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Was man meant to conquer this planet and spread indefinitely?

July 1, 2009

Image: Auzigog / Creative Commons

Each week I plan to highlight a Creative Commons photographer whose work I think should reach a larger audience. This week I chose Jeremy Blanchard’s self-portrait of what reading Ishmael was like the first time. Having had a similar experience myself I completely understand and I think his photograph captures this perfectly.
To see more of his work, check out his Flickr page here. For those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to Ishmael I encourage you to do so. To whet your appetite allow me to offer the following:

     Ishmael selected a fresh branch from a pile at his right, examined it briefly, then began to nibble at it, gazing languidly into my eyes. At last he said, “On the basis of my history, what subject would you say I was best qualified to teach?”
     I blinked and told him I didn’t know.
     “Of course you do. My subject is: captivity.”
     “Captivity.”
     “That’s correct.”
     I sat there for a minute, then I said, “I’m trying to figure out what this has to do with saving the world.”
     Ishmael thought for a moment. “Among the people of your culture, which want to destroy the world?”
     “Which want to destroy it? As far as I know, no one specifically wants to destroy the world.”
     “And yet you do destroy it, each of you. Each of you contributes daily to the destruction of the world.”
     “Yes, that’s so.”
     “Why don’t you stop?”
     I shrugged. Frankly, we don’t know how.”
     “You’re captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live.”
     “Yes, that’s the way it seems.”
     “So. You are captives–and you have made a captive of the world itself. That’s what’s at stake, isn’t it?–your captivity and the captivity of the world.”
     “Yes, that’s so. I’ve just never thought of it that way.
     “And you yourself are a captive in a personal way, are you not?”
     “How so?”
     Ishmael smiled, revealing a great mass of ivory-colored teeth. I hadn’t known he could, until then.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. A. willow permalink
    October 22, 2009 5:12 pm

    yup,same here.Ishmael is one of the few books I have read that have actually presented me with a new way of looking at human culture(and stuff),something that happens very rarely.

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