The Ishmael Guestbook Archives: 12-28 July 1997

Anyone who finds Mr. Quinn's ideas and information uprising and relieving, or just wishes to discuss... anything, feel free to contact me.
Brad Keeton <>
Ashland, KY USA - Monday, July 28, 1997 at 21:29:08 (PDT)
Absolutely amazing! "Ishmael" for me is encouraging, discouraging, hopeful, hopeless, thought-provoking, inspiring and many other things all rolled into one. It is a "new" way of looking at the world we live in and our role in it. What are we doing here?!
Dean Quinn <>
Houston, TX USA - Monday, July 28, 1997 at 14:13:40 (PDT)
Recently many have expressed the desire to connect with others who feel motivated to action after having read Ishmael and/or The Story of B -- At the moment there are at least 4 ways to do this on the internet:

1. This guestbook (obviously) -- many people have contacted others in response to their postings, and many a friendship/discussion group/tribe have been started as a result. (I have personally connected with several people who I now count among my closest friends...even though I have never met them face to face.)

2. The Ishmael Community was initiated to facilitate such communications: -- don't let the URL throw you...this is still part of the official Bnetwork and Ishmael websites and is maintained by the same webmaster (me). It is running on a different server to make use of some different technology. This new feature in the Ishmael/Bnetwork Domain comes in answer to the questions, "How do I find others with this new understanding of the problems, and new perspective on the solutions?" Please use this new venue to locate others, to allow others to locate you, and to contribute and share your skills and resources to this developing community.

3. The Illusions Magazine Community/Website/Bulletin Board -- Illusions is a quarterly magazine started and edited by members of the Ishmael Community. Their desire is to bring together a community of thoughtful and insightful people who are taken with life, intrigued by ideas, and fascinated by the human condition. Daniel Quinn contributed to the premier issue and some of his work (including some of the essays at this website) have been showcased in the magazine. The Bulletin Board is a gathering of Ishmael readers (and others) for sharing and exploring ideas central to life.

4. The Ishmael listserv -- In operation for the last few years, this discussion forum is an ongoing opportunity to share, discuss, argue, and explore issues related to Quinn's work. Just e-mail, and in the body of the message, type a single word (no signature or anything else): subscribe
You will get instructions in response to that request.

Alan Thornhill <>
Houston, TX USA - Saturday, July 26, 1997 at 09:42:00 (PDT)
I was first introduced to Ishmael when I was first 12 or 13 years old. My mother had bought it as a book on tape to play in the car. Once I heard the first part of it, I wouldn't let her play it without me in the car. It was amazing powerful even at that age and I believed gave me an openness to its ideas that one can only develop during their childhood.
I am now 17 and recently returned to the book. It again moved me more than anything else I have ever seen or read. I want to start a new flying machine; one that uses understands the law of gravity.
However, I feel I will never be able to explain the ideas and philosophies presented to enough people to ever make a difference. Mother Culture is too powerful. If anyone could contribute ideas to me on how to simplify the message, I would appreciate them greatly.
Ishmael is more than a book, it is a philosophy. And it should be presented that way, with power and influence.

Adam Jones <>
Chapel Hill, NC USA - Friday, July 25, 1997 at 23:11:22 (PDT)
I had always had many of the ideas that are expressed in Ishmael, such as the relationship between increasing food supplies and famine. I would like to thank you for helping me to understand my own humanity a little better.
Donald <>
Halifax, NS Canada - Friday, July 25, 1997 at 22:46:00 (PDT)
Ishmael has been a friend for at least 3 years. He has been the subject of a sermon in our church (a UU congregation). Trouble is, everybody nods and says, "Yup, something is wrong." And then goes back to old ways. I have also read "B" (twice) and have a better understanding of the problem, but, as others also say, no answers.

I know some people who make their way with as little impact as possible, but their basic attitude is to have some version of "the American Dream" without going into hock quite as bad as the rest of us.

I would like to find a way to be satisfied with much less (but I'm still writing on this computer, right?) and find some of the answers to questions that Ishmael and B have posed. I would like to join conversations, either on-line or face to face, which deal with these questions.

By the way, this is a really pretty site and my computer has both Win3.1 and Win95 run by a 166 Pentium with 32 meg of ram and a 33.6 modem. It is just adequate in Win95 and really slow in Win3.1. Some may want a more "primitive" (read 386 or older computer) way to visit you folks.

