Among the people of your culture, which want to destroy the world? Which want to destroy it? As far as I know, no one specifically wants to destroy the world. And yet you do destroy it, each of you. Each of you contribute daily to the destruction of the world. This truth was stated by a gorilla named Ishmael who, through his experiences of being taken from the jungle, placed in a zoo in the 1930's, put in a menagerie, and bought by a private owner named Mr. Sokolow, had all the time in a world to think about the world around him. Daniel Quinn writes about the horrifying realities of our culture in a book called Ishmael, by stepping outside of the world as we know it and describing what he sees through a talking gorilla. Behind the bars of his cage, he was able to take a look at our culture as an outsider, to see things that we never could. This sagacious, passive, and extremely patient primate wanted to share this knowledge to others so as to stop man from destroying the world. So, he placed an ad in the paper and caught the attention of an eager student, the narrator, who was willing to save the world.
Desperately confused, this everyday writer tries to step out of his culture and experience a whole new world. Day after day, this half ton gorilla, Ishmael, opens the narrators eyes and teaches him "how things came to be." He starts out by dividing man into two different cultures. He calls the people of our culture takers and the people of all other cultures leavers. Each culture has a story. In Ishmael's teachings, a story is a scenario interrelating man, the world, and the gods. This story is enacted by the people in a culture. In other words, people in a culture live as to make the story a reality.
The first story Ishmael tells is that of the takers. Every story is based on a premise. The taker premise is that the world was made for man. If the world is made for man, then it belongs to him, and man can do what ever he pleases with it. It's our environment, our seas, our solar system, etc. The world is a support system for man. It is only a machine designed to produce and sustain human life.