The Bnetwork Guestbook Archives: 9-31 March 1997

This is a clip from one of Merton's diaries from 1964, 1965. The last two sentences might have been spoken by B (perhaps they were...) "True, our thinking is logical and makes war seem right and necessary when it is fitted into a certain context starting from certain accepted axioms; but the trouble is with the context and the axioms. The root of the whole trouble is an entire concept of man and reality itself. This thing has not changed since the axioms have not changed."
Tom Carey <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Monday, March 31, 1997 at 22:20:14 (PST)
Incredibly insightful. The demography data was astounding. A major focus in my life will be to adopt more of a leaver mentality, to take only what I will use and to become closer intertwined in the workings around me. Those who are most disturbed with being called the Antichrist (which is largely us) are probably those who contribute most to the title. Am very interested in input concerning Ishmael, B, Celestine Prophecy, ancient prophecies, and the antichrist. I look at Celestine awareness and higher states of being as an advanced state of leaver cultures. Ancient prophecies have clearly predicted many cateclismic the awakening in B (the teachings) a major player in avoiding the dark prophecy of the millenium (which is said to be avoidable given a collective change of heart)? Is the purported antichrist a group ignorance or conscious decision to fully embrace taker mentality?
Paul Potter <>
St. Louis, MO USA - Monday, March 31, 1997 at 11:19:41 (PST)
I just happened to read Stephen Hawking's, A Brief History of Time and The Cosmic Blueprint by Paul Davies shortly before reading Daniel Quinn's Providence, Ishmael and The Story of B. Mr.Hawking writes that a grand unified theory that explains the universe should be understandable to ordinary people and not just scientists or philosophers. Mr. Davies maintains that new theories be founded on science not mysticism or transcendental principles. I cannot help but wonder if Mr.Quinns law of life could contribute to the grand unified theory in some fundamental way. I don't know perhaps my thinking is plugged up from to much heavy reading lately but what the heck here goes. If the law of life is like the law of gravity then like gravity it must work the same way through-out the universe. If we observe that life, awareness and intelligence has emerged here out of the matter in this region of space, then this emergence must be happening in other regions elsewhere in the universe. Quinn's law would seem to predict that left to develop, a web of life could one day become aware by simply evolving if it isn't plowed under by Taker life-forms or asteroids. In any case animism indicates all the matter in the universe could eventually become aware and so far it would seem that the most organized or complex matter in the universe we can see, ourselves, is intelligent. This being so, I can't help but think about all that aware and intelligent matter re-collapsing into a singularity or big crunch at the end of this universe and wonder, no pun intended, if it matters at all? Is the big crunch followed by another big bang? Is intelligent matter important in this process somehow? Is this just more anthropic thinking of a sort, a desire for some personal role in the scheme of things? Does Quinn's law point to a question or an answer?
Scott <>
Ucluelet, BC Canada - Sunday, March 30, 1997 at 03:05:51 (PST)
Clarification. Both Ishmael and The Story of B helped me clarify many of the things I have felt at a subconscious level. I have enjoyed the books thoroughly. I am also glad to have found this page. Keep it up!
Jethro Barger <>
Summertown, TN USA - Saturday, March 29, 1997 at 16:57:54 (PST)
I have read all of Daniel Quinn's books and all I can say is WOW! These books have really opened my mind. I am so thankful that I happened to pick up Ishmael at a bookstore one day. That day has changed my life forever. I hope oneday everyone will share Daniel Quinn's view.
Christa Pirl <CPirl@AOL>
Wilton, CT USA - Saturday, March 29, 1997 at 08:04:17 (PST)
Larry Hoover
Rochester, IN` USA - Saturday, March 29, 1997 at 07:50:07 (PST)
I look forward to reading The Story of B- I recently discovered Ishmael and have shared it with several people. I was browsing the web when I found the Ishmael site, and the many links. Cool. I look forward to reading B and Providence, et. al. Thank you. Therese Hebert P.S. website listed above is for my husband's and my business, MeasurTech Instruments.
Therese Hebert <>
Head Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia CANADA - Thursday, March 27, 1997 at 16:41:12 (PST)
tom greeg <>
mansfield, oh USA - Thursday, March 27, 1997 at 03:53:21 (PST)
I first read Ishmael and was very impressed. I am about one third of the way through The Story of B and am enjoying (if that is the right word) every word. It is all so very true. I first heard of these books from my daughter and her husband who called and said you have to read this. I most certainly will pass this message (and these books) on to others, and others, and others. I also read Providence and related with DQ's story. Thankk you for these books
