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Ishmael Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from Ishmael
01
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“I could look at nothing else in the world but his face, more hideous than any other in the animal kingdom because of its similarity to our own, yet in its way more noble than any Greek ideal of perfection.”
Daniel Quinn
author
Ishmael
book
Ishmael
character
animal kingdom
discovering similarities
gorilla
concepts
02
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“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world.”
03
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“He was like me--he just yearned for there to be someone in the world like Leo, someone with a secret knowledge and a wisdom beyond his own.”
04
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“The laws they make in Washington aren’t put on the books because they work well--they’re put on the books because they represent the one right way to live.”
05
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“In fact, of course, there is no secret knowledge; no one knows anything that can’t be found on a shelf in the public library. But I didn’t know that then”
06
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“Filmmakers understandably love footage of gore and battle, but any naturalist will tell you that the species are not in any sense at war with one another.”
Ishmael
character
nature
battles
harmony
films
concepts
07
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“The gazelle and the lion are enemies only in the minds of the Takers. The lion that comes across a herd of gazelles doesn’t massacre them, as an enemy would. It kills one, not to satisfy its hatred of gazelles but to satisfy its hunger, and once it has made its kill the gazelles are perfectly content to go on grazing with the lion right in their midst.”
08
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“Man is the creature for whom all the rest was made: this world, this solar system, this galaxy, the universe itself.”
09
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“In effect, you’re saying that if you knew how to live, then the flaw in man could be controlled. If you knew how you ought to live, you wouldn’t be forever screwing up the world.”
10
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“WITH GORILLA GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR MAN?”
11
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“We’re not destroying the world because we’re clumsy. We’re destroying the world because we are, in a very literal and deliberate way, at war with it.”
Ishmael
character
war
nature
world
destroying
concepts
12
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“The story the Takers have been enacting here for the past ten thousand years is not only disastrous for mankind and for the world, it’s fundamentally unhealthy and unsatisfying. It’s a megalomaniac’s fantasy, and enacting it has given the Takers a culture riddled with greed, cruelty, mental illness, crime and drug addiction.”
13
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“The gods wrote in the world a law for all to follow, but it cannot apply to me because I’m their equal. Therefore I will live outside this law and grow without limit. To be limited is evil.”
Ishmael
character
gods
laws
limitless
concepts
14
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“Man became man by living in the hands of the gods.”
15
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“You must change people’s minds. And you can’t just root out a harmful complex of ideas and leave a void behind; you have to give people something as meaningful as what they’ve lost--something that makes better sense than the old horror of Man Supreme, wiping out everything on this planet that doesn’t serve his needs directly or indirectly.”
16
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“It’s certainly not always unspoken. The religions of your culture aren’t reticent about it. Man is the end product of creation.”
17
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“Perhaps in fact the two things are actually one thing. Perhaps the flaw in man is exactly this: that he doesn’t know how he ought to live.”
18
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“But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act like lords of the world.”
19
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“And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”
20
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“What does it matter that I’m weary of living as a murderer of all the life around me? I know good and evil, and this way of living is good. Therefore I must live this way even though I’m weary unto death, even though I destroy the world and even myself.”

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