The Book, Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

The first point of this award-winning book is that it's difficult for any species, tribe or individual to notice their own "story", their basic set of beliefs imbedded in their culture, leading to rules they live by, until someone else points it out to them. Secondly, the story, or mythology, of most of humanity is that we are the final state of evolution. "The world was made for man, and man was made to rule it", once he conquered and harnessed nature. This "justifies" killing anyone or anything that threatens us, or competes with us, or threatens or competes with our food sources, even at the expense of diversity of the biosphere.

There's nothing new about this, in the animal world, but humans have evolved so far beyond survival of the fittest in the natural world that we may destroy our civilization if we don't evolve beyond such values very soon. We've developed the technology we need to prosper in the short term, without being able to see the long term results. In one human lifespan, we see the advantages of further harnessing nature, while the costs are taken for granted. We continue to enact the story, which ends with us ruling the universe, though it may be fictional.

If I tell you the format the book takes, you may laugh and forget it, but it has some important insights, and it's very readable.

This relates to my thoughts on developing one ethic to apply to all animals, according to their level of intelligence, in Animal Rights

Further comments on the book , mainly for those who have read it. (9K)

A web page I've just been informed of:
http://conbio.bio.ui.edu/ishmael/


Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/