Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Ishmael: Are the Takers ever really going to change? Take II
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Author:  Mannie Dalton [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Ishmael: Are the Takers ever really going to change? Take II

[Note: This is the same question Laura addresses in her topic, but because it's a different take on the question, I thought I'd start a separate topic on it. Hope that's not too confusing.]

Towards the end of the book, on p. 247, Ishmael shares that all of his other pupils, once they learned what needed to change, would say "Yes, yes, this is wonderful -- but people are not going to relinquish their hold on the world. It just can't happen. Never. Not in a thousand years." Ishmael then concedes that he couldn't provide a "hopeful example to the contrary," but that now he has one: the dismantling of Marxism. "Once the people of [the former Soviet Union] were inspired by the possibility of a new way of life, the dismantling took place almost overnight."

I'm not entirely convinced that this provides sufficient proof that people -- the Takers -- can change to the degree needed to restore balance on the planet, as outlined by Quinn. It would require a fundamental shift in the way people think -- one that does not adhere to the tenets of capitalism -- for the Takers to become part of the world and take only what they need. In this way, the example Ishmael provides does parallel what would need to happen: the dismantling of capitalism.

Also, the fact that there are now more than 6 billion people on this planet -- and growing steadily -- also makes me unsure that it is realistic to believe that people would be willing to adopt the population measures Quinn alludes to in his book, exemplified by tribalistic societies. And a controlled population is necessary if humans are not to prevent other species access to food.

I want to believe that the restoration of balance on earth is possible, but I need help! What are your thoughts?

Author:  Ellen Moyer [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm a little nervous posting this comment, but I'd like to hear what others have to say. "Am I my brother's keeper?" That is the key question. In my opinion, yes. Quinn uses the book of Genesis as the basis of his plotline. If we look at the New Testament, Jesus commands us to "Love one another as I love you." By taking care of each other, are we not doing just that? Granted, Quinn makes some extremely convincing arguments to return to the Leavers lifestyle, and the book has made me so much more keenly aware of my earthly footprint. Mannie, you bring up some valid viewpoints about how difficult it would be for the Takers to really want to bring about change. I see it a lot more now, but I'm also afraid that it wil become a marketing gimmick (go green!). Like most major issues, there is so much gray.

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