Richard Walsh <>
Woodstock, VT USA - Friday, July 25, 1997 at 21:47:42 (PDT)
I ran across "Ishmael" on my son's dining room table. When I encountered it again in a book store I took it home with me. I do believe that this may well be the seed that will grow into the changing of the world. I love it!
Richard S. Bogartz <>
Amherst, MA USA - Thursday, July 24, 1997 at 18:27:22 (PDT)
I just finished reading Ishmael today. I am always looking for new ideas which will stimulate my own spiritual searchings. This book not only renewed my ecological conerns, but also it created more spiritual dilemmnas. Did I understand the author to actually profess that the Old Testament is mythological? The ideas are rational, yet are such a huge change from all I've been taught. I will need days and weeks to think about all of this.
Nancy Snavely Stewart <>
Lancaster, PA USA - Thursday, July 24, 1997 at 10:28:56 (PDT)
I read Ishmael almost one year ago, and it continues to have extremely far-reaching effects on me. I am a junior in high school and have become an "Ismael Crusader" if you will. I've urged everyone I know to read and buy both Ishmael and The Story of B, and to think of them as their "bibles". I've tried desperately to incorporate the words of Daniel Quinn into my life as deeply as possible. After much disenchantment with the religions and philosophies I saw other adopting, I read the books by Quinn and now consider myself an animist. I love the world, but not necessarily nature, because nature doesn't exist. We are nature--and I know that now. I owe Mr. Quinn all I am.
Clifton Fels <>
Missoula, , MT USA - Wednesday, July 23, 1997 at 11:38:59 (PDT)
I had two books on my list. Undaunted Courage and Ishmael. And I read them in that order. Enthralled by both, I was disappointed that neither carried me completely through. But what a crazy juxtaposition! I am recommending Ishmael to anyone, everyone...but they really have to start with the understanding that something IS wrong with the running of the world and I'm not sure I completely understood that before Undaunted Courage.
kate kelley <>
Pittsburgh, PA USA - Tuesday, July 22, 1997 at 19:21:34 (PDT)
Recently a friend of mine, Heidi, read some of Ishmael to me during a road trip and I was compelled to buy the book. I find the concepts wild and yet scarily believable. I plan to read it 2-3 more times and then I want to find a discussion group to help bring the concepts into form. Its an easy read but that is the deception, its not an easy topic (for those schooled by Mother Culture) and must be consumed and fully digested to be articulated. I must thank Heidi Heyns for introducing me to Ishmael. Her reading was intuitive and my world will never be the same after that one selfless act.
Michael Harnar <>
Willimantic, CT USA - Monday, July 21, 1997 at 12:57:55 (PDT)
Alan commented below that DQ's MY ISHMAEL will be released soon (November). I thought it might also be pertinent to mention that a
good-sized excerpt from MY ISHMAEL will be appearing in ILLUSIONS Magazine about 30-45 days prior to that, so for a sneak preview, you might want to check it out! Visit the ILLUSIONS website at for more about the magazine.

Lance <>
Oklahoma City, OK USA - Friday, July 18, 1997 at 13:34:44 (PDT)
i need to know more about this book
Michael Tadros <meth>
Bayonne, NJ USA - Thursday, July 17, 1997 at 12:32:31 (PDT)
A friend suggested, quite some time ago, that I read Ishmael, but I just never found the time. Due to the fact that I stumbled on the web site by accident, the book must contain a message I need at this time. I guess I'll be in the bookstore tomorrow! After reviewing the web site, it's quite evident the book has had a tremendous effect on many of its readers. I wish to mention a book that had a tremendous impact on me. Fritjof Capra's The Turning Point forced me to examine my life like never before. If you have not already read Capra, I highly recommend it.

It is comforting to know that there are others, at this time, asking the same questions as I. Best of luck in your journey.

Rodney McDonald <>
Winnipge, MB Canada - Wednesday, July 16, 1997 at 22:37:20 (PDT)

I finished Ishmael a few weeks ago. I recommended it to a friend and he read it and "Story of B" in 3 days. I was not disappointed in that there wasn't *an answer* (as there probably isn't one as such). However, it seemed that some suggestions or possibilities could have been offered for those of us not reading it with a group who we can discuss such answers with. I can almost imagine some readers coming away with the conclusion that we should turn to a "unabomber"-type mentality which I'm fairly certain you were not advocating. Anyway, if there is somewhere on the net where you such a listing has been put together, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Good book BTW. Some items were over-generalized or partially inaccurate IMO, but still the overall content was very thought provoking.
rpcman <>
USA - Wednesday, July 16, 1997 at 16:02:16 (PDT)

