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fanuzzir
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What can I say?



Choisya wrote:
I don't agree that MD was a 'brute' Fanuzzir - I go along with Starbuck when he remonstrated with Ahab that MD was a 'dumb beast':-

'Vengeance on a dumb beast that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captian Ahab, seems blasphemous.'

I think that if we go along with Ahab about MD's 'brutishness' we are entering into his revengeful fantasy and committing our own form of blasphemy.





Choisya, I know, I'm surprised at myself. I really was amazed at the destructive force showed by Moby Dick after hearing the entire novel how stately and celestial and misunderstood whales were. I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way, but then again, I've sympathized with Ahab far too much this entire reading. Of course, I loved that Moby Dick did Ahab in, but I did see malice and determination in his attacks. "Savage", yes is politically incorrect.
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Re: What can I say?



fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
I don't agree that MD was a 'brute' Fanuzzir - I go along with Starbuck when he remonstrated with Ahab that MD was a 'dumb beast':-

'Vengeance on a dumb beast that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captian Ahab, seems blasphemous.'

I think that if we go along with Ahab about MD's 'brutishness' we are entering into his revengeful fantasy and committing our own form of blasphemy.





Choisya, I know, I'm surprised at myself. I really was amazed at the destructive force showed by Moby Dick after hearing the entire novel how stately and celestial and misunderstood whales were. I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way, but then again, I've sympathized with Ahab far too much this entire reading. Of course, I loved that Moby Dick did Ahab in, but I did see malice and determination in his attacks. "Savage", yes is politically incorrect.





Avast shipmates!
Shouldn't we clarify the terms of the discussion not to get into a muddle?
Do we see MB as an animal, a whale? Or do we see him as a symbol? In which case what can he symbolize? Or is MB anthropomorphic?

I could then morph Ahab into a mosquito: he (humanity) irritates MD and finally he just gets it (the Nature, as representd by MD, shows the unbounded human fool where the limit goes).

What hides in the word animal? Is it correct to say: what an animal satisfaction to hit the bloodsucker and end the misery? This again has paralells in politics of today.
Is vengeance a human priviledge? Or a human curse?

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: What can I say?

[ Edited ]
I think we can see the book at many levels Ziki MD, as the relentless force of nature, or an avenging god, as a devil and so on. Here I was just quoting Starbuck and regarding him as a 'dumb beast'.





ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
I don't agree that MD was a 'brute' Fanuzzir - I go along with Starbuck when he remonstrated with Ahab that MD was a 'dumb beast':-

'Vengeance on a dumb beast that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captian Ahab, seems blasphemous.'

I think that if we go along with Ahab about MD's 'brutishness' we are entering into his revengeful fantasy and committing our own form of blasphemy.





Choisya, I know, I'm surprised at myself. I really was amazed at the destructive force showed by Moby Dick after hearing the entire novel how stately and celestial and misunderstood whales were. I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way, but then again, I've sympathized with Ahab far too much this entire reading. Of course, I loved that Moby Dick did Ahab in, but I did see malice and determination in his attacks. "Savage", yes is politically incorrect.





Avast shipmates!
Shouldn't we clarify the terms of the discussion not to get into a muddle?
Do we see MB as an animal, a whale? Or do we see him as a symbol? In which case what can he symbolize? Or is MB anthropomorphic?

I could then morph Ahab into a mosquito: he (humanity) irritates MD and finally he just gets it (the Nature, as representd by MD, shows the unbounded human fool where the limit goes).

What hides in the word animal? Is it correct to say: what an animal satisfaction to hit the bloodsucker and end the misery? This again has paralells in politics of today.
Is vengeance a human priviledge? Or a human curse?

ziki

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-03-200703:23 PM

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Re: What can I say?

[ Edited ]
Choisya wrote:
I think we can see the book at many levels Ziki MD, as the relentless force of nature, or an avenging god, as a devil and so on. Here I was just quoting Starbuck and regarding him as a 'dumb beast'.

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

Yes, it is what humans did, isn't it? Not only with animals but also other races...savages----Queequeg, Quohog, Quowhat, you there---> degrading others...you buy cattle you buy slaves, "same same but different" as they say in India. Our acceptance is minimal.

We hit again the core of the evil= we need scapegoats, someone to blame, I am right you are wrong attitude. Point in case: we create the world that we imagine. I am here&you get lost, my way or highway.....same song all over.
USA plays it on repeat but in some respect democracy is just a dictatorship of majority.
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-03-200709:49 PM

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Choisya
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Re: What can I say?

