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Ishmael

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Category: Science

Autor: anton 28 September 2010

Words: 718 | Pages: 3

Ishmael

The book Ishmael, which was written by Daniel Quinn, is an adventure for the human mind and for society as a whole. Throughout the book Quinn explores many factual scientific principals, but the intent of the book is not to give one a lecture on science. The intentions of Quinn are to discuss and examine the beginnings and also the history of our ecologically dominating culture in which we live in. In this book, Ishmael is a telepathic, highly educated gorilla who explores with his fifth pupil the stories of the Takers and the Leavers. The Takers is a society in which man has freed himself from living day to day, through this wondering if he will be able to find food tomorrow. Takers believe that through technology they can achieve a perfect world where no one suffers from hunger, disease, and poverty. Ishmael though points out that through this search for this perfect world that this has lead to the desecration of the Leaver culture and a decline in community diversity; humanity must find a different way to live.

The Leavers are a different culture with a different outlook than the Takers. The Leavers live within their means and do not exempt themselves from the laws of competition. From Ishmael, “The Leaver lifestyle it’s about letting the rest of the community live---and agriculturalists can do that” (Quinn 250). Leavers see the world before the humans as orderly, and in perfect working condition. As a result of the Leavers not producing excessive food their numbers are naturally maintained at a level that is comparable to their available resources. They also do not push other species out of the way to make more room for their own food. The Leaver culture is not an “uncivilized” one. This culture of the Leavers is a great contrast to that one of that that Takers have.

To the Takers point of view, the world before them seemed to be chaotic, messy, and in need of some straightening out. The basic premise of the Takers philosophy is that man is in conflict with nature, and this position at the apex of evolution can only be maintained by completely and totally conquering the world. An example of this is when Ishmael explains, “We’re destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it” (Quinn 130). The Takers that the natural law does not apply to man and his science and technology offer protection from the hunger, sickness, and certain death, in which all other species in the wild suffer from. Therefore man is free to act with malice toward the world without any consequences from these actions in which he does.

As a society of Takers, what can we do to curb the destruction of our planets resources? As Ishmael states, “What were you expecting a magic word that would sweep all the nastiness away?” (Quinn 250). Here, Quinn is saying that our culture’s destructive tendencies are not something that will self correct it self or just simply disappear. He also reminds us that all of our industrial and agricultural accomplishments have been based on inventions. Therefore, that is there inventions and applications of new techniques and technology for the environmentally safe food production and waste disposal that will enable the human population to survive while promoting this diversity of species in out ecological community.

Will invention alone be enough to preserve the Earth’s resources? According to the gorilla, the answer is that humans will continue to consume the world until the basic philosophy of the Takers changes. The current premise of our Taker story is that the world was made for man. Popular culture dictates that man must control his environment to survive, and he has this right because he is not subject to the same laws as all other species are. If we want to promote a great diversity of life on this planet our negative attitudes must be changed. A popular and more appropriate philosophy would be that man is merely a small cog in a grand evolutionary machine and has a duty to keep all his wrenches out of the gears.

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