Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn

One of the best books I've ever read...

The book opens with a deceptively ordinary personals ad: "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world." Seeking a direction for his life, a young man answers the ad and is startled to find that the teacher is a lowland gorilla named Ishmael, a creature uniquely placed to vision anew the human story.

Ishmael's paradigm of history is startlingly different from the one wired into our cultural consciousness. For Ishmael, our agricultural revolution was not a technological event but a moral one, a rebellion against an ethical structure inherent in the community of life since its foundation four billion years ago. Having escaped the restraints of this ethical structure, humankind made itself a global tyrant, wielding deadly force over all other species while lacking the wisdom to make its tyranny a beneficial one or even a sustainable one...

That tyranny is now hurtling us toward a planetary disaster of pollution and overpopulation. If we want to avoid that catastrophe, we need to work our way back to some fundamental truths: that we weren't born a menace to the world and that no irresistible fate compels us to go on being a menace to the world.

Ishmael: http://www.amazon.com/Ishmael-Adventure-Spirit-Daniel-Quinn/dp/0553375407


  1. Thank you for a succinct and accurate description of this startling work.

  2. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Yep... very interesting. But wonder why he didn't talk about Jacob and Esau? Jacob, a farmer tricks his hunter/gather brother, Esau, out of his birthright. Jacob becomes Israel, the Matriarch of the Twelve Tribes including Judah, the tribe of Christianity. Esau disappears into Edom.....

  3. Vatobot3:31 AM

    Is your argument from the standpoint that these things are historical facts, or are you discussing the ethics of the parable?