Exploring the Theme of Moral Responsibility in Daniel Quinn's Ishmael

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We are destroying the earth in order to survive. What is our Moral Responsibility?

Daniel Quinn has written a book about how things have come to be the way they are. He looks at the meaning of the world and the fate of humans. Ishmael the main character is a teacher of vast wisdom, as well as being a Gorilla. Being no ordinary Gorilla, Ishmael recognises the failing of human kind in relation to their moral responsibilities. He ultimately directs use towards a solution to the problems we have created for the planet. Ishmael is trying to convey that man kind is living in such a way that we can not last. Our vast numbers alone is hindering our survival.

Moral responsibility is a clear theme of this text. One prime example is:

"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 contributes daily to the destruction of the world." (Quinn, 1995:25)

This quotation opens your eyes, I know of no one who wants to destroy the earth either. The majority of man kind doesn’t think too much about what is happening to the earth due to their actions. When most of us drive a car or spray deodorant we don’t think of the consequences. It is the responsibility of those who create problems to help fix them and prevent them from happening again. In society today it i...

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Ishmael highlights that people should learn from each other and learning from your peers is an important part of learning and life. If we didn’t learn from each other the world would never thrive or be able to adapt to the changes that the modern day brings. The moral responsibilities of humans that the text highlights are essential to living a good life. The responsibilities that are discussed are important in the teaching of religious education. All teachers have the responsibility to develop skills and qualities in their pupils that are beneficial to their lives and the lives of others.

Works Cited
Quinn, D (1995), Ishmael, Bantam/Turner Book Publication.

United nations Educational (UNESCO 1995-2009), Scientific and Cultural Education, Education for sustainable development

Available at: http://www.unesco.org/en/esd/ (Date accessed 21/12/09)

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