Monday, September 27, 2010

Why improve ourselves?

It seems as if a huge part of Taker culture involves "getting ahead", aka getting more money for the most part. But it also seems to be that we never are happy with what we have, do, or are. We always have to be messing with it, trying to improve on things somehow.

If things were working, would we continually do that?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I read this yesterday:

Roadmap to Sustainability: Interpreting Daniel Quinn, by Doug Brown (free pdf download or you can buy it at that site)

Overall, a good critique of Daniel Quinn's works (some of which I haven't read yet). It definitely has an academic tone to it, which makes it hard to read at times. The author gets a bit leftist and twee for my tastes at the end, as he seems to think all we need to do is tweak a few things and we'll all turn into a Leaver utopia. But it's nice to see that someone has a vision at least for returning to our roots that doesn't involve Stone Age technology.

One of the best things about this book was a diagram which he uses to discuss some insights that Quinn hinted at but never fully fleshed out. It's worth reading just for that.

You really have to read the text for the explanation to the "second aberration", because the diagram is a bit simplistic and I don't think capitalism per se is the actual problem. But I think the author is on to something here.

In any case, if you have an interest in DQ's work you'll find this book interesting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This morning I thought about a book I read long ago called "Blood Music". It's a story about a man who develops a way to make the individual cells in the body sentient.

Now, this might sound like a good idea at the face of it. I mean, if you could tell blood cells to go after cancer, or where to fight an infection, that might be cool, right? But the guy decides to inject himself with this stuff, and of course these newly sentient blood cells have their own agenda.

(Here's where I put the spoiler alert -- if you should have a desire to read the book, which was pretty good, you might want to skip the rest of this post.)

Basically what happens is that the cells in the man's body, after getting him to go through an all-night marathon with his girlfriend, disintegrate her down the shower drain and merrily go off into the world, turning it into an individual-cell paradise, with our civilizations and biosphere sacrificed in the end.

Today I thought how well this applies to our Taker culture.

We have used our Fertile Crescent (which is now a desert wasteland), then spread out into the world, merrily turning the whole world into our little paradise, slaughtering thousands of other civilizations and cultures, as well as pretty much destroying our own ecosystem.

Just as the man in the story never thought about the consequences to creating cell sentience, neither did our ancestors think of the end result to developing totalitarian agriculture. And here we are, as the last man on Earth did, staring at the results of this folly, wondering if anything will survive as we know it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The new hunter-gatherers

I've been pondering as to why Americans have lost the desire to store up food for hard times the way their grandparents did (for example), and I realized that just like the modern hunter-gatherers, food here is plentiful, available, and easy to obtain (if you have money).

And like the hunter-gatherer, the most common reply to why they have no food in the house (you know how many people go to the store daily?) is: why should I? The food is right there!

Of course, the day when food isn't "right there" will be a shock, but I think most people will adapt, moving on to better areas.

To me this proves how much we are really meant to live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, even though most people would fight tooth and nail not to admit it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I read "My Ishmael" a couple of weeks ago, just because I couldn't get hold of "The Story of B" right off. I actually liked "My Ishmael" better than "Ishmael", mainly because I liked the main character better. But I read "The Story of B" this week, and this one I think affected me most of all.

I feel like I need to read it again, but I have to ask myself, "Am I B?" If not, what am I still missing?