The Bnetwork Guestbook Archives: 12-25 February 1997

It's so difficult to express to people the impact of these books, but having read through this homepage, I realize I'm only talking with Ishmael/B believers. I saw many people's comments that said they were inspired and happy after reading The Story of B. I subconsciously knew the last sentence of the book was coming, but I still cried when I read it. "Damn! I knew it. It's my turn to figure this out." (I won't repeat what it is for the people who are still reading B, which took me more than a month! (as opposed to Ishmael, which I read twice in a week) It was too intense to read without breaks. Long ones with a lot of Must See TV and denial. Sorry. I have a lot of anger with organized religions, which I certainly can't share with people as part of an exp lanation about why it's so urgent they read the books. I am encouraged that Ishmael and B have been implemented into school curriculum. If anyone who helped with this process is reading my wordy e-mail, please tell me in which schools it worked. Part of w hy I want to be a teacher is to implement Ishmael and B into our extremely limited school curriculum. Thanks. I'll keep visiting this site for encouragement and spiritual support.
Lisa Fairbanks <>
Spokane, WA USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 17:31:11 (PST)
Matthew ----- I agree wholeheartedly re: hogging the B-Board. I suspect you are correct re: terms/language -- something along the lines of the defining philosophers! Hope our current "dialog" (that is what it has been, you know!) has been fruitful f or others, as well. Regards.... Aeolian
Aeolian <>
USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 16:36:49 (PST)
Alan—good luck getting the message short and sweet. If it could fit into a bumper sticker or sound bite, many more people would have heard the message by now. Don't underestimate the kids—there's no good reason why they cannot grasp a complex problem. It's the adults who have problems seeing why the emperor's chilly.

I've found that Ishmael and B on tape work well with my friends who don't read books.

Jamie Myxter <>
Seattle, Wa USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 09:30:29 (PST)
I am a H.S. science teacher and I was introduced to this book by one of my colleagues. I guess I would qualify myself as a person who looks at the world looking for the meaning of life. Obviously, there have been many different attempts to answer thi s question, but none I am willing to buy into whole heartedly. I guess that my experience and background as a science teacher makes it difficult for me to buy into religious teachings that for the most part provide us with the excuse to use the fit, beca use we are gods chosen. In my mind this book is the best explanation of what is really occuring on this planet. I have often found myself saying that we do not abide by the laws of nature, we change nature to fit our personel needs. After reading these two books I now realize that I am just kidding myself. WE DO AND WILL always abide by the laws of nature, and if we do not realize this soon it may put us in some dire circumstance. It is difficult for me even to say this; are we really gods chosen one s to rule the earth or was religion created by man to ease his guilty conscience.
B Jacobson <brian_jacobson@mail.scf.k12.wi.usa>
Centuria, WI USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 07:20:29 (PST)
I have not yet read B, but "Ishmael" made quite an impression. My goal is to try to reach kids at a youth center which I am involved with. The trick is to make any explanation short and sweet. There are questions with no easy answers. For instence, there is more than one way to look at agriculture. If a group of people decide to stay in one place, which thay have found to their liking, are thay takers if crops and animals are raised? Practicing agriculture may help prevent over hunting and other wise over useing the surrounding eco-system.
Alan R. Willard <>
West Point, CA USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 02:40:56 (PST)
Aeolian: We now enter into a territory where the conversational forms we are used to in our culture - debate ("to fight over") and plain old discussion ("to shake apart") will fail us. Where science and spirituality are integrated, where reason and int uition merge, where values and faith and emotion become indistinguishable from what are known as "facts", only one kind of conversation will work. It is called dialogue (dialogos = flow of meaning), that kind of interaction best spoken of by the late phys icist David Bohm. Yet even with dialogue, we can't tackle the transcendental with words (e.g., like trying to teach what "tao" is by showing them the Tao te Ching). I am not going to try to convince you that the universe has a purpose, and you are not goi ng to convince me that the universe is just mechanical. However, if we explore the assumptions underlying our overlapping but different worldviews, continuously working deeper and deeper, we could create a shared meaning which will be much more important than the opinions and beliefs we came in with. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time and I don't want to hog up the B-Board. Believe me, I understand exactly where you are coming from. I've just learned that mythos is an important part of life (which we lack in our culture) and that the epic of evolution (from physical to personal to cosmic) as a story which binds us to nature and to each other in a "purposeful" journey is, for me, vital, and an appropriate mythos for our special time in history. It doe sn't just make me "feel good." It has reminded me that life is not just a travail from point A to point B, that it is adventure itself, and that its boundaries are not just physical birth and death. I can explore my assumptions underlying this, and they m ay evolve. But while this worldview is mutable, it is not debatable. I hope that you sense a larger purpose, too, whatever form it takes. Yes, it does feel good, but it also makes me one hell of a motivated activist. Take care, Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 00:40:52 (PST)
Matthew -- Does your inevitability equate to "purposed," or just to "looking back it is predictable that this occurred?" Do you see what I'm getting at here? While there may be some collective consciousness (or something like that) that has emerg ed as a "result" of our gaining that capacity, it would still be a bio-chemical oddity if it were not "purposed," or "intended," or "caused" by something personal existing in the universe "before" this capacity developed. That's a rub for me. You speak about the "eyes of the universe," which again imbues a mechanical universe with some sense of the personal beyond logic. It seems to me that if A is A, it cannot be B (no pun intended). If this is a mechanical universe (non-purposed, non-perso nal)then our attempts to "personalize" it by anthrophormorphic allusions (in this case I mean that literally) may make us feel better, but offers no real answer. This may seem absurd, but I assure you that I'm serious, because, if it is truly mechanical/ non-purposed/non-personal, then the fire of life itself -- far from being the gods -- is just "what has occurred," and is without the possibility of what we call "meaning." Unless "we" ascribe meaning to it.... and around and around and around we go.... Regards, Aeolian
Aeolian <>
USA - Monday, February 24, 1997 at 20:08:00 (PST)
I'm a science teacher (just graduating). I have read Ismael, B, and Providence. I especially liked DQ's thoughts on education in Providence. For a long time I have been frustrated by the anthrocentric beliefs of society. I caution people not to bec ome so attached to the Leaver culture as being perfect either. Humans are, have always been, and always will be imperfect. We are not here because of divine intervention. Thankfully, science has served the purpose of exposing many of the common misconc eptions of our culture. Unfortunately, they still get ignored. I have had many discussions with people on the topics of ethics, evolution, creation, religion, etc. I have read a lot of books too. DQ really has got it together. A sensible man. Ishmael and The Story of B are scientifically sound. The fact that DQ is bang on is actually scary. The population problem, according to Hardin, "has no technical solution". DQ found the independent production. I have photocopied some of B's teachings and distributed them to friends who don't read books and thus don't understand. (So rry DQ). Theses teachings are extremely well written and well argued. My hat is off to you DQ. Well done!
