The professor was right, I do like “Ishmael”. While Ishmael was leading the protagonist through the journey of discerning Mother Culture’s voice, I found myself gradually taking the role of the pupil, or more accurately, wanting to take the role of the pupil. I was excited. I was somewhat proud that I knew the answer to some of the gorilla’s questions before the book unveils it. I knew part of the Law is to take what one needs but nothing more; this is exactly the part agriculture defied. Ishmael said agriculture does not have to defy this Law all creatures invariably followed. On this point I thought of permiculture. Agriculture does not have to monotonize the land; by planting different species of plants in the same land can promote diversity just as well. Diversity, is another one of my “bingo” answers. I just failed to make the connection between the Law and Diversity. The Law promotes diversity. The word provokes biology. I had a sense of where Ishmael is steering to. I felt a lesson on biodiversity and all that ecological stuff coming. But Ishmael made it, for the lack of a better word, less textbook like and more story like, much like Ms. Marples’ deduction under Agatha Christie’s pen.
At this point, I had wondered, had the Professor used Ishmael’s way of teaching in class, would I be as engaged? Would more be learned?
I had many thoughts to many things the gorilla said and the narrator unanswered. As you will see in this post, my thoughts are rather scattered. I would like to reflect back to the beginning, when Ishmael insisted that our story of creation is a myth. The narrator would not believe it. I would not believe it either. How can our story of creation be a myth. We have scientific evidence! We have facts preserved nicely in glass displays in museums! Then the jellyfish hit me. Ishmael hit me. Facts are facts, but that does not change the fact that our story of creation is no more than a myth. Science is merely Mother Culture’s tool in framing the myth, evolution is there so we can say, finally, man appeared and no more come after. We are the end product, not the jellyfish. The world is made for us, not the jellyfish, because we come after the jellyfish and nothing comes after us. Because we defy the Law and made it so nothing comes after us. We destroy and conquer, all the while accelerating our aircraft “the Civilization” closer and closer to the abyss. And we peddle harder than ever now. Because we have gotten this far, and we have blind faith that we will go farther. Our only solution is to abandon the aircraft our ancestors had founded. And to abandon this aircraft is to abandon our control over life and death of other species and the world. It's not a matter of [cant quite find the word], it's a matter of mindset. I remembered the Professor talked about mindset in class. In order to carry out actions, first we need to reframe our mindset. I think "Ishmael" should be incorporated in highschool curricumlum. The book itself is a teacher, and it teaches us to discern Mother Culture's luring from Mother Earth's calling. This is the action we can take, after obtaining the knowledge. But to be honest, I am rather pessmistic about our future. Because now, I can really see the aircraft descending in acceleration.
Ishmael has another effect on me. I have read the Bible several times, especially the first chapter, God's creation and the Garden of Eden. I never quite understand why the Tree of Good and Evil is bad for man. I take it as that's just the way the Bible is written--tell you the what, but don't explain the why. Now I know. Now I feel the Bible more real. The Bible, perhaps, is the most hidden record (implicit) of the history of how man became man. I was stunned to find that "agriculture is mankind's worst mistake" evident in the Bible. Agricutlure is not a blessing. Agriculture is a punishment, God's way of punishing Adam and Eve, and all that came after them. I like how Ishmael incorporates the knowledge of the Bible, unlike others that challenge the Bible.
"Ishmael" is the one book I do not regret reading. Thanks to the Professor for insisting that I read the book.