34. Thank You, Daniel Quinn, For Convincing Me Not to Save the World


Author Daniel Quinn has passed away at age 82. Join us in revisiting some of the key themes of his life’s work.


For those of us seeking an alternative way of life outside the confines of civilization, Daniel Quinn has had an immense impact on our collective worldview through this bold and unique books. 

Beginning with Ishmael, in which we are introduced to the kinds of insights about civilization that only a captive gorilla could elucidate, Quinn took a fearless approach to questioning the very roots of our modern society, and dissecting the absurd narratives that we tell ourselves regarding our participation in the calamitous mess of civilization.

Most important, though—I think—is his message that the world doesn’t need to be saved because we as a species are simply not capable of destroying it in the first place. Furthermore, humanity itself is not the cancer on the Earth’s surface that many would have you believe it is. It’s just this one culture that has come to dominate the global landscape, as well as the inner landscapes of our minds, that now threatens life (as we know it) on this planet.

Because of course, civilization is not merely a place—it’s a way of organizing your lifestyle and orienting your goals as a community. And it’s not a very good one, either.

What comes “beyond” civilization? Quinn couldn’t tell us precisely, and neither can I. But now that he has passed, it’s up to us to work it out. I hope you’ll join me in doing just that.

In Memoriam D.Q.

1935 - 2018


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