Greg Wondga <>
Edmonton, AB Canada - Monday, February 24, 1997 at 14:54:28 (PST)
Dear Folks: Sorry about the length of this, but I wanted to see if anyone was interested in a little lifelong adventure. E-mail me if you might be interested. This is just an idea, although some of the "facets" have a good bit of development behind the m..... KNIGHTHOOD OF THE EVOLUNTEER (THE KEV) From the words evolution ("unfolding") and volunteer (service done of one's own free will). The Kev are people who carry out a special mission. Their mission is to convey two of the greatest powers and treasures of humankind: evolutionary consciousness an d conscious evolution. They fulfill their mission by learning, practicing, and extending these powers in their own lifetimes/lifespaces and by passing them from generation to generation. The Kev are open to people of any age, gender, ethnicity, or genetic lineage. The tradition of the Knighthood of the Evolunteer will end when there is no longer a need for it. It is likely to be centuries, at least, before this is the case. To receive a Knighthood of the Evolunteer, one must achieve experience and competence in twelve areas or Facets. These are described below. A Knighthood of the Evolunteer is granted when at least three Kev together review the experiences of the aspiring Kev after the aspiring Kev has received twelve completion marks, one for each Facet of Kev. Any one Kev can grant an aspiring Kev a completio n mark for a single Facet of Kev during a one-year period. The Tri-Kev will test the aspiring Kev on intellectual, emotional, spiritual and practicum grounds. The Tri-Kev are more stewards than they are judges; they serve to help the aspiring Kev to know and to decide whether they are ready. The decision of the Tri-Kev must be unanimous, including the agreement of the aspiring Kev. If they decide not to grant a Knighthood, they will explain why, they will recommend to the aspiring Kev what he or she could do to get closer to Kev, and the aspi ring Kev will do whatever he or she wishes. Upon re-applying for Knighthood, the aspring Kev may organize a new Tri-Kev, and is not bound to mention or explain the judgment of the earlier Tri-Kev. Once a Kev has received Knighthood, he or she is the only person who can remove it. Once an aspiring Kev has received Knighthood, he or she may take the name Kev as a middle name. The name will not be hereditary. THE TWELVE KEY FACETS:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: SYSTEMS THINKING: INTERRELATIONSHIP AND INTERDEPENDENCE, NON-LINEARITY, OPENNESS, DYNAMISM, CHAOS, COMPLEXITY, AUTOPOEISIS, SELF-ORGANIZATION EVOLUTIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS: PHYSICAL, CULTURAL, SOCIAL / SOCIETAL, PERSONAL, COSMIC DESIGN: IDEALIZED SOCIAL SYSTEMS DESIGN, DESIGN LITERACY, DESIGN COMPETENCE, DESIGN CULTURE DIALOGUE: GENERATING MEANING AND COMMUNITY THROUGH DIALOGUE IN GROUPS DEMOCRACY / DEMOSOPHY: DEMOCRACY AS A CREATIVE PATTERN OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, DEMOSOPHY AS THE EMERGENT PRINCIPLE OF THE PRACTICE OF DEMOCRACY COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE FAMILIARITY WITH YOUR OWN COMMUNITY IN ALL RESPECTS: PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC, HEALTH, GOVERNANCE, ETC. LOCALIZED PRAXIS: THEORY TO PRACTICE WHERE YOU LIVE AND WORK GLOBAL AWARENESS: FAMILIARITY WITH ISSUES OF PEOPLE AFAR, AWARENESS OF HUMAN COMMONALTIES AND DIFFERENCES, SENSING THE RICH TAPESTRY OF HUMANKIND, INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION SUSTAINABLE LIVING PRACTICE: CREATING BALANCE BETWEEN SYSTEM AND ECOSYSTEM; ENERGY, FOOD, MATERIALS MYTHOS: THE JOURNEY THAT BINDS US TO NATURE AND TO EACH OTHER, TO THE PAST AND TO THE FUTURE TAO: SENSING THE PARALLELS BETWEEN YOUR NATURE AND ALL OTHER NATURES, THE GREAT PARALLEL FLOW OF NON-THING WHICH CREATES ALL OTHER FLOWS TEACHING: LEARNING VIA TEACHING, TEACHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE LEARNED, TEACHING BECAUSE YOU MUST EMPOWER IN ORDER TO EVOLVE
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Monday, February 24, 1997 at 02:15:01 (PST)
In reply to Aeolian: two items. First, I do not believe that we are here by Time+Chance. I believe that the emergence of us, or others like us in the universe, was an inevitability. While there is a tendency toward entropy in the universe in general (a nd Creationists use this as a tool to argue against theories of biological evolution), complex systems in environments of high energy flow have a tendency to self-organize and self-reproduce. As systems become more complex, and utilize more energy and inf ormation flow, they also produce more entropy; thus, they are in a sort of race between the ability to become more efficient (which requires re-organization and evolution) or devolve to the next lower stable state. This race is what drives the upward spir al of evolution, whether it is in physical systems, biological systems, social systems, or within our own psyches as we evolve personally. Second, while you are correct that our greater complexity and power has brought terrible things, it has also brought wonderful things. This is another inevitablity, I believe, of the journey of humanity on this planet: the double-edged sword (for lack of a better metaphor), the convergence of two great forces: the first being the evolutionary, the integration of diversity, the ability to explore worlds of experience and joy, learning and adventure, love and freedom, and the second force being the ability to wreak havoc upon the balances that are needed for the larger system to sustain us. Within each of us there is a microcosm of this tension - the interaction between our "tao" or in-born sense of the parallels between human nature and all other natures ( "the big laser") and the culture which seeks to tell us what the nature of things is like, working through representations and images. The fruitful interaction of these is wonderful; but when tao-sense gets minimized, life is significantly dimished. Anwa y, I am trying to say that we are not meaningless in the eyes of the universe, because in some sense we are those eyes. Take care, Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 21:16:25 (PST)
