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.”

–from Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn.

I hope most us wouldn’t deny that we are destroying the world. If you do, please look around you and think again. But why? Why can’t we stop? Is it that we are fundamentally flawed? That’s what people generally seem to believe. All the time we hear that this is the price we have to pay for civilization, the price for being human, the price for all the advancement we have had so far.

The truth is that our civilization is shockingly ignorant of the laws that govern life on our planet. No, not ignorant, really. Shockingly convinced that those laws do not apply to us. Like Mr.Quinn says in his wonderful book, imagine a person who jumps from the top of a tall building and says- “See, the law of gravity doesn’t apply to me. I’m still in flight!” Surprisingly unscientific for such a scientific people as us, wouldn’t you say?!

If you have ever felt the thought of why we seem unable to curb our ever-accelerating fall towards destruction, haunting you, this book is a must-read. It’s a thought that has grown on my mind during the last few years, and has come to occupy a central position in my mind and changed the way I look at the world. That must be why the ideas expressed in Ishmael resonated with my thoughts.

Ishmael is a book full of original ideas and should be right up there among the best books that have ever been written.