Ziki wote:-
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

Yes, and I think this is what Melville was saying too.




ziki wrote:
Choisya wrote:
I think we can see the book at many levels Ziki MD, as the relentless force of nature, or an avenging god, as a devil and so on. Here I was just quoting Starbuck and regarding him as a 'dumb beast'.

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

Yes, it is what humans did, isn't it? Not only with animals but also other races...savages----Queequeg, Quohog, Quowhat, you there---> degrading others...you buy cattle you buy slaves, "same same but different" as they say in India. Our acceptance is minimal.

We hit again the core of the evil= we need scapegoats, someone to blame, I am right you are wrong attitude. Point in case: we create the world that we imagine. I am here&you get lost, my way or highway.....same song all over.
USA plays it on repeat but in some respect democracy is just a dictatorship of majority.
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-03-200709:49 PM




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Choisya
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Re: Melville & Spinoza

[ Edited ]
Having read elsewhere that Melville read Spinoza, the 17th Jewish Philosopher, I was interested in this description of Spinoza's views in my OBSERVER this morning:

'[Spinoza] believed that the world IS God. So to pray is to worship every hill and valley, every raindrop and sunray, every man and animal and every law connecting them. It was known as pantheism but we might call it environmentalism....Spinoza would say that we are all part of the same sacred earth and that we are not special.....This was in contrast to the then world view (since Descartes) that humanity has felt itself separate from a dead physical world that is ours to play with...He distrusted desire and progress but he was a democrat who wanted the clergy out of politics....He wrote: 'Like waves on the sea, driven by contrary winds, we toss about, not knowing our fate.''

Another theory of Spinoza's, which may have influenced Melville's writing about the whale and whale hunting is that 'animals can be used by people for the benefit the human race, according to a rational consideration of the benefit as well as the animals' status in nature.'

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-04-200707:09 AM

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Spinoza's pantheism

[ Edited ]
Spinoza didn't subscribe to the dualism (body/mind split) of Descartes. Nevertheless, he treated the physical and mental as two worlds that neither overlap or interact (subworlds).

He was a determinist (you can only say yes to what happens and understand its necessity, in that lies your freedom, you can't IOW run away, say no) and threfore there's no free will.All that happens is perfect.

Things are as they are because you see them as such.

What he called active emotions were those you rationally understood while the passive you didn't. (prequal to Freud)

Spinoza said there is no difference between good an evil (relativist position).

Animals can be used for benefit of human race, everything done by humans and animals is divine.

Einstein liked his Deus Sive Natura: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

Could we relate these thoughts to Moby-Dick?


Ziki Wittgenstein

Message Edited by ziki on 02-05-200712:42 AM

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fanuzzir
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Kramer and Klingons

Do you hear what we're saying everyone? We're choosing between beast and savage to describe Moby Dick? After all that Melville, and our own posts have taught us. this reminds me of the episode from Seinfeld when Kramer accused Jerry of being an "anti-dentite." A racism, yes, directed against an animal! Thank you Ziki once again for reminding us of the slippery slope. Starbuck had it wrong too: the whole point of MD was to reassess the relationship between the human and non-human world. (Another pop culture reference: when the Klingon leader sneered at the Star Trek leader for espousing "human" rights).




Choisya wrote:
Ziki wote:-
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

Yes, and I think this is what Melville was saying too.




ziki wrote:
Choisya wrote:
I think we can see the book at many levels Ziki MD, as the relentless force of nature, or an avenging god, as a devil and so on. Here I was just quoting Starbuck and regarding him as a 'dumb beast'.

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

Yes, it is what humans did, isn't it? Not only with animals but also other races...savages----Queequeg, Quohog, Quowhat, you there---> degrading others...you buy cattle you buy slaves, "same same but different" as they say in India. Our acceptance is minimal.

We hit again the core of the evil= we need scapegoats, someone to blame, I am right you are wrong attitude. Point in case: we create the world that we imagine. I am here&you get lost, my way or highway.....same song all over.
USA plays it on repeat but in some respect democracy is just a dictatorship of majority.
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-03-200709:49 PM







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Choisya
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Re: Spinoza's pantheism

I only relate to the pantheistic element - the rest is to deeply philosophical for me:smileyhappy:




ziki wrote:
Spinoza didn't subscribe to the dualism (body/mind split) of Descartes. Nevertheless, he treated the physical and mental as two worlds that neither overlap or interact (subworlds).

He was a determinist (you can only say yes to what happens and understand its necessity, in that lies your freedom, you can't IOW run away, say no) and threfore there's no free will.All that happens is perfect.

Things are as they are because you see them as such.