Jeannie Dayton <>
Penn Valley, CA USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 21:39:54 (PST)
I recently finished Ishmeal and was inspired by it to read The Story of B. I found the ideas in Ishmeal to be very thought provoking and the more I thought about them, the more I agreed with them. It is refreshing to hear these ideas and know that there are people out there trying to understand us as people. I think more people should be introduced to these ideas. Thank you for your insights and I hope that The Story of B is just as exciting and insightful. Mark
Mark Byland <>
Holland, MI USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 21:14:46 (PST)
The Story of B and Ishmael offer one great hope for our survival- they challenge us to think about our lives and world. Once we have read these books, we can no longer simply "go along" These stories offer us the most revolutionary thought of modern times. The beatniks, hippies, punks, were merely a continuation of the Taker culture. B is the true "counter culture."
Dan <>
Chicago, IL USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 19:13:12 (PST)
There is hope for the world. My entire thought process has undergone a complete change. As a life long searcher I was estatic about the teachings of B. The list of books on religion, philosophy,ecology, social science, must all be punctuated by this mysterious book. I wonder how the native medicine man views this? Thank you Dan Quinn
joe bradley <>
nahant, ma USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 14:10:05 (PST)
i'm having some problems finding an answer to a qusestion i posted on the " question and answer " part of the site. so i'll ask it here and see if someone responds. it was about ancient societies and the region around the society. in the book , you say that " modern society " started around the middle east. you also said that with the abc's of ecology that we are food and we have to have food to be. well , maybe i'm just not a smart man , but to my underswtanding the middle east is a desert , so my question is , where the hell did they grow the food? or maybe a better question is , is the deserts in the area a resolute of desertifation? it just seems like places like the middle east , athens , rome , and isreal are not places that are very good for agriculture. one more thing , do religions have any positive quilities?
neil chambers <>
clemson, sc USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 09:10:25 (PST)
I shared Ishmael, URU and dialog about change in carpet industry to a sharp enviromental highschool group called HOPE in Cincinnati. I did water test for active clorine and shared my total enviromental company. I used an alarm clock at the end of our time to remind them to now wake up others. 9 more people to the count. Not a bad day. welcome spring and new hope. e Lower..
Elizabeth <>
Fairfield, oh USA - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 08:49:51 (PST)
I have yet to read the story of b, but I have read ishmial and providence. I have been hearing the vioce of mother culture extermely loudly as of late, and as you can imagine that can be a pretty depressing thing. It is good to see that there others out there who are also hearing it. thank you all for holding the door open for others to come through. though mother culture is screaming in my ear, I have remebered to stay positive, and will always use her voice as a way to enlighten others. keep passing on the good vibes and let it spread to all you come in contact with. keep in touch. LOVE
ralph garreffa <>
crystal lake, il USA - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 18:17:24 (PST)
Holly...... Read Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer's "Pollution and the Death of Man" before you abandon your beliefs. It is not so lonely out there.
Kirkland, WN USA - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 13:49:38 (PST)
I have read both books: Ishmael and B. The first, ishmael, was hard to get my mind around. The second was surprisingly intuitive! This speaks to the force behind the ideas presented in Ishmael, I think. I have to say that I feel a sense of loss though - my family is christian and to let these believes go is very difficult on many levels. There are no "communities" to share and take heart in the development of a new vision yet. Perhaps this is why passing on the book is so important... Thank you for your courage! sincerely, Holly
Holly <>
Raleigh, nc USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 17:17:48 (PST)
I just finished Ishmael and B recently. The ideas put forth, organized as such, provide a true paradigm shift! Needless to say, the task of following up on all of the suggested reading has begun. I somehow suspect that Ishmael and B only begin to scratch the surface of understanding our culture and the Leaver culture. If anyone has a good reference that isn't listed, please email it to me. -Just Be it Dave
David Tashima <>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 15:12:26 (PST)
