The Bnetwork Guestbook Archives: 2-28 February 1998

Re Dupree's comment on Feb. 24:

I have two things to say on this subject. You're right to say that the fundamental error of Taker culture was to decide that they knew better than the gods how to rule the world - to eat at the gods' tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But I don't feel that Daniel Quinn is contradicting himself when he advocates that we reject the Taker vision and adopt a Leaver one. He's not saying the Leaver lifestyle is right, he's saying it works. The Taker lifestyle should be abandoned not because it's wrong, but because it doesn't work - it is destroying the community of life on which we depend. It's not a question of right or wrong.
The other thing I'd point out is that the Peacekeeping law doesn't describe "correct and acceptable behavior". Only Taker laws talk about correct behavior. For example, the Law of Gravity is not about correct behavior. It's not incorrect to walk off the roof of a building, but the Law tells you what will happen if you do. So it's smart to know the Law of Gravity. Similarly, the Peacekeeping law tells us that any species that wages war on its competitors will end up destroying itself. Whether that's right or wrong is immaterial. Daniel Quinn says that we should live according to the Peacekeeping law not because it will keep us alive, not because it's right.

Greg Richards <>
Nashville, TN USA - Saturday, February 28, 1998 at 08:34:12 (PST)
I ran across the book...The Story of B at my local library on the "for sale" rack about a year ago. I actually saw it on the rack a few kept catching my eye. Then I picked it up and started reading.Needless to say I bought,brought it home and practically digested it in one reading! After absorbing it all.... I had to ask the question why was this "withdrawn" from the shelves at the library? ....This book has helped me reaffirm ideas and thoughts I've held my whole life! I'm glad to now have a forum to put them into action or at least to discuss my thoughts! But as is my nature, I will be questioning and comparing a variety of differant/opposing
ways of thought... in an attempt to find another stepping stone on my path.
Thanks for providing such a place to question those answers! B talking to you soon

KYM <>
Southfield, MI. USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 18:16:51 (PST)
I ran across the book...The Story of B at my local library on the "for sale" rack about a year ago. I actually saw it on the rack a few kept catching my eye. Then I picked it up and started reading.Needless to say I bought,brought it home and practically digested it in one reading! After absorbing it all.... I had to ask the question why was this "withdrawn" from the shelves at the library? ....This book has helped me reaffirm ideas and thoughts I've held my whole life! I'm glad to now have a forum to put them into action or at least to discuss my thoughts! But as is my nature, I will be questioning and comparing a variety of differant/opposing
ways of thought... in an attempt to find another stepping stone on my path.
Thanks for providing such a place to question those answers! B talking to you soon

KYM <>
Southfield, MI. USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 18:07:43 (PST)
I read "Ishmael" two years ago after seeing DQ on "Oprah". I recently re-read it and the second time it hit me much harder than the first. That is because I am now in the enviornmental education field. I recently read "The Story of B" and am more motivated than ever. I realize that during a single month, I come into contact with hundreds of people whom I talk to about environmental issues. Here, finally for me is a platform to launch these ideas. Hopefully, I will plant a few seeds. When you receive a gift like this, it is essential to pass it on.
Sheila J. Gibbons <>
Boston, MA USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 15:43:34 (PST)
The crux of the matter: The Leaver way was NOT sustainable in the long run. I know that's heresy on the Ishmael page but listen carefully. If it was, we would still be Leavers.

Human (all Leaver!) population slowly but steadily grew from our origins 200,000 years ago; we're a successful species. By 10,000 years ago-- maybe a little later in the Americas-- humans, LEAVER humans, had FILLED the earth! There wasn't any more room for each group to have the space they needed to hunt and gather. The limited warfare Quinn mentions wasn't enough of a check on human population-- that warfare got a lot worse as humans competed for the more limited space. Perhaps the end of the ice age, climate change, or whatever was the cause-- there was a crisis point. So across the world several half-taker strategies began to be pursued to supplement what could be hunted and gathered from the increasingly crowded earth. One may have been the agriculturalists of Eisler/Gimbutas, and similar groups. Another were probably the first domesticators of cattle. Both strategies helped population grow faster; so when the next wave of warfare hit, the SCALE was much larger than ever before-- and the shit really hit the fan.

When these wars began to take place between these half-taker groups with larger populations-- well, the north asian hunter/herders seem to have domesticated the horse; in war this was like having a tank against unarmed men. So for the first time HUGE numbers of people were massacred and enslaved. In a Leaver war, 6 prisoners taken in a skirmish does not dramatically upset society. But what do you do with 6,000?

The answer these Kurgans, Aryans, etc. came up with was: you treat them as domesticated beasts-- you act as gods over them. They could not pass up this unprecedented chance to play god over thousands; so a new kind of slavery was invented-- one which involved natal alienation, the total stripping of these people's past, wisdom, security, even their very humanity. This new underclass of slaves were still full human beings, of course, just like later generations of African slaves were. But they were Denied access to their own histories, own mythologies, own wisdom, security, etc. and forced to live in a world where reality was defined by their godlike masters; while rankling under the surface of every descendant was this unimaginably huge resentment, anger, trauma, fear, the wounds of generations of beatings, rape, and powerlessness. These wounds at the very core of their humanity don't go away if they are freed; ask any American black if he or she is fully healed from the effects of slavery. None of us is!!

These first large-scale enslavers, I would say, were the first full Takers; however, I think they were only 90% of the way there. But the descendants of those enslaved, if freed, were terrifying creatures! Never before had humans come into the world and not been raised by their people in some atmosphere of love and belonging, and shown how to live; these were the first born and reared as disempowered untermenschen. The rage and fear they felt were far more than just irrational, they were dangerous. If freed they would try to exert power over their world, at all costs. The traumas and wounds would be re-inflicted on each new generation of children. They no longer could trust the gods to take care of them, they no longer could leave the unknown alone and accept it; the only way they could even try to RECAPTURE THE SENSE OF BELONGING (which is every human's birthright!) was to control and conquer. The only model they had of how to live and relate to each other was to dominate. The Hebrews are an excellently recorded example of what people do when freed from slavery: they tried to conquer, massacre, and enslave, and came up with a set of prophecies which gave them back their birthright of 'belonging' in the land of Israel...

THESE were the true takers. And they have eventually begat US, of course.
We can't go right back to being Leavers. Each Leaver strategy only thinks locally, and only works for them; and there just wasn't enough room for all of them, and nobody wanted to be the loser who got squeezed out.

The point is, I'm beginning to think we DO need ONE right way-- insofar as there's only ONE earth and we all have to share it. We need one LEAVER way that WORKS FOR EVERYONE-- a Leaver vision that thinks globally.
Each local group can certainly have its own songs, its own language, its own differing customs. But certain values are going to have to be shared. Nobody can kill each other; nobody can exterminate another species; the balance of the ecosystem must override the interests of any one group; and what the hell do we do with all our garbage...

Takers have damn near succeeded in imposing their values of property, ownership, etc. on everyone; with those came the 'values' of their religions. I'm afraid we're going to have to IMPOSE our values on all of them, even if we have to destroy them to do it.

Peace (and please respond!)-- Moon Quest

Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 14:50:05 (PST)
Matthew wrote:

If we can let go of those deep-seated
fears, if we can heal those wounds,
then we can stop enacting those stories.

While I have some disagreements with you about how and when the taker culture arose, I would like to center in on this bit of what you have written. This seems to be at the heart of change, answering our deep need for security, a sense of community, an opening up to each other, and an opening up to the environment too. Becoming fully present in our lives here on this green world. I think that even if we believe each other to be dead wrong in our assesment of history, we can agree on this.

So, what do we do about it? Have you got a plan yet? How do we heal this wound that is thousands of years old? How do we break through our alienation, isolation and loneliness? And how do we do it fast enough to transform a culture that is hurtling towards destruction?

Stephen Figgins <>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 14:18:10 (PST)
Wow! All I can say,is my eyes have been opened
Alena Acker <Alenameows>
Detroit, MI USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 10:31:05 (PST)

Question everything. I think that is a great idea.

I felt that DQ was saying that the leavers had a sustainable way of living that could last us indefinitely. The taker way of living will ultimately end in our destruction. There are many many ways to be a leaver, we will have to find/create/recreate one of our own, but pay attention to what our ancestors, and what indigenous people today believe and do, because we can learn from that a way of living that has worked for all of our existence on this planet.

I didn't see it as a moral contest of who was right and who was wrong. Just an aknowledgement of what appears to work and what does not.

Stephen R. Figgins <>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 01:03:35 (PST)

A long way down on this page is the following comment, unnoticed, from 2/19/98:

Out of the many amazing ideas that I read and resonated with in "The Story of B," Quinn's statement that Taker society primarily benefits men was truly wonderful. I just don't see or hear the subject of women's inferior (yes, even today) status discussed. If I try to talk about it with men, in a pleasant and nonconfrontational way, they usually react by verbally attacking, which doesn't lead to anything productive.

Even here on this fantastic website I see mostly men's comments. I deduce from this that either women don't care (not likely) or they lack computer access - money to buy computer equipment or else the time to spend on the Net. Any thoughts about this, anybody (men, women or whatever)? What to Do?

Lynn (
Lancaster, PA USA - Thursday, February 19, 1998 at 15:07:45 (PST)

Has anyone answered this? I wanted to pursue this offline with Lynn, but after reflecting upon it, thought it might do a disservice to those reading, writing, and especially NOT writing. Lynn seems to have a good point as I browse through the page...Jim, Joe, Charlie, Matthew, Brad, Stephen, Geoff, Scott, Joel...where are all the womens' voices?

Jamie Myxter <>
Redmond, Wa USA - Wednesday, February 25, 1998 at 17:54:31 (PST)
In response to Dupree Heard, below, a taker culture is "right" because it works, it is sustainable. Although one could argue that "it ain't over 'till it's over", by any resonable, educated projection, assuming a similar course to the one we have been on for ten thousand or so years (and there is no reason, given our current and long held beliefs about the world and our place in it, to assume otherwise), it is apparent that ours (taker culture) is not. In fact it is fair to say that we are behaving as a cancer which will ultimately destroy its host and creator, and itself in the process.

