If two billion years from now Earth appears as a dry, lifeless, desolate, raisin-looking sphere what would be your best guess as to what and/or who caused this? Daniel Quinn shared his thoughts on what he thought would cause the total devastation of the earth in his philosophical novel, Ishmael. This novel is very unique and thought-provoking; the narrator remains without an appellation throughout and the foil is a gorilla who communicates the history of human behaviors through telepathy. Ishmael, the gorilla previously mentioned, categorizes people into two divisions: Takers and Leavers. He defines Takers as the people who are often referred to as “civilized” and emerged from the Leavers during the Agricultural Revolution; and the Leavers as the people who are often referred to as “primitive” and live in a way quite similar to that of other animals. Daniel Quinn argues that if Takers do not dismiss the undeserving story that they have an indisputable claim over the Earth and all the living things within it, they are going to annihilate the totality of our known existence, and I hesitantly concur. I believe this is true because we are perpetually maiming our planet which is horrid enough, but to make it even worse, this planet is not even our own; we all do this often without realizing that what we are doing is wrong because we believe that we are the sole purpose of the universe. In this essay, I will elaborate further on why I believe these things.
We, as a culture, are constantly assaulting the Earth and are doing nothing to bandage the wounds we have so carelessly inflicted on our planet. We deplete the ozone layer and natural resources, pollute air and lakes and rivers and land, strip forests of their natural luster, and so m...
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...ry story that paints the illusion that makes us feel we deserve to conquer the world.
All in all, we are telling ourselves a lethal story that will eventually end the world as we know it. How could we possibly slaughter our Earth, wipe out our competitors even when it is unnecessary to do so, do nothing to fix our perpetual decline, and expect ourselves to carry on in such a manner? Some of us are blind, some of us feel too insignificant to make a difference, and the rest are trying; however it is not enough. I believe that us Takers will eradicate this planet without most of us being fully aware of what we are doing. In efforts to not be a total pessimist, I try to keep Ishmael’s response to such pessimism in the back of my head, “Perhaps you’re right. I hope you’re wrong” (Quinn 155).
Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael. New York: Bantam/Turner Book, 1995. PDF.