That’s not exactly what I’m saying. I’m fed up with Taker society and am doing something about it, but I’m a Taker myself and do not expect to “become a Leaver.”

Being a Taker or a Leaver isn’t a matter of attitude; you can’t become a Leaver just by wishing you were one. We’re talking not about attitudes but lifestyles—ways of keeping yourself alive. I keep myself alive the same way you do, the same way your friends do. I can’t simply DECIDE to start keeping myself alive the way the Alawa of Australia do or the way the Bushmen of Africa do.

The point I’m making in Ishmael is that the people of our culture have to understand that it is POSSIBLE to live harmlessly in the world, and the people I’ve named Leavers did so for hundreds of thousands of years. If they could do it (and can still do it, wherever they’re allowed to), then we can do it—but not instantly, not just by wishing it to be so.

As Ishmael says, we’re going to have to be inventive—and that’s something I can do and something YOU can do. I can’t become an Alawa or a Bushman, but I CAN become inventive.

ID: 74
Posted: 08 Feb 1997