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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 04:58 AM
Original message
"Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world."
"Seeking a direction for his life, a young man answers the ad and is startled to find that the teacher is a lowland gorilla named Ishmael, a creature uniquely placed to vision anew the human story."
http://www.ishmael.org/Origins/Ishmael/about_ishmael.ht...
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sadinred Donating Member (529 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-26-05 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. I haven't read that book in years. I loved it though and
maybe it's time to read it again! Thanks for the reminder.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 04:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. You're welcome,no sweat. :) nt
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 04:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. I want to express that I'm surprised
at the quantity of response, negative or positive to this thread.

Does it mean that most who frequent this group are more concerned with saving themselves than saving the world?

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-03-06 06:17 AM
Response to Original message
4. I read that book many years ago
Then I lent it out and never got it back. :mad: I need to get another copy and read it again. I don't recall much about it but I remember I enjoyed it.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
22. i always buy extra copies and give hand them out to whoever :D
:hi:
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catbert836 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. Well, I've read that book.
Too many times to count, as well as "My Ishmael" and "The Story of B". (Notice my sig line).

I sincerely hope there's others we can reach on this board.
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otherlander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-08-07 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. I'm guessing you changed your sig line
because I honestly can't see what Che Guevara has to do with any of this. :D
What did it used to say?
:hi:
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-03-06 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
6. A Fantastic Book
I signed up for a group on Yahoo about it, but it seemed a little bit too radical for me

I want to read more of Daniel Quinn as I think Ishmael was brilliant
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Pharaoh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-07-06 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. It will be the next book I buy!
I keep hearing of it and I read tons of books about these issues of world survival, thanks for the reminder, I will get back to you when I read it!
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Goldensilence Donating Member (213 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-21-06 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. probably one of the most influential books
and one that i recommend to everyone. I'm about to get "My Ishmael " as well. I also really enjoyed " the Holy" it was...unique.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-02-07 12:58 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. How've you been? :)
Ishmael is a truly novel novel. I've only read Ishmael, My Ishmael, and the excellent Story of B. Beyond Civilization should arrive this week. I'll have to choose between The Holy and After Dachau for the next one. ;) How did you find The Holy unique?
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otherlander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-22-07 11:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. Just finished reading it last week.
"It is possible to build a civilization that flies..."

Wonderful book. Shows the whole universe through a different perspective.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
11. Huh? Save the world by withholding food from the starving?
From the excerpts and cross-cites you've posted, you certainly haven't presented anything that would make me want to buy and read this stuff. I wouldn't call deliberately withholding food aid so that people in famine stricken areas can starve to death "saving the world."

Also maybe you could help me decide whether to pursue this in more depth. You keep citing some ancient "tribal" culture or organization and religion, but you never describe it. What is the content of this tribal structure or religion? What is its empirical basis? Or is it just the ramblings of an imaginary gorilla?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. No, as anyone who has read the book would know.
Btw, the character Ishmael isn't an imaginary gorilla, also as anyone who has read the book would know.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 05:17 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. "Ishmael isn't an imaginary gorilla"
So you believe there really is a talking gorilla? You believe that this gorilla is not a product of Quinn's imagination but a real telepathically talking gorilla? And this talking gorilla that actually exists is where you get all your information from?

So what is your take on the tooth fairy? How about Big Foot?

And I'm supposed to take seriously anything whatsoever you have to say?


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. The true quote is "the character Ishmael isn't an imaginary gorilla".
That makes your cherry-picked quote untrue.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Huh??? Character or no character, I have bad news for you
The talking gorilla is FICTION. He is imaginary.

From now on, I will consider you bat shit crazy insane because you seem not to believe that the talking gorilla is "imaginary."

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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I don't believe that you believe that I believe Ishmael isn't a fictional character.
Edited on Tue Jul-17-07 11:33 AM by greyl
I think you're going ad hominem on a straw man again in attempt to attack my character. You're really making a lot out of nothing.

Chomsky has asked his audiences to try to imagine how our culture's behavior would look like through the eyes of an extraterrestrial being, and Quinn, as a self-described cultural critic, has compared his pov to a what a "Martian anthropologist's" might be. It's an attempt to free oneself from the unexamined assumptions of ones cultural myths in order to see them clearly.

When asked why he chose to make Ishmael a gorilla, Quinn says:

The point I'm trying to make in all my work is this: "If we want to survive on this planet, we must listen to what our neighbors in the community of life have to tell us." Thus it made sense for the teacher in Ishmael to be one of those neighbors---a nonhuman. Among those neighbors none is more impressive and authoritative than a gorilla (which is why I chose to make Ishmael a gorilla rather than, say, a parrot or a salmon).

