The New Renaissance by Daniel Quinn
This is an address that Daniel Quinn delivered to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston on March 7, 2002. Electronic source via Ishmael Community.
Back in 1995, when I was visiting a school in Albuquerque that had used Ishmael as the year’s focus book, I was asked to meet with a very high-level group of health care professionals—the assembled department heads of Presbyterian Health Care Services, which functions as a regional hospital system. I accepted the invitation but wondered what I might have to say that was relevant to their professional concerns. I know nothing about hospitals or health care or the medical profession. I don’t even watch ER.
It was clear when I sat down with them—perhaps twenty men and women—that they’d all been deeply moved by my book. But none of them could quite explain why it was relevant to them in their profession. I think what it really came down to was that, as a result of reading Ishmael, they themselves had changed, simply as human beings, and they were trying to figure out how this change would or could or should change them as health-care professionals.
I’m afraid I wasn’t much help, but I don’t think I need to apologize for this. I had no way of knowing how their professional lives needed to change; only they could know that.
I had a similar experience a year later when I was asked to address an annual conference of high-level executives involved in the design and manufacture of commercial floor-covering systems. Don’t laugh. This is a multi-billion dollar global industry—and an industry that at that time was highly pollutive, a huge contributor to landfills, and totally dependent on and extremely wasteful of nonrenewable resources (petroleum, mainly).