Zoe.... You got my point exactly. Junk Spanish and French? Of course. Recognize the feminine and masculine nature of things? Never. One world, one sex. Hail the mighty earthworm. Damien
Sedona, AZ USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 14:01:37 (PST)
SUZANNE: YES! Did read Daughters of Copperwoman. It was the first time I felt the power of what it was like to have a god who was female. Awesome! MANUEL: Mistake to try to relate to or find accord between the "Quinn Catechism" and established religions. They are part of the problem. Find your own answers Hey, everybody! Ain't life grand? It's spring and the planet has a comet in the sky and one down here, too (DQ). Zoe
Zoe Calder <>
Brooks, ME USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 13:26:35 (PST)
To be honest, when my friend handed me a copy of "Ishmael" and said "You must read this," my first reaction was that I just didn't have time to fit in this book that I knew nothing about. I am glad I did make the time. I devoured it overnight. Then I went to the store to have get my own copy to read it again. I wanted to talk with all my friends about it. We would watch television, and I would hear "Mother Culture" speak through a commercial and I would look at them and say "Don't you hear it?" I am finally getting them to read it too. Then I read "The Story of B." Having been nudged forward by "Ishmael," I found my self being thrust even further into a new way of looking at things. Barriers protecting ideas which Mother Culture had managed to hide from Ishamel came crashing down. I now find my head filled with possibilities and I am reexamining everything which I had held to be the truth. I can not wait to explore these ideas further with other Friends of B!
Todd H. Muldrew <>
Knoxville, TN USA - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 11:23:10 (PST)
To Zoe: Have you ever read the book, "Daughters of Copper Woman"? I highly suggest it. My copy is out on loan now and I cannot recall the author's name, sorry to say. To DQ and all the B's out there: I share many of your good feelings about Ishmael and The Story of B. Although I cannot say that either have changed my life, (I've always been a bit of an animist even though I was raised as a Christian Scientist) I can say that I feel confirmed in many of the loose and unformed and sometimes vague thoughts I've had about the world...
Suzanne <>
Raleigh, NC USA - Sunday, March 23, 1997 at 14:41:08 (PST)
The progression has been interesting. Ishmael blew me away, of course, with the style and content of the moral argument. Providence told me a lot about DQ, and gave me strong hints about how his thinking was molded. Then came B. The Animism is easy to understand as an extension of Ishmael, but the virulence of the attack on organized religion is puzzling. The Story of B, like the other books, is the journal of a profoundly religious quest; and the response on this website reflects the religious nature of the response. Bash away at the hypocricy and corruption of the Church, and the calcified structure of all religion - that's fair game. But to suggest that it can all be dumped in favor of anarchic animism is to ignore the basic need within humankind to structure reality around a story - preferably a very OLD story. (This is a preliminary response - I'd rather be able to write more carefully and upload; Can someone at your end tell me how?
Jack Phillips <>
Los Alamitos, CA USA - Saturday, March 22, 1997 at 15:50:49 (PST)
I too have read The celestine Prophesy, ans although it did lack the power of both Ishmael and The Story of B, I found it to be insightful and finished it in a short time. I have just started reading the sequel, The Tenth Insight. I was somewhat disturbed by the last chapter of The Celestine Prophesy and some of the ideas it seemed to visualize for our future. I think that although I at first wanted to be told what I was supposed to do at the end of The Story of B, it is actually much better to leave it open and allow people to exercise their own imagination on what they can do indvidually to reach a point at which they can say that they are living well. It is not some specific time in the future that we are reaching toward, but rather, a new way of looking at our lives.
Becky Pylypink <>
Orono, Me USA - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 08:42:10 (PST)
I'm about midway through The Story of B, and I've had some strange experiences since I began. I've begun to have some of the analogies (especially the boiling frog) pop up at odd and unrelated moments. It reminded me of another book I recently read called The Celstine Prophesy. Although, Prophesy is highly anthrocentric (Is that actually a word?), but some of the breakdowns of personalities seemed very insightful. I was wondering if DQ or any followers of B were familiar with the work. It's not nearly as insightful or just flat out truthful as Ishmael and B, but it addresses issues about human interactions. Ishmael has significantly impacted on my world view, and I particularly enjoyed reading in Providence of DQ's consideration of various religions and how they might be reconciled with this animist philosophy. Perhaps somebody could help me do some of the same here. Also, I have been pushing everyone I know to read Ishmael.
