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Ishmael Book

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Sociology 336

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. Daniel Quinn. 262 pp. 1992. Bantam/Turner Books: New York. $10.95 paperback. ISBN 0-553-37540-7

Major Points

Ishmael is about a man seeking peace from the disillusioned lies he has been lead to believe. He comes across an ad in the newspaper stating teacher-seeking student, willing to save the world. The ad inspires him to seek out wisdom of the unknown truth. To the man's surprise the teacher is a caged gorilla. This gorilla "Ishmael" is not just a gorilla he is gifted with the revolution of mother culture; his objective is to teach captivity. Ishmael criticizes human civilization and states "your captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live (25)." He explains that you can try and escape but it is a constant battle against mother culture, keeping people bound to the civilized way of life. If one begins to see the lies as reality change would not likely be erected but if the multitudes began to see the lies then that Ishmael explains is what we must hope for.

As a civilization we are all part of a story, each enacting a role and to this story we are held captive. We are unaware of the story because we have habituated to the hum of mother culture in our ear. We are all blind to the reality of the story but Ishmael says once we are aware of the story then it becomes our reality. The irony of the story is that there is no way out, to get out is to die. The only option is to be aware of mother culture and challenge the inherent lies we have been lead to believe.

Ishmael describes the two distinctive stories between the Leavers and the Takers. Leavers are primitive they live harmoniously with other species and the earth. They hold on to the traditions and the past, preserving the knowledge of their ancestors Takers are civilized and their objective is to conquer the world. Mother culture would describe the past as useless where...