I have not taken the time to review Mr. Quinns books in order to sight page and paragraph, but I am quite certain that this point was clerified. And if not stated by Mr. Quinn, it remains a valid ecological premise.

Jim Demko <>
Petersburg, AK USA - Wednesday, February 25, 1998 at 17:13:08 (PST)
These two books (Ishmael and The Story of B) have changed my view about the world in one short month. The antichrist is among us, and I'm glad to be his disciple.
Joe Chappelle <>
Warwick, RI USA - Wednesday, February 25, 1998 at 13:26:31 (PST)
I look forward to what is next...
Charlie Comstock <>
Redmond, WA USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 20:04:59 (PST)
Maybe its just because I am a lawyer but I have to question everything that I read. My question for this panel is this:

If the fault of the taker culture lies in their eating of the tree of good and evil, then is it not a contradiction for Daniel Quinn to state the "right" path according to the peacekeeping law is for "mother culture" to give up the "taker" philosophy? It seems to me that there is a contradiction there. Humanity eats from the tree and decides that it has the power over good and evil thus humanity at that point (in error) decides that it knows what is "right" and goes about changing the face of the world . This I can understand. But then Mr. Quinn wants humanity not go this path. Mr. Quinn seems to state the "takers" experiment is not "right" but that the "leavers" path is "right". But now Quinn has committed the same error that the people who ate from the tree of good and evil had made in the first place. He has defined for use what is correct and acceptable behavior according to his peace keeping law.

Am I the only one who is troubled by this?
Have I missed something?

Dupree Heard <>
Washington, DC USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 12:50:59 (PST)
Quinn, and a lot of evidence including the book "the Food Crisis in Prehistory", argue that the transition to TA was marked by a dramatic DROP in standard of living. Even in near-drought conditions, Leavers like the Bushmen have tremendous resources of edibles to draw upon-- even then, even though they have knowledge of agriculture, it's rarely worth it to become farmers-- a conclusion with which I'm sure DQ would agree. I think something else must have happened to cause the advent of TA and true takers.

Quinn also makes the case that Taker mythologies were created AFTER THE FACT to fit the radically alienated world people found themselves in. Enacting a mythological story was not the original intention of Takers-- the sheer misery of Taker life makes that highly unlikely. I think they were motivated by fear and survival-- and no longer had ANY spiritual identity or wisdom to fall back upon.

As I said, I'll buy that climate change caused humans across Eurasia 10000 years ago to pursue two different kinds of half-Taker subsistence:
the Eisler/Gimbutas agriculture in Europe & the Middle East and similar societies in India and China;
herder/hunters on horseback across North Asia.

Like Maya for the first group and Masai for the second, I think they still were in touch with enough passed-down wisdom to not be hellbent on world domination and environmental destruction-- there was still enough identity and spirituality to keep things in hand.

But then when these groups came together (perhaps because even half-Takerism inevitably expands population?), in the waves of invasions from 5000 BCE on exemplified by the Kurgan, Doric, Aryan, and whatever invasions motivated the building of the Great Wall of China, I think things got WAY out of hand. The opportunity to enslave literally thousands-- to truly become gods-- overwhelmed what was left of the hunter/herder/horseback/conquerers' spirituality, wisdom, and inclination to still be in touch with the earth. And the experience of those enslaved-- well, we as Americans know how traumatic that is. For a period of thousands of years, I think there was an unimaginable chaos across Asia, dark ages dominated by war, when totalitarian agriculture was the only chance you had. To keep yourself from being killed in invasion, daughters from being raped, family being enslaved, your best hope was to throw in your lot with a leader of soldiers and offer him your services and as much grain as you could produce. Hopefully he'd win, and finally there could be peace.

After a couple thousand years of this chaos, strong enough armies bring some relative peace to the middle east. Finally we get those 'first' civilizations-- Sumer, Egypt, etc.-- who really do conceive of themselves (esp. their warrior-king-gods) as having created the world out of chaos, because there is no memory whatsoever of the tribal security of before. As Quinn so brilliantly suggests, that memory only survived in some of the Semitic people who lost out in these years of terrible strife.

So now, mythologies begin to be created to fit this world-- the reality of which was pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzars, crime, prostitution, etc. So, for the winners, mythologies reflect the conquering male 'gods' who brought order to chaos and enforced moralities, laws, etc. are created.
Then, after a few more thousand years-- around 1000-0 BCE-- the losers, slaves, etc. come up with their mythologies that "life is suffering" or "original sin"-- that man is naturally fucked up, which then excuses them from changing anything. Quinn details this well.

Anyway, the Taker mythologies follow rather than cause what happens. The mythologies are important though because WE keep on enacting them. But those mythologies were created to answer longings that still relate to the fears and wounds of those invasions, enslavements, dominations that begat Takerism; and in most families to this day we re-enact those traumas. If we can let go of those deep-seated fears, if we can heal those wounds, then we can stop enacting those stories.

However-- and this flies in the face of most Ishmael-inspired thought-- I do believe that all history, all the terrible things Takers have done to each other and to the earth, etc., ARE part of the plan. I live in New York and work on top of a skyscraper; and New York is a beautiful, ORGANIC thing, which visibly lives and circulates and breathes. I'm trying to reconcile this with my love of nature....

Because, when it comes to the dinosaurs, I have this theory that the collective unconscious of all those dinosaurs, of the whole universe at that time, helped bring that asteroid to earth. Maybe the individual dinosaurs who died didn't consciously will it; but in their unconscious maybe they did. Because what was the upshot of that catastrophe? The descendants of the dinosaurs managed to free themselves of gravity!! what a beautiful thing-- thousands upon thousands of species figured out how to fly, and of course became birds. Maybe without that asteroid, there would never have been more than a few dozen pterydactyls that could fly. Food for thought? Does that jibe with the 'living at the mercy of the gods' even in face of catastrophe and extinction, as BB aptly points out?


Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 12:40:29 (PST)
A comment in response to Ven, Scott, Susan and Geoff regarding species survival and mass extinctions. Geneticists refer to a biological principle called "epigenetic pathways" referring to the drive to survive. An accorn, for example, not only has the genetic encoding to become an oak tree, it has something we might refer to as the "desire" to become an oak tree. At some level, something inside the accorn compels it to do what it has the capacity to do. No species is indiferent to its own potential and its own survival. If ever there was one, it was rapidly weeded out of the web of life by those that did "care".
It is this desire to become all that we can be that we see as competition in the community of life and perhaps as Scott says, the underlying subconscious fear or knowlege that one's survival as a species is not gauranteed. We have to work at it (See "The Universe Story" by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimm).
And if nothing better can be said about our Taker culture, it must be admitted, we work like hell at it. Power and control is the game plan. That's what we're all about. This is what we see as the key to our survival. No longer to be at the mercy of the gods (as DQ might say). To become the gods of our own destiny. This is why the Taker obsession with technology. This is the tool to get us there. Governments, corporations and universities spending billions for new and better tools. We're making a mad dash to the finish line of godhood. But there's no time to lose because the consequences of this power grab are catching up to us; environmental degredation, societal breakdown, the population bomb. Technology seems to be running ahead of our ability to control it, but we can't stop now. This was a risky game plan from the beginning and if we don't make it, the gods will thump us on the head and send us back to living in caves. But if we do make it, everything will be under control... our control. We can then relax, thumb our nose at the gods and declare that man now rules the universe. We'll be the first species to cross that finish line. The winners! Of course most of the losers will have been run over and trampled into the dirt of history, but at least our survival for eternity will be assured. The formula for our game plan is quite simple. Power = control = survival = success.
The ultimate folly, as some biological systems thinkers warn, is that the formula is incomplete. It most likely works out this way: power = control = temporary survival = momentary success = ultimate failure, because success of this magnitude of any one species, resulting in the failure of many other species would almost certainly cause a systems collapse. I'm intrigued as to the possibility that this success / failure theory might explain all the mass extinctions of the past.
Paleontologisit Robert Bakker was the first, I think, to make this connection in rgards to the dinosaur extinctions. He thought all the catastrophic theories were overly dramatic and that in fact the probable cause was simply too much success. When the balance of power between species remains relatively equal, long periods of stability exist, with the background extintion rate of one species going extinct every four or five years being about average (as compared to species going extinct daily now. See "The Sixth Extinction" by Richard Leeky). The world is then in a state of "balanced tensions". The amount of life on Earth remains relatively constant during times of stability. Mother Earth brings forth as much life as possible. So as one species increases, another must decrease in order to compensate. The Earth can be no fuller than full. During times of stability, the ups and downs of species populations tend to be slow and rythmic with few drastic changes. But when for some reason, one species or group of species hit upon some evolutionary discovery that catapults it far ahead of other species, its success becomes phenominal, resulting in explosive population growth for its own kind and just as drastic a population decline in other species. As the whole system moves from its previous state of balanced tensions to a relatively rapid state of biological lopsidedness it becomes unstable and eventually collapses.
We are heirs to the dinosaur, the only species since them to be able to bring down the whole system. But perhaps mass extintions aren't inevitable if the species with the potential to cause such an event, chooses not to do so. The obvious lesson, it seems to me, is that the ultimate key to survival is not in using our new found evolutionary advantage to beat the hell out of every other species in our mad scramble to the top, but to use that advantage to the benefit of all species in order to maintain system stability (sustainability). The development of a technological society isn't going to assure us survival thru any period of mass extinction. It will in all probability be the tool we use to create one. Man seems to be an incredibly successful species even without all the technology. Even in what we might call the most "primitive" Leaver cultures, his intelectual capacity, adaptability, mobility and dexterity are unsurpassed in the animal kingdom. Our ability to survive is built in. Technology is just overkill (pun intended).
The dinosaurs evolutionary advantage was primarily physical. Ours is primarily intelectual. And in this lies our hope. Dinosaurs had no choice. They had to follow their epigenetic pathway to its disasterous conclusion. We have the ability to choose.
Thanks for the interesting (and necessary) discussion. I'd like to hear any comments.
Brad Boe

Brad Boe <>
Rosendale, Mo USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 11:43:28 (PST)
I don't think they felt they had to cultivate. I am sure that at the time they could probably have continued existing just fine in their arid environment. What they had, that others lacked, was an extremely fertile river valley. I think they stumbled upon farming the area around the river for food by learning from the rivers natural flood cycles. I think they pursued this kind of agriculture because they thought it was good. The forgetting happened slowly as their population grew, and they lost their connection to leaver wisdom. They gained wisdom of the agricultural seasons, to which they became deeply attuned. The process of change to being Takers did not happen overnight, and so yes, I think there is some gray area between being takers and leavers, and I could see that grey area extending for a few thousand years, even to the time period that is the subject of Marija Gimbutas and Riane Eisler's books.

