger than any one author or person. I try and explain how people have been unearthing bits of B for decades, perhaps centuries. It seems that only now as a culture are we ready to hear it. I wonder if there weren't, for the whole age of this Great Forgetting, people who now and again wanted an answer, but jus t didn't know how (or were afraid) to ask the question. I like to think there may have been at least one; in all those 10 000 years, at least one.
Brian Barth <>
Saskatoon, SK Canada - Wednesday, January 22, 1997 at 19:33:23 (PST)
i had thinking about indiginous cultures and what we could learn from them. When I read Quinn I found someone already coming back from the place I was heading. Profound and original.
harrison snow <>
USA - Tuesday, January 21, 1997 at 13:18:09 (PST)
I wanted to follow up the responses I saw to my rambling post: to Jeannette Quinn, thank you for articulating the concept I couldn't seem to get out regarding synergy! My enthusiasm for the idea is due to my belief that it IS a natural phenomenon, yet I quite incorrectly attributed it to Taker culture. I guess the strands of Mother Culture's influence reach deeper in my mind than I suspected... To Chris Burkley I just wanted to say thanks for the kind words!! I aspire to be a writer, and if I made an impression then I must be headed in the right direction! I appreciate the support!! One item of interest that many of you may find intriguing is the school run by Tom Brown, Jr. in New Jersey. You can find some information and links at; Tom was trained from 7 or 8 by an Apache scout, and has published many informative books w hich help present a Leaver philosophy. Good day to everyone, and keep spreading the word!!
David Spaar <>
Oakton, VA USA - Tuesday, January 21, 1997 at 10:22:26 (PST)
I can't believe a city the size of Baton Rouge doesn't have one copy of Ishmael or the Story of B at the public library. I am going to see about donating a copy of both books to the main branch. If that is successful I may donate more. This will be my way of spreading the word, at least initially.
Karen Firnberg <>
Baton Rouge, LA USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 18:53:30 (PST)
A respnoce to David Spaar: At having finished B I was in such awe that I could hardly articulate what the book was about to my friends and I am envious of anyone who can express themselves like david did. So don't apologize. Go job. I Don't want to dwell on how good the books are, if your reading this you know. So what DO we do? I"m visualizing myself at the next EARTHDAY celebration promoting B on stage. The minds should be reseptive and might Not take forever-and-a-day to r ead the books unlike the current holder of my copy of ISHMAEL. The EARTHDAY PROMO will be important for I am worried that the momentum created in each of us will dwindle as we get farther away from the release date of B or the day each of us finished B. I would like to actually MEET other B. As I look at the guest book I'm looking for towns close to my own for Bs to stop in on during my next road trip. What about regional be conventions?...perhaps they will be a little more likely after EARTHDAY. THATS WHAT WE SHOULD DO!!! Gotta go...there is a B in Kirkland MO. and another in KS that I need to introduce myself to. Peace.
Chris Burkley <>
Omaha, NE USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 18:47:42 (PST)
reading both Ishmael and the story of B, I have experienced a change in my views. I would like to discuss with others who have also read these and I am looking forward to My Ishmael. I beleive that the more people who read these books the better chan ce there will be to save the planet, and it will help open some minds!!!
vanessa bentley <>
ft. collins, co USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 18:18:58 (PST)
A real mind stretcher. The most thought provoking book I have ever read. I am in awe of Daniel Quinn. I look forward to reading more from him.
Dorcas E Schoonover <>
Centerville, OH USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 17:17:41 (PST)
WOW!!!! I just finished reading the book today and I am truly amazed. Daniel Quinn never ceases to thrill me. I thought Ishmael was enlightening. He really outdid himself this time. I'm going to recommend the book to everyone I know and hope that they read it and get as much out of it is I do.
Sharon B.
