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"It's a historical perspective of humanity since it's existance (3 million years as opposed to 10,000 years of "civilized" recorded history). It questions all our
religious and cutural foundations with the fundamental belief that the human species must reverse it's direction or we will exterminate ourselves (my words,
not his)."

I liked this Chris and think it would be a good topic to discuss on this board. I've studied comparative religion in my past and there are so many things I've refrained from saying on H&R in regard to GE because they would bring the religious element into the picture...and well...the issue is controversial enough.

But being that it's the end of an age and the beginning of a new could be interesting to discuss this perspective over here. You lead the way Chris!

I'd be glad to talk about Daniel Quinn's writing, but I'd really like to encourage anyone interested not to take my interpretation without reading him for yourself.

So here goes...

The premise of "Ishmael" and "Story of B" is that at a point in history about 10,000 years ago, humanity split into 2 cultures. Before then humans were hunter/gatherers who lived as other species on the planet lived...using only the land they needed to live, killing only the animals they needed to live, and reproducing only to the extent that they could feed and shelter their offspring.

At or around that point in time (of course I'm not saying this happened in a day or a week or a year) 2 things happened - The Agricultural Revolution began and the written word began to be used. So Daniel Quinn calls this point the "Great Forgetting". Since history is only documented from the same time as the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution, we have thought and taught our children through the generations that humans were alway farmers. Paleantogolgy (sp?) has proven this not to be true with fossil finds and cave paintings, etc., but we still have not changed our vision of history to reflect this. We merely write off everything before the "Great Forgetting" as PRE-history. So 3 million years of human existance gets reduced to 10,000 years or history and 2,990,000 years of prehistory.

At the split 10,000 years ago, Quinn refers to the 2 resulting cultures as the "Takers" and the "Leavers". The Takers include all "civilized" cultures such as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus (99.9% of the current population). The remaining people on Earth are the Leavers and are living the same way they have lived for 3 million years. 10,000 years ago, when humans learned to plant and agriculture was born, food became abundant! No longer did these humans need to limit their reproduction. There was food a plenty and the population started growing. Here where I'm getting in trouble on the H&N board. As the food supply increases, the population increases, as the population increases, the food supply increases, etc, etc. Please read his detailed explanation of this pheonomenon with data and experiments and related stories to back it up.

Here are the historical population growth numbers from "Story of B". I have not cross-checked them anywhere, so I'm trusting Quinn:

5000 - 3000 B.C.E. - 20-50 Million people
3000 - 1400 B.C.E. - 100 Million
1400 - 0 B.C.E. - 200 Million
0 - 1200 C.E. - 400 Million
1200 - 1700 C.E. - 800 Million
1700 - 1900 C.E. - 1.5 Billion
1900 - 1960 C.E. - 3 Billion
1960 - today - 6 Billion

In the process of this growth, the Taker culture has taken over the planet. There are as many as 10,000 separate Leaver cultures still on the planet, but in scattered small populations. The Takers have made it their culture (remember this is across Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu cultures) to believe that God created the Earth for humans and humans were meant to rule the planet. Leaver cultures do not believe this at all. They believe that they are a part of the world just as much as other animals, plants, birds, insects, algae, etc. are.

There's a start for you. Like I said, this is my interpretation of what I've read. There's also "The Great Remembering" that I'll write about in a future post.

Has anyone read this? What do you think? I think it's both scary and hopeful. I think that the sustainable business movement is a result of the relaization that Quinn is bringing to our consciousness. Ray Anderson of Interface sites "Ishmael" in addition to Paul Hawken's "Ecology of Commerce" as major influences on his leading Interface (NASDAQ - IFSIA) toward a sustainable business model.

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