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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...

Maybe the whole Pequod trip was Ishmael's christening of sorts.

ziki
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chad
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Ahab and Starbuck

There is no mandatory retirement on board the Peqoud, but Ahab's presence or spirit still connects the crew on board, in spite of Starbuck. Did they just imitate a herd of whales that beach themselves? Ahab is part whale.

Chad
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Ahab and power

We have posts on Ahab spread all over the board now but I might as well post this here. Ahab's character is complex enough to allow us speculate about him in many ways.

Ahab thinks Moby-Dick made him powerless. He mixes up the perishable body and the eternal spirit (soul). He could feel powerful even with one leg if he appreciated his true assets. But now he thinks himself weak. All his misery comes from that belief. He thinks that by destruction of Moby-Dick he will again feel strong enough. He would have a proof. From that point on he only sees his enemy. He basically hijacked Pequod.

Ahab unconsciously envies Moby his power and by that very envy he actually makes himself powerless because deep inside he fees defeated, hurt and he feels himself to be less.

Therefore with the help of the 'army of powerless that comes together in hate' he wages his war of vengeance and bitterness. From now on he seeks the enemy and will create and re-create the enemy, he must have a target. But by attacking Moby-Dick he only emphasizes his weakness and he needs more and more of his blind determination. This becomes his madness. the vicious circle. He turns to black magic and with blood rituals tries to extract promisses of alliance.

But the fact is he failed because he actually saw himself as helpless. Could he believe himself as inherently unchanged and not defeated by the whale he wouldn't become the prisoner of his own ideas. Inwardly Ahab actually refuses to recognize himself as powerful even without a leg and he fails to achieve this inner shift while he's looking into Starbuck's eyes at the end. He misses the last call to change his mind and transform his attitude into forgiveness. Nothing but forgiveness or death will bring him peace. He chooses death. He can't see himself with forgiving eyes, and accept himself as a perfect man even without a leg. He trusts his body, not his soul.

I do not believe in the picture of the punishing god but there's no way to live happily with this attitude of self-contempt.

Thereby he lost his battle because he denied his inner strength, (his connection to god=better cause/better reason IOW) and he will drag others to death, too.

ziki

PS
(If you see USA as Ahab it paints a pretty scary scenario I'd say.)
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chad
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Re: Ahab and power: senility ponderings

[ Edited ]
"But the fact is he failed because he actually saw himself as helpless"

I don't think we ever disagree, but I was going to add he was obviously getting older, and the captain's position would soon have to be handed to someone else, possibly Starbuck. So, I think, the quest for Moby was a quest to retain his position as captain, to retain his reputation injured by a whale. So, the maniacal quality we find in Ahab may ultimately arise from his wish to defy his own death, to defy Nature in his quest to kill Moby.

I mentioned mandatory retirement for the reason that we tend to tell older men and women that they have to go for survival reasons. Lengths of term, age caps, mandatroy requirements ages, etc. ensure the longevity of the entity, whether it be government or business. For example, I think there are arguments for and against the great white whale, the AARP, that lobbies our government. Sometimes I feel the elderly could take us into the whiteness of oblivion. But the U.S. tends not to treat their elderly very well- I think the elderly are respected a little more in other countries.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-11-200710:20 AM

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Re: Ahab and power: senility ponderings

Nice point. You and Choisya usually ground me in the realities of it, thanks.

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: Ahab and power: (Political) senility ponderings

Good post Chad and I agree, especially about the elderly taking a population into the whiteness of oblivion. If the elderly in any society make too many demands on it then the young will turn - it happens with rats and it will happen with humans unless we get a better balance between the young and the old. When I was young we had around 15 young taxpayers contributing towards the pension of the elderly, which was reasonable. Now that ratio is down to 5 because of our falling population - that is not reasonable. In Germany, the highest taxed country in Europe with the largest pensions, there have already been large protests by young people unable to afford homes or holidays whilst their parents are living in large apartments and swanning around Europe on expensive holidays. As populations diminish all over the Western world our governments need to think about this looming white whale of a problem!




chad wrote:
"But the fact is he failed because he actually saw himself as helpless"

I don't think we ever disagree, but I was going to add he was obviously getting older, and the captain's position would soon have to be handed to someone else, possibly Starbuck. So, I think, the quest for Moby was a quest to retain his position as captain, to retain his reputation injured by a whale. So, the maniacal quality we find in Ahab may ultimately arise from his wish to defy his own death, to defy Nature in his quest to kill Moby.