I don't know exactly what you mean, Matthew about their losing a "mediating spirituality." I am interpreting this to mean a loss of a raw spiritual experience, unordered or uncontrolled by society. Stuyd of mythology is one of my big hobbies, and it seems to me that they were guided by their spirituality, it was just a taker/agricultural spirituality rather than a leaver spirituality. Their spirituality was embedded in the story they were enacting, which was humans conquer the earth, and turn it to their own purposes. It was a controlling spirituality, one of human order.

Actually you can see this in several mythologies, where the gods of the old ways were represented as Dragons like Tiamat, the Titans of the Greeks, the Giants of Norse mythology, or the Firbolg of Celtic mythology all these raw very unhuman like spirits against which the young heroic human like gods do battle, carving the world out of the bodies of their fallen enemies/parents. The taker people had a guiding spirituality born of their own way of living.

I don't want to downplay the role of trauma. I think our trauma was deep and profound and continues today. But I think it predates the Kurgan invasions. It certainly must have existed among those invading people. The people they conquered may have felt it less fully, but I suspect they felt some of the same alienation, isolation and loneliness that we feel today. A loss of the tribal community. I think the takers were never fully comfortable with the earth-conquerers role they found themselves in, and the stresses that placed on their societies. Which is probably why they felt there must be something wrong with them.

Many leaver like spiritualities must have surfaced over the years that broke down the barriers that seperate us from each other and from our past. Spiritualities that ripped through the cultural fascade. The Bachanalia comes to mind, as does the very early Christian church, which had no priests and no hierarchy, just people meeting and being moved by the spirit of god to share with each other. That was slowly turned to the use of the state, the raw unordered uncontrolable spirituality stripped away, it became another expression of taker culture.

Even outside of a purely religious context, we can still see this happening today, in recent history even. The civil rights movement might be a good example of this. The political action of the 60-70's ripped through the illusions of our taker culture. It brought people out from behind their masks, and standing revealed to one another, they broke through this isolation and loneliness. But exposed in this was also their deep wounds from thousands of years of trauma. They never fully recognised their need to heal, and so the movement failed in many ways.

Martin Luther King said "I have been to the mountain" and he showed people that they too could go there. That we could create a loving caring world with true compassion for one another across the racial barriers errected by our culture. But this raw experience got translated by our legal system and our politics to be "an equal right to compete in the marketplace." An equal right to go to law school. Where did the love and compassion go? It was unordered, uncontrollable, and so it was left behind.

Ack... I have written another huge long posting of comments. Thanks for bearing with me. In summary, we must heal this trauma as a part of our passage to a new leaver world. And I think that it is in the ways that we will heal this trauma that we will find the new revolution that DQ has mentioned. We will find it in the creation of our communities, and in the way we restructure our lives to fit a new story, one that recognises our place as a part of nature, and not as a conquerer fighting against nature.

Stephen R. Figgins <>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 11:04:38 (PST)
Eisler did help me out some, but so did Lawrence Keeley's "War before Civilization" which thoroughly documents Leaver-on-Leaver viciousness.

The fundamental difference between Takers and Leavers is not in brutality; it's that Leavers compete in the environment and are content not to rule either nature or other humans, while Takers feel they MUST. That must-expand, must-rule attitude I feel could only exist AFTER a great forgetting. Cuz bushmen for example, even in the kalahari desert, have so much knowledge of edibles that even in terribly dry years they do not starve. But those you see as the early Takers 10000 years ago, in order to feel that they must cultivate aggressively when faced with arid years, must have lost much of that Leaver knowledge of what they could live off of. So I still feel that full-out Takerism was the result of great traumas which ripped away their knowledge and security.

It does seem that there were several stages of development that led to that, and of course the full story will never be known. Climactic changes leading to on the one hand Gimbutas/Eisler's agriculturalists and similar ones in India and China; on the other hand the herder/hunters on horseback of all North Asia. These were each the first half-Takers; but once large-scale invasions, slavery, etc. started happening when the North Asians invaded the civilizations, the traumas produced the first true takers who no longer had any of their wisdom left. At least each of those types of half-takers had their Taker tendencies mediated by still being in touch with their historic wisdom; arguably the Mayans, the Natchez, the Incas, the Masai were/are all half-Takers analagous to those earliest ones, whose spirituality and relationship with the earth were still more stable than ours. Those who survived the traumas caused by these early half-takers became worse than their creators, with no stabilizing rudders whatsoever, no mediating spirituality until religions were created thousands of years later. So they became the worst Takers, the ones who eventually evolved into us.

How does that synopsis sound? I've tried to draw distinctions which allow there to be gray areas between Leaver and Taker, reflecting what I've learned from Quinn, Eisler, Keeley, and a book called "the Food Crisis in Prehistory", among other good sources.


Matt Mausner <>
Brooklyn, USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 08:59:18 (PST)
in response to scott's message in the guestbook (about sustainability and technology) i think you have forgotten exactly what it means to live in the hands of the gods; that is, if we are to go extinct (along with every other kind of creature, as happens in periods of mass-extinction) then, really, there is nothing that we can do about that. so be it. you also seem to fail to realize that a taker mentality is intrinsite within a technological society, on area where i differ with DQ. how is it possible to be technologically advanced without agriculture? i would like to know if you could tell me. also, high technology requirs a large human population, something which is inherently unstable. i guess my point is, that, we should worry about huge environmental changes and mass-extinctions when that time gets here (something that probably wont happen for hundreds of millions of years). in the meanwhile, in order to avoid extinction WITHIN THE NEXT CENTURY, we must now revert to the leaver way of life, or at least the leaver mentality..... uhm, ive got more to say, especially about the women thing, but ive got class now :(
geoff boyce <>
bloomfield hills, mi USA - Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 05:52:59 (PST)
This is in reply to Matthew's post about
the orgins of Takers

Matthew, it looks like you are drawing
some of your conclusions based on the
work of Riane Eisler and Marija
Gimbutas. Despite my deep respect for
the work of Marija Gimbutas, I am not
convinced that all of our argrarian
ancestors were such a nice peaceful
group of people. DQ, who is familiar
with both her work and the work of
Riane Eisler, feels that thes people
still meet his definition of Taker, and
he feels the Kurgans invading did too.
He sees it as one group of takers
overrunning another group of takers.
Herding takers in this case. Here are
some reasons why I do too.

The population of these people were
booming long before the kurgan
invasions. So they had already begun
to spread like wild consuming
everything that fell in their path,
carrying disease and destruction with
them. So if we are to look for the
orgins of the Taker culture, we have to
look further back than to the kurgan
invasions and the strong military focus
that they brought to Old Europe. The
people they invaded had already adopted
the Taker approach to the world. They
were conquering it.

I do think I understand how the Taker
world arose. And I think it was quite
by accident rather than intention, so
it is easy for me to be forgiving of
that. I think that as the climate was
changing some 10,000 years ago, some
people found themselves living, not in
the midst of abundance, but in arid and
semi arid areas, where game was
becoming scarce. They became more and
more dependent on the large rivers in
their area, and the food that would
grow along their banks, particularly
after floods. This kept them more tied
to one place than ever before. Because
they were still eating on a boom or
bust cycle, they encouraged food to
grow there that could easily be stored
through the drier seasons, grains in
particular. They discovered ways to
extend the growing season through
irrigation. They had more food than
ever before.

Now this alone would not necessarily
cause them to grow. (In this I
disagree with DQ) Leavers have, in many
places in the world, lived amidst great
abundance of food and not had
population explosions. They usually
maintained smaller populations, growing
slowly over the years as their tribes
split and went to explore other parts
of the world. They could have, at any
time, began a program of taking all the
food available and growing their
population, but they did not. I
suspect that at different times in
history they did, and found themselves
too large to support in a lean year, or
having too detrimental of an effect on
the environment and game that was
available. Since it was a threat to
their long term survivability or to
their way of life, or whatever, they
didn't do it. And they were aware of
different signs that told them when
they were getting too big.

But the people in these new
agricultural areas did not have or see
those same signs. All their focus was
on the river and what it brought, and
they were living the midst of such
scarcity elsewhere that they never saw
their impact until it was too late, and
they had forgotten how to read the
signs, or deliberately began ignoring

They had incentives for a larger
population, agriculture is more labor
intensive, they could use more people,
and the river was long, there was
plenty of room for them to expand.
They turned hard arid land into lush
green fields. And when they finally
got to where the forests were, well,
they didn't know what to do with them
anymore. When the woods got in the
way, they chopped them down and planted
crops. It was what they knew. Because
they were living more intensely in one
area, they became ravished by disease,
many children died young. The more you
had, the more likely you were to

Despite these drawbacks there were
benefits to this kind of agriculture.
You could better predict what kind of
food and how much would be available.
You could trade it to others. Grain
became money. And money needed to be
locked up. Bam! They become takers,
just like that. Having forgotten who
they were, where they came from and the
ways of living in harmony with nature,
and having locked up the food, that was
exactly what they were. They were
living the way humans were meant to

These early takers kept animals too,
and their attitude towards the herds
was the same, take it all, expand your
own, and pay no heed to the warning
signs that you may be growing too fast,
too large. I think the more intensive
herders had more of a reason to be war
like. If there was ever something
worthy of being stolen, it is cattle.
They walk on their own, they can be
traded and sold. All you need do is
route them. The first militias were
probably formed to either steel or to
protect cattle from being stolen. You
need a lot of kids to do that work.
These became the hardened warriors that
would eventually descend upon the
takers of Old Europe and turn them to a
more militaristic way of life.

