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A War of the Worlds: The Story of Cane and Able According to Ishmael

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posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 08:58 PM
I recently finished reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It turned out to be one of the most unexpectedly good reads I’ve had. Sadly I misplaced it and I’m now looking for a replacement copy.

The book is about a man that meets and visits a gorilla who provides philosophical dialogue about Mankind, his existence on this planet and where he’s heading.

In the book Quinn discusses the story of Cane and Able in Genesis, as two brothers at war, that when taken non-literally reflects two types of people that arose in the Agricultural Revolution around 7,000-10,000 years ago in the Middle East. On one side was Cane or ‘the people of the revolution’ that developed means to grow more than they needed to survive, resulting in Civilization. These people out grew the other kind of people (Able), who hunted and gathered merely for survival.

The book illusatres a war that is still going on today whereby there's a race for technology and development and a push to wipe-out those who are more primitive. Alternatively the people of Able take little from the land and would remain on this planet indefinitely, while those of Cane are depleting this planet of its resources and making it uninhabitable for all species.

Here are some quotes that are definitely worth thinking about (from my journal):

Ishmael on the peace keeping law of life:

‘The club***** fish that nosed the shores of the continents came into being because hundreds of millions of generations of life before them had followed this law, and some of those fish became amphibians following this law. And some of the amphibians became reptiles following this law. And some of those reptiles became mammals following this law. And one branch of mammals became primates following this law. And one branch of primates became Australiopithecus following this law. And Australopithecus became Homohabilus following this law. And Homohabilus became Homoerectus following this law. And Homoerectus became Homosapian following this law. And Homosapian became Homosapian Sapian following this law…

…and then suddenly, about 10,000 years ago one branch of the family of the Homosapian Sapian said ‘Man is exempt from this law. The gods never meant man to be bound by it’. And so they built a civilization that flouts this law at every point-and within only 500 generations, an eye blink in the scale of biological time-this branch of the family of the homosapian sapian saw that they had bought the entire world to the point of death’

On the Peter Fark Paradox

‘Mother culture talks out of both sides of her mouth on this issue. When you say to her “population explosion” she replies “global population control”, but when you say to her “famine”, she replies “increase food production”. But as it happens increased food production is an annual event and global population control is an event that never happens at all.’

‘The law we’re outlining here anables species to live-enables species to survive, including the humans. It wont tell you whether mood altering drugs should be legalized or not. It wont tell you weather premarital sex is good or bad. It wont tell you whether captial punishment is right or wrong. It will tell you how you have to live if you want to avoid extinction and that’s the first and most fundamental knowledge anyone needs.’

This notion is extremely provocative, especially when looked at in regard to the worlds current situations concerning climate change and food shortages, economics, oil, and international diplomancy.

Are there more stories regarding Cane and Able in genesis? If so, how could they apply to this notion that Cane represents people of large scale, advanced civilizations and Able represents Self sustaining Aboriginal/Native type societies?

Sorry if this makes no sense I’m a new poster here and dead tired right now. More quotes if requested.

Have a read, have a think, have a reply…but I urge you to read this book: Ishmael by David Quinn.


[edit on 5-10-2008 by rosio]

posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 09:02 PM
I thought I'd throw in the wiki link for anyone thats interested. I'm keen to hear others thoughts on this idea of the Cane and Able, or on the book in general.


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