Mahanoy City, PA USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 16:43:31 (PST)
amazing! where have i been? its been twenty years since i let this kind of illumination into my life. i used to dream of a better world but lacked the gumption to do anything about it. to those of you working up a ferver to do something, just keep the faith, pass the word, teach your parents, teach your children, the road to recovery will be very long and very rocky. As the world grinds its way inexorably to a world government controlled by megarich corporations we will find the task extremely dauntin g and undoubtedly it will take some cataclysmic lurch in the ecology bring the leaders of the world the sure knowledge that the population growth must be controlled. ps. to all you religous people out there you have to ask yourselves why "you" have religi on. is it for "your" salvation? is it for some greater good? if so, what? As Daniel pointed out the basic rules of society were around long before religion.
mike wachocki <>
russell, ks USA - Sunday, January 19, 1997 at 08:16:03 (PST)
I have just finnished reading both ISHMAEL and the STORY of B, (as well as MERE CHRISIANITY by C.S.Lewis) and I have found both of your books inspiring and thought provoking. I have also looked at some of your "answers" on this site and was amused to find you just could not bring yourself to tell people to wake up and turn on their own brains. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, there has to be a better way to live because this one can not last forever as you have pointed out. I just hope we learn enough to turn around before we have completely despoiled our nest. Good Luck to you, I hope the maddening crowd does not kill your originality as they surely tried to kill "B" Mark Deluhery
Mark Deluhery <>
Springfield, IL USA - Saturday, January 18, 1997 at 21:42:47 (PST)
I think that this site is a wonderful opportunity to meet other B-leavers. I visit the site often and noticed that there weren't any new posts today, so I am testing to see if it is working....Anyway, feel free to write if you have something about B/Is hmael you want to discuss or if you have some ideas on how we can get this movement really going and into the public "spotlight"... Maybe some local "B" conventions, which would not only generate Ideas, but give people a chance to really connect with othe rs "B". Not secluded meetings, but announced gatherings. I think this would further the spread of a new vision. And introduce it to those who have not been exposed.... Anyway, feel free to write.
Kurt Finguerra <>
Bend, OR USA - Saturday, January 18, 1997 at 18:30:05 (PST)
Send me to the next General Assembly meeting of the United Nations with enough copies of "The Story of B" to hand out to every member. Send a copy to Al Gore.
Stacy Studebaker <>
Kodiak, AK USA - Friday, January 17, 1997 at 14:52:06 (PST)
To those that want to know what to do: Never surrender. We must all become the message. Use your voice and trade to enact change. Keep hope in your heart for as long as you live.
"Long live the fighters!" -Muad' Dib from "DUNE" by Frank Herbert

Dan J. Hoppe <>
Seattle, WA USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 22:18:57 (PST)
In response to David Spaar: Concerning Mr. Karas, I would have to say it would seem useless to expend any energy attempting to change a closed mind. Better to exchange ideas with those whose minds have been sparked by Dan's ideas than to struggle with those whose only desire is to dispute endlessly. You also discussed synergy - which by the way is not a result of a Taker lifestyle, it is as natural as gravity and could probably be found at all levels of life - this is a great alternative to getting wrapped up with the kind of discord found with people like Mr. Karas. If vision is a river, and say, we are drops of water, I would want to add my drop's worth in the river forging our new destiny.
Jeannette Quinn <>
Chapel Hill, NC USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 19:08:12 (PST)
Daniel, I'd like to express my sincerest thanks for waking me from my slumber. My mind and heart are ablaze with ideas, influenced by Ishmael, B and a host of others, yet these ideas are to be my own contribution to the continuing story of B. I hold fast to th e belief, Life Is....and that belief is the guiding force in my own story enactment. most heartfelt thanks for touching my life. I hope to take what I've learned and crystalize it into something that can touch others as you have done. Will :)
Will Lee <>
Chicago, IL USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 12:25:19 (PST)
This is a somewhat long and rambling entry, and I'd like to apologize beforehand to any readers who find it tedious. But I've been catching up with the Readers' Reactions from the last couple weeks and I feel there are a few things I'd like to say. First I want to address the issue of religion. Many of you who have been frequent readers of these areas on the Bnetwork and Ishmael's Companion have no doubt seen the posts by Roger Karas, stating that the ideas expressed in Ishmael and the Story of B a re blasphemous. Mr. Karas has posted his web address, and after encountering his first message on the Ishmael's Companion page I decided to check out his site. The flavor of his message reminded me of the attitude of many of the people I'd met during th e time I lived in Jerry Falwell's home town of Lynchburg, Virginia. Sure enough, the attitude I encountered in the statements made on the web page Mr. Karas maintains was absolutist and judgmental. I expected as much, but one thing set me off: Mr. Karas took a quote from Ishmael out of context, and tried to use it in a p ropaganda-like fashion which portrayed Mr. Quinn as one who derides the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the Bible. I don't know about the rest of you, but I found