The Ishmael Guestbook Archives: 16-31 January 1997

Daniel, I think you already know how I feel about Ishmael and the story of B. What I want us all to do some thinking and sharing about is where it is most pressing for us to put our energies. Most of us probably do lots of personal environomental act ions already, belong to organizations, etc. It seems like we need to direct our energies now, to save the few leaver cultures that are left. I am not entirely sure how to go about this and am interested in anyone else's knowledge. I do know for example , that the Baka pygmy people in Africa and seriously endangered and have thus far, been able to remain largely untouched by takers. I also know that in Ecuador the Huaorani and others are in struggles with their governments and the oil compaines, who ar e seriously endangering their way of life and very existence. There are other leaver cultures I am sure, all equally at risk from the combination of their governments being the puppets of their national debts, the tenacious missionaries who think they ar e going to save ther souls and civilize them and large American and international corporations who stand to make and do make billions of dollars off these folks through oil, coffee, tea, minerals and what have you. Where I live, we are in a tremendous st ruggle to protect the remaining temperate rain forest of the Tongass and to enable the Native people here to continue as much of their traditional lifestyle as they wish. But as difficult and heart wrenching as this struggle has been, it seems like small potatoes compared to the absolute necessity to save the world's endangered leaver peoples. Let's put our knowledge together and find ways to act now.
Libby Stortz <>
sitka, ak USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 21:12:54 (PST)
I would just like to thank Daniel Quinn for writing such a truly wonderful piece of literature. I wish I could say that it could change the world, but I am saddened by the state of our world to say the least. I lost a very close friend of mine last y ear and I have had many of my friend read this book, he read it 3 days before he passed away and we discussed it late into those three nights, I cannot thank you for giving us those experiences, they were three of the most enlightened evenings I have spen t with anyone in a long time. I also saw Daniel speak at the University of Oregon last year and my friends and I still haven't stopped talking about his lecture and answers to our questions. I hope that many people will read this book, more than just us , we are preaching to the converted here at this site, (not that that is bad, just we need to be proactive in our homes and our communities.) Please look into your hearts for all the answers. Peacefully, Angie Toub
Angie Toub <>
Portland, OR USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 14:09:21 (PST)
Our teacher is making us read this book. So far it is really stupid. We hate this book and hope we never read it again.
Erin Kelley & Laura Mudd
Columbus, Oh USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 11:04:29 (PST)
PEORIA, ILLINOIS, USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 11:01:13 (PST)
It was a good book, it was life changing but it I cannot let my humanitarian side down. I just can't I will always be a humanitarian even if it encourages the growth of more people. sorry.
Kathryn Hoover <>
Troy, OH USA - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 07:10:20 (PST)
I enjoyed Ishmael and The Story of B thuroughly. The positive mindset of Daniel Quinn (and others) will take us quickly into the Aquarian Age and beyond. I think I'm ready, is everyone else? Only through communication, positive reinforcement and inte rdependance will we ever be able to accomplish this incredible goal. Let's keep the ball rolling, now that it seems to have already been started. Hope to catch ya' on the site again soon.
James knight <>
Boise, ID USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 20:35:19 (PST)
I'm about 20 pages from being done reading Ishmael for the first time. Finally I've found something that is coming from a similar belief system that I have been grappling with for some time now. I'm not alone in thinking and feeling that what I've be en doing in my life so far is acting out someone else's idea of what I should be doing. No wonder it doesn't feel natural! Maybe there is hope! Thank you Daniel Quinn!!! I look forward to reading more of your work.
Liz Barnhill <>
Lawrence, KS USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 17:49:04 (PST)
I was recently reading Rousseau's "On the Origin of Inequality among Men." I was shocked to see that Mr. Quinn is not the first to come up with this Leaver-Taker philosophy. Rousseau, in the 1700's, came up with the idea that the beginning of mo dern civilization began when the first man planted the first seed and said, "This is mine, not anybody elses, and no one is going to take it from me." This is of course a metaphor for private property.