For Matthew S. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. And I would certainly agree that from the "complexity" perspective, humans are very complex indeed. I found your thread of logic/facts fascinating. And then... you state that this complexity somehow makes us "spe cial." The word "special" has a value connotation. What you mean, if we stick to the plain meaning of words, is that we are merely different -- we are more complex, only. Does different/more complex make us "special?" It doesn't (in an impersonal univ erse), it only makes us more complex, period. Of what significance is greater complexity? Does it infer greater "capacity?" For what? Have you considered that the capacity that comes from this greater complexity may, indeed, lead to the propensity to dominate, as mentioned in my last posting? The inate propensity? You ultimatley speak about "wisdom" and "creativity" as being important to our solution. In an impersonal universe (literally non-personal), "wisdom" and "creativity" are biochemical oddities -- by-products of our complexity, but do they have meaning? W hy would one use/direction of wisdom and creativity be better than some other use? We come full circle to my original premise. If this is a truly impersonal universe -- if we are here by time+chance -- then it matters not what direction our species takes. If it is evolutionarily unstable, it will take care of itself. Since there is n o greater intrinsic value to our species -- one species more or less is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. The fire of life will continue to burn, or not. Even that is irrelevant in a truly impersonal (read that, mechanical) universe. Even our thinking that it matters would be just another bio-chemical oddity. Regards.... Aeolian
Aeolian <>
Redondo Beach, CA USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 18:06:45 (PST)
Fantastic! As with most pagans I know, Tis a good fit with my concept of the divine.
Bill Chellis <>
Wayne , ME USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 17:58:21 (PST)
I feel that this is the first priority, quite possibly the only priority and, I would like to help.
Marty Shaw <MS16110 ASU>
Boone, NC USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 15:36:58 (PST)
This story was recommended by a long-time follower. As I read, I found myself saying over and over - of course. The boiling frog describes it perfectly. I am certainly convinced we are on a collision course with catastrophe! However, as I contemplate a course of action, at least for myself, I am at a complete loss. Everything I consider is simply a stick in the river. Programs are everywhere. Started by people who want to do the right thing and do the thing right. Yet, their efforts fail to change the flow of the river because they are simply programs. Although I recognize this, (and maybe I am only fooling myself)It would seem as though by continually working on programs, we are finding our way toward each of us becoming B. In other words, we did'nt get this way over night and we sure won't give it all up over night and begin living the laws of life. So in the meantime don't the programs at least help slow down the destruction and serve to get us more comfortable with the vision? I truly want to be B and any guidance toward the achievement of that goal would be most welcomed.
Malden, MA USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 11:52:13 (PST)
I would like to respond to Aeolian's words about impersonality and personkind. Per states: "But if the nature of the world is truly "impersonal" and if personkind has no more intrinsic value than beetles or mice, what does that matter?" Some people see history as a straight line of events, one after the other with no particular significance to the order. Some people see history as circular, with endlessly-repeating cycles of events. I and those who see the history of the universe in evol utionary terms see history as a spiral - yes, there are cycles of extensive growth and intensive growth / differentiation and integration, but in a direction of increasing complexification and energy and information flow. There is an interesting table, wh ich I'll try to reproduce here: Acceleration of Energy Flux Densities: Milky Way 1; Sun 2; Earth's climasphere 80; Earth's biosphere (plants) 500; Human body 17,000; Human brain 150,000 This says something very interesting, that the human brain sends through more energy per unit mass per time than any of the evolutionary structures that came before it. Space limitations preclude elaboration at this moment. We may not have any greater "intrinsic value" than beetles or mice, but we are special . We are not at the center of the universe - the center is everywhere - but we (and any other sentient beings in the universe) may be riding the arrowhead of its evolut ion. Some people believe that the next step is a form of energy consciousness; I am not so interested in that as I am in this: the horizon that is created every day for 200,000 new people. The evolution that they will experience in their own lifetimes, as it relates to the evolution of their cultures and their ecosphere. The "tragedy" has already begun - just look at how most people live their lives. The collapse is not with a bang but with a whimper. It is already too late in terms of what has been lost. But we can also say that the transition period has just begun (actually, began in the '60s). As to how to survive the transition period we have entered, we cannot retreat to a simpler simplicity, but we may advance to a more complex simplicity. There is no other way but through the use of wisdom and creativity.