Manuel Alvear <>
Stephenville, TX USA - Thursday, March 20, 1997 at 19:59:06 (PST)
DAMIEN: "curiously American idea"? What exactly? French and Spanish, are even more gender unneutral than English. The entire world is seen in masc. and fem. terms, emphasing differences. The mythology is dramatic and devastating. "Ishmael" nailed it right from the Garden of Eden to right brain, left brain of modern times. Pre-Eden held people who were glad to express either side of one's nature. On the other hand, oob explorer, Robert Monroe, asserts that humans were meant to develop their left brains, that this is an evolutionary step up. Hmmmm. OLIVIA JAMES: Good luck finding those who live it. The only way I know to do this at the present time is to think it. I teach Ishmael in my writing classes on a college level. Did you know that Antioch Col. REQUIRES all entering Freshmen to read the book? I've got the feeling that changing the mind is the first step to chaging the world. If you come up with any other techniques, processes or methods, let me know! ZOE
Zoe <>
Brooks, ME USA - Thursday, March 20, 1997 at 11:32:23 (PST)
I have so many thoughts and comments, but I can't seem to find the words. So many of you have written so eloquently here that anything I write at this point would pale in comparison. Suffice it to say that Ishmael and B have changed my life and crystallized a lot of thoughts that I've had for quite some time. I have been sharing both books and currently have Ishmael out on loan to a friend. I am considering buying a few copies to give away also. Spread the word. Peace, Steve
Steve <>
Trabuco Canyon, CA USA - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 22:04:49 (PST)
I haven't yet finished The Story of B (about 35 pages to go), but I really love what I've read so far. I bought B because I enjoyed Ishmael so much. Thank you Mr. Quinn for putting another perspective out there for the world. :) Every one of my friends is being coerced into reading Ishmael & The Story of B.
Millville, NJ USA - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 12:54:18 (PST)
some of my friends don't read, or don't read often. i've loaned out an Ishmael tape, which works pretty well. but i found that the B cassette doesn't contain the text of the lectures, and as a result, i'm hesitant to lend this tape out, as it seems to lack significant content. has anyone else come up with a creative solution to this problem?
Jamie Myxter <>
Seattle, Wa USA - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 08:56:04 (PST)
Becoming B myself these last few days has been a defining time in the comical/tragic vision quest I've been stumbling through all my life. I can't help but notice that the water in this river is nice and clean, the current is'nt anywhere near as ferocious as before and its just the right temperature too! Thanks Daniel for pushing me in. I feel safe instead of saved. I'll be pushing and pulling people in from now on, and I can't wait to direct a certain Christian friend of mine to the banks of this other river. I tried his and now its his turn:)! DQ, have you heard from the Pope yet and what does Stephen Hawking think? Maybe we'll have to wait till the big bash at the end of time to find out. It could be quite a singular moment! See you all there.
Scott MacDonald <>
Ucluelet (Clayquot Sound), BC Canada - Wednesday, March 19, 1997 at 00:23:55 (PST)
One of the most enlightening books I've ever read. I've been sharing the book on tape with all my family and friends...
Leigh A. Keller <>
kingsville, md USA - Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 14:20:38 (PST)
Well, where to begin, I have yet to read the story of B but an waitting in line for it (see Me and some friends of mine barrowed a book from someone and read it, it just happened to be Ismail and we thought it would be nice to do the same with "The Story of B"). Ishmail is great I LOVE it. It's amazing how somethings can be right in front of our faces and someone has to point it out to us for us to see it. I would like to be able to do more to open peoples eyes I wish everyone was as open-minded as "B". Thank you for opening my eyes. Please Mail Back. Jason Morris
Jason Morris <>
New Vienna, OOH USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 15:45:01 (PST)
Well, actually, i just started the Story of B but i have read Ishmael and Providence and think that they are amazing. I read Ishmael when i was 17 and it totally changed my whole way of thinking. Now i am 19 and a sophmore at Boston University and i can't name the amount of times i've read it or how many people i've made read it. It's wonderful.
Chris Lentz <>
Boston, MA USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 15:25:33 (PST)
THANK YOU!!! To the author of these icredible stories and to everyone entered on this site. After finishing the book and giving myself a little time to think, I rushed to this site to see how many people had read these books and been effected by them. Thanks to all of you-the beginnigs of the river.
Sera Harold <>
Ithaca, NY USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 15:11:51 (PST)
Hi all --