So... would we do the same? Maybe. I
know each step probably made perfect
sense to our ancestors, and we have
only come to question what they did
now, many years later. Even those mean
old nasty kurgan invaders thought that
what they were doing made perfect
sense. The kurgans brought fear and
mistrust, to be sure, but the taker
people already had that, or they would
never have locked up the food in the
first place. They no longer trusted
the gods, and all they knew was their
own program of expansion.

Was it a bad path to follow?
Definitely. And the growing focus on
material wealth over the wealth of
community has nearly destroyed us all.

I agree with you Matthew, we shouldn't
be spending our time condemning those
who have done this. But we do need to
educate those who continue the
construction, or unwittingly support
this distruction. But rather than
complaining and condemning we need to
be doing. Changing the world around
us, unlocking the food, reestablishing
trust in nature/the gods and building
strong supportive communities where we
can heal from the wounds the Taker
culture has caused us.

Keep that revolution going!

Stephen R. Figgins <>
Sebastopol, CA USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 16:18:32 (PST)
We picked this book to read with our
book review club. It was great to find
a website about Ismael. Thanks! We'll have a much better discussion now!

North Grueskin <>
Sioux City, IA USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 11:49:17 (PST)
Thanks alot Mr.Q !!! Both Ishmael & "B" really woke me up and moved me. I shair it with everyone I come in contact with but I get few takers! Very,very sad!! But I am still talking and will not give up!! Much too inportant. I am a Park Ranger here at the N.C. Zoological Park and beleive me -- you have LOTS of fans here!! --- or should I say "B"s here!!! Let us know if you need any help-- O.K.?--O.K.!! Elton M. Dailey
Elton Dailey <None>
Asheboro, N.C. USA - Monday, February 23, 1998 at 08:40:29 (PST)
In response to Ven, I agree that our strongest urge is to survive, but, somewhere along the way, we took a U-turn. We all feel that the things we do, the way we live, the other living things we destroy are done in the name of our ultimate survival. Take the person who takes ephedrine, or NO-doz, or cocaine, in order to get more work done, stay alert, study longer, etc. He doesn't realize the damage he does to his heart, general health (by becoming chemically out of sync), and that he eventually has lost efficiency. People in our culture have a hard time believing that surviving, taking the path via Mother Culture, is just killing us faster. Perhaps by getting our living world back "in sync" we, like organs in a healthy body, will live longer, healthier lives.
Susan E. Holmes <>
Las Vegas, NV USA - Sunday, February 22, 1998 at 16:49:16 (PST)
i have a question. i was wondering if the the melting of the continential ice sheets ( which ended about 10000 years ago ) played a part in the development of this "mother culture" (which began 10000 years ago)?

neil chambers <>
clemson, s.c. USA - Sunday, February 22, 1998 at 10:43:17 (PST)
I have read all of Daniel's books and shared them. I am pleased we can support him with the foundation. I am excited about the growth this will bring in focusing solutions . I found a book which has motivated me to study the elder folks at a nursing home. I am also inviting friends and family and others to
STOP and pray for 1 minute at noon for peace. AS this moves through the time zones ,it is like a hug for the Earth. can you spare a minute. PEACE Clock was created in the 1980's and I think we need it now. thanks

Elizabeth Lower <>
Fairfield, Oh USA - Saturday, February 21, 1998 at 20:16:02 (PST)
Thoughts I would like to share....

On Big Picture Thinking:
I appreciate the thoughts by Ven in considering where humankind will be when looking at the world 1 million years from now. My current thinking follows a similar line of thought. The leaver society that existed in the past, though excellent to learn from and desirable to live in, may not be the type of society that will allow for human survival through thousands of years. This underlying knowledge and/or fear may exist in our subconsiousness and may be a driver for the direction that our culture has evolved.

There have been several periods in the past of mass extinctions and a very high probability that they will occur on earth again. This seems to be a fundamental cycle within evolution on earth and within the universe. My current thinking is that only through a technological society can mankind survive the critical environmental changes that occur every so often in the world. The question I keep asking myself, "Is it important for humankind as we know it to be able to survive critical environmental changes and mass extinctions? And if so at what negative costs to the leaver way of life?"

On Women and their Fears of the Wilderness:
I appreciate the thoughts by Matt on women and their fears of the wilderness. I often attempt to divide up feelings/viewpoints, such as these to external/societal versus internal/genetic programming. I believe that what Matt is discussing would be caused by the internal/societal programming. If one would make a study of this fear in different societies and cultures I think one would find that these fears are societal based and changable. On a similar line of thought, I think that one would find in all cultures that women are more communal based than men and this may be due to internal genetic programming and not changable.

On Sustainability:
I see a lot of comments on returning to a sustainable environment. My thought is that sustainability has not yet been thoroughly defined. I think that we have a general idea of what a sustainable environment is, but I don't think that it is well enough defined to allow us to effectively go into the problem solving/culture changing stage. I think the knowledge offered through Ishmael, B, and this community are a very positive step. But I think that until sustainability is thoroughly defined and agreed upon by all parties concerned, that it will be hard to design programs or cultures which will allow for us to meet this goal.

One question I keep going back to is "Will a leaver type sustainable society be able to live through critical environmental changes such as have occurred in the past and caused mass extinctions?" Any thoughts out there on this?

Scott Kruis

Scott Kruis <>
Corvallis, OR USA - Saturday, February 21, 1998 at 15:49:50 (PST)

Comrades in arms,

I have read Ishmael, My Ishmael, and am currently reading The Story of B. I'm only 14 years old but when I first listened to Ishmael on audio tape at age 11, I knew I would carry Quinn's message with me for the rest of my life. Nothing has ever permeated my beliefs so fully as Quinn's books.
I was never religious and am still an atheist but after really taking up reading and writing philosphy as a serious hobby (I focus on Kant, Hume, Locke: basically empiricism and epistemology), I realized that the way I follow Ishmael is much like a religion. Though I would NEVER want "Quinnism" to become an organized religion like Christianity or Hinduism, it should be followed somewhat like Taoism where each is encouraged to find his own truths and follow his own beliefs.
So I come to you, my friends and fellow Quinnists with the question of how and what are we to do with our newly found knowledge? We are like the man in Ishmael who has just eaten from the tree of knowledge which only the Gods are to eat from. But unlike him, we must let the Gods take over and do the ruling and not act on our own incorrectly justified ways. Only the man who is B can act. He is like a prophet in Quinnism and we, my sisters and brothers, must find and follow him.


Jake Lewis <>
Marblehead, MA USA - Friday, February 20, 1998 at 11:43:34 (PST)
I NEED INPUT! We are trying to raise our six year old daughter with values embedded in a "new vision". But the dominant Taker paradigm is everywhere: TV, radio, family, neighbors, friends, movies, even educational materials. We can't and don't want to isolate her, so in effect, she is receiving mixed messages. I'm afraid the end result of this in a few years will be, since she's getting one story from Mom and Dad and another story from everyone and everything else, that Mom and Dad are just a couple of old fogies out of touch with the way the "real world" works, and Mother Culture will have snagged another rube.
The only counteractive to this that I can see is in getting reinforcements; other people, literature, media, etc. that reflect our teachings... outside input that lets her know we're not the only ones who see a problem here. A real B community would be ideal but it seems the only one that exists is virtual. So we at least need B oriented elementary level books, videos and educational materials. There are some out there but they seem to be few and far between. Isn't this a project someone should be working on? If not producing them, then at least finding and catagorizing things (similar to Daniel's suggested reading list, except for children). Surely this must be an issue for other parents in the B community. We can't just concentrate on our own transformation while cranking out another generation of Taker children. What's the point?
So anyone knowing of any good "stuff" out there, please email me. Also would like to hear anyone else's thoughts and suggestions on the matter.

Bradley H. Boe <>
Rosendale, Mo USA - Friday, February 20, 1998 at 10:57:46 (PST)
It's true that the earth and life on it will survive long after humans have either evolved to a higher plane or crashed and burned. That's not the issue for me thought.

The environmentalist focus on global warming dangerously misses the point because
a) incrementally warmer weather does not viscerally affect anybody,
b) in the time of the Vikings global temperature was much higher than today's 'warming' threatens to make things, and that was natural, and
c) the point is NOT that there'll be some overall impact on global weather, but that on the local level everywhere LIFE WILL BE LESS WORTH LIVING without wilderness and diversity.

Fear of some abstract global warming should not be what motivates environmental action. Positive love for the earth and all its exciting diversity of life-- even when that means we're not totally safe-- should be the goal.

About the female role in Taker society, and how women perceive themselves to benefit from it-- In several of the women with whom I've talked to about Ishmael-type ideas, who are otherwise open-minded, there is a near-absolute inability to see themselves walking alone in a forest where dangerous animals are allowed to live. It's an irrational, deep-seated fear with which I couldn't even argue. So despite the many ways in which civilization fundamentally puts women down, these women felt the benefit of 'safety' from the 'wild' outweighed all negatives and justified the way in which nature is something we control and separate from human living space. Sure, they'd advocate reducing the dominance of men some; but being 'closer to nature' was unimaginable if it meant bugs, dirt, a forest at night, the menace of bears or wolves free to roam.
(obviously this is not the attitude of all women-- but I think it's a common perspective.)


