Daniel Quine in his philosophical novel, Ishmael speaks of this beautiful concept called takers and leavers. It is a much better way to divide than urban and rural. This division is not to bring segregation or division, but to exalt one aspect of the culture which was forgotten during the mad rush for development. The interesting aspect is, the roots of this mad rush are not sown with industrial revolution, but much earlier.
Leavers are the people who have a healthy and sustaining relationship with the entire creation, whereas takers have an exploitative relationship (we might suddenly equate it with the industrial revolution, but the seeds were sown much before). Leavers think of leaving the nature as it is (or better) for the future generations; takers don’t think much about the future generations in their search for pleasure and development. Relationship is more important for leavers, whereas procurement of things are important for takers. Leavers considers the wisdom of the past as extremely important; takers use it if it is useful for the further development, otherwise it just have the value of antic items. God (whatever understanding of God they had) is very important for leavers, whereas takers don’t really require God or they try to manipulate God. Leavers were okay if they were not in full control, but not takers.
He brings the characters of Abel and Cain in the Bible; Abel was a leaver; Cain was a taker. Tribals and other aboriginals are best examples of leavers; rest of us fit in the takers category. We can’t go back in time; but what this analysis reminds us or invites us for…
- To see the entire creation as our common home (not just factory of production.. inspiration of Laudato Si)
- Find out ways and means to incorporate traditional wisdom of the ages in the development strategies.
- To value relationships than things;
- It should also influence our spirituality; a life of surrender to and friendship with God to achieve my uniqueness with all its limitations; not a life trying to manipulate God to control everything. (I think the Nietzsche’s comment that God is dead could be more suitable for the God of takers)
There is a common allegation that Leavers are lacking in creativity. The history of humanity may show the other way. They don’t have unlimited dreams, but moderate ones. They try to overcome certain difficulties, but accept certain inevitable ones.
This is an invitation to integrate in our lives the wisdom of the leavers along with the developmental knowledge of the takers. The Knowledge of the takers without the wisdom of leaver’s wisdom will lead us to doom. The wisdom of the ages can polish the enormous knowledge of science. That wisdom of leavers can help us to create the earth a paradise (earth was and is a paradise for leavers; they can help us to recognize that reality).