Just a quick response to Neil Chambers --

5 March, you asked a question, that, removing the colorful language, becomes something like this:

"I'd really like to get behind your ideas, but I wish I was sure you're not just in it for the money."

Mr. Quinn has answered this and about 100 other Qs at the Q and A section of this website.

Please see:

The Webmaster

Webmaster <>
Houston , TX USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 08:25:02 (PST)

it seems that my entre on march the fifth rubbed some people the wrong way. so let me restate my comment. i didn't feel i needed to say i thought quinn's work was a life changer , because everyone else who writes in says that. i didn't think i first needed to let all the readers know how extremely grateful i was for ishmael and the story of b, mainly because everybody does that for me. but for the record , danila i think your work is GREAT AND IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. and i hope you continue. i just hope to gaia or god or buddha or whoever that you don't loss focus because i know it would be easy. now that doesn't mean i hope you give all your money away , and i do not think money is evil ... i was merely expressing the way i felt , and i guess it was a bit "harsh". i also know that my other entres have been a bit bleak , it's just that it can be a heavy and hard fact to face that everything i've ever believed is a lie. so if i come across as depressed , well , i am . and danial , i'm still waiting for a responds on my question. and again i'm extremely sorry for my immature attitude in the past.
neil chambers <>
clemson, sc USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 07:50:41 (PST)
Hi all --

We got US mail from Glenn Hansen of Glenview, IL and he would like to get in touch with other supporters of ISHMAEL, PROVIDENCE, and THE STORY OF B---but he's not online.

His mailing address is:

Glenn Hansen
811 Railroad Avenue
Glenview IL 60025

Webmaster <>
Houston , TX USA - Monday, March 17, 1997 at 07:24:08 (PST)

