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The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1027

Essay

In “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn, Mother Culture is an element of our lives that controls our actions by providing us with a sense of our inner thoughts. Because this culture is deeply ingrained in our society, we tend to not question our choices and we just simply act. Mother Culture allows us to understand who we are in the context of our society, but this may be detrimental as a whole because it clouds our ability to fully perceive the possibilities of what we could become.

The author tells the people that “Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it”. This demonstrates that it is challenging to recognize this cultural influence, but once it does become recognizable, the knowledge of this influence confounds the ability of the individual to act in accordance to this culture. A popular example from current media that demonstrates this is that now that people living in the United States are aware that their government is tracking their phone calls and spying on them, they cannot appreciate their culture in the same manner they did prior to knowing. Even though there was suspicion of this, this knowledge prevents many people from being able to blindly trust in their society (Harding, 2014).

A second quote from the story states that “Mother Culture says that if there were such a law it wouldn’t apply to us”. In this quote, Ishmael and the narrator are discussing the relevance of the law of gravity in addition to the other laws that direct this universe. He notes that culture is strange because it allows us to conceive of ideas that are not in accordance to the way the world works. An example of this is the idea that global warming does not exist. Despite clear evidence of this theory, many people are able to convince themselves that global warming isn’t real and it is their culture that gives them the ability to do this (McKibben, 2011).

A third quote that reflects an understanding of Mother Culture is when Ishmael asks “Why is that? What does Mother Culture have to say?” In doing so, he is not forming his own opinion but wants to be able to follow culture. We frequently do this in our own lives to find answers to important questions. An example of this is the religious choices followed by many. Typically, people are born into their religions rather than undergoing a journey to determine what they believe (James et al., 2010).

The book describes the Taker civilization as people who have settled in one location and use their land as they see fit. On the other hand, the Leavers tend to emphasize the value of the planet over themselves. Specifically, “The premise of the Taker story is ‘the world belongs to man’. … The premise of the Leaver story is ‘man belongs to the world’.” The Taker and Leaver societies clash with one another in terms of ideologies. An example of this is the contrast between environmentalists and corporate production companies. Environmentalists are concerned that these companies are polluting the Earth with their chemical and physical wastes, while the corporate companies believe that they are able to do so because the world belongs to them. In this sense, the corporations can be viewed as the Takers while environmentalists can be viewed as Leavers.

The book also discusses that despite the good intent of the Leavers, it is ultimately the Takers who win. “And every time the Takers stamp out a Leaver culture, a wisdom ultimately tested since the birth of mankind disappears from the world beyond recall.” This quote demonstrates that the Leavers represent intelligence and righteousness but the selfish actions of the Takers are able to surpass this strength. In the real world, the corporate producers are more likely to be able to continue their work and overpower the environmentalists because they have money. However, by stamping out the environmentalist culture, these individuals are hurting themselves because soon there will be nothing left for them to continue to destroy, which will ultimately damage business.

A historical example of the Takers versus the Leavers is evident during the colonial period. When the European settlers initially landed on the east cost of the United States, they inhabited land that had been occupied by the Native Americans. While the Native Americans were willing to share this land due to a lack of belief in land ownership, the Europeans believed that they had the ability to claim it for their own. Furthermore, the Europeans evolved to take more than just the land; they eventually took the freedom of the Native Americans away as well. This demonstrates the natural relationship between Leavers and Takers. While Leavers are more knowledgeable and wise, their nature allows them to succumb to the greed of the Takers over time.

If I were given the chance to leave the Taker civilization and become a Leaver, I would not. I would not press the button because despite the lack of technology in pre-revolutionary times, there would still be a culture of Takers vs. Leavers, although the conflicts faced by these groups would be somewhat less complex than they are in the modern era. Ultimately, the Takers would still overcome the Leavers regardless of the era. While I agree with the Leaver ideals more significantly, it is evident that I would eventually be overcome by the Takers if I made this choice. Therefore, it appears that the only option available to a majority of humanity is to be a Taker. If we do not act in accordance to the wishes of Mother Culture, our lifestyles will ultimately become obsolete. Taker societies are those with power and power is needed to control any human actions, whether they are for the better of society or a consequence of pure selfishness.

References

Harding, Luke (2014). The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man. London: Guardian Faber.

James P, Mandaville P. (2010). Globalization and Culture, Vol. 2: Globalizing Religions. London: Sage Publications.

McKibben, Bill (2011). The Global Warming Reader. OR Books.

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