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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 588)...

    In this day and age it's hard for the young generation. I my self am 17 and just 'woke up' 2 years back and only just stumbled across Ishmael. I read your book and it all clicked in. I believe my self to be a bright and talented individual, except I lose out when it comes to bothering to do anything. Its already so hard leaving school and then deciding whether or not to further pursue education for a better prospect. And then to have Ishmael answer all those questions I wondered about, makes things worse. There is so much pressure from every corner that choosing to continue contributing towards the problem or to improve on what we already have and spread hope is a difficult choice. On one hand we can improve, find hope, spread hope for saving these people and this world- not at the click of a finger but through small step ,but, life has and is already tough- how much more can one take? , we have the conventional ways that at least lead to social satisfaction. Like drowning your self in the takers society just because its really too hard to find hope and struggle to give hope to others. I find that people are deaf and will listen and return back to their search for 'gold digging'. its sounds like a silly excuse but what hope is there for young people who are after seeing so many knocks in life and maybe more in the future. What I mean to say is takers need the future generation- how can we put a stop to it. How can we make our selves want to put a stop to it when we are promised 'gold' if we continue digging. I my self can say I don't want the 'gold' but if it means having to blend and have some peace from the hard knocks then 'why not' is the uneasy question that comes up.

    ...and the response:

    I doubt if any generation has faced a more difficult and discouraging future than yours. It's important, however, not to deal with it in an either/or way. You don't have to make it into a choice between total selflessness and total selfishness. In order to keep going, you must build a life for yourself that's worth living. This isn't self-indulgence, this is a necessity. Saving the world is something we all must be engaged in, but to be effective, we also must have lives that include fulfilment, success, happiness, and mental well-being. You have physical, social, and emotional needs that must be met, because if they're not met, you're not going to be able to contribute your best to the common cause. Our cultural heritage makes a powerful link between salvation and self-denial, but you won't find anything in my books that reinforces that link. We're a profoundly deprived people--and the world suffers for it. We literally take out our misery on the world, plundering it to enrich ourselves with toys that still leave us miserable. To be kinder to the world, we don't need emptier lives, we need fuller lives (which is what I was groping for in Beyond Civilization).

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