nothing in his books which ever gave me this impression. I wrote to Mr. Karas and point ed this out in a barely civil fashion (what can I say, I was angry and working from emotion rather than good sense). Mr. Karas responded and we have corresponded in a somewhat-less-than-cordial-but-not-yet-hostile manner a couple of times. He is set in his beliefs and I am convinced that his beliefs are not for me, so we will no doubt never reach an accord on the validity of the issues which are discussed in Ishmael and the Story of B. I bring this all up because it illustrates the obstinancy which can infest the minds of some people when fear threatens them. And fear IS the operative emotion here. Fear of WHAT may vary from individual to individual, but anyone who will cling blindly to a set of beliefs, who reacts with outrage and anger when confronted with the possibility that those beliefs may be inadequate, is reacting not from sense but from FEAR. The perceptual abilities of humans are LIMITED, and no matter how much we BELIEVE that we KNOW, the one unalterable truth of our existence is that there always exists the possibility that our presently held beliefs are WRONG. I know that some of you will say that faith IS the clinging to those beliefs; however, is there no basis for the faith that the mind which God has gifted us with is, in fact, capable of SOME accurate perceptions? In addition, one who has true faith in hi s professed beliefs will not need to attack the beliefs or ideas of others; the truly faithful realize that THEIR beliefs cannot be invalidated by anything that others may say or beliefs they may hold. So when messages appear which attack the ideas Mr. Q uinn expresses in Ishmael and B, we should be aware that such attacks are inspired at the root by fear, not by faith. The second item I wish to address is the nature of the change which must occur to alter the course of the vision of our culture in order to approach life more like Leavers. I am 31 years old, and I've been raised my entire life in middle class American s ociety, so materialism was the basis of my existence. I've seen past that illusion, and Mr. Quinn's books helped to crystallize the elements of discontent which I'd been gathering over the course of my life. But the fact remains that the message of Moth er Culture continues to be spread, in fact one may surmise that it is increasing in great degree; how many of you have NOT heard of school children shooting each other over a jacket or a pair of sneakers? Value systems which encourage such behavior are s pread by the glorification of wealth in the popular media, and although such "success" is superficial and ultimately unsatisfying (the reason those firmly engaged in it must keep getting more, and more, and more, is that the thrill is superficial and soon passes), the message continues to be spread that one is a failure if not a whopping materialistic success. Adults may see past that flash and glitter, but the children I know personally get sucked into it to a large degree. And with the necessity in ma ny families for two working parents, there is no easy way to reverse the damage. That said, the thought that strikes me is that we must target the youth of the world with the seeds of the new vision. Aside from getting sucked into some of the flash and glitter of the media, I see children are more perceptive than their parents are of ten willing to admit. And the way to plant the seeds is simple: spend time with the children. If the message they hear is one of respect for life and the natural process of life, then the time during which they are hearing that message is time when Moth er Culture isn't whispering her lethargic seduction into their ears. Easy and hard, because time is so difficult to come by these days... Another aspect of the change is what can be salvaged from our culture to aid in the transition. Surely not everything the Takers have devised is evil and destructive; in fact, one item which has caught my attention, and no doubt that of many of you, is t he concept of synergy: the idea that people working together in a cooperative effort produce results exceeding those which could be attributed to the individual efforts of those involved. I see this phenomenon most clearly in the music industry. Think a bout it: if John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison had never gotten together, they would have each had some success as individual musicians, but it is unlikely that the sum of their individual successes would have been equivalent to the success of the Beatles. The attitude I encounter frequently is that such "phenomena" are rare and unlikely, but this strikes me as ignoring the situation. I believe that such phenomena need to be studied, and the idea of synergy needs to be spread i nto other areas of our society. How many of you have met individuals with whom you have worked or played that made you "better" than yourself, that lifted you to a higher performance simply by virtue of their presence? We must take advantage of this pro perty of human interaction, not treat it like a rare gift from the gods. Once understood, there will no doubt emerge some semblance of a pattern that will allow us to maximize our efforts by teaming up the right groups of people. I know this is sketchy and ambiguous, I'm not proposing specific action, I am merely seeking to generate thought and discussion and opinion. I would enjoy hearing from any of you on any of the thoughts expressed herein, but if you can, please post to the Bnetwork; I check here every few days, so I will see the message and responses. Again, my apologies for the rambling, but for those of you who have made it this far, thanks for your time and attention, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in turn .
David Spaar <>
Oakton, VA USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 08:29:56 (PST)