I just finished the book tonight. It is a masterful folow up to Ishmael: I found it very enjoyable (worrisome?) and it comprehensively explains the condition of our current plight. The enormity of it all requires immediate attention and action! I wonder if there is enough time to turn things around ? I'm curious about what the transformation would look like and the actual population levels needed to balance our existance on our beloved earth. More thoughts later.
M. George Lepisto Jr. <>
Los Angeles, CA USA - Sunday, March 16, 1997 at 21:10:53 (PST)
I get and read my e mail at the library so I found a new way to get Ishmael in the hands of more readers. If the book is in ,I wacth for someone who may be open to a GOOD book and share it. Yesterday I shared the book and introduced the nice lady to yo ur web site. It was great fun and I know most readers run out and buy a copy. This lady had her hands full of books and was suprised I figured she was a teacher. Have a great week.elower..
e lower <>
Fairfield, oh USA - Saturday, March 15, 1997 at 13:33:56 (PST)
The Story of B is,sipmly put, the single greatest experience that I've felt. Thank you. You have changed my life. You have changed any opinions that I've ever felt towards humankind. You have given me hope, while scarring me.
David Fleming
South Yarmouth, MA USA - Friday, March 14, 1997 at 18:57:29 (PST)
There are some people that I would like to reccommend your books to, but not all of them know english. Are your books translated into any other languages?
Joan Philips <>
St. Paul, MN USA - Friday, March 14, 1997 at 18:54:55 (PST)
My mind has been changed to the instability of our way of life, Mother Culture, for many years, but reading 'Ishmae'l and 'B' helped me find the words as to the method of how!! My work. my love, my passion is conservation- I'm a wildlife and nature photographer. I present slide shows to children and adults alike trying to show them the beauty of our planet and why it's worth keeping alive. I have tried to present Enviornmental Ethics in such a way that they can hear it,and see it, but these books are so tremendous, that I now have more ways to do this. I can't thank you enough Mr. Quinn. I only hope I can do my part to further the message and get as many people to see that they too can help and be involved in ALL of our planet's survival. I have so many thoughts here, I can't start to write them all, so I'll just keep tuning in!!!
Eli Weiss <>
Aspen, CO USA - Friday, March 14, 1997 at 08:21:14 (PST)
TEMPLE, TX USA - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 21:50:47 (PST)
HI! Can someone help quick! I just finished story of B and I loved it! Well, actually I can not put all my feelings into words but, if someone could give me their reactions to the story and what this compares to in history, that would be great! thanks, I ne ed to do a review on this text for class by tomarrow so as soon as possible would be great!
Angela Favero <>
Eugene, OR USA - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 20:35:28 (PST)
Zoe.......... Your comments reveal an intersting "English"-centric perspective. Ever thought about what this curiously American idea means to French and Spanish, for instance?
Sedona, AZ USA - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 15:54:19 (PST)
I have learned much on my journey with 'B.' I have had questions that I have unsuccessfully asked others to answer, but I have learned that the answers were in myself, and therefore, in the world around me to which I am connected. I have also learned that I am not alone in my quest to understand. I hear the voices of 'B' echoing over the history we have built for ourselves; these voices rise and fall in volume like the instruments of an orchestra being tuned, seeking for that life that was lost befo re our history began to be recorded. Daniel Quinn was not the first 'B.' 'B's' story is not ended, nor has it just begun. Now it is time for me to continue on with the story.
Rosemary <>
Pleasant Grove, UT USA - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 14:37:32 (PST)
Please make contact for Northeast regional talk/action group: Hidden Wonders Farm PO Box 155 Canterbury NH 03224
Steve Allman
Canterbury, NH USA - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 11:02:29 (PST)
God knows I love men, but it grieves me that so few responsdents are female and so many of the males that do respond are awash in the Taker mentality that only ideas matter and they have no relationship to feelings. I am a professional writer and so f ew of the markets I write for still allow the use of gender specific words such as MANkind and MAN. Women hold up one-half of the sky, as a Native American saying has it. Why can't we use words like "People" and "Humankind"? Picky? No. It's not picky when language shuts half of the human race out and language is the subconscious nerve center of our thinking/feeling selves. The best antidote to your own Taker mentality is Awareness. By the way, for anyone who wishes to do more than yearn for a bette r world, try a dose of The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts. I'm special. Not superior. And you?
Zoe Calder <>
Brooks, ME USA - Wednesday, March 12, 1997 at 14:37:42 (PST)
What can you say in response to something as meaningful as Quinn's stories? The web seems an odd place for true wisdom. I would be interested in corresponding with people who LIVE this, people who have made it their own or have their own similar vision ; not philosophers but the quiet people who CARE and RESPECT and ACT. How are you making your vision come true?
Olivia James <>
Chapel Hill, NC USA - Wednesday, March 12, 1997 at 13:29:58 (PST)
The fog is gone. It's all very clear now. Thank You.
J. Bruce Holbrook <>
New Canaan, CT USA - Wednesday, March 12, 1997 at 10:50:44 (PST)
I just pulkled the following from the Christian Science Monitor. Apparently they haven't read or applied the ideas of I or B in Cameroon. It's evidence of the takers mentality in action and the sad results. It would seem this is the front line for toda y. It would appear the key question is how do the minds of the takers become changed? We all agree leaver culture makes sense. While we agree, natives continue to be devastated. It's frustrating at best. What can the B network do? Here's the story... Rain forest aborigines crowded out by newcomers, loggers March 11, 1997 Web posted at: 11:32 p.m. EST (0432 GMT) From Correspondent Gary Strieker EASTERN CAMEROON (CNN) -- The vast rain forest in central Africa is the home of countless species of plants and animals -- among them, for 40,000 years, the aboriginal people of this forest. Many call them Pygmies but, in eastern Cameroon, they are the Baka. In a nation dominated by 13 million ethnic Bantus, there are only 40,000 Bakas. And the Bakas who do live in the Cameroon rain forest are overwhelmed by change and the ongoing destruction of their forest home. Small screen 880K/23 sec. QuickTime movie Large screen 2 MB/23 sec. QuickTime movie Samuel Nguiffo of the Center for Environment and Development says the Bakas are caught between the majority Bantu and the logging companies. "Both of them have claims