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 11:36:01 (PST)
I've appreciated much of what I've read in the guestbook. Think about this, however. If the mass of the world's population, over time, has taken the "T-Ag" route, perhaps it is inate. Perhaps the next step in evolution from Homo "hunter/gatherer" was this propensity to dominate, not just Homo "took a wrong cultural turn." It is depressing, but look at the evidence! Don't misunderstand. I'm convinced that something is very wrong and we're headed down the drain, as a species. But if the nature of the world is truly "impersonal" and if personkind has no more intrinsic value than beetles or mice, what does that matter ? Perhaps the place is better off once we're gone. Or, perhaps this isn't an immpersonal universe. Aeolian
Aeolian <>
Redondo Beach, CA USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 09:30:29 (PST)
I would like to thank the many people who have responded to my post asking "why would you want to work your ass off to only live 20 years." I am sorry if anyone is/was offended by that. I made that statement in a momment of frustration -- what can I d o, what can anyone do. I look around me, and I become frustrated. I see people who still don't recycle, and don't teach their children about recycling. I see us buying and buying poor quality products that end up in the trash. I don't remember my paren ts buying as much as we do today. We don't have things repaired anymore. We just throw the old out, and buy a replacement. We are constantly trying to keep up with technology. Companies replace their computers, printers, etc every year to be competiti ve. Do these companies recycle the shipping containers or the equipment. Most do not recycle the equipment, because no one wants the old equipment -- we all want the most update equipment. Do bars recycle their cans and bottles? I see our properties b ecoming car lots -- we have to cut down the trees and clear the gardens for the 2nd car, the RV, the boat, etc.. We have to make our yards into parks (by law) which is inhabitable for any living creature except man. Have you driven by a high school late ly -- there are so many cars. We are going to pave this planet! What scares me the most is that we may become one big paved city. Once when I was in grad school and working at odd jobs, I was dreaming of a vacation somewhere -- the mountains, the seash ore, etc. I asked my fellow workers, who have always lived in the city and can't stand any insects, where they would like to vacation. Their unanimous response was -- their dream vacation would be to another big city! We are getting farther and farther away from nature for some people to even to desire it and not be afraid of it. I agree with everything DQ has written. But, I don't believe we can all revert to hunter-gatherers, it just would not happen. Have you ever driven to grocery store to find everyone circling the parking lot for the parking spot closest to the door, even though there are plenty of empty parking spots. If we can't walk, how can we revert back to hunter-gathers! DQ has changed my attitude about a lot of things. I was/am one of those liberals that believes we should help everyone. I used to believe that we must save the poor starving children in ..., but I realize that kind of thinking is promoting the "totalitarian agriculture". I've been told, you can visit places in the world where there are no trees, no wildlife, no nature -- just the human species and concrete. The community is totally dependent on outside help to maintain itself. I am really interested in trying to foster a discussion of the steps we can take now that will lead us into a more balanced existence. One that will help us to save ourselves, to reduce our need to dominate the world. I am frustrated because I don't believe the little steps are going to save this world, anymore. We are destroying the world at an accelerated pace. Look at how many forests and natural habitats we have destroyed in the US in the past 20-30 years! The pope is visiting countries and telling everyone to have babies -- have more babies! Thank you, Debi
Debi Pyrch <>
Annapolis, MD USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 07:45:14 (PST)
I would like to respond to Jallyso's statement that animism removes the possibility of life after death. In the context of a culture where animism is a feature, it is likely that a coherent mythos exists. A coherent mythos is a journey that binds peopl e to each other, to the rest of nature, to the past and to the future. We experience, in a typical non-animist culture, a fear of death because of that lack of that kind of connection. We also tend not to live in the "forever-moment." If one experiences t he coherent mythos of a supportive culture, then in a real sense one lives on forever; there is not the ego-invested sense of living on as we are today, but a transcendent kind of living on through the actions we took during the 75+/- 20 years that we wer e conscious beings rooted in a biological self. Past, present, and future all merge. So, to conclude, if we think about simply importing animism into our current cultural milieu, we've done nothing about death-fear and connection beyond our own lifetimes. But if we evolved our culture to have a coherent mythos based, say, on evolutionary consciousness and conscious co-evolution between nature, culture, and individual, then that problem wouldn't be there. We must consider the whole picture when pondering i deals.
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Sunday, February 23, 1997 at 00:13:58 (PST)
Good or bad, wrong or right, these teachings are indeed that of an "antichrist" in the truest meaning of the words. As a free-thinker, pursuer of Sufist ideals, I find the ideas fascinating, viable, and chilling. For we are indeed talking of a "great u nsouling" here. Animism removes the possibility of life after death, of transcendence...there is much truth here and that's what scares me. We are indeed at a horrible pass and the frog's been long dead. Things need to change-and this, though it sounds so bloody RIGHT, may not be the way, either. I urge fellow travelers to think clearly on this. To one who's despaired often of the way we live, searching for what's best for ALL earthlings, this seemed the perfect answer-at first. I, for a time at least, h ave lost my ability to judge .
Jallyso Bongle <>
Kewaunee, WI USA - Saturday, February 22, 1997 at 23:26:24 (PST)
I wish I had had the insights to write such a story. I have been working on a book on this same area for three and a half years now, and have stopped with everything but the final chapter written. I don't seem to be able to finish it. I concluded "B" with the feeling that we are boiled frogs and that the turn around is too much to expect of the likes of us. But then I learn that Paul Ray says there are 44 million cultural creatives and that the number is growing rapidly. The traditionalists and the technologist numbers are declining. Could it be that when there are a critical mass of cultural creatives (most likely to be Bs) there will be both the will and the way to turn things around before it's too late. Maybe the only thing stopping the cultural creatives is that they don't have anything like agreiculture or technology to help them recognize each other. COULD IT BE THAT B WILL BRING THE CULTURAL CREATIVES INTO AWARENESS OF THEIR NUMBERS VIA THIS WEB SITE! COULD IT BE THAT B IS HERE? For those earlier inputs about Senge's fifth disci- pline systems thinking and about aboriginal traditions, I recommend you contact the EHAMA institute (put ehama in your Yahoo!). They have done it. They have used native traditions to teach everyone how to think in systems terms in a very practical way.