Joe Slavin <>
Philadelphia, PA USA - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 08:32:46 (PST)
I'm wondering if we takers haven't perhaps evolved directly from the SQUIRREL...only, we have felt it necessary to re- main in a constant state of November, compelled to live our lives gathering nuts for what we perceive as the endless winter. Suddenly, excess seems repugnant rather than a source of security. ISHMAEL gives me courage to question and change.Thank you, Daniel Quinn.
susan <>
Griffin, GA USA - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 07:07:39 (PST)
I would first like to caution Arne Nelson. In terms of your new found vegatarianism It does not work with in the framework that we are discussing in this new vision, if you refer to the FAQ's Quinn addresses this problem himself. The message of Ishmael and B are so strong that it scares many people. Some of my friends refuse to discuss it with me, telling me that they don't agree, when they have not yet heard the whole story. This speaks to the profound attachment some of us h ave to our current lifestyle. The road is rocky and long, so make sure you have packed plenty of water and cliff bars!
Matt Smith <>
Richmond, IN USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 19:07:19 (PST)
WORCESTER , MA USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 10:02:48 (PST)
I agree with Steve when he says that this book makes me very sad. I also try to live righteously, but it seems as if this can never be acheived realistically. I wish it could.
Jason Converse <>
Billings, MT USA - Monday, January 27, 1997 at 08:58:44 (PST)
I found this site address in the back of 'The Story of B' and this is awesome! For those of you that have only read 'Ishmael' make sure you get this one. Daniel Quinn's second book is an autobiography called 'Providence' and is very enlightening, he was going to become a preist. I want to know where to go from here, I have written down several e-mail addresses and will respond privately to a few of you. I want to know how to share this message with children. My daughter is 11 and very well read and I am going to read Ishmael ou tloud with her so we can discuss any parts that are difficult for her. But I want Mr. Quinn to write the same story for children of all ages to be able to grasp, anyone out there an author willing to work on a project like this with me? I will write to Mr. Quinn and ask him how I can help him with such an idea or if he has considered it but not finished yet or what!? Sharing the book is the next step and making sure the library has a copy, also. But I guess I believe that when the reader is ready the book will find its way into their hands! I'd love to talk further with anyone who has any ideas or comments , please write! Happiness & Bright Blessings
Laura Allen <>
Ocala, FL USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 18:41:52 (PST)


The book you're looking for is being written now. Look for it in November: MY ISHMAEL.

Best, Daniel Quinn

I love it. It is the poignant truth
Matthew Beyhl <>
mechanicsville, va USA - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 14:53:11 (PST)
Daniel! You know my thoughts. A very good friend is just teaching me how to browse the web. Ishamael was of course the firs target. Wonderful. See you in Austin in March. Best regards GUSTAF
Gustaf Delin <none yet!>
Sigtuna, Sweden - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 03:29:28 (PST)
Two more books to recommend: Fiction: Marge Piercy's WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME Nonfiction: David Bohm's ON DIALOGUE Hint of the Day: Did you know that a small change in the way your family uses toilet paper could save trees? I also wanted to share this: One of the coevolution projects I started last year is called the Partnership for Spirituality and Environment in Idaho. I and two others have been looking at the relationship between Judaeo-Christian tradition and ecological philosophy, both in terms of conflict and cooperation. We did a survey of area clergy, obtaining responses from 32 out of 200 we contacted. Most of the respondents - of various denominations - felt that it was a mandate of their faith to protect the earth from abuse. Most were interested in hearing more. I found in the course of my research that there are movements afoot in the mainstream churches to work for a sustainable future. Not all Christians believe that the word "dominion" in Genesis means domination and pillage. And not all Christians believe th at the second coming is imminent and so who cares about the earth? (One of the other sources of conflict between JChristians and ecological living). Our team's task is to tap into all of this and to create a dialogue wherein the many people who do attend churches in this community can review the complicity of their faith in the past, present, and future of human's relationship with the earth. And then do something positive about it. Just another at the roots... Matthew
Matthew Shapiro <>
Boise, ID USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 21:50:10 (PST)
I would personally like to thank Paula Sendrowski for having the guts to to actually do something. Yes, Paula I would love to get the ball rolling before we do something really stupid like exterminating ourselves. A good book to read if Daniel Quinn reaches you is the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. It talks about Earth many many years in the future still surviving but only through artificial means. A world of steel and concrete is not so far away from us. The young people have to change this because the older people are just too comfortable to stir up their lives. My mother stopped going to church after reading Ishmael, but that;s about as far as she will go. I'll give some credit to her since she was a catholic school girl. Well, Paula, I just want to say ROCK ON! Youv'e got the right idea!