Matt Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Friday, February 20, 1998 at 09:16:04 (PST)
I seem to be in a cultural shock. Maybe because I have not really understood all the implications of the worldview. I am at once interested in "saving" the world (world=humans!) and on the other hand not interested. It always has been that some species gained some degree of dominance and stayed so for a while and then it disappeared or at least lost the dominance. It is possible that humans will eventually run out of resources to support this huge population and so naturally dwindle (or they my voluntarily curb the growth). In either case in the long run (is it 1 or 2 or 3 million or 100 or 200 or 300 million years)nothing is going to matter. Home sapiens will either continue to grow evolve or be extinct. In fact it is a good bet that they won't exist in the same form after 50 million years. So what are we talking about. One thing seems clear, everything humans have done and are doing is geared toward increasing their chance of survival and that instinct we cannot deny in any living being even if it leads to its own destruction in the "long" run.
Ven Iyer <>
West Windsor, NJ USA - Thursday, February 19, 1998 at 19:28:20 (PST)
Out of the many amazing ideas that I read and resonated with in "The Story of B," Quinn's statement that Taker society primarily benefits men was truly wonderful. I just don't see or hear the subject of women's inferior (yes, even today) status discussed. If I try to talk about it with men, in a pleasant and nonconfrontational way, they usually react by verbally attacking, which doesn't lead to anything productive.

Even here on this fantastic website I see mostly men's comments. I deduce from this that either women don't care (not likely) or they lack computer access - money to buy computer equipment or else the time to spend on the Net. Any thoughts about this, anybody (men, women or whatever)? What to Do?

Lynn <>
Lancaster, PA USA - Thursday, February 19, 1998 at 15:07:45 (PST)
thank you mr joel. i'll have to check out that book. you are right though...we can't think of it as an american revolution. it ahs to be a global revolution. ther's no other way. we have to combine our thoughts to overcome the propaganda that's been pummeled into our heads. question everything. 1+1 doesn't always equal 2. think it through for yourselves. consider this situation...a man has one herd of sheep. his friend gives him his herd. that's one herd plus another, yet in the end he still only has one herd. one plus one equals one in this instance. just an example.

willyum <>
plano, tx USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 21:40:47 (PST)
Hello out there> I decided this morning to post some excellent passages I read the other day in a book by Charles A Reich called > "The coming American revolution". The title may seem a bit self defeating, yet the ideas presented in the book are simply excellent. Most of us I hope should be aware that the revolution we are presently working for and experiencing is not just an "American" revolution. It is a human revolution, a mental revolution on a global scale and it simply will not work any other way. The idea of "countries" is just one of the many out-shoots of Taker culture. Countries, by there very design are largley competitive. I hope its clear that this kind of competition (the win/lose mentality countries are founded upon) is one of the largest factors keeping us and our revolution from moving forward. It should be noted that our dear little America is merely a facade. You might even call it an illusion of the worst kind, that like so many things, has been programed into us. America exists only in the mind and in the mind's beliefs. Because we think of ourselves as American's, our actions lend power to this belief, and we therefore act as Americans; we play our roles. Yet if enough of us ceased thinking of ourselves as Americans, or Canadians, or as mexicans ect. >and simply saw ourselves as just "Human Beings"(a term worth examining in itself, over time these countries will lose their necessity. There masks removed, they can be clearly seen as relatively useless institutions hindering our revolution; they will indeed dissolve away. I quit thinking of myself as an American quite some time ago, as I am sure many of you have as well. Yet I still live here, and although my freedom has increased dramatically over the past few years through cooperation, it is still very apparent, especially of late, that in the eyes of America I am still an American, subject to all the "laws" inside. You see, my liberation depends on your liberation, and your liberation depends on mine and everyone around you as well. Here, I'm losing myself... here's some quotes from Reich (pg6-10:
"What is the nature of the present American"(global)"crisis? Most of us see it as a collection of problems, not necisarilly related to each other, and, although profoundly troubling, neverthless within the reach of reason and reform. But if we list these problems, not according to topic, but as elements of larger issues concerning the structure of our society itself, we can see that the present crisis is an organic one, that Arises out of the basic premises by which we live and that no more reform can touch it.
1)DISORDER, CORRUPTION, HYPOCRACY, WAR. The front pages of newspapers tell of the disintegration of the social fabric, and the resultin atmosphere of terror in which we all live. Lawlwessness is most often associatied with crime and riots, but there is lawlessness and corruption in all the major institutions of our society- matched by an indiference to resposibility and the consequences, and a pervasive hypocracy that refuses to acknowledge the facts that are everywhere visible...
2)POVERTY, DISTORTED PRIORITIES, AND LAWMAKING BY PRIVATE POWER. America presents a picture of drastic poverty amid affluence, an extremity of contrast unknown in other industrial nations. Likewise there is a super abundance of some goods, services, and activities such as defence manufacture, while other needs, such as education and medical care, are at a starvation level for many. These closely related kinds of inequality are not the accidents of a free economy, they are intentionally and rigidly built into the laws of our society by those with powerful influence; an example is the tax structure which subsidizes private wealth and production of luxuries and weapons at the direct expense of impoverished people abd impoverished services. The nation has a planned economy, and the planning is done by the exercise of private power without concern for the general good."
(So true- Did you no that in the eighties under "trickle-down Reganomics" large companies such as General Motors paid no taxes and in some cases even recieved money in return from our government. but money doesn't trickle down my friends it trickles up, the economy in the 80's proved this. It should also be noted that if our government were not presently subsidizing the meat industry on such a large scale, that the 99 cent hamburger you get from Macdonalds would cost you somewhere between 6-7 dollars, a fitting price when you consider that 80% of the food we grow in this country is fed to cows, and that most of this food, approximately 11/12ths of it literally goes to shit)

Joel Futch <>
Phoenix, Az USA - Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 10:41:22 (PST)
The question about Chiapas hits right between the eyes. The carnage going on there with the tacit approval of the powers that be is horrendous. How can any change come about if not from the people in Mexico themselves? Yet, when Mexican journalists try to cover a important story like this, they risk their very lives.. In Mexico, might still makes right. The only response I can think of is a steady spotlight on Chiapas and the actions of the Mexican government to ameliorate the situation of the villagers who live there. Mexico portrays itself as a modern, stable democratic country, and Chiapas is an embarrasment. There are so many problems in the world today that it is easy to lose focus and "burn out" from all the bad news. The best way to change things in Chiapas, and other places as well, is to keep a spotlight on the problem until the government feels impelled to improve the situation.
Lana Fayman <>
USA - Tuesday, February 17, 1998 at 21:36:10 (PST)
What do you-all B's think of what's going on in Chiapas?
It seems to me like that may be the starkest and clearest event happening today illustrating our issues.
Thoughts, things people are doing, etc.??

MMausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, February 17, 1998 at 12:46:18 (PST)
When the maieutic student is ready, the maieutic teacher will come. He came to me.
Merf Sohmers <>
Madison, WI USA - Tuesday, February 17, 1998 at 09:46:29 (PST)
I'm here because I'm concerned and curious. But also because
something inside me was stirred -- kinda like a calling. When
the maieutic student is ready the maieutic teacher will come.
Guess that was true in my case. Let's just see what kind of
education I received and how well I apply that knowledge in
my world.

Merf Sohmers <>
Madison, WI USA - Tuesday, February 17, 1998 at 09:43:22 (PST)
I'm here because I'm concerned and curious. But also because
something inside me was stirred -- kinda like a calling. One

Merf Sohmers <>
Madison, WI USA - Tuesday, February 17, 1998 at 09:40:27 (PST)
i stopped posting on this network quite a while ago because i didn't feel it was serving my purpose forcoming in the first place. it seemed that it was all the same stuff being said all the time and a lot of "i read the book. it was neat" kind of stuff. i am happy to see this has changed tremendously. either more people are saying more or less people are saying dumb stuff. i've periodically monitored the progress of comments and replies to other comments. you've achieved what i hoped you would. sorry i gave up for a while. now i will try to be around on occasion to say something i feel needs to be said. i'd like to start with saying that the quinn books are merely stepping stones (large ones) to finding a better way. i'm quite interested in finding people looking to create a better way as i am. much needed are people with knowledge of medicinal plants, edible plants, agriculture, livestock care, buying/finding land large enough for a tribe, etc... be good.

willyum <>
plano, tx USA - Monday, February 16, 1998 at 23:56:50 (PST)
Fellow Thinkers,

I am a teacher of car-crazed, consumption-happy 16-year-old high school sophomores--kids who epitomize Mr. Quinn's concept of the children of Mother Culture. This being the case, it might seem that Mr. Quinn's ideas would be coldly received by such a group.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. If we should have hope (and we should) it is because these young minds are eager to see the world in a new way, or, more appropriately perhaps, in a very OLD way. Ideas from the Story of B have found resonance in many of their hearts and minds. My students are willing to think and question, and more importantly, to change their lives accordingly. As a result, I have added the Story of B to the syllabus of my Utopia and Dystopia English course.

For those of you who find yourselves without 30 students to discuss Mr. Quinn's ideas, here is an idea--purchase ten copies of The Story of B. Distribute these to ten friends. Encourage them, if they enjoy the book, to do the same.
In this way, the world may be willingly, eagerly, and thoughtfully changed forever...

Good luck.

Ted Wolf <>
Harrisburg, PA USA - Thursday, February 12, 1998 at 12:00:01 (PST)
I just came upon a very inspiring book and video which may be of interest to all the "B"s of the world. Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodge and her video also called Ancient Futures. They are based upon her 20+ years of experience living among the people of Ladakh, India, one of the last remaining indigenous cultures. Everything she has experienced and observed reinforces the Quinn worldview/the Leaver philosophy. The most interesting aspect of the project is that each summer they take volunteers to come live with some of the families in Ladakh, to help out during the growing season and learn from the people while at the same time helping to validate the importance of their (now endangered) way of life amid increasing pressures to Americanize. For more info. write the International Society of Ecology and Culture, The Ladakh Project, at PO Box 9475, Berkeley, CA 94709. While I'm here, I'll add that another very significant, B-esque book I've just come upon is The Continuun Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost by Jean Leidloff. It's one more angle to add to Quinn's multitude of Revelations. Finally, as I am perpetually searching for Wisdom, any new/old revolutionary book suggestions are more than welcome...Thanks, thanks, thanks! -E.

Elizabeth Perlman <>
SC, USA - Wednesday, February 11, 1998 at 14:02:27 (PST)
I wouldn't deny that it is hard to tell the difference between instincts and deep-seated fears.