John Adams <>
San Francisco, USA - Friday, February 21, 1997 at 22:37:49 (PST)
Of course I loved Ishmael and B. However concerning "The Great Forgetting" and what B said: "Why do we have to hear about Jesus' birth year, after year, after year?" Simple, not to forget! For those of us who know the story, twenty years can go by a nd we will still recall. The point is the children will never know. For anyone that has ever read "Roots", you will recall that the African tribes all have a storyteller. This person can recount the genealogy of each member of the tribe, and whenever a birth occurs, the story goes on. How do they do it? Repetition. Around the fire, year in and year out, people are treated to the same old stories. How do we learn anything well? through repetition! I'm sorry Daniel, but you forgot this - however, I truly enjoy your books.
Carole S. <>
Montreal, Canada - Friday, February 21, 1997 at 19:24:37 (PST)
1 99 8 whant to know a secret????????? where is the red door?????????
sioux city, IA USA - Friday, February 21, 1997 at 09:03:00 (PST)
It's funny to imagine the long line of coincidence ("fate"?) that lead me to read first Mutant Message, then Ishmael, then B'. I guess the big question is: "How do we resolve out current situations with the a new vision?"
Dave Seidle <>
Aurora, ONT Canada - Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 17:41:31 (PST)
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we live on this planet. After reading _Ishmael_ a few years ago and just finishing _B_, my thoughts are more lucid. Quoth Margaret Mead "Have no doubt that a small group of strong minded citizens ca n change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." (sic).
Patrick Harrigan <>
Madison, WI USA - Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 14:03:17 (PST)
Hello, my friends, and fellow b's. I have been pruning in our small orchard this week, and thinking on the problems we face as leavers-at-heart caught in our taker-lifestyles. This is a dilemma I have been struggling with since I read Ishmael 5-6 ye ars ago. How many of us must work for an entity that has a taker nature. Not very many people have the luxury of choosing for themselves an occupation that is not in some way contrary to their moral values... their B-values. What-to-do, when you finall y awaken and find yourself working for Ewing Oil , (or worse, that you are JR Ewing!) and that all you really know how to do is make money. It's a big problem, and when you study it, you see that virtually every aspect of our day-to-day living has been seized from us, in some form, by our government and it's corporate cohorts, which puts each of us immediately in the position of needing to sell ourselves, so that we can obtain the currency to pay for the very things we need to survive: Shelter, food, e tc. So we go to University, if we are among the fortunate, to learn how to be what the corporations want. *** Just hypothetically, suppose you wanted to downsize yourself to a hunter-gatherer. Divest yourself of your king and unnecessary material thi ngs; and just live off the land. Here in Oregon, if you can find a place where you aren't legally trespassing, to hunt and forage and shelter yourself, you'll be needing permits, licenses and tags for anything and everything you plan to take out ($$$), and it is cold and rainy for the best of the hunting season (you can only hunt "in-season"... legally), so you'll need to watch out for hypothermia. You can't build a shelter on public (ha ha)lands... legally. If you can somehow manage to own a few acr es of wilderness (a neat trick for a hunter-gatherer, if not a complete misnomer)there are of course the taxes you might be able to pay if you can sell enough raccoon and fox hides, or harvest your trees, (not nice) but the current zoning here in the Will amette forest area is 1 homesite per 40 acres, and you'll need the building permit for anything larger that 12'x12' and it will need to be to code. It's illegal to burn during parts of the summer in the national forest... even a small campfire to cook by. Fortunately, you know where there are freshwater springs so you won't always need to boil water as long as the spring perks. Water is vital, of course. You can dig a well, but the county will require a record of it (legally) and you'll need elect ricity to pump the water up if it's deeper than your rope reaches (our well is 350" deep), hand pumps aren't very effective the deeper the well gets, and they freeze up easily because they are primed with water up to the spout, when in regular use. *** Yes, I am being cynical. I know it's not practical for everyone to be a hunter-gatherer even if it were legal. I mean just to illustrate this point: That we are not unlike slaves to the kings. Most of us go like slaves to our jobs so that we can ear n the $$$ to sustain ourselves and families on the brink of economic and environmental collapse. We can see the dilemma clearly now, but still we go because the alternative is to become a refugee in our own land. How are we ever going to free ourselve s from the grip of goverment regulation, and corporate exploitation? I don't want to be a party to it, it violates my ethics, but it seems like they have really got us by the... well, you know. *** Please, I invite your thoughts, comments and ideas . Deborah
Deborah McDonald <>
Scotts Mills, OR USA - Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 13:07:12 (PST)
I am a high school teacher who read Ishmael last summer and found it to be incredibly interesting and at the same time, unnerving. I have also been reading other related books such as The Celestine Prophecy, The Tenth Insight, A Return to Love, Mutant Message Down Under... When I saw The Story of B in the bookstore in December I was excited about it and read it in two days. Just like Ishmael, I couldn't put it down. This site is interesting and I am looking forward to browsing the Ishmael in education sections.
Richard Schmitt
Metairie, LA USA - Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at 09:28:42 (PST)
As I read both Ishmael and The Story of B, I felt as if I was finally reading ideas that made sense to me. Over the past few years, I have rejected all of the religious ideal which have been taught to me. I am now at a strage (at 17 years old) where my mind is empty...ready to be completed with ideas that I myself have chosen to be the correct ones. With Ishmael, I began that process.
Sara Sills <>
West Orange, N.JNJ USA - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 17:58:53 (PST)
I am writing another entry here just a week later, mostly because I now have an email address ("Call me Email.") I've been reading more stuff from the Website this afternoon, and I'm pretty frazzled by now. But I have to say, like so many others, this B-stuff is just wonderful; it is the intellectual/moral/mythological "meat" I've been hungry for for so long. We need a good story to be in! The little carpet squares of a story provided by our bizarre culture has made little sense to me all my life. Some thing wrong with me? Now I can say it: hell no! I'm a B Leaver! Thanks for your good work, Daniel.