Johnna Tokarz <>
Syracuse, NY USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 16:10:18 (PST)
I love this site!
Raschid A. Saliou-Diallo <>
Ann Arbor, MI USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 23:44:51 (PST)
Here's a place to start: begin each day by asking yourself, "What can I do today to help save the world?"
Andre Allen <>
Ashland, OR USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 19:36:44 (PST)
That darn book. One of my employees lent me her copy to read on a trip to the mountains. True to Canadian summers, it rained for 5 days straight. So I read the book. Not spectacular, just piercingly insightful and (frightenly) practical. It must b e hard to read Ishmael and not do something in response. I bought copies for friends, tried to explain the book to acquaintances, and developed a now set conviction not to eat meat. After spending summers in Wyoming during college, watching the rather p athetic life of what are actually some of the luckier cattle in this land of McDonalds, the idea of respecting animals and having as a goal the idea of letting cows develop cow potential on an evolutionary scale has appeal. It feels right
Arne Nelson <>
San Francisco, CA USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 10:17:59 (PST)
Ishmael has opened our eyes. It will take time for us to change our day-to-day "taker" way of living, but at least we are aware now. We have given copies of Ishmael to our good friends of different religions. Hopefully, some of our friends will do t he same.
Mia & Laurent Comes <>
Millburn, NJ USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 07:12:32 (PST)
I have read all three books by Daniel Quinn. The story of B was the most amazing to me. I am an environmental science major and I hope to be a part of the message. If you have a common goal to take your responsibility as a thoughtful, reasonable, ca ring human being, to give the non-human environment and future generations a chance, then please contact me. Maybe we can get this going. If we work together toward this "changed minds, no programs" thing, we may still have a chance. (thanks to Mr. Quinn and others like him.) Thanks for your time.
paula sendrowski <wor97isg08>
worcester , MA USA - Thursday, January 23, 1997 at 11:07:11 (PST)
Having a background in ecology I appreciated the easily understood explaination of "carrying capacity". I escort at an abortion clinic and have shared Ishmael with some of the protesters. Related, also is the following quote by the Dalai Lama, ³Nothing exists separately. On the contrary, everything is connected to everything else. No species-not even the human species-can place itself outside the world, outside the wheel of the universe. We are one of the cogs on that wheel."
david <>
dayton, oh USA - Wednesday, January 22, 1997 at 12:50:59 (PST)
this book is great in the fact that it states the obvious (wich at times is imposible to see). the book says that we, the human racs, can change and that it is not naive or wish full thinking to believe this. that it is niave to think the world can't change that humans are all bad and that only through god humans can change. we as homo sapians are not the penacle of evoloution. but we can evolve and we must evolve if we want to survive. to do this it does not nessisarily mean tht we hve to become a non technologicle society and live in the forest. but i think, in my humble opinion, that we use technology to help humnity not destroy. to educate people about birth controle. to teach our children to live by what jesus taught, not to believe in the man himself. wich means we should love one another more than ourselfs. i could go on for pages on what we could, no, must do for human beings to survive. shaloem
tom smith
USA - Tuesday, January 21, 1997 at 11:51:16 (PST)
This book sucked! I was scared to no end. Can you save the world?
dung pou <>
shanghi, or China - Tuesday, January 21, 1997 at 11:15:21 (PST)
This is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. It seems to rank up there with Gibran. I am a junior high school teacher. I have given copies of Ishmael to several former students who are now in college or beyond. It was accompanied with a request that if they liked the book, they must purchase and be givers of at least 2 copies of the book to others that tey feel will benefit and then make the same request of them. Two people have informed me that they have done so. It is spreading. Thanks for the page.