For anyone interested in studying this question more deeply, I highly recommend the monograph "Apes of the Imagination: A Bibliography" by Marion W. Copeland.


Furthermore, Ishmael(which received the Turner Tomorrow Fellowhip Award and is utilized in hundreds of classrooms around the planet) isn't the only book has Quinn written on these topics, but the gorilla does appear in the sequel My Ishmael, and is referred to in The Story of B whose central characters are all very human, though indeed fictional.

So, big deal.

edit: I again remind you of the time you chastised me for criticizing Mel Gibson's Apocalypto even though I hadn't seen the movie, and again suggest that you take your own advice.

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. No one posted excerpts of Apocalypto on DU
Edited on Tue Jul-17-07 12:02 PM by HamdenRice
You have posted extensively from Quinn to DU and provided links to Quinn's site which has extensive summaries and excerpts. Reading this stuff has given me a pretty clear picture of the content of his books and convinced me that reading it would be a monumental waste of time.

Each excerpt either:

1. consists of bland, obvious comments or statements of fact breathlessly reported as earth-shatteringly profound; or

2. blatantly false statements of fact revealing an author who knows virtually nothing about the subject matter he has chosen to write about -- demographics, food security and development; or

3. ethically heinous prescriptions based on nihilistic eco-neo-Malthusian social Darwinism.

As a number of DUers have mentioned, reading Quinn makes the reader dumber if the reader absorbs any of the lessons; if the reader rejects the lessons as stupid, false, portentious but wrong, or heinous, then what would be the value of wasting time reading it?

Quinn hasn't freed himself of any unexamined assumptions; he has projected his unexamined and wrongheaded assumptions onto a character.

He may fancy himself an anthropologist, but as a person who has read an entire cannon of anthropology of one region of the world, I can tell you that anthropologists are famous for how much they got wrong, and how much they could not see facts and practices that were staring them in the face. At least the community of anthropologists are subject to the self correcting process of academia. Quinn and his fundamentalist fans have latched onto a number of falsehoods and ethically heinous prescriptions, and real facts simply cannot penetrate their funamentalist helmets.

As for whether you actually believe there is a talking gorilla, you say so many flakey counter-factual things that yes I believed that you actually believed that the talking gorilla existed. If you now say that the talking gorilla is imaginary, I'll take your word for it. But you should realize you have so little credibility that it is easy to believe that you really do think the gorilla exists somewhere.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. True, it's just amazing how, armed with excerpts, you can still be so far off target.
I think it's because of confirmation bias and a desire to attack my character.

Population control through "conventional means" is not useless (any more than a tourniquet is useless to prevent someone from bleeding to death from a wound); it's simply not the ultimate solution (just as the tourniquet is not the ultimate solution, which is to close the wound). I don't know who has suggested "starving billions of people" (certainly not I). China's "solution" is like pushing someone out of an airplane and expecting him to fly (and shooting him if he fails). If we continue to increase food production, our population will continue to increase. Policy must be built on facts---and that's a fact that no one has as yet tried to build a policy.
-Daniel Quinn


There's plenty of "difference between sending food to the people, and sending people to the food." Sending people out of a food-poor area to a food-rich area relieves the famine in the food-poor area and ends the suffering of those who are moved. You ask, "Isn't the result the same?" Of course it is--this is exactly Ishmael's point. Note that he isn't recommending moving people as a course of action. He's pointing out the hypocrisy hidden beneath our generosity. We could save all the starving people of the world by bringing them to America, but of course we don't care to do that---we want them to stay where they are. We'll send them handouts, but we don't want them camping in our backyards!
-Daniel Quinn
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
21. one of the most profound books i have ever read....a life changer....
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 09:46 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
the story of b and beyond civilization.....i love daniel quinn http://www.ishmael.org/welcome.cfm

i'm waiting for my copy of "if they give you lined paper, write sideways"

i am so pleased to have stumble upon this thread. thank you for posting it.



:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

:applause:
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-24-07 03:22 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Happy to see your reply. nt
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-24-07 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
24. .
Deep down in the jungle so they say
Theres a signifying monkey down the way
There hadnt been no disturbin in the jungle for quite a bit,
For up jumped the monkey in the tree one day and laughed
I guess Ill start some shit.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

So should we base our demographic policy on the basis of the imaginary talking gorilla or the signifying monkey?

