Scout Discovers Lost Ishmael Chapter!

The original Ishmael by Daniel Quinn contained a vague chapter on resistance, but the publishing company would not allow it, instead they made him focus solely on “changing minds”. Here is what Ishmael really thought about this!



Chapter X

When I arrived the next day, it appeared as though Ishmael was sleeping. I sat in the chair and waited a few moments. I didn’t quite know what to do. Should I tap on the window and wake him or just come back later? Was that rude? I decided to do the latter, since the idea of startling a 1000 pound gorilla from sleep seemed rather, well, unintelligent. As I opened the door to leave he spoke.

“Good morning.” He said in his calm voice as though he had been ready to start this whole time.

“Oh, hi.” I replied, pretending to be surprised. I was about to ask him if he wished to sleep more when he began to speak.

“You remember how we spoke about how the stories Mother Culture tells hold the members of your culture captive?”

“Of course,” I replied.

“Today we’re going to delve into the realm of resistance to this captivity. Generally my students have a hard time grasping this concept at first, but if we look back at the example of World War II, it usually helps to illuminate my point. As we discussed, the Nazis had a story that held the German population captive. What was it exactly that stopped the Nazis from taking over the world?”

“Well,” I thought for a moment. “It was the allied forces.”

“I want you to be more specific than that. What did the allied forces do to stop the Nazis?”

“They executed a large-scale military operation that lasted months and months. In the end, their efforts worked. I don’t know about all the military strategy and every battle or anything.”

“That will do,” He said. “Let’s pretend for a moment that everyone in the world believed in Hitlers story. How long do you think it would have taken the Nazi’s to exterminate all races other than Aryan, if they hadn’t been stopped?”

I tried to do some math in my head before realizing that’s not what he was going for. “I don’t know. A hundred years? Two hundred?”

“At the current rate of 200 species going extinct a day, how long do you think it will take for your culture to exterminate all other life forms on this planet?”

I was starting to see where Ishmael was going with this and I didn’t like it. “Are you saying we need to start a war with civilization?”

“Without the use of violent resistance or a ‘large-scale military operation’, would Hitler have stopped exterminating all other races?”

“Well, there is no way of knowing really. You can’t just make an assumption about events that could have happened.”

Ishmael glared at me through the glass. “Considering his history and his belief, do you think it probable that Hitler would have changed his mind about exterminating other races?”

I hesitated. “No. He probably would not have changed. But he could have.”

“Didn’t you just say we can’t make assumptions about what could have happened?”

Ishmael released his stare and looked away. “Yes, he could have. And certainly not all Germans believed in Hitlers story, and there were many German resistance movements. Some of whom came very close to killing Hitler. But did the allied forces wait for the Germans to change the minds of other Germans?”

“No.” I said. I thought about leaving. Was he really saying what I think he was saying?

“Every moment the Nazis stayed in power, was a moment another human being went to the gas chamber. Similarly, every moment your culture remains in power is a moment that hundreds of members of the community of life are murdered or go extinct.”

He was saying what I thought he was saying. “I’m sorry,” I said and got up to leave. “I don’t think I’ll be coming back.”

“Is it because you disagree with my analysis?”

“Yes.” I said flatly. “You’re calling for war on civilization. How is that any different than what the Nazi’s did? You’re saying we need to kill off most of humanity.”

“I’ve said no such thing. I’m merely showing you another way of seeing your situation.”

I hesitated, but sat back down. Of course I didn’t really disagree with him. This was just too much for me.

“How long do you think it would have taken to change all of the Germans minds?”

“I have no idea. A long time?”

“and say you changed their minds. Then what?”

“I don’t know. I suppose they would have voted Hitler out of office.”

“Does it surprise you to know that the Jews and others who resisted the Nazis had a higher chance of survival than those who did not?”

“Yes, actually that does surprise me.”

“Why do you think that surprises you?”

I didn’t really know. “I suppose because I’ve been told that violence never works.”

“Precisely.” He said. “I don’t want you to think I’m saying that changing minds is not important. Of course it was important for Germans to change the minds of other Germans. Certainly if they wished to stop Hitler and his story before he exterminated every other race, a certain number of people with changed minds would have been necessary for the resistance movement.”

He paused letting me stew.

“The Nazis story was old for sure, but relatively new and superficial to an extent; it wasn’t their entire cultural belief system.  The people of your culture have a story that runs much deeper than the Nazis. All of your world is built around this story. To change it will require a great feat. Even if a few people change the story, like Hitler, those in power carry the benefit from this story, and control the military to protect their interests. Again I want to ask you, how long would it have taken for the Nazis to exterminate every other race if everyone in the world believed their story? At 200 species a day, do you think there is enough time left for the community of life to allow for a large-scale mind change?”

“I don’t know. I guess. I don’t think so.”

“Do you now see the necessity of mind change, but the absurdity of it as a large scale solution? Mind change is important to change peoples actions.”

“Yes.” I said. “But I’m not happy with it.”


“It’s…” I could feel my heart begin to pound in my chest. “I’m scared.”

