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Ishmael (1992)

af Daniel Quinn

Serier: Ishmael (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5,7181091,306 (3.93)52
A man and a great ape conduct a series of philosophical conversations in a work that presents a new vision of evolution and humankind and asks the question: does the Earth belong to humans, or do humans belong to the Earth?
  1. 40
    My Ishmael af Daniel Quinn (teelgee, HoudeRat)
    teelgee: Sequel, every bit as good.
  2. 10
    Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins af Konrad Lorenz (Lucy_Skywalker)
    Lucy_Skywalker: but without being didactic and irritating
  3. 10
    Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization af Derrick Jensen (owen1218)
  4. 00
    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves af Karen Joy Fowler (KatyBee)
  5. 00
    The Nature of Economies af Jane Jacobs (aneurysm1985)
    aneurysm1985: Both are about similar social-ecological issues. And both are the result of the authors (Quinn and Jacobs) enlightening readers about non-fiction topics through the use of fictional characters and Platonic dialogue. Both novels are written with the overarching purpose of educating their readers about unfamiliar topics.… (mere)
  6. 11
    Sofies verden : roman om filosofiens historie af Jostein Gaarder (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Their both lecture style novels which use fiction to present a variety of different thoughts and philosophies.
  7. 11
    The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure af James Redfield (amyblue)
  8. 23
    Vejen til verden af i dag af Jared Diamond (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Another perspective on the spread of our culture and civilization.
Indlæser...

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» Se også 52 omtaler

Engelsk (106)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (107)
Viser 1-5 af 107 (næste | vis alle)
recommended by my mammalian friend, Larry Harper.
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
The phrase “Call me Ismael” comes to mind when I think of this book, not because of any similarities between the stories, but because of the power of that statement. It is a statement made by a sentient being, one with an awareness of self and of one’s place in the world. Ishmael, the philosophizing, telepathically communicating gorilla, takes center stage in this story with his wisdom and his ability to reveal the parallel stories of the Leavers and the Takers who make up our world. Reading this book is a thought-provoking, eye-opening experience. He leaves us with the conundrum: “WITH MAN GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR GORILLA?” and “WITH GORILLA GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR MAN?” A very good question indeed. ( )
  LoriFox | Oct 24, 2020 |
should be required reading for every single person on Earth. A new look at our relationship with the earth and our responsibility to every creature on it, told through a unique narrative. ( )
  librarymeanslove | Oct 1, 2020 |
I recently discovered Ishmael in my e-book collection, and the only thing that I remembered about it was that it had something to do with history. In retrospect I think that I had stumbled upon it in the bibliography section of some anti-civilization book[s], and had just stored it for a later time. I expected something complex and somewhat elegant, form-wise, though content-wise the book was shrouded in a fog. A fog easily dispersed after the first few pages, where the book is revealed as a passionate attack on contemporary Civilization (and all that led up to it, from the agricultural revolution onward) in a dialog format. Ishmael is certainly militant in its view of the concept of man as it has been developed and crystallized in the dominant paradigm.

Prose aesthetics are not the main focus here – the language is simple and extremely easy to follow. The two main protagonists, a human and a gorilla, tend to be a bit predictable and caricature-like in their dialogue, yet I can see the necessity of it in an educational text, as Ishmael strives (and ends up) being. What matters for the author first and foremost is the ideas nesting inside these numerous small chapters and their propagation. Very easy and immersive to read, it kind of reminded me of Efrem Levitan’s “Astronomy for children”, a Soviet children’s book about astronomy.

There are certain shortcomings, idea-wise: From the supposition that people 5000 years ago had more or less the same way of thinking as contemporary humans, to the assertion that agriculture is ecologically viable (though it is implied throughout much of the text that it is not, especially since it leads to surpluses, the management of which leads to power structures) if done a certain way (which it does not elaborate). There are also here traces of the embrace of a cultural materialism akin to Marvin Harris’ (“Cannibals & Kings”) one, and the book definitely has a certain logistical vibe (the implications of the male/female population proportion are not good). Lastly, the effects of modern culture and the concept of man upon the psyche are almost not discussed at all.

The book is however excellent in tracing many of the mythologies that permeate our culture (from the supposed inherent flawed nature of man to the world as a thing to be conquered by humans). It showcases how deeply and totally the imperialism of culture has integrated across the globe. Some ideas that intrigued me more than most follow:

1. “Leaver [humans outside the dominant cultural paradigm – isolated tribal hunter-gatherers for the most part] peoples are always conscious of having a tradition that goes back to very ancient times. We have no such consciousness. For the most part, we’re a very ‘new’ people. Every generation is somehow new, more thoroughly cut off from the past than the one that came before.”

2. I like the idea of Leavers succumbing to and accepting the will and whims of the Gods, though my understanding is that the author uses it as a sort of metaphor for nature. Either way, of essence here is is the humility, the recognition that human is not the crown of creation, the battering down of human arrogance. The arrogance that is responsible for believing that the whole world works in harmony with our dominant paradigm: “According to Taker mythology, every civilization anywhere in the universe must be a Taker civilization, a civilization in which people have taken the life of the world into their own hands.”

3. The implication that there is a natural law concerning living, which is as global and unescapable as the law of gravity (at least for the long-term survival of a species) is intriguing. On the one hand as with any law and any seemingly insurmountable restriction, I view it as something to strive towards overcoming (and here imagination is the key factor). Yet, the existence of these laws and their immutability by anything human reinforces the human race’s insignificance, and that is a much needed thing. A return to a scale where human is not the crown of creation not the master of the planet, but an imaginary aggregate of entities that have no qualitative difference from any other other entities. I especially like the part where the 2 protagonists enact an imaginary dialog between a leaver and taker (Takers being the majority of contemporary people, the ones living inside the prison of Civilization): the leaver cannot understand why a person should always satisfy a whimsical craving for a particular food (say he woke up and wanted to eat venison on a particular day), and even why it would be evil for some persons to die if they do not find food – is death something to be ashamed of? [No it is not, it is completely normal for population numbers to fluctuate, and here I remember Duerr's Dreamtime and the idea of moving the consciousness focus from individual to a larger, multi-organism scale.]

This is a book that I would be ecstatic to have discovered 10 or 15 years ago – not that its integral value is diminished now, but I had stumbled upon the majority of the expressed ideas in books that I’ve read in recent years. Definitely recommended. ( )
  Athotep | Sep 26, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book. Highly philosophical, it looks at how people live life, and why.

I highly recommend it. ( )
  m_mozeleski | Aug 22, 2020 |
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A man and a great ape conduct a series of philosophical conversations in a work that presents a new vision of evolution and humankind and asks the question: does the Earth belong to humans, or do humans belong to the Earth?

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