- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Best Book Written in Modern Times
Best Book Written in Modern Times
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Best Book Written
This book by Daniel Quinn won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award that was created by Ted Turner in 1989. It is for an unpublished work of fiction that offers creative and positive solutions to global problems. Quinn's book Ishmael won this in 1991 and the award was $500,000 cash.
It was chosen by a panel of nine, out of 2,500 books entered. Included in the panel was sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. The judges were supposed to pick the winner, which they did, but were not supposed to pick how much it would win. Some of the judges thought that the amount was way too much but Ray Bradbury thought that the amount was just right. This award will not be given out again.
When reading the reviews, it seems that some writers are bitter that he won that much money for a book. What motivated me to write this was to point out the really great things about this book. The book is not perfect and the Daniel Quinn is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. But this book points out that we have grown up looking at things one way, but there is a whole other way of looking at things.
Even though this is a fictional book, it teaches history that is non-fiction. The history is being taught by a telepathic gorilla. This fictional story makes it much more interesting to read. This book talks about how things were before there was money.
About 12,000 years ago everyone lived in villages or tribes that were self-sufficient. The people in it were like one family. This article was written June 25, 2014 and Daniel Quinn is 78 years old now. Note that homo sapiens have been around about 100,000 years to 200,000 years and human-like animals that were not apes have been around 5 to 8 million years.
They shared everything and they counted on each other for survival. There were no rich or poor people. No one even knew what stealing was since they shared everything. Also unlike what we have been told, they had a lot of free time. There are still many people that live like this. On the internet, they showed a tribe in the Amazon rainforest that had never seen modern man or planes before.
Then totalitarian agriculture was created. They started putting food behind lock and key. Then there was a need for guards to watch it and money was needed to pay the guards and pay for the food. So in the villages, the most important thing was people's welfare. Now we have a system where an individual's collection of money is the most important thing.
Daniel Quinn says that one thing that these people have that we do not have is cradle to grave security. There were no homeless people at that times when there were just villages or tribes. Now in he U.S. there are over a million homeless adults and children.
After the book Ishmael won the award, Daniel Quinn wrote My Ishmael and The Story of B. These books are similar to the first one. I read all 3 of these. In many schools, especially in California, students are required to read all 3 of these books.
These books do not offer a solution to all the problems that we have now. At this time in the U.S., the middle class is vanishing according to articles. Also the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In reviews of the first book, Ishmael, many have different complaints about things not that important.
One way to read books like these is to look for whatever you can learn from it and hold on to that. Another way to read a book like this is to look for mistakes and hold on to them. The idea behind these books is to show people that they do not have to only think about themselves or their families. They can think about the welfare of the village, tribe or community.
Now as far as what book I feel is the best book in modern times, that would be hard to decide since I read a lot of books-- all non-fiction. The fiction part of the Ishmael story is nice but I read it for the non-fiction part of it. Many experts disagree with the history in the book. But this is how science is. Many scientists disagree with how things were in the past. Note that the movie Avatar has the same theme as taught in Ishmael.
In fact if someone wants to know which of these 3 books is the best, I could not say that. I do know that the book My Ishmael was made for a younger group of students. Also I must say that I love the subjects that have to do with science and I love anthropology. In the next section I will talk about another book that is also life-changing and is also in the same vein as these 3 books.
The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff
How I Learned About the Book Ishmael
The way that I learned about Ishmael and the other Daniel Quinn books was from being on a forum for another book called The Continuum Concept. Many were talking about the Quinn books like they were in the same vein as this book.
Now this is very interesting. Many complained about whether what Quinn was teaching was accurate since none of us were around at that time, 12,000 years ago. This book, The Continuum Concept, is about a female psychologist (Jean Liedloff) who spent over 2 years with a tribe called The Yequana tribe that had been living the same way for tens of thousands of years. It is located near the Amazon rainforest.
She calls them a pre-historic tribe. She was fascinated by the ancient wisdom that they had, that we had lost at one time. She learned many things from them including how to enjoy life more and feel less stress.
In case you are not familiar with this, this book made a big change in our culture. It created attachment parenting. Many have some very strange and wrong ideas about attachment parenting. Here is my article on Attachment Parenting Creates Self-Esteem. I created a flyer about this book and would give it to any pregnant women that I would see. I figured that that would create good karma for me.
John Holt is an American author and educator, a proponent of homeschooling, and a pioneer in youth rights theory according to Wikipedia. He says about The Continuum Concept:
If the world could be saved by a book, this might just be the book.
The New York Times Book Review says about this book:
Deserves to be read by Western parents, child psychologists and other social engineers concerned with restoring self-reliance and well-being. There are remarkable insights here.
Gloria Steinem says about this book:
A book we should all read...to help us become nurturing parents and advocates for our own child within, to understand what we missed, and to restore it.
Frances Ilg M.D. (Co-founder of the Gesell Institute of Child Development) says:
In all of our writings I feel we have not come to the central core which is the Continuum Concept.
Leaven (La Leche League's Publication for Leaders) says about this book:
We at La Lech League [group that supports breastfeeding] ought to turn handsprings and shout for joy!
The most important part of attachment parenting is holding the child constantly during its 4th trimester. Did you get that? The idea is that the baby is born too soon since its head will be too big to fit through if it it stayed in the womb longer. So even though it is outside the womb, it should be treated similar to how it was treated inside the womb.
In this village the children never fought with each other while in the U.S. there is a big problem with bullying. Also the children in the village were never told what to do. They knew what to do. While a mother holds her baby while going about her business, the baby learns a great deal.
After reading this you see that compared to the children in this Yequana village, the children in the U.S. are anti-social. Actually our method of bringing up children comes from Nazi Germany. Some children react to this by killing their parents. 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother and then killed 9 elementary school children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT.
Like I said, Daniel Quinn offers no solutions to the growing problems that we have in the world especially with money. But he feels that a first step is understanding that you do not have to put money first and people got by without money for thousands of years. Of course we know that greed is such that rich people want as much money as they can have even if everyone else is starving.
A similar thing happened in France and they solved it by cutting off the heads of the rich and powerful people. Wikipedia says about the French Revolution:
Popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and aristocracy grew amidst a financial crisis following two expensive wars and years of bad harvests, motivating demands for change.
As far as Daniel Quinn talking about how people in villages had no homeless people and had cradle-to-grave security, it has gotten to the point where we have declared war on homeless people using things like spikes to keep them away. See ‘Anti-homeless spikes’: Efforts to deter homeless backfire. The 10 minute video below was made by students. The leavers are people who take what they need and leave the rest. The takers take as much as they can possibly get.