“Well that’s good for you and me, because while I’ve been trained in understanding captivity, I know very little about articulating hierarchy and even less about resistance movements. My focus is on showing you there is another story to live in. Beyond that, I can’t tell you the best way for how to get there. That’s something you’ll have to study on your own.”

If you couldn’t tell yourself, this is a FAKE chapter, not written by Daniel Quinn, but by me, Urban Scout, as a joke. LOLZ!!!1!!

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19 Comments on “Scout Discovers Lost <i>Ishmael</i> Chapter!”

  1. This is awesome! Just discover’d you! Thanks for posting this “lost” chapter! wish writers would put up more..well, resistance when getting there work edited.

  2. Awesome! Did you write that or is it for real? Resistance. Absolutely. Figuring out the fight, that is a thoughy.

    I loved the picture, too.

  3. Excellent post Scout. Unfortunatley those of us who KNOW what is going on and where we have come from are quite frankly cowards. We “live” through this daily anguish and do nothing to resist other than get a new job, pay off our mortgage, grow some food, make music. I don’t have any faith in humanity to fight back. I am afraid of doing time, being separated from my family etcetera and I consider myself a radical. Humans aint too fucking bright! The Nazis control everything. The only things that keep me going are my family and knowing that their are great fuckers like you, Derrick Jensen, Daniel Quinn , Zack DeLarocca and many others out there.
    PS.. I love your sarcasm with the hahaha regarding the picture comment.

  4. Dude! You’re really good at this.

    Based on your disgust with hate-culture, I have to assume you’re not suggesting that people take to violence and the mindset that accompanies it.

    But if someone is willing to go to war, with all that entails, and at the same time rejects the culture of hate: Then it becomes a no-brainer to ask them to do something else: stop *consuming.* Disengage as far as possible from the consumer/taker culture, liberate themselves from their captivity. Live the example, inspire others. Reach out, make it spread.

  5. Thanks for the props everyone!

    Yeah Dan. Haha, it’s totally fan fiction!!!

    Thanks Eugene! It’s like, I read that book (and all of Quinns others) so many times… It’s like a part of my brain. I can just switch into “What Would Ishmael Say”, even if it goes against things Daniel Quinn said (such as “resistance doesn’t work”).

    Living by example is fine, but it doesn’t dismantle hierarchy, which is the force enslaving all of us to work for Civilization.

  6. That’s really funny what you were saying about how you can switch into “what Ishmael would say” mode. I sort of feel that way about Jensen’s Endgame and all it’s premises. While i’ve only read those books once (not counting the probably-hundreds of times i’ve grabbed it off my shelf to read or skim through a chapter or two for some refreshment), i downloaded lots of his talks/interviews in which he goes back over all of the premises and have listened to them countless times on my ipod while washing dishes at work. it’s silly because all of his talks in that time period are more or less the same so sometimes i’ll find myself reciting the jokes he’s about to say at the same time as he says them. not as cool of a trait because Ishmael is an ultra-badass character and Derrick is just a person, but i guess it’s sorta the same.

  7. Yo Urban Scout: Living by example isn’t intended to dismantle the macro hierarchy that enslaves us. I would argue that the root cause of enslavement is the translation of controllable physical surplus into the abstract form of money that can buy the social infrastructure of domination, and I’d love to take up the general topic with you at some point.

    “The” hierarchy is not something we here, or some group a few hundred times as large, could dismantle directly, even by going to war in the most literal sense. That would be a program doomed to defeat, and it could well turn its participants into the very thing they were seeking to destroy (e.g. a hate culture with a new hierarchy). “The” hierarchy will crash on its own as a result of hypercomplexity and ecological overshoot. This is inevitable. (And we should be quite clear about the fact that the process will be ugly and nasty, and we ourselves might not survive it.)

    The importance of working examples is that they provide models for ways of living that will work after the collapse: much as hunter/gatherers have no shortage of food while nearby agriculturalists starve after a crop failure. Working examples also improve the Darwinian chances for their members.

    As well, working examples enable their members to transition to a non-hierarchical culture. This is a more difficult task than it seems, as it entails shedding the baggage of the cultures we were raised in. Consider the examples of neo-tribalism that have failed in one way or another: it’s not easy to get this right, and it’s particularly difficult when faced with subsistence pressures. Based on those factors alone, it could be argued that we’re not even adequately prepared to handle the transition if the whole civilization crashed tomorrow or next year.

    This is a multi-generational process; we need to be thinking in long timelines and do the tasks that are meaningful at the stage where we find ourselves.

  8. Georgio,

    I really don’t have time to engage in a dialogue with you about topics I’ve already discussed heavily in my writing. If you haven’t read my book, you shouldn’t be lecturing me on this topic. It’s pretty clear you haven’t read endgame. If you have read both of those, and are still writing this, then there is no way I would have a conversation with you about it either. Please stop commenting on my blog until you’ve done some more personal work in understanding rewilding by reading and reflecting the suggested literature.

  9. I like this piece scout. Not just as a joke, but as a commentary of what is really missing from the book. Walking away isn’t an option, there is nowhere to go.