Kirk Knighton <>
Bainbridge Island, WA USA - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 17:02:18 (PST)
Much food for thought. I am interested in hearing the comments of fellow readers. the change of perspective pesented by Ishmael and B seem revalatory of basic error in the conceptual basis of our world's dominant cultures. Yet the evolutonary opportun ities that our detour from our original heritage seem very rich if we can learn to harness the intellect we have developed while re-learning that we do not really have the knowledge of who should live and who should die.
APTOS, CA USA - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 15:20:13 (PST)
Exactly my intuitive thoughts about the situation, but put in a vastly more coherent form. A wonderful revelation. B finds him/herself in the weird position to become a missionary to the dark continent of "civilization" to convert the ignorant savages of christianity and other similar religions to change their beliefs and be "un-saved". Reminds me of one of my favorite bumper stickers "Down With Progress". The problem is - what do we do with the present situation? The dismantling is too close to every aspect of modern life as we know it. I guess I probably know the answer once I can speak it aloud - Begin small and local - talk to your family, friends and n eighbors. Give the book as a gift, let it speak for you, cause a small ripple in the immediate circle of your environment and watch the tidal forces build up to encompass the world itself. Please keep in touch. JEFF
Dr Jeffrey Thompson <>
Encinitas, CA USA - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 11:57:28 (PST)
hi- After reading "B" I got Jeremy Rifkin's "The End of Work," where he talks about technological downsizing in a business environment of increasing productivity and profits, and calls for a shorter work week along with an enhanced non-profit sector, paid f or with a tax on new technology, as ways to allow all to share in "society's" productivity gains. This of course is a huge leap for a corporation to support whose eye is fixed on the bottom line (unless they happen to notice an even more "bottom" line 3- 100 years down the road and care enough to take this sort of long range thinking into account today). But Rifkin explicitly calls for raising our individual and collective conciousness towards what he calls a "post-market" economy -- and this is connected to DQ's observation that in a leaver society, the contract between individual and society is "give support to get support" rather than "give products to get products." It also connects to something I heard on NPR recently (don't remember who): that "clean" and "sustainable" and "earth-friendly" are all value-adding, i.e. people will pay more, and va lue more, something that's "clean", if they can afford it. Also: We can't reduce the food supply and give some (most!?) of the earth back if we can't first feed everyone currently on it. So the economic paradigm must shift if we are to save the world. The shift I can make, as DQ points out, is to start givin g support to my immediate community -- family, friends, and neighbors. Much (all!) can be accomplished in the spirit of "good for my community." Happy leaving, -cg
Chris Granner <>
Evanston, IL USA - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 07:56:09 (PST)
Hello. I just finished reading The Story of B at the bookstore (sorry! couldn't afford to buy it!). It was fun. Just a few comments today. First, I think I remember seeing Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline on DQ's recommended reading list for backgrou nd on systems (inter-relationship / inter-dependence) thinking. The book was written for a business audience and is kind of looked upon by systems thinkers of a more physical sciences background as a watered-down source. For a deeper understanding of syst ems thinking - complemented by the portfolio of non-linearity, complexity, chaos, and general evolution - I'd recommend Ervin Laszlo's works. His books are easy to understand and they cross boundaries from physics to sociology to the humanities. They also communicate a sense of the "epic of evolution" - not just biological evolution, but the evolution of the cosmos (and our role in it), societies, and cultures. I recommend EVOLUTION: THE GRAND SYNTHESIS (1988), THE NEW EVOLUTIONARY PARADIGM (1991), THE AG E OF BIFURCATION (1993), and THE CHOICE: EVOLUTION OR EXTINCTION (199_). I also wanted to comment on the use of the term "Nature." I agree with DQ that to see it as something "out there" - the sky, trees, oceans, etc. - is false; rather it is a flow that everything runs in parallel with (as in "everything has a nature"). Even we thinking creatures can't "escape" nature; in fact, our divergence, if it could be graphed, would appear quite small. Yet that small divergence from the parallel - the harmonic, as B would say - makes a huge difference. Sort of like how we share 98% of our genetic material with chimpanzees. To sense this "parallel flow" that is like a laser beam - ah, that is called Tao. We're born with it, but unfortunately our culture helps us forg et it. Perhaps "The Great Forgetting" is not only a multi-millenia event but something which happens in our lives as we grow up in an un-supportive culture. The answer? Dialogue, evolutionary consciousness, and conscious evolution. Be well, Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 23:58:07 (PST)
I was wondering why the Indians haven't had an influence since many of the leaver concepts seem to be part of their heritage? I also wonder what it is that we can do now? What should I teach my children? Should they learn how to live off the land? Respect nature. etc. My innermost self seems to feel comfortable with the thought that we are part of a web of life. I'm just wondering if it's our time soon like it has been so many species. The book made me think A LOT. I have a father dying of cancer for which I've been afraid to face. I think that I feel a little more comfortable with it being part of nature; part of what's supposed to happen and that he'll live in on in many other ways anyway, as your book alludes to.
Pam <>
Rockledge, FL USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 21:50:24 (PST)
I have a LOT of thoughts, comments and experiences with Ishmael, Providence and B, but I'm still writing them out, because that's the way I think. It's good to see the messages from so many people who were as troubled and inspired as I was. I'm just signing on today, but will be in touch soon.
Jack Phillips <>
Los Alamitos, CA USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 20:18:35 (PST)
I think the key to both Ishmael and The Story of "B" is the looking at the question of the knowledge of good and evil, and can we have it? One aspect that seems to be overlooked, however, is that of the indivi- subconscious and its overwhelming influence and power in all of our lives. Is it not the source of all we feel? What do you think Mr. Quinn?
