Daniel Quinn quotes

  • But we're not humanity, we're just one culture - one culture out of hundreds of thousands that have lived their vision on this planet and sung their song. If it were humanity that needed changing, then we'd be out of luck. But it isn't humanity that needs changing, it's just...us.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Song #Humanity #Luck

  • The people who are horrified by the idea of children learning what they want to learn when they want to learn it have not accepted the very elementary psychological fact that people (all people, of every age) remember the things that are important to them - the things they need to know - and forget the rest.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #Ideas #People

  • You're captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live. … You are captives—and you have made a captive of the world itself. That's what's at stake, isn't it?—your captivity and the captivity of the world.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Order #Captivity #Goes On

  • If the world is saved, it will not be saved by old minds with new programs but by new minds with no programs at all.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Change #Mind #World

  • No one species shall make the life of the world its own.' … That's one expression of the law. Here's another: 'The world was not made for any one species.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Expression #Law #World

  • The world doesn't belong to us, we belong to it. Always have, always will. We belong to the world. We belong to the community of life on this planet--it doesn't belong to us. We got confused about that, now it's time to set the record straight
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Confused #Community #Records

  • From infancy onward, children are the most fantastic learners in the world.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #World #Fantastic

  • There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will ACT like lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Lying #Feet #Odds

  • Don't try to drive the homeless into places we find suitable. Help them survive in places they find suitable.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Trying #Helping #Homeless

  • Blessed are those who do whatever they can wherever they are, for no one is devoid of resources or opportunities.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Blessed #Opportunity #Resources

  • It's the idea that people living close to nature tend to be noble. It's seeing all those sunsets that does it. You can't watch a sunset and then go off and set fire to your neighbor's tepee. Living close to nature is wonderful for your mental health.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Sunset #Fire #Ideas

  • A castaway in the sea was going down for the third time when he caught sight of a passing ship. Gathering his last strength, he waved frantically and called for help. Someone on board peered at him scornfully and shouted back, "Get a boat!
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Sight #Sea #Gathering

  • I have amazing news for you. Man is not alone on this planet. He is part of a community, upon which he depends absolutely.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Men #Community #News

  • Diversity is a survival factor for the community itself. A community of a hundred million species can survive anything short of total global catastrophe. Within that hundred million will be thousands that could survive a global temperature drop of twenty degrees—which would be a lot more devastating than it sounds. Within that hundred million will be thousands that could survive a global temperature rise of twenty degrees. But a community of a hundred species or a thousand species has almost no survival value at all.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Diversity #Community #Survival

  • Many of the biggest and most far-reaching investments we make in our lives are investments that have little or nothing to do with money.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Littles #Investment #Reaching

  • [I]n Africa I was a member of a family—of a sort of family that the people of your culture haven't known for thousands of years. If gorillas were capable of such an expression, they would tell you that their family is like a hand, of which they are the fingers. They are fully aware of being a family but are very little aware of being individuals. Here in the zoo there were other gorillas—but there was no family. Five severed fingers do not make a hand.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Zoos #Expression #Hands

  • Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’ll be tempted to say to the people around you, “how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Life #Mother #Learning

  • But why? Why do you need prophets to tell you how you ought to live? Why do you need anyone to tell you how you ought to live
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Needs #Prophet

  • Thinkers aren't limited by what they know, because they can always increase what they know. Rather they're limited by what puzzles them, because there's no way to become curious about something that doesn't puzzle you.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Way #Curious #Increase

  • What's normal is for things to work. What's not normal is for things to fail.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Normal #Failing

  • If the world was made for us, then it BELONGS to us and we can do what we damn well please with it.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #World #Made #Please

  • I hope it will not be too long before the technologies that support our population explosion begin to be perceived as no less hazardous to the future of life on this planet than the endless production of radioactive wastes.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Technology #Long #Support

  • The obvious can sometimes be illuminating when perceived in an unhabitual way.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Way #Sometimes #Obvious

  • May the forests be with you and with your children.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #May #Forests

  • The world is not going to survive very much longer as humanity's captive.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Humanity #World

