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  The Ishmael Community: Exerpts from Daniel Quinn

Quotes from Daniel's Works

"Mother Culture, whose voice has been in your ear since the day of your birth, has given you an explanation of how things came to be this way. You know it well; everyone in your culture knows it well. But this explanation wasn't given to you all at once. No one ever sat you down and said, 'Here is how things came to be this way, beginning ten or fifteen billion years ago right up to the present.' Rather, you assembled this explanation like a mosaic: from a million bits of information presented to you in various ways by others who share that explanation. You assembled it from the table talk of your parents, from cartoons you watched on television, from Sunday School lessons, from your textbooks and teachers, from news broadcasts, from movies, novels, sermons, plays, newspapers, and all the rest. Are you with me so far?"

"I think so."

"This explanation of how things came to be this way is ambient in your culture. Everyone knows it and everyone accepts it without question."


The point I want to make here is that I have no idea what people with changed minds will do. Paul was in the same condition as he traveled the empire changing minds in the middle of the first century. He couldn't possibly have predicted the institutional development of the papacy or the shape of Christian society in feudal Europe. By contrast, the early science fiction writer Jules Verne could make a century's worth of excellent predictions, because nothing changed between his time and ours in terms of vision. If people in the coming century have a new vision, then they'll do what is completely unpredictable by us. Indeed, if this were not the case--if their actions were predictable by us--then this would prove that they didn't have a new vision after all, that their vision and ours were essentially the same."

The Story of B

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