Josh Williams <Williamz10>
Ventura, ca USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 19:18:46 (PST)
i am very upset with myself for being caught up in the flow of the river mother culture. i had alway thought of myself as a large rock standing strong against the flow. i looked around for the banks of this river and thought that i had stagerd to shore . your books taught me that i mearly got on a sand bar soon to be caried away with the rest. you have done a great thing, by showing us reality. thank you very much. searching for more insight, michael mulcahy
michael mulcahy <>
seattle, wa USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 10:53:02 (PST)
The books have turned me inside out. I am a writer and a minister who is on permanent disability. My new novel is called BLOODFIRE. In the novel, I am trying to tell a new story that will give us a new spiritual context from which to live. It is something that I know I have to do. The BloodFire is the powerful voice deep within the human spirit that is yearning to return to what we can be. I'd be glad to talk more. I really need people to talk to about it. The William Morris Agency is representing me on the novel, so there is a real chance that another voice will be added, but I need help and encouragement. It is difficult to step away from Mother Culture. I am trying to set up a BLOODFIRE PAGE, but I'll keep looking here for people to talk to. Thanks.
John Tuft <>
Pittsburgh, PA USA - Monday, February 17, 1997 at 07:55:00 (PST)
Wow! Heavy duty!! DQ better hang out with Salmon Rushdie (spelling?) after this book (Story of B).The Catholic Church may put a bounty on his head! But I think the time is right for the thoughts in the book,and I have great expectations for reasoning if it ever becomes popular. P.S. Daniel , you're welcome to hang here if hiding or just travelling through.Signed B,Jr.(B2,Me,Too)
John S Detrick <>
Delaware, oh USA - Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 20:21:09 (PST)
Enjoyed it very much. Wondered about his views on mother natures capabilities of regeneration. Thought that the world will probably continue after we die out...
Bradley Wind <>
Schwenksville, Pa USA - Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 14:28:19 (PST)
I only just realized - "B" - as in "how we might BE" Must think on this!
Ting Barrow <>
New York, NNY USA - Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 12:41:06 (PST)
Watching my children play Monopoly - a potent dose of Mother Culture - it occurs that maybe we could, collectively, construct a similar game with Leaver values, a game in which the game only continues by following the peace-keeping and other laws DQ is talking about. We could make it down-loadable so anyone could play. Or may it could be a MUD. I like the idea of it's being LOCAL better - let each set of players tailor the game so it suits THEM - as long as they follow the laws.
Ting Barrow <>
New York, NY USA - Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 12:22:56 (PST)
first of all , i'm have not read the story of b yet. but i do have a copy. i'm the guy from clemson who "has little money and less knowledge." i'm writing again to inform you to the point i'm at. i have become quite aware of the pain . the great pa in. i can hear the cry of mother earth now . i see the tears of father sky. all is bleak it seems , all is like chasing the wind. i have begun to find a alteritive to this way of society. yet i m afraid. i've realized somewhere inside myself that k nowledge is the disease , we , humans , have broken all the laws of nature and the anicient spirits await justice. my fathers were robbed of their land and way of life. the scared lands of the dead were made into malls and highways. we do have a debt t o repay. and money isn't the answer. danial , i feel very strongly about the words you speak on paper. i agree with you. i can't say that about everything ; however my strenght to fight is growing weak , i'm losing the will to continue. i know today that it is not god that will save us , i don't think anything can ...... it seems that the plane made of sticks has hit the ground already , and we are simply bleeding to death.. but no matter my state of hope , no matter my state of despair , i will do all i can to stop the bleeding of the earth , for we (humans ) are not the important ones. life is the important one. i am thankful you give a place to talk about these things. if youi by chance want to send me any information i would be help to recie ve it. my adress is 109 earle st. apartment number two , clemson s.c. 29631. again thank you for describing the thing i could not name.
neil chambers
clemson, sc USA - Sunday, February 16, 1997 at 08:44:09 (PST)
I understand the message. I understand that Mr. Quinn cannot be responsible for the direction of the movement, if such a movement comes about. I sumpathize with those who want to know what do I do now. I guess circulating the books and talking about them and thier ideas on the Internet is the best start. If people get to talking electronically, then we can get consensus for the little things that could start the ball rolling. I hope to hear from people who have read the books and want to discuss t he start of the B movement. I hope to hear from other B minded individuals.
Randy Gill <>
South Amboy, NJ USA - Saturday, February 15, 1997 at 17:12:50 (PST)
I have not read it, but when I read Ishmael I knew that there was more to this book than solely supporting the survival of groups that my native culture would call 'primitive.' (I wrote to "Cultural Survival" at the end of the book.) I felt a spiritual call to change and create my own 'culture' that was more in harmony with the 'culture' of all living things. This is what these dwindling cultures seem to say to me....It is good to know that there are others seeking as I am. I can see that I have much to learn, and I look forward to reading "B." I will be back.
Rosemary <>
Pleasant Grove, UT USA - Friday, February 14, 1997 at 12:40:41 (PST)
I just started reading B and it is wonderful to find a fresh voice in the maelstrom of our society. I think of that kind of depression (someone mentioned earlier) as existential depression; a lot of people are suffering, and our culture offers Prozac. Sigh. I think we need a mailing list or some other forum to facilitate discussion.
