Some fans of the Ishmael books call them "life changing." I won't go that far but I did find them brilliantly enlightening. What I got from them was an insight into the origins of humanity's deadly, soul-crushing culture of this current age. They helped me understand what it is about modern life that I find so odious. Even so, it was hard to write a review. There is so much there, and so much to consider that springs from these books, that it was difficult to confine it all to a book review. But I have managed to do so, and I think I did it a bit better in my review for My Ishmael than for Ishmael. I tried to write both without spoilers, hoping to prompt my readers' curiousities and allow them to discover the books' insights for themselves.
I believe these books can lay a great foundation for someone who is looking to see through our culture's delusions and become a seeker after truth. They are excellent places to start, and then there are many helps to guide you further. I found that Jared Diamond's book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, made more sense to me after reading Ishmael, and, though I was critical of it, I believe it is a good followup to Mr. Quinn.
In seeking further, I would recommend checking out the websites and writings of the people on my blogroll. Mr. Kunstler will provide insight into the state of our civilization and help you see why it can't go on as it is. Infinite growth within a finite system just isn't possible. His World Made by Hand novels are an entertaining examination of what our near future will likely be.
Whitley Strieber is an accomplished writer and something of a controversial figure. His work centers on considerations of the paranormal and attracts a "New Age" audience, but don't write him off for that. He's an intellectual with an open mind that is not afraid to keep a question open.
Richard Heinberg is a leading authority on climate change and peak oil. He wrote the seminal work on peak oil, The Party's Over, that provides an excellent base for understanding what peak oil is, and what diminishing fossil resources means for humanity.
This is just the barest smattering of ideas, writers, and books that I think could be assembled into a collection that I would call, "Help for the Seeker." Hmmm, this could be a seed for a future journal entry.
The Ishmael books posit that we live in a "Taker" culture that is oppressive. Dealing with that oppressive culture and its hierarchy that demands obeisance is at the root of class struggle. This week I discovered an author, James W Douglass, who wrestles with this issue in several books about historical figures who withstood the hierarchy and were killed by it (JFK, Martin Luther King, Ghandi). I listened to Mr. Douglass talk about his books and ideas in an interview posted as a podcast on a great website: Writer's Voice. He speaks eloquently on a matter that I think is essential for today's seekers to understand.
And speaking of podcasts, I recently posted a "quick survey" on my Facebook site that I'll repeat here. In the last few weeks I have discovered podcasts. I've been downloading some from Mr. Strieber, Mr. Kunstler, Writer's Voice, Uprising Radio, and even the Mississippi Arts Commission. I've especially liked the ones that are interviews with writers and found them inspiring.
I like the idea of podcasts--they're basically radio programs--and I understand from my sons that they are quite popular among young people. I expect that's because they use their smartphones for everything and for those that want more than just music, podcasts are a natural.
So I'm considering making podcast versions of my weekly journal entries and of my short stories. Here's my survey:
Would you be interested in podcast (audio) versions of my journal entries and my short stories?
If so, would you more likely listen to them on a computer or a mobile device (iPad, iPhone, etc)?
You can reply with the contact form on my website (bottom of the home page on the regular site, or the "Leave a Message" page on the mobile site). Any "Likes" for this journal entry I'll take as an endorsement for the podcasts.
So God bless you, my fellow seeker. Please stay in touch.
My review of My Ishmael
My review of Ishmael
JFK and the Unspeakable by James W Douglass
Writer's Voice website (podcasts)
My review of James Kunstler's The Witch of Hebron
My review of Whitley Strieber's Solving the Communion Enigma
My Facebook site
Uprising--subverting the airwaves