  • We are all captives of a story.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Stories

  • The theory I'm putting forward here is that storytelling is a genetic characteristic in the sense that early human hunters who were able to organize events into stories were more successful than hunters who weren't—and this success translated directly into reproductive success. In other words, hunters who were storytellers tended to be better represented in the gene pool than hunters who weren't, which (incidentally) accounts for the fact that storytelling isn't just found here and there among human cultures, it's found universally.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Successful #Events #Hunters

  • Animists are not so much people with a religion as people with a fundamentally religious way of looking at things.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Religious #People #Way

  • Imagine that the gods have a care for everything that lives in the community of life on earth.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Community #Earth #Care

  • No story is devoid of meaning ... If you know how to look for it.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Looks #Stories

  • If we continue...to consume the world until there's no more to consume, then there's going to come a day, sure as hell, when our children or their children or their children's children are going to look back on us - on you and me - and say to themselves, "My God, what kind of monsters were these people?"
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #Future #People

  • Within your culture as a whole, there is in fact no significant thrust toward global population control. The point to see is that there never will be such a thrust so long as you're enacting a story that says the gods made the world for man. For as long as you enact that story, Mother Culture will demand increased food production today- and promise population control tomorrow.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Mother #Men #Long

  • [Y]our agricultural revolution is not an event like the Trojan War, isolated in the distant past and without relevance to your lives today. The work begun by those neolithic farmers in the Near East has been carried forward from one generation to the next without a single break, right into the present moment. It's the foundation of your vast civilization today in exactly the same way that it was the foundation of the very first farming village.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #War #Past #Civilization

  • [T]he price you've paid is not the price of becoming human. It's not even the price of having the things you just mentioned. It's the price of enacting a story that casts mankind as the enemy of the world.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Enemy #Stories #World

  • If you alone found out what the lie was, then you're probably right—it would make no great difference. But if you ALL found out what the lie was, it might conceivably make a very great difference indeed.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Lying #Differences #Might

  • There is no one right way to live.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Way

  • five severed fingers do not make a hand
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Hands #Ishmael #Fingers

  • In effect, you're saying that if you knew how you oughtt to live, then the flaw is man could be controlled. If you knew how you ought to live, you wouldn't be forever screwing up the world. perhaps in fact the two things are actually one thing. Perhaps the flaw in man is exactly this: that he doesn't know how he ought to live.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Men #Two #Forever

  • The world of the Takers is one vast prison, and except for a handful of Leavers scattered across the world, the entire human race is now inside that prison.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Race #World #Prison

  • Everyone in your culture knows this. Man was born to turn the world into paradise, but tragically he was born flawed. And so his paradise has always been spoiled by stupidty, greed, destructiveness, and shortsightedness.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Life #Men #Greed

  • Yes,I'm afraid you're right. Trial and error isn't a bad way to learn how to build an aircraft,but it can be a disastrous way to learn how to build a civilization.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Errors #Civilization #Trial And Error

  • In fact, of course, there is no secret knowledge; no one knows anything that can't be found on a shelf in the public library.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Secret #Library #Facts

  • ....he began to speak to me, not in the jocular way of visitors to the menagerie but rather as one speaks to the wind or to the waves crashing on a beach, uttering that which must be said but which must not be heard by anyone.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Beach #Wind #Way

  • TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Teacher #Desire #World

  • There are times when having too much to say can be as dumbfounding as having too little.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Littles #Too Much

  • And every time the Takers stamp out a Leaver culture, a wisdom ultimately tested since the birth of mankind disappears from the world beyond recall.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Culture #World #Birth

  • Man's destiny was to conquer and rule the world, and this is what he's done.. almost. He hasn't quite made it, and it looks as though this may be his undoing. The problem is that man's conquest of the world has itself devastated the world. And in spite of all the mastery we've attained, we don't have enough mastery to stop devastating the world.. or to repair the devastation we've already wrought.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Destiny #Men #People

  • The world must live. We are only one species among billions. The gods don't love us any more than they love spiders or bears or whales or water lilies.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Whales #Water #Lilies

