I Was Lost...

And now this book has found me. Ishmael is not only one of the most important books I've chanced to lay eyes upon but sums up (and confirms) much of what I've felt about the culture around me. Things I've intrinsically "known" since a very young age are in this book. Words I have not been able to express nor articulate are there as well.

Tears stung my eyes as I read the following excerpt. I could not nor have ever met anyone who has summed up the way I feel about humanity better then Daniel Quinn has in this small novel.

The following is an excerpt between the teacher and his pupil:

"So when the people of your culture concluded that there's something fundamentally wrong with humans, what evidence were they looking at?"

‘They were looking at the evidence of their own history.’

“Exactly. They were looking at a half of one percent of the evidence, taken from a single culture. Not a reasonable sample on which to base such a sweeping conclusion.”


“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are lords of the world, they will act like lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”


Blogger Ryan said...

Amen brother!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Rue said...

I've often thought this myself. Given a situation and circumstances beyond my control, and a healthy fear driving self-preservation, maybe I would have persecuted the Jews in Europe prior, or even during, the war. Or maybe I would have been a white southerner supporting the underground railroad, putting my life and the lives of my family members at stake. It seems my morality, my convictions, are so much shaped by my experience, but also by the tolerances of those around me. I'd like to play the role of hero in my self-created history, but I could just as easily played the villain.
On another note, it concerns me though.. you said you won't give up on people, but if so much is fundamentally wrong with American culture, in your world view, how could you separate that from the values, and lives, of your friends here? If you give up on America, how can you not be giving up on Americans? I didn't think that during our talk, but ruminating over it afterwards, I can't seem to make the distinction.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Corey said...


To be honest, I see America as quickly becoming a police state (as your husband might attest to), one in which "freedom" is only allowed within the very strict confines of what the government deems as acceptable (this has been happening on a very intense level since the last "peoples movement" in the 60's).

While I deeply love my friends and family in America I feel no obligation to stay and try and "make this a better society". It wont happen no matter how much I try.

You also must understand that any type of "martyr complex" on my part will do none of my friends or family any good. This is just what i believe.

Some years ago my great-grandfather and his brother left Ireland for what was at the time a better place with more opportunity (The U.S. in the early 1900’s was full of promise, much more so then the impoverished and war torn Ireland they were leaving behind). They left behind family and friends. They left behind the only life they had ever known. They did not stay in Ireland thinking they could “be the change they wanted to see”.

So now, less than 100 years after their immigration across the water I see a land that my ancestors would not be proud of. A futureless wasteland full of legally protected thieves and scam artists (i.e. insurance companies, corporations, etc.).

If my great-grandfather were here today what would he do? Stay and suffer through the potential gulags and chaos to come (is a gulag with your family better then no gulag at all?). Of course I will lament, be utterly heartbroken, at the concentration camp America seems set to become. But I refuse to ignore the writing on the wall because of some sense of duty to others.

My natural instinct to survive is too strong to stay in this prison system. If I can find a crack in the wall I'm going to crawl through it.

My mother would tell me leave. So with her blessing and a broken heart I will go.

America is dying and I will not be dying with it.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Blake Huggins said...

I just read it for the first time last month. The single most important work of fiction I have read in recent memory.

If only it were required reading for everyone.

1:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home