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Ishmael, Daniel Quinn - Excerpt One

Title: Ishmael
Author: Daniel Quinn
Published: 1992
Page: 105
Note: The story centers around a man's response to a newspaper "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world". The teacher is a gorilla with telepathic abilities, and he teaches the man about the principles necessary to save the world from ourselves. In the story, the Takers are "civilized" populations (us, essentially). Here Ishmael, the gorilla, describes the three "dirty tricks" gods (or God or Earth or Spirit or Whatever) played on the Takers and how knuckleheaded we really are. You'll have to read the book to find out more details about the "law" Ishmael references - it's a good read.

The gods have played three dirty tricks on the Takers (man). In the first place, they didn't put the world where the Takers thought it belonged, in the center of the universe. They really hated hearing this, but they got used to it. Even if man's home was stuck off in the boondocks, they could still believe he was the central figure in the drama of creation.

The second of the gods' tricks was worse. Since man was the climax of creation, the creature for whom all the rest was made, they should have had the decency to produce him in a manner suited to his dignity and importance - in a separate, special act of creation. Instead they arranged for him to evolve from the common slime, just like the ticks and liver flukes. The Takers really hated hearing this, but they're just beginning to adjust to it. Even if man evolved from the common slime, it's still his divinely appointed destiny to rule the world and perhaps even the universe itself.

But the last of the gods' tricks was the worst of all. Though the Takers don't know it yet, the gods did not exempt man from the law that governs the lives of grubs and ticks and shrimps and rabbits and mollusks and deer and lions and jellyfish. They did not exempt him from this law any more than they exempted him from the law of gravity, and this is going to be the bitterest blow of all to the Takers. To the gods' other dirty tricks, they could adjust. To this one, no adjustment is possible.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
This does sound like a fascinating book. I'll have to look it up!
Apr. 25th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
It was fascinating, if a bit prolonged. I don't mean the book was long, but I knew what the point was and I wished the big 'ol gorilla would just get to it already. :)
Apr. 23rd, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
i like it!
Apr. 23rd, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
and my library has that book! so i have it on reserve, thanks for sharing.
Apr. 25th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
Let me know what you think of it!
Apr. 25th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
will do. might take me a while to push thru it tho.
Apr. 26th, 2007 09:29 am (UTC)
Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

You have written about the book "Ishmael", the Takers and "saving the world". In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links :




( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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