Many types of therapy are aimed at showing people how harmful behaviors, which are so deeply ingrained as to almost qualify as instincts, are really caused by fears or traumas from their past. If they can identify and let go of those traumas and fears, they can change their harmful behaviors for the better.

Likewise for Taker behavior...

Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Wednesday, February 11, 1998 at 13:00:53 (PST)
My friends and colleges have noticed a change in my insight and a happier out- look on life. But, the real joy is knowing that I can guide them toward their own creative way of living with a simple question or by personal example. We are all ready to dream a new dream. If we help each other it will happen faster and smother, but it is happening.

Kevin Bethel MD CM

kevin bethel MD CM BFA <>
houston, TX USA - Wednesday, February 11, 1998 at 11:10:17 (PST)
interesting book/s... (very uncomittal response) however I think that these are some ideas that need to be thought about. I was just wondering if mr. quin has thoug about trying to "save" humans in his own way? do we really need ot be saved? or just shown the walls in which we as a culture try to interperite the wrold from. just a thought. it seems that this is done but the painting of b as a christ like messia figure by hisrecreation in the father and the woman (i can't seem to rember her name). whatever this book did open my eyes further to the unjustice that comes from forceing our oppinios and ways of living on others and for that i am forever in mr. quin's debt.
nathan krueger <>
s.l.c, ut USA - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 at 16:12:55 (PST)
Mr. Mausner, again I must address your posting. NOT because I think you are wrong, but because I myself seem to have a different view of things. In your last message you state:

"I think at an instinctual level we allready KNOW the laws of life. It takes a concious override to violate them-- to 'lock up' food, to 'own' land, to really claim to posses anything, to put poison out for the cockroaches, to shoot wolves."

I have a hard time accepting the amout of "instinctual knowledge" you claim we posses. I feel that as humans we "KNOW" very little if anything directly because of our biology. As humans we get our SENSE of instinct from our culture. I would tend to limit our actual instinct (in the biological sense of the word) to something along the lines of an urge to suckle, a VERY BASIC inner drive.

I feel it takes a CULTURAL override rather than a CONCIOUS override to violate the laws of life. I feel these two are very different. CULTURAL override consits of breaking the laws of life because you believe that you are right in doing so (you have learned that you are right). CONCIOUS override seems to suggest a rational approach to breaking the rules, an approach I simply do not see as necessary in order to violate the laws of life. The reason we humans are here today is because we obeyed the laws of life for so very long. One does not have to know these laws of life in order to break them or obey them. I think people in our culture violate the laws of life because they believe that it is what they are supposed to do, not because they are rationalizing their actions against their instinct. I feel that this type of "rationalizing of actions" certainly does occur in some individuals (the more rational types like myself), but to suggest that they are "rationalizing their actions" AGAINST INSTINCT is quite a leap. I prefer to view their rationalizing as just that--rationalizing. To my understanding even Leaver's rationalize their actions. I have heard native Americans state that their way of life is "in harmony with nature", they prefer their lifestyle for this reason. To me this seems like the same sort of rationalizing. Taker's rationalize why they must be rulers of the world, while Leaver's rationalize why they live as part of the world (to me a MUCH more beneficial rational). We humans are simply rational because of our nature, not because we need to be in order to break the laws of life.

Regardless of how Taker culture started we must help people see that it's ways are simply detrimental to all life on this planet.

Mr. Mausner, you frequently bring up the notions of primal insecurity and FEAR. Maybe it is just me but more than anything else I FEAR Taker culture and the power it's members posess. Nothing makes me more insecure than the power I see in the hands of Taker's. Maybe this is only my main fear because I have never truly lived in "the hands of the gods". I just can't see how that FEAR or insecurity could be worse than those caused by Takers and the power they posses. I feel I have no problem trusting "the gods" (or nature however you want to look at it), my problem is in trusting the Taker's.

Thank you Mr. Mausner, as usual, for the great topics!

Matthew Meersman

Matthew Meersman <>
South Bend, IN USA - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 at 15:52:56 (PST)

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature,

since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

--Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Jamie Myxter <>
Seattle, Wa USA - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 at 11:05:16 (PST)

What I have to tell you may just be impossible to put into words, but for the moment I feel compelled to try. who I am is not important. These are words, nothing more, but as you percieve them, I am hoping that they might just joggle something deep beneath your ability to percieve; that they might help you to remember exactly what it is you are.
Let us suppose for a moment that our little culture actually one day might manage to succeed in its little mission; that we as humans might one day have complete control, complete security, complete and total technological and social mastery of our environment and our situation in it. Through some amazing chain of circumstances, we became like God! Everything was at our fingertips, no surprises, nothing outside of our understanding, and complete control... this being the case, how fun would life be? How long would it take before we eventually started playing games with ourselves in which we temporarilly lost control, just to escape the monotony our foolish pursuits had created? You see, God finds himself in much the same dilemna, but he too has learned how to play games in which he temporarily hides himself away from himself, forgets who he is and in this way has many wonderful adventures. Like the creater of the ultimate virtual reality experience, he has designed the world you see around you as his little playground, and you my brothers(sisters)are the ones through which he does his playing. This I suppose is the crucial message. You are God!!! Whatever disuise your ego self has created for you, beneath all of that you are indeed the master and true creater of pretty much everything you see and feel around you. knowing this, is heaven because it releases you from your fears... after all, how long can one remain in fear of oneself.gotta run...

not important <not important either>
phoenix , az USA - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 at 10:45:36 (PST)
EEEP! I'm sorry! It was poping up a failed screen! Argh, I didn't know I didn't know! I feel so embarassed. Here's to hoping the web master cleans those before I look too foolish :P J
Jarrod Henry <>
USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 20:22:33 (PST)
Mary River -- Sure, The Story of B and Ishmael are JUST books. So is the Bible. The Koran. The Torah. The Code of Hannurabi. All these things are just inks on paper, right? They mean nothing? Novels are novels for the simple reason that they convey a message or a meaning without being 100% historically accurate. DQ's choosing to write this as a novel was just a vehicle. 16 years old. That means you've been alive since around the early 1980's. I'm 19 myself, and I prefer to leave my judgements out, especially when dealing with such a learned mind as DQ's. The world isn't ending because he says it is. If you think that, you're missing the message. You're missing a lot. The world is fine. Humanity is fine. Our culture is careening towards destruction on a populatory scale, however. And hey, if DQ didn't say it, someone else would have. That's the problem here. He's not saying the world is ending. He's not saying jack. He's opening a door and pointing. WE'RE looking. I think your negativism towards this is easily explainable. You do understand. However, like most my friends, you claim that it's NOT YOUR PROBLEM. It's the future's problem. Let me rephrase this. If we don't solve it now by changing a vision, just's your grandchildren's problem. Jarrod
Jarrod Henry <>
Big Rapids, MI USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 20:19:38 (PST)
Mary River -- Sure, The Story of B and Ishmael are JUST books. So is the Bible. The Koran. The Torah. The Code of Hannurabi. All these things are just inks on paper, right? They mean nothing? Novels are novels for the simple reason that they convey a message or a meaning without being 100% historically accurate. DQ's choosing to write this as a novel was just a vehicle. 16 years old. That means you've been alive since around the early 1980's. I'm 19 myself, and I prefer to leave my judgements out, especially when dealing with such a learned mind as DQ's. The world isn't ending because he says it is. If you think that, you're missing the message. You're missing a lot. The world is fine. Humanity is fine. Our culture is careening towards destruction on a populatory scale, however. And hey, if DQ didn't say it, someone else would have. That's the problem here. He's not saying the world is ending. He's not saying jack. He's opening a door and pointing. WE'RE looking. I think your negativism towards this is easily explainable. You do understand. However, like most my friends, you claim that it's NOT YOUR PROBLEM. It's the future's problem. Let me rephrase this. If we don't solve it now by changing a vision, just's your grandchildren's problem. Jarrod
Jarrod Henry <>
Big Rapids, MI USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 20:16:01 (PST)
Mary River -- Sure, The Story of B and Ishmael are JUST books. So is the Bible. The Koran. The Torah. The Code of Hannurabi. All these things are just inks on paper, right? They mean nothing? Novels are novels for the simple reason that they convey a message or a meaning without being 100% historically accurate. DQ's choosing to write this as a novel was just a vehicle. 16 years old. That means you've been alive since around the early 1980's. I'm 19 myself, and I prefer to leave my judgements out, especially when dealing with such a learned mind as DQ's. The world isn't ending because he says it is. If you think that, you're missing the message. You're missing a lot. The world is fine. Humanity is fine. Our culture is careening towards destruction on a populatory scale, however. And hey, if DQ didn't say it, someone else would have. That's the problem here. He's not saying the world is ending. He's not saying jack. He's opening a door and pointing. WE'RE looking. I think your negativism towards this is easily explainable. You do understand. However, like most my friends, you claim that it's NOT YOUR PROBLEM. It's the future's problem. Let me rephrase this. If we don't solve it now by changing a vision, just's your grandchildren's problem. Jarrod
Jarrod Henry <>
Big Rapids, MI USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 20:14:59 (PST)
HOBART, IN USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 18:24:17 (PST)
I think at an instinctual level we all already KNOW the laws of life. It takes a conscious override to violate them-- to 'lock up' food, to 'own' land, to really claim to possess anything, to put poison out for cockroaches, to shoot wolves. At the most basic level it is fear that causes us to override; but in the pit of the stomach, you FEEL that that decision is wrong-- but sometimes the primal, archetypal fears are stronger. That is a natural process too.

My friend was driving through New Hampshire the other day, on the way back from a vacation weekend. He and his friend stopped for lunch, and then it was such a nice day that they went for a walk. They wound up wandering in the woods for a while, and stumbled upon a shed in the middle of nowhere. In the shed were two (and only two) pairs of cross-country skis and boots-- one of which happened to fit him, and the other set fit her, PERFECTLY! So they skiied for a couple of hours-- and then put the skis back where they found them.

If you've ever read "Mutant Message Down Under" you know what I mean-- that coincidences like that ARE the law of life, that you can trust in the universe to provide for you-- not just subsistence but fun, excitement, and fulfillment. Didn't Quinn point out the least-listened to words of Jesus, something like "look at the birds! They have no care for the morrow! Be like that!!"

