Don’t try to distinguish the groups according to their character—that’s irrelevant for this purpose. Explain that our history texts typically present a false picture of human history—3 million years of hunting-gathering, then everybody taking up agriculture and civilization. This isn’t what happened. Use the diagrams on page 152 of ISHMAEL to show that it wasn’t “humanity” that shifted toward agriculture and civilization, it was a single culture, ours. The rest of humanity continued as before—to the present moment. The names are incidental.

Note that the New World civilizations were not Taker civilizations. Takers practice totalitarian agriculture (as did the Mayans, the Olmec, and so on) but are further characterized by two unique beliefs: that there is one right way for people to live and that everyone should be compelled to adopt that way. These beliefs were not in evidence among the civilization builders of the New World (which is why they could walk away from what they’d built).

ID: 393
updated: 18 Mar 1999