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Ishmael on the Border


Ishmael: A Novel by Daniel Quinn - Summary

Ishmael, a philosophical novel by Daniel Quinn, engages readers in a deep conversation about the assumptions underpinning modern civilization through the unusual dialogue between a man and Ishmael, a telepathic gorilla. The novel critiques the myth of human supremacy and the unsustainable practices of "Taker" cultures, advocating for a shift towards "Leaver" cultures that prioritize ecological harmony and sustainability.

Key Themes

  • Human Superiority and Myth: Challenges the narrative of human exceptionalism and its consequences on the planet.
  • Taker vs. Leaver Cultures: Contrasts destructive, consumption-driven societies with sustainable, nature-integrated ways of living.
  • Change of Narrative: Calls for a radical shift in the human story from domination to stewardship of the Earth.


"Ishmael" serves as a wake-up call to humanity, urging a reevaluation of our role in the world's ecology and promoting a narrative change towards sustainability and respect for all life forms. It's a compelling invitation to envision a different future and take active steps towards it.