  • You shouldn't have to settle for rabbits if what you want is deer
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Rabbits #Want #Deer

  • Our lifestyle is evolutionarily unstable--and is therefore in the process of eliminating itself in the perfectly ordinary way.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Ordinary #Way #Lifestyle

  • The mythology of your culture hums in your ears so constantly that no one pays the slightest bit of attention to it. Of course man is conquering space and the atom and the deserts and the oceans and the elements. According to your mythology, this is what he was BORN to do.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Ocean #Men #Space

  • [A]ny species that exempts itself from the rules of competition ends up destroying the community in order to support its own expansion.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Order #Support #Community

  • This law … defines the limits of competition in the community of life. You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #War #Law #Community

  • Far and away the most futile admonition Christ ever offered was when he said, 'Have no care for tomorrow. Don't worry about whether you're going to have something to eat. Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, but God takes perfect care of them. Don't you think he'll do the same for you?' In our culture the overwhelming answer to that question is, 'Hell no!' Even the most dedicated monastics saw to their sowing and reaping and gathering into barns.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Thinking #Air #Perfect

  • All paths lie together in the hand of god like a web endlessly woven, and yours and mine are no greater or less than the beetle's or the squirrel's or the sparrow's. All are held together.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Lying #Squirrels #Hands

  • Animism is not a belief system, but a worldview: The world is a sacred place and we are part of it. The factuality of this statement is not the issue. To say that the world is a sacred place is to make a statement about values, not facts. It’s a statement about what you mean by ‘sacred,’ just as ‘Money can’t buy happiness’ is a statement about what you mean by ‘happiness.’ To put it all very simply, animism isn’t a belief system, it’s a value system.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Mean #Issues #World

  • The world is not in any sense in danger from itself. The world is in fact not in any danger at all. It is we who are in danger.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #People #World #Facts

  • Courage is the virtue of the free.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Courage #Virtue

  • We're straying from the path of salvation because we remember that we once belonged to the world and were content in that belonging.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #World #Path #Remember

  • Lies are like sleeping pills. You should only use them when you absolutely have to. They spoil everything if you make a habit of them.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Lying #Sleep #Pills

  • If Mother Culture were to give an account of human history using these terms, it would go something like this: ' The Leavers were chapter one of human history -- a long and uneventful chapter. Their chapter of human history ended about ten thousand years ago with the birth of agriculture in the Near East. This event marked the beginning of chapter two, the chapter of the Takers. It's true there are still Leavers living in the world, but these are anachronisms, fossils -- people living in the past, people who just don't realize that their chapter of human history is over. '
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Mother #Past #Years

  • From the animist point of view, humans belong in a sacred place because they themselves are sacred. Not sacred in a special way, not more sacred than anything else, but merely as sacred as anything else -- as sacred as bison or salmon or crows or crickets or bears or sunflowers.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Views #Crow #Sunflower

  • Remember that your tracks are one strand of the web woven endlessly in the hand of god. They're tied to those of the mouse in the field, the eagle on the mountain, the crab in its hold, the lizard beneath its rock. The leaf that falls to the ground a thousand miles away touches your life. The impress of your foot in the soil is felt through a thousand generations.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Fall #Feet #Rocks

  • The deer aren't our prey or our possessions -- they're us. They're us at one point in the cycle of life and we're them at another point in the cycle. The deer are twice your parents, for your mother and father are deer, and the deer that gave you its life today was mother and father to you as well, since you wouldn't be here if it weren't for that deer.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Mother #Father #Cycle Of Life

  • There are indeed times when one should TRUST blindly, just as there are times when one should not. WISDOM consists in being able to tell one from the other.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Able #Should

  • You never actually know how you're going to handle a problem until you actually have it.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Wisdom #Problem #Handle

  • We're not destroying the world because we're clumsy. We're destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #War #World #Way

  • The sign stopped me-- or rather, this text stopped me. Words are my profession; I seized these and demanded that they explain themselves, that they cease to be ambiguous.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Ambiguous #Profession

