Earlier this year, I read a book called Ishmael: An Adventure of The Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn. I enjoyed it a lot, because it was extremely thought-provoking. It brought up a lot of a reasons why our society is the way it is today and how that has negatively affected the environment of our earth. Quinn gets all of his points across in a story about a man who is being taught telepathically by a gorilla.
One big idea in this book is that man’s story of creation is mythology. He believes that the story of creation ended with the evolution of man, that the goal of creation was man. Because of this, the world and the entire universe was made for him. Humans are the rulers of the world. I think that Quinn is right. By the way that we treat our earth and its resources, it becomes obvious that we believe we are the most important thing ever created. We continually use up resources faster than they can be replenished. We drive other species to extinction by destroying their habitats.
Another main idea of this book is that the people in the world are captives. No one really wants to destroy the world, but humans do it anyway because they are captives of a civilizational system. This system forces us to destroy the world in order to stay alive. If one does not participate in this system, then he will be without food. I can see this true in my own life. After learning about ways I can help the environment all year long, I still feel trapped, like a captive. I am stuck in a society that makes it really hard to change how I live to help the environment. Money is a huge part of this problem. Often times, the worst things for the environment are also the cheapest. And in a society where money is so highly valued, it’s no surprise that one would choose the cheapest options even if it will hurt the environment.
Ishmael is a great book that I would recommend that everyone read. It really makes you think about the way you live and why. The hardest part about reading this book is realizing how true it is. We have so many problems with the way that we live, and there is no way we can continue to live like this without destroying ourselves.