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rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-24-07 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
25. Ha. Coincidentally - just finished rereading this book
this morning.

I think it has a very thought provoking point of view. I am glad to have found it again to reread. Starting now on his 'The Holy' and hoping it has as many thoughtful nuggets as Ishmael.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-02-08 01:59 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Nice.
I haven't yet read "The Holy", would you drop back in to give your opinion?
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Cabcere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-26-08 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
27. Ah, Ishmael.
:) That book was required reading for my bio anthro class a few years ago, and I have to say it was very interesting and thought-provoking. :hi:
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-03-08 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
28. It's funny how the universe works sometimes.
I've just finished "Ishmael", and I'm a quarter of the way through "The Story of B". Tonight I was Googling around to see what others had written about the books, and I thought, "Oh yeah, there's that "Seekers" board on DU that I've checked in on once or twice. I'll go do a search over there and see if anybody's mentioned Quinn." And I open the page, and the very top thread says "Teacher seeks pupil..." I swear I heard distant laughter.

In finally discovering Quinn's work, I feel like I've picked up a pretty piece of rock, turned it over and found myself staring at the Rosetta stone.

I've had the feeling for the last 3 years that I've been putting together a jigsaw puzzle without having the picture on the box cover to help make sense of the pattern. I've spend my life as a dualist, reductionist materialist. Human ingenuity was the keystone of existence, and our civilization was its apotheosis. Then I finally accepted the truth about man-made climate change, and from there I discovered Peak Oil. That pretty much put an end to the "transcendent cleverness of man" conceit. From there it was a frictionless slide into the mouth of Hell. Pollution, fresh water depletion, desertification, droughts and extreme weather events, the death of the oceans, the loss of 200 species a day, looming food shortages and the impending collapse of the global economy. It didn't take a genius to realize that all these ravens of doom were coming home to roost simultaneously, and the consequences seemed both inevitable and catastrophic. What the fuck was going on?

I was finally pulled out of a two-year existential depression through a spiritual insight that I at first mistook for pantheism. Being a 57 year old third-generation atheist and humanist I was uncomfortable with the name, but the sense of the sacredness of unity and man's place as a part of it, rather than apart from it, resonated very strongly. Six months later I realized that I'd spontaneously discovered the principles of Deep Ecology. That was a relief - it got rid of the pesky "-theism" business and let me concentrate on the unity of humanity and nature. I found further hope in the idea that millions of small, independent, local environmental and social justice groups throughout the world formed "Gaia's antibodies" -- an idea that was set down by environmentalist Paul Hawken in his book "Blessed Unrest".

All that was pretty cold comfort though, because it still left the nagging question of human nature. How did things get this way? Are we in fact flawed creatures, genetically condemned by the malignant convergence of our evolved neuropsychology and a brain that's "twice too clever and not half wise enough" to rape, plunder and pillage until every corner of the planet is condemned through our activities? If that nature is truly encoded in our genes then we are doomed, and much of the planet's life along with us.

That was how I saw things for a long and bleak time. Then for Valentine's day my girlfriend (who apparently knows all this stuff already, for some mysterious gender-linked reason) bought me "Ishmael", "My Ishmael" and "The Story of B" as a gift. Reading "Ismael" was an indescribable experience. The hallmark of a particular kind of genius is that their ideas are so straight-forward that when you first read them you say, "Well of course. So?" That was how I felt. Until I realized that the ordinary-looking little key I'd just been handed actually fit the lock in the door that had been keeping me imprisoned for so long. One gentle turn and tug, and the light shone in.

As Quinn points out (in ways that made me want to smack my forehead like Homer Simpson, "D'oh!"), we are not genetically programmed to be hierarchical, competitive, expansionary, consumptive, over-individuated automata (whether you see such behaviour as a good thing or not). Our institutions -- from our economic and political systems, to our educational systems, our media, our childhood bedtime stories, right down to our very languages themselves -- express, shape and reinforce these values so thoroughly and unremittingly that they seem to be intrinsic to our very cells. Quinn showed me that this feeling of inevitability doesn't signify Truth, but only Culture -- 10,000 years worth of culture aimed at imprinting on every person alive the idea that Man Rules All.

And if our behaviour just comes from Culture, and not Truth, that means it can be changed. It means there is a possible future for us besides the end-states of extinction or gray goo. It even means that possible future could actually be pretty fine -- well, so long as you redefine "fine" a bit and accept the price we'll have to pay to get there. And that's good enough for me.
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