What he called active emotions were those you rationally understood while the passive you didn't. (prequal to Freud)

Spinoza said there is no difference between good an evil (relativist position).

Animals can be used for benefit of human race, everything done by humans and animals is divine.

Einstein liked his Deus Sive Natura: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

Could we relate these thoughts to Moby-Dick?


Ziki Wittgenstein

Message Edited by ziki on 02-05-200712:42 AM




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donyskiw
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Re: Kramer and Klingons

Especially after we were trying to find some reason not to label Ahab as inherently evil. I didn't think of Moby Dick as beast or savage. He was a smart whale and everything he learned was from all those attacks that he survived. When he attacked the Pequod, it was described that he simply thought it was another foe. We're talking about an animal who had spent the previous several years swimming around with harpoons stuck in him.

Denise



fanuzzir wrote:
Do you hear what we're saying everyone? We're choosing between beast and savage to describe Moby Dick? After all that Melville, and our own posts have taught us. this reminds me of the episode from Seinfeld when Kramer accused Jerry of being an "anti-dentite." A racism, yes, directed against an animal! Thank you Ziki once again for reminding us of the slippery slope. Starbuck had it wrong too: the whole point of MD was to reassess the relationship between the human and non-human world. (Another pop culture reference: when the Klingon leader sneered at the Star Trek leader for espousing "human" rights).




Choisya wrote:
Ziki wote:-
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

Yes, and I think this is what Melville was saying too.




ziki wrote:
Choisya wrote:
I think we can see the book at many levels Ziki MD, as the relentless force of nature, or an avenging god, as a devil and so on. Here I was just quoting Starbuck and regarding him as a 'dumb beast'.

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

Yes, it is what humans did, isn't it? Not only with animals but also other races...savages----Queequeg, Quohog, Quowhat, you there---> degrading others...you buy cattle you buy slaves, "same same but different" as they say in India. Our acceptance is minimal.

We hit again the core of the evil= we need scapegoats, someone to blame, I am right you are wrong attitude. Point in case: we create the world that we imagine. I am here&you get lost, my way or highway.....same song all over.
USA plays it on repeat but in some respect democracy is just a dictatorship of majority.
We need a totally different approach to thinking in order to create a life sustaining societies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-03-200709:49 PM










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among étants, êtres and existants....

Choisya wrote:I only relate to the pantheistic element - the rest is to deeply philosophical for me:smileyhappy:
-----
Yes.


I find a line by Deleuse useful in the context of Moby:

We must grasp beings exactly as they are.

ziki
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fanuzzir
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When will I learn?



donyskiw wrote:
Especially after we were trying to find some reason not to label Ahab as inherently evil.

There I go again. The whale killer has human complexity. The whale cannot. Or so I imply.
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donyskiw
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Re: When will I learn?

No, the whale would have to have whale complexity!

Denise



fanuzzir wrote:


donyskiw wrote:
Especially after we were trying to find some reason not to label Ahab as inherently evil.

There I go again. The whale killer has human complexity. The whale cannot. Or so I imply.



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holyboy
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:
I don't see it as an atheistic book Bob just because there is a 'faith and conviction in higher purposes'. Pantheism suits it better I feel:-

http://www.pantheist.net/




fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Ziki wrote:
All that is not serving God will be destroyed.'Twill eventually go down no matter how mant flags you nail to masts. The victory will never be yours if you don't submit, the great paradox.


Do you think that Melville, who lost his Calvinist faith, was meaning to say this? I feel the book is saying that 'all who do not acknowledge the power of Nature and humanity will be destroyed' because there were many 'gods' in this book - Queequeg's and Tashtego's too. There is more pantheism here than monotheism, methinks.







There certainly is a multiple set of belief systems here, Melville's whale mythology included. That faith and conviction in higher purposes seems to be the common burden of everyone on board, and their shared mistake. So maybe it is an atheistic book.
Bob






Choisya

I understand how you get the pantheistic approach in MD. My take is similar. I don't think Ahab is raging against a god, necessarily, certainly not the christian god. He says at one point (wish I'd marked it, but I'll never forget) he's raging against that unreasoning mask of the universal reality that we all perceive, and what it does to us, as we are born, live and suffer and then die, and the thing that's behind all that business that doesn't care a whit is what he absolutely hates. Moby Dick represents that unreasoning mask to him, so he rages against the whale. His rage may be futile, but it's noble too, maybe Promethian.

ziki-- your Einstein Deistic quote -- "not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." But if Einstein's god doesn't concern himself, what are the implications for us? That's what Ahab rages against. Sort of like Milton's satan.