  • Children don't need learning. They need access to what they want to learn outside the home.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #Home #Needs

  • There is a difference between the inmates of your criminal prisons and the inmates of your cultural prison: The former understand that the distribution of wealth and power inside the prison had nothing to do with justice.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Differences #Justice #Criminals

  • If you can’t discover what’s keeping you in, the will to get out soon becomes confused and ineffectual - "Ishmael
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Confused #Ishmael

  • Our schools are much like our prisons: they disappoint us because they only do what they're designed to do, and it annoys us that they don't do something else!
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Education #School #Prison

  • Do you see the slightest evidence anywhere in the universe that creation came to an end with the birth of man? Do you see the slightest evidence anywhere out there that man was the climax toward which creation had been straining from the beginning? ...Very far from it. The universe went on as before, the planet went on as before. Man's appearance caused no more stir than the appearance of jellyfish.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Men #Birth #Appearance

  • The premise of the Taker story is 'the world belongs to man'. … The premise of the Leaver story is 'man belongs to the world'.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Men #Stories #World

  • The world was not made for any one species.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #World #Made #Species

  • I didn't want a guru or a kung fu master or a spiritual director. I didn't want to become a sorcerer or learn the zen of archery or meditate or align my chakras or uncover mast incarnations...I was after something else entirely, but it wasn't in the Yellow Pages or anywhere else that I could discover.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Spiritual #Archery #Yellow

  • During your lifetime, the people of our culture are going to figure out how to live sustainably on this planet--or they're not. Either way, it's certainly going to be extraordinary. If they figure out how to live sustainably here, then hum anity will be able to see something it can't see right now: a future that extends into the indefinite future. If they don't figure this out, then I'm afraid the human race is going to take its place among the species that we're driving into extinction here every day--as many as 200--every day
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Race #People #Culture

  • Most beginning writers - and I was the same - are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can you make a great - or even an adequate - bouillabaisse if you've never had any? If you don't really understand why people read mysteries - or romances or literary novels or thrillers or whatever - then there's no way in the world you're going to write one that anyone wants to publish. This is the meaning of the well-known expression "Write what you know."
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Writing #Expression #People

  • Pity is always twinged with disgust.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Pity #Disgusting

  • You've been in love with someone for a decade - someone who barely knows you're alive. You've done everything, tried everything to make this person see that you're a valuable, estimable person, and that your love is worth something. Then one day you open the paper and glance at the Personals column, and there you see that your loved one has placed an ad... seeking someone worthwhile to love and be loved by.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Love #Dream #One Day

  • When you send off a short story, it sits on the editor's desk in the same pile with stories by the most famous and honored names in present-day writing-and it's not going to be accepted unless it's as good as theirs. (And it'll probably have to be better.)
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Writing #Editors #Names

  • We've poured our poisons into the world as though it were a bottomless pit.. and we go on gobbling them up. It's hard to imagine how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody's really doing anything about it. It's a problem our children will have to solve, or their children.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Children #Abuse #Poison

  • That evening I went for a walk. To walk for the sake of walking is something I seldom do. Inside my apartment I'd felt inexplicably anxious. I needed to talk to someone. to be reassured or perhaps I needed to confess my sin: I was once again having impure thoughts about saving the world. Or it was neither of these - I was afraid I was dreaming.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Dream #World #Saving

  • The journey itself is going to change you, so you don’t have to worry about memorizing the route we took to accomplish that change.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Journey #Worry #Accomplish

  • You know how to split atoms, how to send explorers to the moon, how to splice genes, but you don't know how people ought to live.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Moon #People #Atoms

  • Increasing food production to feed an increased population results in yet another increase in population.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Population #Increase #Results

  • With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Men #Gone #Gorillas

  • People will listen when they're ready to listen and not before. Don't waste time with people who want to argue. They'll keep you immobilized forever. Look for people who are already open to something new.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Knowledge #Learning #People

  • What is crucial to your survival as a race is not the redistribution of power and wealth within the prison but rather the destruction of the prison itself.
    -- Daniel Quinn

    #Race #Survival #Prison