If we could all be like that, maybe we could pull it off. It's all about trust-- at a level that few of us descendants of the Great Forgetting are capable of. Yet most of us, sometimes, have experienced life like that.

If we could overcome that primal insecurity, if people weren't AFRAID at that deepest level, we could begin observing the Law of life again.


Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Monday, February 09, 1998 at 13:01:55 (PST)
[I would like to thank John Stoncypher for his posted apology. It is greatfully accepted! Thanks, Matt]

I feel that the "laws" discussed in Mr. Stonecypher's last posting, including the "law of life" discussed by Quinn are of great importance to those who want to change minds. I feel that through better understanding of exactley what kind of "laws" operate within the community of life, we gain the ability to live within them. This is one avenue where scientific study will be extremely valuable. When "laws" that are "scientifically" supported are brought to public attention they carry a lot of weight. If the public could be convinced that their way of life breaks these "scientifically proven laws", it could be just the thing neccesary to get people to change on a large scale. Our culture gives Science a lot of weight when it comes to defining "reality". I am not going to say whether this is good or bad (I'm sure either could be argued), but it could be adventageous to a cultural revolution if Science were behind it. Any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Matthew Meersman

Matthew Meersman <>
South Bend, IN USA - Sunday, February 08, 1998 at 14:20:00 (PST)
Ishmael and the Story of B are just novels. I find them very enlightening and they make you think, but they are still just novels. Come on people- the world is not going to end just because Daniel Quinn sais it will! He offers a different perspective on things, but just because his perspective is different does not mean it is right. Are we so needy to find something wrong with our culture and have someone or something to blame for it that we will latch on to anyone who throws their OPINIONS out there? There are a lot of things in the book I agree with and a lot of things I don't. And I'm 16! I'm supposed to be finding something wrong with everything at my age! I'm supposed to be looking for something to blame! Come on people! Think for yourselves! Don't believe something just because it was in a book.
Mary River <>
Peoria, IL USA - Saturday, February 07, 1998 at 10:31:02 (PST)
[Note to Matt Meersman: In my desire to argue a point, I failed to show proper respect to you personally. I tried to criticize an idea, and it came off as an attack on you, which I did not mean it to be. I am really sorry, Matt. I got excited and didn't plan my posting adequately. Please accept my apologies. I'll be more careful with my wordings and my tone in the future.]

I often see "There is no one right way" interpreted to mean "There are no wrong ways." If the singular goal of life is survival, there certainly is no one right way to achieve that goal, but there ARE a few ways which will NOT work. These ways are those that transgress law (among those laws being DQ's 'Laws of Life'). I support Matt Mausner's construct that Taker-ism was engendered by Leavers who worked within the confines of the Laws of Life, but who, by their way of life(rape/pillage/slavery), pushed other Leavers into Taker-dom. I can imagine no other convincing reason why Leavers would take up the work-intensive, soul-destroying Taker way of life. They were pushed into it by fear of rape/slavery, etc. They lived in fear of people who obeyed the Laws of Life, but who broke a deeper set of laws. Our path to species suicide began long before someone thought up the idea of locking up food.

John Stonecypher <>
Mason City, IA USA - Saturday, February 07, 1998 at 06:15:30 (PST)
it has been brought to my attention that the
verbage i selected in submitting my last post
as to daniel quinn and the cocaine overdose
was malformed. i used the word "denounce"
which actually has two meanings. these two
meanings seem to contradict in the context
i used.
denounce-1. to pronounce esp. publicly to be
blameworthy or evil. 2. to inform
i meant it as the former. sorry. in plain


i apologize for any strife caused by my need
for assurance that "our" dq was not the one in
thank you jeanette.
thank you vickie for the vocabulary lesson.

willyum <>
plano, tx USA - Friday, February 06, 1998 at 23:19:31 (PST)
< Thank you for reading, sorry for hording space! Matt Meersman>>

I couldn't find the original post, so I'm quoiting Matt Meersman's post which contained the part I would like to address.
Changing our culture is a humungous challenge. After all, most people are perfectly happy living the way we do. It is pretty comfortable way of life. So --- how do we go about changing the course of the river?
I think a good place to start is to list the beliefs that predominate in our culture. I'm not so original, but I think I know a good idea when I see it, so the following is taken from a book "You're the Boss!" by Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D. Her intent is to address diversity in the workplace. "It is often difficult for the white middle class people, especially those coming here from the Midwest who see themselves as "hot dog, apple pie and Chevrolet" Americans, to know exactlly how to relate to people of very diffrent backgrouns, history, culture and norms." I think DQ would say that regardless of where these people come from they all hold the same "Taker" mentality. Nevertheless, the following list gives a good starting place of ideas, at least some, that need to be changed, or at least modified so the river will move in a different direction:
>We believe in rugged individualism; the individual is the primary unit.
>We believe in the Protestant work ethic. Hard work brings success.
>We are competitive; we strive to be number one. Winning is everything.
>We focus on the future versus the present (becoming versus being). We save for a rainy day and value continuous improvement.
>We are action-oriented. We must always do something about situations. Our need is to master, control, harness, exploit both nature and the environment. We would rather schedule our lives than be spontaneous. (Shades of DQ!)
We emphasize the scientific method. We want to be objective and rational. We believe in cause and effect, and dualism: either/or, mind/body, good/bad, right/wrong, the polarities. Numbers are meaningful to us.
>We make decisions by majority rule. Our organizations are based on the pyramid, a hierachical chain of command.
>We believe in one God (Christian) and in our white system, as superior to other cultural systems. Our ideology is to bring other groups up to "our standardsl"
>We value self-disclosure, direct eye contact, limited physical contact or touching. We handshake and control emotions. We each need our own space; we are territorial. We like owning space.
>We adhere to time schedules. Time is viewd as a commodity and is considered precious; time is money. Hours, minutes and seconds count.
>We believe in romantic love, marriage, and children. We assume the man is the breadwinner, head of house and strong. We also assume that woman is the homemaker, subordinate to the man, and nuturing. The family is the primary social unit, and our organizations are structured on these roles.
>Women--(blond, blue eyes) compete around attractiveness. Men (tall, dark and handsome) compete around athletic prowess.
>Status is achieved by what one owns, money, credentials, titles, positions, roles.

That's quite a list! But, broken down into components like this,we might be able to see which assumptions can be left alone, which should be modified, and which should be disgarded.

Thanks for having this discussion place!
Lana Fayman

Lana Fayman <>
USA - Friday, February 06, 1998 at 13:31:08 (PST)
I would like to thank Mr. Mausner for the suggested readings. I was not aware that slavery was something that was going on before the "agricultural revolution". I guess I just couldn't imagine what a group of hunter-gatherers would want with a bunch of slaves. To me it just seems like more mouths to feed and more work to do.
In response to Mr. Stonecypher's comments I feel I must defend myself. I did not at all appreciate your sarcasm. As I said above I didn't THINK slavery fit in to a Leaver way of life. I wasn't speaking from historical knowledge, I was just trying to imagine Leavers with slaves and I couldn't do it. I did NOT say this because of some sort of "objective morality" with Leaver= good and Taker= bad. I wasn't saying Leavers wouldn't have slaves because they were "good" people, I just couldn't see where slaves would fit in to any Leaver way of life that I know of. I guess when I think of slaves I think of having them for the purpose of doing work and I couldn't imagine Leavers needing that kind of workers. It just seemed like it would be more trouble than it was worth. I would like to thank Mr. Stonecypher for clearing up my illusion that short sited agricultural techniques and locking up food were the only problems in our world. Where did you get this idea, is that what it sounded like I was saying? If so I'm sorry for not communicating clearly, but I would appreciate it if you would try to avoid putting words in other people's mouths so that you look more intelligent than the rest. With respect to totalatarian agricultural techniques and locking up the harvests of those techniques, I would like to say that I am in complete agreement with Quinn that these are two FUNDAMENTAL problems of our culture, this is not to say by any means that these are the only problems in the world today. Mr. Stonecypher please try to be more sensitive to those who are expressing their ideas in this forum.
Thank you, Matthew Meersman

Matthew Meersman <>
South Bend, IN USA - Friday, February 06, 1998 at 12:16:08 (PST)
sorry if i upset anyone about my last posting.
it has been denounced that "our" daniel quinn
overdosed on cocaine. that is all i have to

willyum <>
plano, tx USA - Thursday, February 05, 1998 at 21:41:25 (PST)
Matthew Meersman says below that " the idea of enslavement itself seems to be something that could only have been fostered in a 'taker' culture."

My question is why could only a Taker be a pillager, a rapist, and a slave-mongerer? What is it inside you that tells you so? I can easily imagine a simple hunter-gatherer (who would never dream of locking up his food) raping everything in sight while happily singing "There is No One Right Way to Live" at the top of his lungs. If you believe that rape is somehow "wrong," and if you would go so far as to say so, you are what we call a "Taker," b/c you are appealing to an objective morality. And as we all know, all Leavers say "There is no one right way to live." Cultural and moral diversity is rule #1, and my freedom to rape anything I want must not be infringed upon.

Okay, I'm done with the sarcasm now. I think rape is wrong--Yes, WRONG. And I think Matthew Mausner is taking a fascinating line of thought. (And, I apologize if I am misunderstanding you, Matthew) Something I might call "evil" could have contributed to the development of the sort of person we would call "Taker." The problems of this world go deeper than the awful problems of locked-up food and short-sighted agricultural techniques.

I find Quinn's ideas invaluable, but not infallible. Does this spark anything in anyone? Have I misunderstood something?

John Stonecypher <>
Mason City, IA USA - Wednesday, February 04, 1998 at 11:03:53 (PST)

FuturePositive/Foundation for a New Worldview

Website is Launched!

We have just started something that readers have been demanding for years: an organization.

The second half of its name pretty well summarizes its purpose: to promulgate a new worldviewspecifically the worldview articulated in the works of Daniel Quinn, of course. Among other things, the foundation, centered in Houston, will sponsor:

Perhaps, most importantly, FuturePositive offers something that readers have been asking for from the beginning: the

opportunity to participate in furthering the new world vision that attracted them to Daniel's work in the first place.

