Kalpesh's Reviews > Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
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it was amazing
Read 4 times. Last read December 1, 2010.

ISHMAEL, the book, questions the rationales of our notions about our role as a member of living community on earth and thus also challenges the way we treat the world and life around us. Not only this, the author Daniel Quinn extends ‘An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit’ to lay altogether a new destiny for us as the first among all life forms to have gained self-awareness. The novel is in the form of prolonged dialogues between Ishmael – the unusual teacher – and his student, a young man in search of truth.

It can be seen that the author has made a full circle. He started by showing the way we see the world and ourselves. Then he went on to analyze the premises that explain our perception and lifestyle. He further shows us, through a beautiful analogy, where we are heading to with this way of living and that our search of ‘How to live’ has been confined to religious or philosophical realms only. And then he formulates the law of limited competition by observing community of life along with the implications of breaking this law. He returns to examine the roots of Takers’(our) premises and establishes that the most widely accepted belief regarding Takers’(our) origin has been a ‘Mistaken Story’! Thus, he has put together all the elements of a story – a scenario interrelating man, the world and the Gods – and reconstructed a new mosaic of understanding from the same factual pieces! Proceeding further, he winds up with the quick view at Leavers’ premises and also shows the new role for the mankind – not only to survive but to lead by setting an example!

The author suggests that in order to survive forever, the Takers must spit out the fruit of knowledge by giving up the idea of controlling the world. Every species continues on its own path of evolution to become intelligent and self-aware. Man being the first, should make room for other species for their evolution. It doesn’t mean that we should go back and live like hunter-gatherers or herders, rather, we should start inventing ways to live in harmony with the life and world around us.
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