Ishmael By Daniel Quinn Essay, Research Paper
The story of Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is certainly one of the most compelling and interesting books I have ever read. It is not surprising however that it is also a very controversial story nonetheless. I did enjoy the ideas that Quinn offered as explanation for how we, ?the Takers? came into being even though they do formally challenge everything that we?ve learned as far as religion, culture, etc. It taught me that anything can be made a ?truth.? I don?t think that Quinn?s views of the human race are quite accurate enough to satisfy my own qualms about society as we know it.
Quinn?s story of the ?Takers? begins with the Agricultural revolution in the Fertile Crescent. I don?t agree with this statement. He just condemned every civilized culture that has ever existed regardless of any exceptions. What separates us from the primitive people however is ambition. Ishmael said that we take more than what we need, but he calls it a tragic flaw. I see it instead as foresight; we take more than we need because we are careful and we may need something later. This is the very reason civilized societies survive natural disasters so much better than primitive tribes.
The teaching we received tells us that humans aren?t just another animal; why shouldn?t we believe that? After all, we are by far the most intelligent of all species of animal. Our religion tells us that all of the creatures on this planet were made specifically for us, and once again, why shouldn?t we believe that? There aren?t any telepathic gorillas in the wild to tell us otherwise. We have a right and a duty to be the ones to control the ecological balance because we are the only creatures that can go back and correct what we screw up. That is easily what separates us from animals.
Our education makes us understand that the agricultural revolution was inevitable and our lives are better because it happened. This goes back to the question ?Is a revolution villainous if it succeeds?? We see our American Revolution as a glorious release of all evil oppressors. We don?t see Washington as a radical in the same way that we don?t see the first of the ?Takers? as locusts in the fashion that Ishmael did. We see it that way because it succeeded.
Ishmael addressed very good points about many topics, but he conveniently forgot to mention the good things about living in a civilized society. Because we have such an advanced culture, our communications alone can surpass any advancements that a primitive society can conjure. Our medical advancements can outlast a mixture of herbs and a few prayers to a tiki god. Honestly, I would rather be safe than sorry. I am not blind, I can see that the world is in great danger environmentally, but we can fix our mistakes; that is what, once again, separates us from uncivilized people.