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!
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.Â 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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