This is the second time I read this book in about a year or so. Not only have I added it to the list of fundamental books I want to carry with me (this time around, I purchased my own, while the first time I read one from the public library), but I have also recommended to my oldest son, who is thrilled with it. Daniel Quinn's book, a philosophical novel that truly has more of essay or non-fiction than anything else, is definitely an eye opener. Using the figure of a gorilla who is capable of communicating with the narrator (perhaps the weakest part of the story, although it's difficult to see how else the author could have proceeded to tell his story), we learn to re-consider all our given assumptions about civilization, culture and nature. A highly recommended read. As in the case of the writings of John Zerzan and other so-called "primitivists" (a label that could be questioned), the critics may point out that a return to a pre-civilized life is just impossible. And what? Is that exactly what they propose? It's not clear to me. In any case, I don't think they are providing answers, but rather asking the questions. If civilization was indeed a big mistake (and, after reading them, it seems likely), we may as well accept it, even if we don't like where that might take us. Otherwise, we are just knowingly fooling ourselves....Continua
Gives to much to think about with regard to our perspective on humans place in the world.
Philosophical novel where Daniel Quinn explores the idea of civilization and its relationship to sustainability, ethics and, in general, the prospects of survival for life on earth itself. Using the style of a socratic dialogue, the author transcribes the supposed dialogue between a human interested in finding out how to save the world and a gorilla which leads his development, questioning the very foundations of human civilization. Daniel Quinn clearly defends the view that the culprit of today's problems is not so much capitalism (or any other particular form of social or economic organization) as civilization itself. In opposition to this, he defends the sort of tribal societies that predated civilization, therefore placing himself (and the book) in the tradition of Green Anarchism or Anarcho-Primitivism that is usually identified with John Zerzan, for example.
"Ishmael" is actually a very good read. It is relatively entertaining (if you care about these issues, of course), and poses plenty of good questions that we normally overlook. It's good food for thought....Continua
Fascinanting and enlightening, a journey through mankind's evolution with a prospective of a different relationship between human beings and Earth.
Terrific! And moving! And inspiring. I was familiar with Ishmael's theory in my own way before reading this novel, but I am glad and relieved to know that the knowledge and the awareness of what's wrong with humankind's attitude towards Life, the World, the Animals and Plants is spreading, despite all enemy forces keep trying to fight it back. I lost hope in Humankind years ago, but until such books, and thinkers, and writers, and common people do exist who embrace Ishmael's words and try to invent ex novo their life on Mother Earth, who knows... maybe tides will change.
I hope this book will travel a lot and enlighten as many readers as possible. Give it a try, it will open your eyes and mind.