LeAnne Middleton <>
Charlottesville, VA USA - Friday, February 14, 1997 at 10:58:16 (PST)
Inspired by " B" I wrote the a short addition, based on my study of Terror Management. Rather than post the whole 7600 characters here, I will e-mail it to any one interested. Jarred was sitting in the plaza, drinking his tea and reading the Sunday Times when she appeared. Without as much as a by your leave she sat down at his table and began talking. W. You missed something. J. Excuse me? W. Of course you're not to blame, so has almost everyone else. J. Do I know you? W. Not yet, though I suppose you could call me B. My name is Waldena. J. By the reference to the alphabet, I'm guessing you know who I am. So the only logical question to follow is "What did I miss?" W. I struggled with this question for a week before I stumbled on the answer, and it struck me with such force that I had to find you and talk with you about it. J. You certainly know how to bait the hook, now reel me in, please. W. The question I had was Why? Why was there a choice point where the two cultures, Leavers and Takers, spilt off? I felt you left it vague, describing agriculture and how there were various types of agriculture and one was totalitarian. From then on the success of totalitarian agriculture was a given, I understood that. But why should a culture hundreds of thousands of years old suddenly become aggressive? J. I must admit that you raise a valid point, one that hardly changes the inevitable conclusions though. W. I disagree, as will you when you see where I am headed.
Jim Hussey <>
Portland, OR USA - Friday, February 14, 1997 at 03:17:23 (PST)
We are B but more on that later.
Sandra Pedersen and Dave Jellicoe <>
Aurora, on Canada - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 18:36:58 (PST)
I get the feeling that we're stuck in a paradigm here, that the Leaver cultures are only "hunter gatherers" and live with loin cloths and spears. I think a valuable point DQ has made is that we should not emulate another culture, only their worldview. This worldview, of living within the world instead of above it, does not dictate all our cultural values, but it certainly needs to be taken into consideration. Somewhere out there, we can find a hybrid that embodies the Leaver world view and the world we have created....this is something we should all keep mulling over while we start reshaping how we see things. There isn't one way back into the world community and to remember what our culture has forgotten, but many ways. Just my three cents. Q <quinnmj>
Walla Walla, WA USA - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 17:07:59 (PST)
Hello out there, fellow reluctant takers and friends of Ishmael! I am brand-new at this sighberworld stuff, so bear with me until I get my e-mail address set up here at the library. I am 41, married, father of three(!) young children, all of whom are h ome-schooled and are learning about Ishmael's views. I myself have read all three books several times and cannot read anything else right now because this stuff is so freaking vital.This website is pretty neat, but I'd rather be sitting in the Bistro with my fellow tribe members hashing out this stuff and drinking good cheap wine. So, anyone in the Seattle area would like to get together and talk Ishmael and B?I should have my email address by Monday at the latest. Bye for now!
Kirk Knighton <notasyet>
Bainbridge Island, WA USAUSA - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 15:27:10 (PST)
What can I say that has not already been said? I love it. Ishmael and the Story of B have changed the way I view the world. I have a new vision and I hope that eventually all of my culture will have this same vision. I not only think that it is ext remely important that we get the message out, but I feel that we are obligated to spread the word. I have recommended the books to many of my friends and they feel the same enthusiasm. This site is excellent. We need to take advantage of the "technolog y" of the takers. These days we can spread the word so easily. What I have seen here is really encouraging. I feel confident that all together we can change the flow of the river!
Trey Hoover <>
Austin, tx USA - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 13:06:18 (PST)
I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 books -- Ishmael, ...Quest and Story of B. But, All 3 books left me depressed. I believe in the philosophy, but it hard for me to accept that my way of life has to go -- I enjoy reading books, leisure, stroll through the woo ds. In a hunter/gathereer tribe I would be working my ass off, and maybe live till I'm 20? I believe that the totalitarian agriculture is wrong, I believe that we are over populated despite the last report given that we are not. A lot of us will have to die to change our culture to a tribal system! I don't know the answers -- that's why I'm at your website!
debi pyrch <>
crownsville, md USA - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 08:08:15 (PST)
I've been whats coincidered by my parents as a "deep thinker" and never had anyone to understand me enough to give me suggestion in life. I've battled with what doctors call "major depression reaccuring" since 13 years of age. I am now 21. These books have made me feel less alone in the world. I've had anger towards religion itself since about the age of 10. Now I know why. Anti this and anti that, I'm sick of it! Promise you this, deny you that. Laws, rules, judgements. I begin to wonder if we as a species should become extinct. But I don't won't to be a nihilist for the arogance of anthropocentrics. There are us who know how it should be. A minority yes, but I hope that our day shall come. I was wondering if you've heard of the rock band Marilyn Manson. He has great ability to be the star of your latest book. On the surface people don't understand his message is the same as yours. He's just taken a "rock-star" image to attract the younger generstions who have been neglected to stand up for themselves. By start- ing with the young there is a greater chance of it oneday becoming reality, especialy when you have the popularity of a rock star hated by all political leaders, religions, and parents. The irony is he calls himself the Anti-christ Superstar and says all of his believers are anti-christs. That "we were born in America and America has made us what we are. America hates us for what we are."
Tressie <MKNOX666>
Birmingham, Al USA - Thursday, February 13, 1997 at 02:47:11 (PST)
Ive read both of these books and am more than astonished. If we have the answers whats taking so long to initiate them. We B's better start writing letters to the people who are making so many detrimental decisions. Id like to thank Daniel Quinn for wr iting back to me so quickly after i read Ishmael;it wasnt even a form letter! Im in a quandry... ive always thought of myself as a christian and a Catholic to boot, but after the story of B i dont know what the heck i am. I am going to do my best to sprea d the word and CONSERVE.
pat rea
detroit, mi USA - Wednesday, February 12, 1997 at 16:01:52 (PST)
Daniel. The most important piece of the puzzle is still missing.
David <>
USA - Wednesday, February 12, 1997 at 14:11:14 (PST)
At last!!! In discovering Daniel Quinn, 'Ishmael' and 'The Story of B' I am encountering a voice that clearly and convincingly articulates the concerns that have been bobbing around in my head for years. Raising our consciousness to the cataclysmic p opulation explosion now taking place is facing the necessity that our political, religious, and social leaders shrink from. David Quinn's logic concerning the role of food in engendering this disaster is unassailable.
John Goff <>
Frankfort, MI USA - Wednesday, February 12, 1997 at 11:19:34 (PST)