Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure - by Daniel Quinn

my notes:

If you know what’s wrong with something—then the rest is relatively easy.

No other culture in history has ever put food under lock and key.

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

Programs are sticks planted in the mud of a river to impede its flow.

OLD MINDS: If it didn’t work last year, let’s do more of it this year.
NEW MINDS: If it didn’t work last year, lets do something else this year.

When things work, the forces that make them work are invisible. The universe at large is a notorious example of this.

Our cultural excuse for failure is that humans are just ‘naturally flawed.’

Our historians don’t wonder why we were compelled to take over the world. They just figure, what else COULD we have done?

The Industrial Revolution’s spreading mechanism was improvement: Improve on something, then put it out there for others to improve on.

No paradigm is ever able to imagine the next one.

Memes are to cultures what genes are to bodies.

Lethal genes that come into play in middle or old age remain in the gene pool, because their possessors are almost always able to pass them on through reproduction before succumbing to their lethal effect.

We tend to think of ourselves as the VIPs of the earth, the bosses and big shots, but in fact we’re just the disposable vehicles in which our genes are riding to immortality.

When they no longer liked what they were building, they were able to walk away from it, because they didn’t have the idea that it must continue at any cost and not be abandoned under any circumstance.

The meme we brought with us to the New World was: Ours is the one RIGHT way for people to live and everyone should live like us.

Before being cultivated, this land was merely going to waste. And that’s how the settlers saw the New World.

No special control is needed to make people into pyramid builders—if they see themselves as having no choice but to build pyramids.

We can still walk away from the pyramid.

If there’s going to be any future for us, our first invention must be a meme-killer.

There’s no better meme-killer than another meme: Something BETTER than civilization is waiting for us.

Our cultural vision was shaped by people who were perfectly satisfied with the notion that the universe they saw was in its final form.

From the viewpoint of the ruling class, religion keeps the masses quiet and submissive, the promised inheritance of the meek remaining firmly and forever IN THE FUTURE.

The Test is this: if you had a billion dollars in the bank, would you go on doing the work you do to make a living? Really, honestly, truly?

Civilization requires hierarchy. All dedicated pyramid-builders should stick with civilization.

Spending more will certainly get you more, but it won’t necessarily get you more of what you want.

Hierarchy maintains defenses against attack. It has none, however, against abandonment.

Being in compliance is not nearly enough.

Being rich is never held up to schoolchildren as an ideal.

There’s no place on earth where people have more, use more, or waste more than the United States.

Acceding means dealing with reality, it doesn’t mean doing away with it.

Tribal people get more out of live…it’s as simple as that.

OLD MINDS: How do we solve these problems?
NEW MINDS: How do we make happen what we want to happen?