Dr. Richard Carpenter <>
Lindenhurst, IL USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 15:58:52 (PST)
I read The Story of B immediately after reading Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me and shortly after reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. B has really altered the way I look at the history of the world. The other two books laid the groundwork for B. They are testaments to the arrogance and self-certainty of the taker culture. The myth of the superiority and inevitiblity of this culture is deeply imbedded in the psyche of every citizen of every "educated" society which owes its success to the taker way of living. Our only hope is to strip off the blinders, owe up to our ignominious past, accept the fact that we are not above the laws of Nature, and begin in earnest the debate what can be done to stem the tide of impending doom. In our schools this calls for a radical departure from the way we teach science and social studies. We must integrate our studies of ecology, anthropology, and history. We must stop mythologizing our past and using it to justify our present lifestyle. We must step back and broaden our horizons to put what we call history in the proper context, i.e., only the most recent era in the several million year old epoch of human existence on this planet. The Great Forgetting must be remembered and examined onc e again. And we must prepare our students and ourselves mentally for the challenges which lie ahead. As Mr. Quinn has implied, our task is no less than that of saving the world!
Rick McKay <Visdomr>
Naperville, IL USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 14:03:11 (PST)
I loved this book. The part I love the ,ost is how it brought me to realise the great indoctornation that goes on in this country from the day you are born. I also loved the fact that this was being taught to you by just an observer and it taught me that that is what all knowledge comes from. Gotta Go, Katie Williams
Katie Williams <>
Lake Bluff(suberb of Chicago), IL USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 12:05:26 (PST)
I love this book. It really appeals to me. I am a lover of all philosophy. What was extremely interesting to me in this book, was to hear the tale of our world through the eyes of the greatest critic, one out of our own species and culture. Daniel Quin n has really captured the idealism of the gorilla. So far, I am at page 55 of ISHMAEL, and thoroughly enjoying it. When will Daniel Quinn publish his next book?
Brian Wolf
Lake Bluff, IL USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 12:04:27 (PST)
I recently wrote a letter (in the mail) to Mr. Quinn... The book was cool and Iliked it a lot!
Dan Schwarz <I don't have one, I'm at a friend's house>
Waynesburg, PA USA - Monday, January 20, 1997 at 10:54:22 (PST)
I, like many others in this address book, was very affected by reading Ishmael. And as I peruse reader's comments, I see many of the ideas that were meaningful to me from the book. However, they seem to repeatedly mention "human culture-takers and leav ers", "man's destiny", "the unknown source of man's underlying happiness"...the human-centric viewpoint of the big picture. Wasn't it part of the point that man is part of something bigger-simply one unit of the whole-rather than the central entity to who se satisfaction a sensible explanation for "everything" must be made? Very "species supremist". I got mostly from the book that IT is not all about man, he is not the central character, and the world does not owe itself to make sense to him. (I don't thi nk I'm explaining myself well...) Anyway, I'm happy to see so many readers are optimists. I'm not a pessimist, but I'm afraid that, on this issue, I don't have the same confidence in our "culture" to do right by the world. It is just too big for most peo ple.
Kimberly A. Kelly <>
St. Louis, MO USA - Saturday, January 18, 1997 at 18:22:04 (PST)
A truly enlightening book - the best insite (or indict) on humanity since Aldous Huxley's Brave New World! I can't wait to read "The Story of B!"
J. Jason Greever <>
Winfield, KS USA - Friday, January 17, 1997 at 18:01:58 (PST)
Long live the gorilla
Dan J. Hoppe <>
Seattle, WA USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 21:44:12 (PST)
I was utterly gobsmacked by the book. As a biologist with an interest in morality and spirituality I was pleased to read a work that had defined what I had been thinking about. I will certainly intend to read Daniel's other works and hope I can recom mend them as much as I recommend Ishmael.
John Walker <>
Lexington, KY USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 10:43:45 (PST)