Check out the FuturePositive website!

Webmaster <>
Houston, TX USA - Wednesday, February 04, 1998 at 09:20:37 (PST)
im going two a spelling bee too?remember to
and to is not always to

Adrian Steven <>
sweet Indian, IA USA - Tuesday, February 03, 1998 at 17:19:38 (PST)
Samsons' lion was sweet and I to have a secret to keep,"Free as a bird,but under
water,I'm upsidedown screaming lucky numbers".

Keelerbea <>
Suzy Aiwa, IA USA - Tuesday, February 03, 1998 at 17:03:42 (PST)
my friend heard on am talk radio today that daniel quinn has been hospitalized for a cocaine overdose. is this the same dq or another? just wondering if anyone has heard anything.
willyum <>
plano, tx USA - Tuesday, February 03, 1998 at 16:43:43 (PST)
I have been racking my brain as well as a billion others to try to figure out how to change this society of ours. And I, like all the other bruised heads, seem to have come up with nothing. But you know what? While we were racking our brains were WERE making a difference. We all begun to make a difference when we picked up our first of Daniel Quinn's books. Sometimes I think we all expect some huge revolt were we tear down the skyscrapers with our hands, and begin a new life, but that probably will not happen all at once. Like The Story of B said, Society will change with changed minds. And one by one the changed minds that Daniel Quinn's books made are changing the flooded rivers direction out of the path of devastation but into new hope.
Kerry Joy Stratton <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Tuesday, February 03, 1998 at 11:44:10 (PST)
If power, and not totalitarian agriculture, is the defining characteristic of Takers, then yes those first invaders/rapers/pillagers/enslavers were Takers. But if you think Taker=bad and Leaver=good, then I'm afraid the distinction breaks down. Power trips, massacres, rape, and even slavery extend far back into Leaver history; check out the slave societies of the Pacific Northwest, or the book 'War before Civilization' by Keeley. On the MACRO scale, in relation to the environment-- the Law of life was still generally observed, nature was not thrown too far out of balance.

The radical change in relationship to the earth was, I contend, a new RESPONSE to deal with the threat of invasion, rape, pillage, enslavement. A question every reader of Ishmael and B must ask is WHY did anyone CHOOSE to become a Taker, if Taker lifestyle and culture is so much more work, less rewarding, and less fulfilling spiritually than Leaver lifestyle?

Totalitarian agriculture, in contrast to any other kind of subsistence (including hunting/gathering, animal husbandry, fishing, or even limited agriculture) is inferior in every nutritional and work vs. benefit kind of way except for one thing: calories per acre. The ONLY reason to do it is to make more people-- of course!!! Quinn is dead right about that. But WHY was there such a driving imperative to make more people? WHY would anyone sacrifice everything else worth living in life in exchange only for rapidly producing as many people as possible? WHY??!

There's only one answer that really makes sense. FEAR. These are people not unlike us, not THAT unlike anyone else on earth; they're not some bizarre mutation. Can you imagine how you would feel (I hope you don't know the feeling personally) if you or your daughter were raped, if your children were taken from you and enslaved, if your relatives were brutally massacred, if you were enslaved? and you couldn't stop it, couldn't do anything about it? You might lose your trust in the Gods to provide for you and protect you, that trust that Ishmael aptly notices is integral to the Leaver lifestyle. So what would you do? you would try to make damn sure it could never happen again-- and, bottom line, the only way to ensure that is to have the bigger army. And the only way to have the bigger army is to have more male children. And the only way to ensure having more male children is to have more food---

Are you following? The APOCALYPTIC FEAR of that unspeakable trinity of massacre, rape and enslavement, is the driving force behind totalitarian agriculture. And until people, at the very deepest levels, have those fears answered and have those wounds healed, they will never be able to relinquish that paranoid control of the environment and insistence on the One Right Way-- The Taker vision.

Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, February 03, 1998 at 08:56:14 (PST)
I'm writing in response to Matthew Mausner's last posting. I think that you have brought up some wonderful points about why "taker" culture is considered so valuable to the people who first started practicing it. Those individuals may have seen it as a "MUST" or the only way out of the suffering state that they were put in.
One thing I question is whether or not the "barbarians" who enslaved these ancient Eurasians were "takers". Matthew Mausner says no, at least not acording to Quinn's definition. I argue that they must be "takers". If they were invading, raping, pillaging, and enslaving these Eurasians they surely were not doing things that we see happening in existing "leaver" cultures. This alone may not be strong evidence, but the idea of enslavement itself seems to be something that could only have been fostered in a "taker" culture.
One other comment I have concerns the statement that these early Eurasians were not "totalitarian" agricululturalists. I feel that Quinn brings up a VERY important point in "My Ishmael" concerning what signals a "taker" culture. It is the idea that the process of "locking up" the food is what surely marks a taker culture. I feel that it is not so much the style of agriculture that is practiced, as much as it is what is done with the harvest.
Mr. Mausner, please understand that I'm not attacking your ideas. I'm simply giving you my interpretation of the material you were discussing. I agree COMPLETELY with you that we must not attack and condemn our culture, instead we MUST encourage change through understanding.
Thank you for reading, sorry for hording space! Matt Meersman

Matthew Meersman <>
South Bend, IN USA - Monday, February 02, 1998 at 13:53:22 (PST)
Why so much fear? We are NOT humanity. It is our CULTURE that is in peril, not ourselves. Our species will live on, just without many of us. That's the point. We HAVE to change our culture now. Programs won't work. Look beyond that. Knowledge IS power, remember that always. To change ourselves, we have to know ourselves. We are ALWAYS going to be 3 million years Leaver, and Ten thousand years taker. If we find what it is to be a leaver, we just may be able to help ourselves. That's not bad news at all. :)
Jarrod Henry <>
Big Rapids, MI USA - Monday, February 02, 1998 at 08:48:07 (PST)
There's an important adjustment I'd like to propose to Ishmael/B's
understanding of how Takers came into being.

The early agricultural civilizations in Eurasia were NOT totalitarian agriculturalists, were still in touch with their age-old passed down animist
wisdom, still had that sense of belonging; in essence they were NOT Takers. They were probably most similar to New World civilizational experiments like the Maya and

Invasion, rape, pillage and especially enslavement became a regular
feature of Eurasian life by about 4500 bce, perhaps starting with the Kurgan invasions; BUT even these early invaders weren't necessarily takers by Quinn's definitions, just bloodthirsty barbarians, but they could've still been content to go from day to day dependent on what the gods brought their way to prey upon. Other humans and their civilizations had become included in their prey, but they still were not fully Takers.

But the descendants of those enslaved in these first massive enslavements had their
identity, sense of belonging, memory of their past violently stripped
from them - cf. the concept of natal alienation so crucial to
enslavement. Even if they're freed by revolt or by the next war, they
cannot go back; they cannot recover their animist wisdom and trust in
the gods; they only model they know is the violent control of their
former masters.

It is THESE people, with this terrible trauma relived every day, with apocalyptic anxiety and terror that any day their
daughters may be raped and then they all can be enslaved again by the next wave of barbarians, who become the first true Takers.

It is these people who begin the practice of totalitarian agriculture, because they feel they MUST-- in order to have lots of (especially MALE) children, in order that they become SOLDIERS, so that there is an army that can protect them from
that unspeakable terror of invasion, rape, enslavement.

Whereas Leavers had never particularly cared what the next group of people did over the
next ridge, or across the lake, or farther away, these first Takers knew
from bitter, terrible experience that any one of those groups could rise
up and invade, rape, pillage, conquer, enslave. So they felt that they
MUST expand-- for such a horror MUST be eliminated, whether or not it
was an active threat. The Unknown, which is something that Leavers do not necessarily mind and often trust, became for the descendants of slaves something utterly unacceptable. The Taker attitude towards
the environment, exterminating competitors, exterminating insects, needing to CONTROL everything, all springs (I believe) from the terrible insecurity that enslavement, rape, and the total ripping away from them
of their identities and spiritual sense of belonging caused.

If you can follow this--

What I'm trying to say is that when we reach out to the Taker world of today, we need to say that we accept how the behavior of Takers WAS undersandable-- and more important, that it is FORGIVABLE. If our attitude towards Takers is primarily one of condemnation, then we will continue to see our leaders assassinated as B. was. But if we are
speaking the TRUTH, and being truthful with ourselves as well, then we will admit that in the shoes of most Takers in history, always
fearing the next invasion and enslavement, we might have done the same thing- totalitarian agriculture, expansion, etc.

Please give me feedback if you read this, in this Ishmael forum or email
me at

Peace- MM

Matthew Mausner <>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Monday, February 02, 1998 at 08:29:31 (PST)
Dear fellow readers:

Much of what I found and understood in Daniel
Quinn's books I have encountered in the works
of Joseph Campbell and Illiade. I was recently
encouraged to see and read indications of"B"
thinking in certain reports from the World
Health Organization and from some NGO (non-
government organization reports). True, these
are programs and not changes in perspective
or vision. They are still based in principle
on religions and mythologies which got their
foothold 10,000 years ago. I think that to
turn around a mega-culture's way of perceiving
is a monumental task to say the least. But,
the catalyst to begin such a re-vision is
always small, and has the power of poetry to
its listeners, if the time and circumstances
are ripe.
Another observation: if one looks within the
major belief systems, despite their orientation
toward "salvation", there are mystics, seers,
"heretics" in all of them, who have looked through
same portal as D. Quinn. For those who remain
steadfast in their own religious construct, perhaps
it would be enlightening for them to re-discover
the "B" teachers in their own tradition. Humans
may be caught up in the flow of the current culture,
but even recent (10,000 years hence) history shows
(when carefully examined) there are philosophical
"sticks" in the waters of many conventional
beliefs which are worth examining.

Thank you so much for the
opportunity to share my thoughts
with all of you.

Carol W. Nichols <>
Quincy, IL USA - Monday, February 02, 1998 at 08:15:31 (PST)