I have found your site very interesting but I also find a few problems with trying to save the world. I am a hemp activist and believe that we can solve a lot of problems by using hemp in industry. I now work for a pulp and paper mill and I suppose that working there has made me more aware then I probably would ever be. The problem is that the better that the world feels the more people it will sustain. Hemp for industry would create cleaner water, atmosphere, and soil which would create a better climate for a more populous planet. Having over five billion people on this planet now by making it better would only increase our population so you see we have a much bigger problem with all the different religions and beliefs.
The meaning of wealth is no longer the land, it is now the factories and shareholders and people control these interests.
Here in Canada hemp has all ready past royal assessment in 1996, which means it is already law of the land. But there is trouble in Paradise and by this I mean we have a THC problem. Hemp for industry must not exceed a.007 percent THC threshold content. This threshold limit has been internationally set, so you see if marijuana is not legalized for the pot smoker to smoke then hemp for industry will never happen in Canada and we will continue to cut our forests, use petroleum products for transport fuel and turn our planet into the sewer that the investors don't really care about.

I wish you a lot of luck in your quest for a better planet because I have a pretty good idea what you are up against, the ignorance is pretty thick.

Yours truly: Denis Carriere

Denis Carriere <>
Schreiber, on Canada - Wednesday, July 16, 1997 at 12:11:29 (PDT)
I've read Ishmael twice. I'm beginning my hird reading. Each reading provides more and more. I've given a copy to each of my closest friends.
kay slone <k>
columbus, oh USA - Monday, July 14, 1997 at 14:06:27 (PDT)
I am a sophmore at Drexel University. I heard about the book by a nice man from Guilford of Maine who recommended the book to my interior design class. I loved it. I look at everything so much differently now. I hope the book's message is spread before it is too late.
Debbie McGrath <>
Philadelphia, PA USA - Monday, July 14, 1997 at 13:13:13 (PDT)
Hi all

This is a new guestbook script that is a bit friendlier - you can now add spaces in your text (paragraph breaks) just with an extra "carriage" return, and yes, you can use html - but don't get obnoxious or I will starts exercising my line-item-veto option ! I do not edit or censor anyone on this guestbook, but this space must remain useable by all and free of advertisements.

Anyway, other new things…

1. Have you seen the developing Ishmael Community? Check it:

2. Have you checked out the Q and A area lately? New questions and responses are added weekly at

3. The website continues to grow and develop...have you read The Story of B yet? If not, I highly recommend it... After reading it, be sure to visit the Bnetwork to meet others B.

4. DQ has just finished the sequel to Ishmael, called My Ishmael -- a REALLY outstanding follow-up to Ishmael. (I read it in one sitting, and was satisfied that DQ had, once again, stretched my brain in ways I didn't know it needed st retching! How does he keep doing that?!) Look for general release the first of November and a booktour shortly thereafter. Can you expect new website stuff to correspond to the release of this, DQ's latest efforts? But of course!

Bye for now…

Webmaster <>
Houston , TX USA - Sunday, July 13, 1997 at 16:12:57 (PDT)
Ismael is an extraordinary book with vital insight into quiescent cultural processes that shape all of us. I recommend it to my students with one caution: Ishmael does not directly deal with perhaps the most anthropocentric and pernicious of the whispe rings of Mother Culture; the Taker concept of free will. Indirectly Ishmael approaches free will by implying that Taker culture arose from free choices made by our ancestors and we, their heirs, must make free choices to undo what they did. Is it possible that the concept of free will is another manifestation of the usurping of Godlike power that got us into the mess we're in and will continue to intensify our problems so long as we hold onto it? Is it possible that giving up the idea of free will, an ide a that Leaver cultures never embraced, might provide us with a new point of view; one we need most in finding fresh new directions? Is it possible that the concept of free will is frequently nothing more than an excuse to blame others for our shared bewil derment, i.e. young blame old; old blame young; blacks blame whites; whites blame blacks; women blame men; men blame women; pro-this blames pro-that; pro-that blames pro-this and the real problems and their solutions become hopelessly bogged down in the politics of culpability? Food for thought. I will be happy to send an essay on the above as it applies in American politics if interested parties send me their E-mail address.
robert ecker <>
boulder, co USA - Saturday, July 12, 1997 at 15:05:11 (PDT)