Twenty years ago a book came out which struck a chord with many and subsequently became a best seller. It continues to be read. The name of the book is “Ishmael”.
A couple of weeks ago, I came upon the book in a serendipitous way. Following my intuition that I was meant to read it again, I did. Ironically, as I began re-reading it, I realized that I had retained no idea of what it was about from the initial reading. I suppose I was meant to re-member what I had originally been drawn to.
Firstly, the story or myth that underpins our lives is exposed...
the world was made for man...
man was made to rule it...
in order to be ruler, man had to first conquer it...
we are paying the price of enacting a story that casts mankind as the enemy of the world..
under human rule the world was meant to become a paradise...
but tragically, man was born flawed...
questions about how to live always ends up becoming religious questions
so, we turn to prophets to tell us...
[and then the question] why don’t we have knowledge about how to live?
The author divides the world into two groups - the Takers (most of us living out this story) and the Leavers (those who were here before this story took hold).
For the author, the Takers are those who know good and evil, and the Leavers are those who live in the hands of the gods.
If you live in the hands of the gods, you evolve. For the Takers, evolution came to an end with man.
The premise of the Taker world is that the world belongs to man, and for the Leavers, man belongs to the world.
The Leavers are the endangered species most critical to the world - not because they’re humans but because they alone can show the destroyers of the world that there is not one right way to live...and forever relinquish the idea that anyone knows who should live and who should die on this planet.
The Leaver lifestyle isn’t about hunting and gathering, it’s about letting the rest of the community live.
The world of the Takers is one vast prison, and except for a handful of Leavers scattered across the world, the entire human race is now inside that prison. During the last century every remaining Leaver people in North America was given a choice: to be exterminated or to accept imprisonment. Many chose imprisonment, but not many were actually capable of adjusting to prison life.
The principal industry inside this prison is consuming the world.
What is crucial to your survival as a race is not the redistribution of power and wealth within the prison but rather the destruction of the prison itself.
Hmmm, what do you think? Valid insights twenty years ago, valid insights now?
Oh, and in the story of “Ishmael”, another book is recommended. I recommend it as well. It is called “The Chalice and the Blade” by Riane Eisler.