I mentioned mandatory retirement for the reason that we tend to tell older men and women that they have to go for survival reasons. Lengths of term, age caps, mandatroy requirements ages, etc. ensure the longevity of the entity, whether it be government or business. For example, I think there are arguments for and against the great white whale, the AARP, that lobbies our government. Sometimes I feel the elderly could take us into the whiteness of oblivion. But the U.S. tends not to treat their elderly very well- I think the elderly are respected a little more in other countries.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 02-11-200710:20 AM




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re:depressing

For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yea, the above passage is depressing and disturbing- does intellectual superiority or superiority in anything have to assume supremacy over men for humanity's survival? Can I be better than the masses in anything? Our superior abilities tend to be absorbed by the masses and we become part of the whale. So, will the whale become too large?-- this is the interesting question...

Chad
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Re: Ahab and power: (Political) senility ponderings

I think social security is a big issue here as well.

Chad
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Choisya
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Re: re:(Political) depressing

Global warming and global corporations are, I think, already proving that the whale has become too large:smileysad: There will be a reckoning, perhaps another equivalent of the Fall of the Roman Empire or worse, nuclear annihilation. By then what is left of the human race will probably have colonised space and be starting it all over again. (I feel like one of those folks with a placard reading 'The End Is Nigh':smileysurprised::smileysurprised: )




chad wrote:
For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yea, the above passage is depressing and disturbing- does intellectual superiority or superiority in anything have to assume supremacy over men for humanity's survival? Can I be better than the masses in anything? Our superior abilities tend to be absorbed by the masses and we become part of the whale. So, will the whale become too large?-- this is the interesting question...

Chad


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Re: re:(Political) depressing and stupid graduate programs

Choisya:

I think policy attempts to define the whale using regime analysis- attempting to classify forces which shape our world as "regimes"--this is done "scientifically." Occasionally, the policy program I attended would classify the enitre human population as one regime, with a discussion on world "overpopulation." My uderstanding also is that this analysis is fairly modern and recent, had they read Moby, we might be a little further along. Nature has a tendency to amalgamate- we are a collection of cells, but this amalgamation is not everlasting.

Chad
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Re: help -end of Chapter 33

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote:The whole end of Chapter 33 is remarkable, actually. He remarks first on the need of discipline and naval usage on board ships, and includes Ahab among those how observe them; then he talks about his "sultanism," his imperialism of the brain, but then says that truly great men will be kept out of power by the external arts. (naval usages and customs?) Then he ends by saying that Ahab is just a "poor old whale hunter" and that his greatness will have to be manufactured literally out of thin air (the skies), or himself. So here you have an incredibly convulated meditation on the nature of power. By creating such pathos for the miserable little sea captain, Ishmael suggests that it comes from his book.




Summa sumarum then must be that leaders are not to be easily trusted even if they display some virtue because they might have different reasons for their actions (often not the noble ones), perhaps they are slaves under structures and influences they do not control and evidently power also corrupts (sultanism)...so you as an individual have to watch out.

In the context here: even if Ahab had an experience and knew a lot about whaling he was not guided by his better knowing and not to be easily trusted (as the shipmates have done).

ziki
after some brain gymnastics

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200711:10 AM

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Politics

"external arts and entrenchments"- political means, I thought. Often leaders are "men of the people" or have to prove that they are "men of the people."

Chad
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Re: Chapter 33: "true princes" & Bush

I went for the basic-est I could on this, Bob: a leader cannot be too far removed from that which he leads. The "external arts and entrenchments" really cannot be defined, but if you could or wanted to do this, you would probably have the floor.

Chad
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