Message Edited by holyboy on 02-09-200709:29 PM

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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation

[ Edited ]
Thanks holyboy for that insightful post. I agree that Ahab's rage is Promethean and that he is 'raging against the dying of the night' because he knows his end is near:-

'Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'

(Dylan Thomas' poem to his father.)









holyboy wrote:

Choisya wrote:
I don't see it as an atheistic book Bob just because there is a 'faith and conviction in higher purposes'. Pantheism suits it better I feel:-

http://www.pantheist.net/




fanuzzir wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Ziki wrote:
All that is not serving God will be destroyed.'Twill eventually go down no matter how mant flags you nail to masts. The victory will never be yours if you don't submit, the great paradox.


Do you think that Melville, who lost his Calvinist faith, was meaning to say this? I feel the book is saying that 'all who do not acknowledge the power of Nature and humanity will be destroyed' because there were many 'gods' in this book - Queequeg's and Tashtego's too. There is more pantheism here than monotheism, methinks.







There certainly is a multiple set of belief systems here, Melville's whale mythology included. That faith and conviction in higher purposes seems to be the common burden of everyone on board, and their shared mistake. So maybe it is an atheistic book.
Bob






Choisya

I understand how you get the pantheistic approach in MD. My take is similar. I don't think Ahab is raging against a god, necessarily, certainly not the christian god. He says at one point (wish I'd marked it, but I'll never forget) he's raging against that unreasoning mask of the universal reality that we all perceive, and what it does to us, as we are born, live and suffer and then die, and the thing that's behind all that business that doesn't care a whit is what he absolutely hates. Moby Dick represents that unreasoning mask to him, so he rages against the whale. His rage may be futile, but it's noble too, maybe Promethian.

ziki-- your Einstein Deistic quote -- "not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." But if Einstein's god doesn't concern himself, what are the implications for us? That's what Ahab rages against. Sort of like Milton's satan.

Message Edited by holyboy on 02-09-200709:29 PM



Message Edited by Choisya on 02-10-200703:31 AM

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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation



holyboy wrote:ziki-- your Einstein Deistic quote -- "not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." But if Einstein's god doesn't concern himself, what are the implications for us? That's what Ahab rages against. Sort of like Milton's satan.

-------

This is something Einstein said so I can't answer for him, moreover I don't ascribe exactly to the same view. I tend to agree with your assesment that Ahab rages against the seemingly unfair reality. 'Why would Moby Dick get away with destroying me? I am going to destroy him, I am going to show him who is the master here!'. Bu the is not the master, God is. Fate is. (In that respect Ahab is also an example of man's omnipotent attitude toward nature and animals.)
And when Ahab starts playing god then he looses it....or IOW he is swallowed by god's whiteness, death, only there can he find peace. He is not granted peace by an action motivated by pure vengeance. Starbuck tries to tell him that he could have his peace by forgiveness but he is not able to tell it forcefully enough (like Mapple would) and he makes it sound very impotent, like an obligation to the owners. Ahab doesn't care about worldly goals like that, he wants to be the big one, the biggest one, the winner take sit all type of guy. As it is Moby is bigger than him.

Starbuck always yields to Ahab. He respects the hierarchy on the ship. Of course no man would support Starbuck on such terms and Ahab can't comply to his plea either. We can wonder why the 'nice caring man' Starbuck is so unsuccessful here.

ziki
(sorry for my late answer, holyboy, I am getting to some posts first now...)
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holyboy
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation

Is Ahab a rebel or a fanatic (or both)?
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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation

A fanatic he certainly is but what is he rebelling against do you think?




holyboy wrote:
Is Ahab a rebel or a fanatic (or both)?


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Laurel
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation



Choisya wrote:
A fanatic he certainly is but what is he rebelling against do you think?




holyboy wrote:
Is Ahab a rebel or a fanatic (or both)?







I keep going back to old Father Mapple's sermon: "If we obey God we must disobey ourselves." In obeying his crazed thirst for vengeance despite reason, religion, counsel, and conscience, Ahab was rebelling against God and society.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: Moby Dick: Final confrontation

Yes, that's true Laurel - I had forgotten old Mapple:smileyhappy:




Laurel wrote:


Choisya wrote:
A fanatic he certainly is but what is he rebelling against do you think?




holyboy wrote:
Is Ahab a rebel or a fanatic (or both)?







I keep going back to old Father Mapple's sermon: "If we obey God we must disobey ourselves." In obeying his crazed thirst for vengeance despite reason, religion, counsel, and conscience, Ahab was rebelling against God and society.


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