This site exists to aid in the exploration of issues central to the novel Ishmael and the ideas of Daniel Quinn. Here you can learn more about Quinn's ideas and come to a deeper understanding of our culture and why things are the way they are.

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  • Daniel Writes About 500 Writings About the Meaning of Life
    March 28, 2016

    I was recently invited by Nicolae Tanase, founder of the Excellence Reporter, to write what amounts to an essay about the meaning of life. I would be joining 500 others who have done so, writing either about the meaning of life in general or about the meaning of their own lives. The 500 are all of a piece, all very idealistic, all very spiritual (and all written by members of our culture exclusively). Assuming he knew only my name or reputation (rather than my actual writings), I told him that what I had to say would be decidedly contrary to the other offerings on the site, that he would most likely dislike it intensely, and that if he thought there was any chance at all that he might just bury it, I would prefer to skip the whole thing rather than spend eight or ten hours writing it.

    To my astonishment, he said he definitely wanted my essay and was looking forward to it. So I gritted my teeth, spent the predicted eight to ten hours grinding it out, and sent it off, half expecting to hear no more about it ever again and to see it nowhere on the Excellence Reporter website should I ever care to look for it (or perhaps to see it there slashed to ribbons). To my amazement, none of those cynical expectations were fulfilled. In just two days my offering was posted, complete and just as I wrote it. Mr. Tanase proved to be an open-minded and trustworthy person. See it here.

  • August 25, 2015

    The anthropologists who imagined that pre-agricultural peoples lived "brutal, hand-to-mouth" lives haven't kept up with their reading. I don't expect them to have read my own books, but they should by now have read Marshall Sahlins' STONE AGE ECONOMICS (1972), in which he called theirs "the original Affluent Society," pointing out that OURS is "the era of hunger, unprecedented. Now, in the time of the greatest technological power, is starvation an institution."

    This British study that confirms Sahlins' assertions is most welcome. Thanks to Blair Brown and Ariel Appel for the link. First Britons.

  • Is civilization unsurpassable?
    August 25, 2015

    Does it represent the one right way to live? For an exploration of this topic, please tune in this Sunday, August 30 at 9:30 a.m. PST, to The Living Earth Connection on KMUD. Host Amy Gustin will present selected readings from Daniel Quinn's Beyond Civilization. Amy says: " Daniel unearths the cultural myths that prevent us from living more satisfying and sustainable lives, and offers a vision for improving our lives right now, rather than in some utopian future." KMUD-Living Earth Connection.

  • DQ to be guest 8/11/15 on Nature Bats Last
    August 11, 2015

    Tune in at 3 p.m. today (EDT) to hear Daniel on Progressive Radio Network's program Nature Bats Last. If you miss the live show, it's archived at NBA podcast.

  • Kid's book? Grown-up's book? You decide.
    August 5, 2015

    Documentary filmmaker Burt Kempner swims into new territory with the publication of LARRY THE LAZY BLUE WHALE, the first of a series of children's books aimed at teaching life lessons via the funny bone. An anti-war story, with charming illustrations and plenty of fussing and fuming, it will make for good chat when read together by parents and kids. This first book in The Mild, Wild Animals series is available now as an ebook on Amazon: LARRY THE LAZY BLUE WHALE.

    The second book in the series, MONTY THE MOVIE STAR MOOSE, which satirizes celebrity worship, will be out in the fall, and ESHE THE EDUCATED ELEPHANT, a more serious work touching on the ivory trade is expected to be published in early 2016.

The Teachings front cover


  • Pan Earth: a site dedicated to a scientific, holistic approach to world problems (and population in particular).

  • Read Ishmael: a site created by Quinn readers to reach out to other prospective readers.

  • Friends of Ishmael Society: find local groups (and more).

  • Cultural Survival: partnering with indigenous peoples to defend their lands, languages, and cultures.

  • Sacred Land Film Project: dedicated to protecting the Earth's sacred places through education and action.

  • Ishmael's Annex: your source for shirts, bumper stickers, and other Ishmael-related artifacts (featuring DQ designs). It provides much of the funding that keeps this website going.

  • Here are some new Facebook pages established by people who want to share and discuss Daniel's work and related subjects. They're all somewhat different, depending on the focus of the creator, so check them out and interact with them as you see fit.

  "I'm telling you this because the people of your culture are in much the same situation. Like the people of Nazi Germany, they are the captives of a story."

"I know of no such story."

"You mean you've never heard of it?"

"That's right."

Ishmael nodded. AThat's because there's no need to hear of it. There's no need to name it or discuss it. Every one of you knows it by heart by the time you're six or seven. Black and white, male and female, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, American and Russian, Norwegian and Chinese, you all hear it. And you hear it incessantly, because every medium of propaganda, every medium of education pours it out incessantly. And, hearing it incessantly, you don't listen to it. There's no need to listen to it. It's always there humming away in the background, so there's no need to attend to it at all."



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