9 Following


Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit - Daniel Quinn I haven't finished this book yet but I probably won't because it sucks. First of all, it's supposed to be a novel but it's entirely didactic. The author has simply substituted this gorilla to preach at us in the author's voice. The viewpoint character is simple minded and vacuous to the point of not existing. In fact, he's just there as the foil or receptacle for the gorilla's teachings. The central thesis of the gorilla's thoughts, which he presents as unassailable fact, is the supposition that human population will ALWAYS increase to use all available food supply, something that simply isn't true in any of the developed countries. If it weren't for immigration, of course, the U.S. and most of Western Europe would have falling populations. The author dismisses this massive flaw in his edifice of cards by saying someone somewhere will eat the food or else people would stop growing it. Okay, so he then doesn't notice that if people stop growing food because there's nobody to eat it, then the population is limiting itself and the human species is not doing its job of multiplying, engulfing, and devouring as he claims it always must.

It's the same old stuff the Club of Rome said in the 70s and so on and so on from Malthus to the present. It comes about because people don't realize that trends do change in response to changing situations. Women empowered with birth control to choose their family size have less children. Fishers who realize fish stocks are depleted do change their methods and either enact laws limiting catch sizes, or turn to farming, or become conservationists of wild species.

The human species has lived off mother earth's bounty for all its childhood and adolescence, but it IS growing up, and will eventually nurture all the world's resources in a realistic way leading to complete sustainability. There's nothing improbable about that.

Some of the things the author doesn't realize follow.

In space the resources are truly unlimited. We're not in a closed petri dish. We just have to reach out and develop what's there.

We make new resources all the time with advances in technology. Worthless sand becomes useful glass, then even more useful microchips. Black sludge becomes a fuel or a plastic container. The more we know the more we see worthless things around us turn into jewels under our hands.

Before human stewardship, life on earth was far from safe and cozy. Asteroid impacts destroyed nearly all living things on several different occasions (Cambrian, Permian, Cretaceous, etc.) and could do so again, even more completely, if humans aren't technologically advanced enough to prevent it. The history of life is riddled with catastrophes that weren't caused by humans.

There's so much more, I could write a novel. But you get the picture. Please save your efforts for some book that will entertain you or teach you something true. This one is useless for either.