"It's possible that American culture now exhibits many qualities we associate with a typical colonialist society. We now know from twentieth-century psychology, if from no other source, that, given the nature of human life, people and nations cannot practice destruction of tribal societies without having it come back on them.
When colonial administrators take over a tribal society, their first task is to prove to the indigenous people that nothing in their culture works. It is important also to prove that tribal ways, such as consensus, do not work, and the old ways of talking with the gods, the ways the shamans practice, do not work.
Ships, gunpowder, and armor overpowered the African tribes, and then Westerners, to secure the power, dismantled the elder system. Pg. 160
In Ishmael, and the rest of his work, Daniel Quinn simply pointed out ways that worked for human beings for hundreds of thousands of years. In other words, we dont have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to finding a better way to live, we have plenty of models to work off from.
That's one reason why I think Ishmael had such an impact on me at that time in my life. At 25 (Hell, at 7 or 8) I knew the world was messed up, and that's part of the reason I was feeling down all the time. Most of the advice and stories I was hearing from adults over the age of 50 wasn't wasn't enough for me, there were always a few missing pieces that I was looking for. Well, Quinn provided the missing pieces, atleast that's the way it looks so far.