over the forest," Nguiffo said, "and both of them are more powerful than the Bakas. And most of them, for the Bakas, are enemies." As timber companies push logging roads deeper into the forest, outsiders follow the roads to trap and hunt wild animals, and then slash and burn to plant crops. After living in harmony with the forest for thousands of years, hunting and gathering only what they needed to survive, Bakas now find many of the forest's resources are exhausted. The hunters say there are too few animals so that only the best of hunters -- or those endowed with magical powers -- can catch them. And the chief in one settlement says the noise from bulldozers and chain saws drives animals away. And because the forest has been so disturbed, it's hard to find the special plants the Bakas use for food, medicines and rituals. The Bakas are given little in return when they are displaced from the forest. They have no legal title to any land in the forest they've occupied since ancient times. Government policy refers to them as "marginal social groups," to be made into productive members of Cameroon's society by surrendering their nomadic life to clear land and plant crops. Change, change, and more change In other words, Bakas are expected to abandon the culture and spiritual life that connects them to the forest, and to join in its destruction -- a process already begun. Alcoholism, prostitution, unemployment and exploitation by dominant Bantus are common dangers confronting Bakas when they leave the forest. "They are facing a very violent civilization, and from this civilization they tend to take only the bad aspects," says university lecturer Roger Ngoufo. In their new settlements, the Baka people are in transition, no longer depending on hunting and gathering in the forest -- and facing an uncertain future in the fast-growing towns and villages around them. Several residents in the roadside settlements say they are happy to be there -- the forest is too dangerous. But others say the forest is paradise lost. The settlements have little to offer -- no school, no health clinic, and only a few menial jobs on a nearby Bantu plantation. What they really want, and what they should have, says Noel Olinga, who has worked with Bakas for 16 years, is a pristine forest reserved for their hunting and gathering. But no one in Cameroon takes that idea seriously. The future looks especially bleak for the young. "They're completely lost," says Nguiffo. "They're not Baka, not full Baka -- they're somewhere in between." Traditional Baka initiation rites are held every year to summon the god of the forest, the Jengi, to induct young boys into manhood and to bring good fortune. But many Bakas say they haven't seen the Jengi in a long time.
Jeff Hutner <>
Ojai, CA USA - Wednesday, March 12, 1997 at 09:47:50 (PST)
I hope I will see Daniel Quinn interviewed all over the place soon: public tv, newspapers, magazines, on-line,etc!? I hope both books will eventually be available in inexpensive, small-format paperback editions!? Also, have you considered publishing t he website materaial in book form? Posible title, "The Ismael / B Companion". Here are some questions I hope you may answer on the website. Near beginning of "B" the point is made that people don't read & re-read the classic texts of their professions ... but many religious people do read & re-read their sacred texts, over & over. Why do you think religios people do this? Also, do you think the "demographic shift" will ever occur in the 3rd world (theory that with improved standard of living, a shift to small families will eventually, automatically,occur)? Can it do any good if it does happen? "B" seems to be saying, "not". Is this because, as long as the food supply does not decrease, every time one area "shifts," other areas increase? Couldn't animal populations increas instead?
Ellen Jamieson <>
Leonia, NJ USA - Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 16:10:05 (PST)
I just finished the novel last night and I must admit that it is the type of book that left me with a sense of astonishment and hope. Much like the ending of Ishmael, but brought to a new level. I realize now that throughout the course of a day, there are so many different opportunities to teach and enlighten other people that one comes in contact with. Between the classes I have at Seattle Central Comm. College and contacts outside of school, there are many people who have an open mind enough to listen to new ideas and concepts, or rather old ideas and concepts put into a new and more understandable perspective. As the book goes, I really enjoyed it and how it stimulated my already "radical" thoughts that much more. Now when I say radical, I don't mean it in a violent or anarchist way. I simply mean that by today's standards, my somewhat leaver views on how society functions can be taken the wrong way, which is sad but true. I give this book a double thumbs-up for content and style and it is to me something that people can absorb and use as a tool for our not so doomed future. Mr. Quinn, thank you for writing these books and I seriously hope that you will continue in your mission, as much as all of the newly found B's will. Take it easy everybody and get that river flow to change direction!!!!!
Michael Sheehan <>
Bainbridge Island, WA USA - Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 10:21:04 (PST)
I have just finished reading both Ishmael and The Story of B. It was, to say the least, startling to read some of my personal thoughts in print! I am not ready to articulate my thoughts about these two books yet, as so many are racing through my mind.
Joni Lavery <>
Elkhart, IN USA - Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 07:48:35 (PST)
In response to Jamie Myxter: Darwinian evolution is not "literal" evolution. It is one kind of evolutionary process. In order to understand the big picture about evolution, and to understand conscious evolution, it is necessary to adopt a wider definit ion and understanding of what evolution means. "Survival of the Fittest" and fossil records are one part of one kind of evolution, the biological. If you want to save the world, you must understand the principles of general evolution which are common to a ll systems - biolgical, social, psychological, and more. Why would anyone want to limit themselves to "proving" conscious evolution in the extremely limited parameters you provide of Darwinian evolution (which is partly discredited anyway - ever heard of Neo-Darwinian theory?), when conscious evolution has little to do with that narrow slice of the story? Be well, Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 00:08:32 (PST)
Like finding a way "home" thanks for reaffirming and elaborating on so many ideas and beliefs I have had in my life - I've never read them in language that really fits. Your time and energies aare greatly appreciated by both of us and the folks we hav e shared the book with. We plan to stay in touch. Your home pages really help make this whole experience more than just another book.
Sandie & David Sharkey-Knox <>
Troy, MT USA - Monday, March 10, 1997 at 17:05:11 (PST)
more on "conscious evolution"...

