- Daniel Quinn Book Club — Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure, session 3 reading: Part Four: Toward the New Tribalism through Part Five: The Tribe of Crow
- Brené Brown Book Club — no reading this week
(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)
Part Four: Toward the New Tribalism
“Because revolution in our culture has always represented an attack on hierarchy, it has always meant upheaval — literally a heaving up from below. But upheaval has no role to play in moving beyond civilization. If the plane is in trouble, you don’t shoot the pilot, you grab the parachute and jump.” Resonates with Brené’s critique of power-over.
“If people will willingly reform an industry when their minds are changed, why spend billions to enact and enforce laws to compel them to do it?” Resonates with Brené’s focus on educating leaders.
“Because I’ve taken the trouble to study cultures different from our own, I know there’s nothing innately human about wanting to ‘make something’ of yourself or to ‘get ahead’ or to have a career, a profession, or a vocation. Notions like these are foreign to most aboriginal peoples, who seem perfectly content to live just the way Jeffrey wanted to live — and why shouldn’t they be?” Resonates with various Guideposts to Wholehearted Living.
“In a sense, Jeffrey was unable to find anyone who knew how to give him as little as he wanted.” Resonates with various Guideposts and also, in a way, the notion of worthiness now, of being enough now — and the notion that shame culture makes it impossible for people to be enough as they are.
“He worries that people enjoying themselves may not be living as blamelessly as people denying themselves.” Many would feel guilty/ashamed pursuing the Guideposts as well.
“There’s only one right way to live, and the people of the United States epitomize it… This I call ‘the culture of maximum harm,’ a culture in which all members are dedicated to attaining the high point of maximum affluence (and to forever raising the high point of maximum affluence).” Compare Brené on the power of media and other cultural messages about image and expectation, on who stands to benefit from those messages, on the Guideposts.
“But won’t the last pharaohs in their maddened wrath turn their nuclear arsenal on us?” Compare Brené on male white power attempting to make a last stand and on how dangerous such last stands are.
“Moving beyond civilization automatically limits your access to the tools needed to do harm.” Quinn is thinking in systems, as Brené also does.’
“Utopians can’t let go of the idea of sweeter, gentler, more loving people taking over. I prefer to look at what worked for millions of years for people as they are. Sainthood was not required.” Compare Brené on being worthy despite or even because of imperfection.
“More and more people are seeing that they can trade off a plenitude of things they don’t deeply want (power, social status, and supposed conveniences, amenities, and luxuries) for things they really do deeply want (security, meaningful work, more leisure, and social equality — all products of the tribal way of life).” Compare the Guideposts which say what to cultivate and what to let go — and note that Quinn is talking about a social organization that by design cultivates those things and lets go of those other things so that people themselves do not have to struggle to do so.
Part Five: The Tribe of Crow
“Engineers can’t afford to fail as consistently as politicians and bureaucrats, so they prefer accedence to resistance (as I do)… To accede is not merely to give in but to give in while drawing near; one may accede not only to an argument but to a throne.” Compare Brené on the importance of confronting the uncomfortable rather than resisting it.
“Social scientist Peter Marcuse has written, ‘Homelessness inspires not only the intellectual realization that the machinery of the system has failed somehow to produce basic shelter everyone needs, but even more the social realization that the system has come up against some limits it cannot exceed, has created a world it can no longer control.’ (Emphasis added.)” Compare Brené on crisis / unraveling / awakening upon realizing that dysfunction has become chronically impossible to manage.