Perhaps the most dominant assumption in Sherman and Salisbury’s novel is the understanding that man is fundamentally enabled to dominate the world. The authors detail the progress in civilization in humanity as if it is humanity’s duty to perpetrate the advancement of the world. The chapters discuss the victorious and failed attempts of man at preferring their way of life on the rest creation and amongst themselves. It details the competition for social and political power and each party’s beliefs that their way of life is generally better than that of the others. Ishmael would have assumed a totally different approach. While he would have acknowledged man’s tendency to achieve exert leadership over his environment, he would not have entirely embraced it. Ishmael believes that that this is just but one aspect of life on earth.
As Quinn 41 notes, “Man is not alone on this planet. He is part of a community, upon which he depends absolutely.” Ishmael believes that man is a critical but nonetheless, small component of his ecology. He completely depends on his environment though he always fails to appreciate this. While recognizes that the universe does not exist on his behest, he believes it is there to serve his interests. This position is portrayed in Chapter 17 of “The West in the World” where humanity indiscriminately exploits its environment for social and economic power. Ishmael abhors this human characteristic. It is demonstrated in the story where he helps his student understand that there are immutable laws that life is subject to. Together, they carry out a study of the biological community. They discover that first biological convention that all human beings must adhere to is the law of limited competition. And essayrepublic.com states that while beings are allowed to compete to the limits of their capabilities they may not strive to eliminate their competitors or deny them nourishment. They may compete but not wage war. Ishmael regrets that the takers generally believe they are exempt from this provision and flout it with reckless abandon. Ishmael would add that it is not entirely up to humanity to dictate the progress of life on the planet. He would despise the creation of empires as was synonymous with early civilizations.Read More