Daniel Quinn Blows My Mind

I need to reread all of his books (yet again), since I own them. I don't know why it occurred to me to write this story. I think I answered a question earlier about books with "Ishmael", and I was thinking about how effective the Socratic Method is as a way of teaching. People are more likely to adopt a new perspective if you lead them to find (and question) their own ideas, as opposed to forcing them down their throats.

Instead of waxing philosophical about my own ideas (which are terribly disorganized at the moment. Every moment, really.), I am going to post the ideas that resonated most with me:

-There is no one right way to live.

-"But why? Why do you need prophets to tell you how you ought to live? Why do you need anyone to tell you how you ought to live?"

-"Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you'll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you'll be tempted to say to the people around you, 'how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?'"

- The premise of the Taker story is 'the world belongs to man'. … The premise of the Leaver story is 'man belongs to the world'.

- "We're not destroying the world because we're clumsy. We're destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it."

- "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."

- "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 the 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."

- "With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?"
- "With gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?"

The parable of flying:

The Takers are the civilized races who fight to conquer the world and the Leavers are the primitive races that allow the laws of nature to govern their lives. The Taker philosophy that the world was meant to be conquered and ruled by them will eventually cause the destruction of the world.

The Taker’s desire to rule is best explained in Quinn’s aircraft metaphor: when man first tried to fly, he did not consider the laws of aerodynamics; therefore, each time he drove his aircraft off a cliff, he failed to take flight for more than a few seconds. The story is metaphoric of how the Takers believe that they are not subject to the laws of nature when in reality, their desire to conquer those laws is destroying the world. If the Takers would only emulate the Leavers’ passive take on life then the world could be saved.

The aircraft analogy is a perfect representation of the behavior of the Taker society: they tried to overcome the law of gravity through trial and error and each attempt failed because they never took the law of gravity into consideration.

The aircraft analogy is Ishmael’s way of illustrating how the Taker ideology created a culture in a literal free fall. In the analogy, the Taker airman looks down from his position in the sky to the countryside that is littered with abandoned aircrafts and wonders why anyone would desert their aircraft and the freedom of the air, but he then concludes that “the behavioral quirks of less talented, earthbound mortals are none of his concern”
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Mar 16, 2013