Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn
I'm not really going to tell you anything my name doesn't already, but I'd like to tell all you literature buffs to read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It's an enjoyable read, but the value of the novel is in the importance of it's message. The novel seeks to explain (and does so brilliantly) how things came to be this way. Why is man seemingly doomed to be the destroyer of the world? Why are we unhappy?
My friends all explain reading the book like being extracted from the Matrix and seeing the real world for the first time. It is absolutely mind-bending. Furthermore, it is of the utmost importance. The novel is for anyone with an "earnest desire to save the world". If you want to save the world, read it.
So are you a giver or a taker? :lol
I read this for a seminar course my senior year in my undergrad in a course on religious fiction. It's very good, although at times I felt like I was being preached at. It almost made me feel like my job was pointless, and I believe it to fundamentally be necessary. I DO want to save the world, but Ishmael seemed to belittle medical research, because it is built from its roots on "taking"--it can only exist because of our "taker" society, and it is all concerned with saving people in the predominant culture. Why is this "wrong"? :shrug
It's leaver or taker, actually.
Originally Posted by chirospasm
Quinn answers questions like yours at www.ishmael.org. I think he even addressed that exact issue - whether medical research is wrong. Of course it isn't...you're doing good work to save lives. Is it pointless? We'll see in about 30 years when we will have made the planet unlivable for ourselves.
Ok, I absolutely HAD to bring this thread back up, simply because we're reading it in class and I never realized how interesting the theories in the book are...
While I think that Daniel Quinn's ideas are very interesting, I simply can't take them as a fact, or even as something to think about, simply because he almost feeds into the thing that he's preaching against. Since he's saying that we've captured ourselves and that Mother Culture was created when we captured ourselves, but yet we can't realize it until we ask ourselves why things are like they are, it's almost saying that we ask too much and ask too little, which I find extremely hard to believe. Also, I absolutely do not understand the whole 'some technology is evil' thing. Humans survived by creating tools. That's our survival mechanism. There's really no way that you can take out technology from the picture. We may not be here without technology. Then again, according to Ishmael, all of that would be Mother Culture whispering in my ear, telling me what to do and what to say. And that idea is just about as bad as the whole thing with us blaming the gods. However, instead of it being 'the takers blame the gods for everything' it's 'we should blame Mother Culture' for our corruption. The entire book's pretty hypocritical on a basic standpoint, and I don't think that it's possible to take nearly all of its ideas as facts.
That said, it's well written and pretty enjoyable. Even though the whole 'ooh, look! I'm a telapathic gorilla!' thing freaked me out.
Hmmm, I haven't read this one. I think I'll see if the local library has it. Sounds interesting.
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