GNED 1202 Study Guide - Final Guide: Takers, Neolithic Revolution

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Study Guide
Ishmael: theme of captivity (symbolic for captivity of humans in an economic system)
o-captives- of a culture system that is bent on destroying the world…thus making
a captive of the world itself.
Captivity is the subject that Ishmael professes to teach. Having been raised in captivity,
he considers it his area of expertise. He complicates the issue, however, by refusing to
feel resentful of his captors. Largely, this complication reflects his larger feelings of pity
for his captors; he believes that Mother Culture holds all of society captive. The planet's
salvation comes in realizing that the “Taker Prison” holds most of us captive, and then
working to dismantle those limitations.
a) Mother culture vs human nature
Mother culture:
o-The stories are here for us, to teach us how the world is supposed to be
o-Nurtures us
o-He has set us up for understanding a disconnect here, between culture and
nature (another underlying theme of the book)
o-Recall rationalization of political-economic system from Kropotkin
For Quinn: -culture means level of civilization
o-that teaches us to act in a certain way
o-capturers of the natural world- made it our capital
Quinn introduces the idea of Mother Culture into Ishmael, as the driving force behind the
accepted Taker theory of how things came to be in the world. In effect the antagonist of
the novel, Mother Culture actively brainwashes us from birth, through everything
including teachers, television, and money. That Quinn personifies this force is important,
since it stresses that the ultimate danger comes not from any one person in power, but
rather from a powerful force that humanity has created and to whom we are now
enslaved. To break free requires us first to recognize the nature of our captivity.
b) Myths/narratives of human exceptionality
The narrative:
o-Ideology- a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of
economic or political theory and policy.
o-Hegemony- leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group
over others.
o-Mythology- Any story that explains the meaning of the world, the intentions of
the gods, and the destiny of man.
o-Story- A scenario interrelating man, the world, and the gods. “And the story
serves to calm people, even when they see the catastrophic damage inflicted on
the planet”
o-To enact- to live so as to make a story.
o-Culture- A people enacting the story.
c) Science and religion as commensurate stories
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