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Ishmael and the Human Race

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An adventure of the mind and spirit

The novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is by far the most thought-provoking book I have ever read. I have never thought of the human race, as a whole, the way Quinn has stated it in his book. This was a very hard story to take in the first time reading it through, although this has made me think about what I can do to spread the word about what this book has to say. I have always thought of agriculture as the best way for all to live and never looked at it as a "takers and leavers" sort of thing, as Quinn has portrayed the human race to be. Reading Ishmael has changed the way I think about this class, and what I am learning in general, also my purpose in this learning culture and in the world as well.

Ishmael has brought some questions to the surface like "What can I do with my life to help the planet in a very big way?" Quinn points out that if we can change our thinking and spread the word to others that we are destroying "the planet" and not "our planet," things can and might be turned around after all. I know the chances of this happening are slim but what other choice do we have?

The book Ishmael brings about an awareness of the mistakes that humans have made and continue to make today as well as throughout the history of mankind. The solution to the world's problems is not to return to a hunter-gatherer existence but rather to change our thinking to more of a partnership with the earth, rather than seeing it the way we do, which is that the earth is something that was made for us to rule. Quinn has forced the reader to examine himself on a really deep level and attempt to explain why we as humans go on destroying the earth day by day, while we keep ourselves busy the insignificant issues. Through some examples, Ishmael gets us to realize that we, in today's modern society, have accepted and are behaving as if "The world was made for man, and man was made to rule it" (74).

In the Old Testament, Quinn tells the reader of an ancient leaver civilization, the Semites, which was carried on by the taker descendants called the Hebrews. This shows that for a very long time man has been the taker. He also tells the story of Adam and Eve. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was for the Gods only, because the Gods were meant to rule. If Adam did eat from that tree he would kill and destroy everything and in the end he would kill the human race. And lastly

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