...I do not use "evolution" synonymously with "development." This seems to be the cause of my confusion.

Darwinian evolution is a process by which individuals who are more reproductively successful have a larger representation in the gene pool of the next generation. This process is a result of selecting factors--this process does not determine selecting factors.

If someone could provide some evidence of evolution taking place because of a conscious effort, I would be very impressed indeed. Otherwise, I'll assume that "conscious evolution" is being used similarly to "evolution of the computer," and not in the literal, Darwinian sense.

Needless to say, such evidence would consist of more than pointing to someone else who is talking about "conscious evolution." Proponents of evolution do not say, "Jane Doe says that evolution exists; therefore, evolution exists." It's bum logic. Instead, proponents of evolution say, "look what's there--fossil records, dating methods, incremental changes over time..." and so on.

Jamie Myxter <>
Seattle, Wa USA - Monday, March 10, 1997 at 13:49:12 (PST)
I noticed a spirit shift with the big nature happening in Cincinnati area. Life is full of new focus. People talk to strangers because we are common humanity in this time if power of nature. People give and get mad if they can not give. I was proud to get one of the first blue ribons for a $1 and saw $36,000 was in so far. I drove all over to find the store with the truch for cleaning supply I wanted to give. We talked about it to anyone who will liston. A business trainer came in Saturday and said th e nation thinks Cin. is under water. We are a interesting people driven by nature and inspirted by the power of nature. The spirit to connect in times of trouble is strong. I think the spirit is our common bond and it comes out in time like this. What do you think? I love the essays and questions by Daniel. e Lower
elower <>
Fairfield, ohh USA - Monday, March 10, 1997 at 10:43:23 (PST)
I found The Story of B to be excellently written as well as intriguing and revolutionary. As Daniel Quinn well knows, his ideas although seemingly simple are not commonly shared or at least consciously shared. I was happy to hear the !Kung and the Ya nomamo mentioned, they are truly interesting peoples. Although, I do not see the Yanomamo as a group to really mimmick. Their treatment of women is incredibly harsh. Their whole economy is base upon women. The Story of B has left me as pessimistic. I came to the web site to see what can I, I, I do?
Chad Rosenthal <,>
Kings Park, NY USA - Sunday, March 09, 1997 at 22:49:23 (PST)