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  The Ishmael Community: Exerpts from Daniel Quinn

Quotes from Daniel's Works

"The law you're looking for has been obeyed invariably in the living community for three billion years." He nodded to the world outside. "And this is how things came to be this way. If this law had not been obeyed from the beginning and in each generation thereafter, the seas would be lifeless deserts and the land would still be dust blowing in the wind. All the countless forms of life that you see here came into being following this law, and, following this law, man too came into being. And only once in all the history of this planet has any species tried to live in defiance of this lawCand it wasn't an entire species, it was only one people, those I've named Takers. Ten thousand years ago, this one people said, 'No more. Man was not meant to be bound by this law,' and they began to live in a way that flouts the law at every point. Every single thing that is prohibited under the law they incorporated into their civilization as a fundamental policy. And now, after five hundred generations, they are about to pay the penalty that any other species would pay for living contrary to this law."

Ishmael

"The community of life on this planet has worked well for three billion years-has worked beautifully, in fact. The Takers draw back in horror from this community, thinking it to be a place of lawless chaos and savage, relentless competition, where every creature goes in terror of its life. But those of your species who actually live in this community don't find it to be so, and they will fight to the death rather than be separated from it. It is in fact an orderly community. The green plants are food for the plant eaters, which are food for the predators, and some of these predators are food for still other predators. And what's left over is food for the scavengers, who return to the earth nutrients needed by the green plants. It's a system that has worked magnificently for billions of years. Filmmakers understandably love footage of gore and battle, but any naturalist will tell you that the species are not in any sense at war with one another. The gazelle and the lion are enemies only in the minds of the Takers. The lion that comes across a herd of gazelles doesn't massacre them, as an enemy would. It kills one, not to satisfy its hatred of gazelles but to satisfy its hunger, and once it has made its kill the gazelles are perfectly content to go on grazing with the lion right in their midst."

Ishmael



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