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Choisya
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Re: right or wrong

I agree Ziki - these are men 'living life to the whole human potential', being thrown together at sea for years on end on tremendously dangerous voyages. If they were as circumspect as Matthieu suggests they would never step on board a ship, yet alone one full of strangers. Ishmael had been to sea for long stretches before (just as Melville had) and would have been used to living with strangers. Queequeg would have been just one of many strange personages he would have encountered both onshore and off. I can't remember whether it comes out in MD that Ishmael had lived among cannibals but Melville himself was captured and lived amongst them amicably, as described in his book 'Typee'. We may lead very circumspect lives and be taught to mistrust strangers but there are those who frequently put themselves at the mercy of strangers and the elements - explorers, mountaineers etc., who are very dependent on their guides. I recently read a book called 'Spinsters Abroad' which told of the extraordinary adventures of several Victorian women who set out on such journeys just because they wanted to 'buck the system' and get away from the restrictions of their everyday lives. Columbus would never have 'discovered' America if he had been circumspect about the voyage he was undertaking with men he didn't know!

Perhaps Melville is not only telling us to trust the 'other' more here but to step outside of our own boundaries and live a fuller life?




ziki wrote:

matthieu_78741 wrote: I'm simply saying one has to be able to discern between right and wrong, safe relationships and potentially dangerous ones, and take precautions to ensure life.

I don't think Melville expects us to believe head selling, doll worshiping, or cannibalism are acceptable behaviors. It seems more like he's created an exaggerated cultural barrier to force the reader to reconcile it with Qeequeg's loyalty and compassion. He's saying there is a good man, a loyal friend, beyond what his culture has taught him - right or wrong as it might be.




But who is to decide what is right or wrong? That is also a question posed to us by this text.

Moreover, what is potentialy dangerous? Life lived to the whole human potential or life unlived behind the precautions implied by preconceived (= usually false) ideas?

I do not think the situation is all that exaggerated. Would you call anybody on this Earth nowadays a savage? Yet that was a normal term at that time (I suppose). And who said Queequeg was a canibal? But he was certainly called that although he was a prince. That just about frames the Christians as bullies.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200704:50 AM




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Choisya
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Re: the power of the sea to attract us

I like this post Ziki:smileyhappy: The sea is like a mountain - we want to experience it because it is there. I believe there are theories that man evolved from a fish and that may explain our affinity with water. Certainly it is the one thing we cannot live without and all early societies were based around the water sources which sustained them. I am a Pisces and that may explain why I am drawn to water and love swimming. I have been known to strip down to my bra and knickers just to get into the sea when I didn't have a costume to hand:smileyvery-happy:




ziki wrote:


georgie wrote:what is this power of the ocean to attract and how does it affect you?




Considering we are creatures that contain so much water perhaps we are subconsciously drawn to water. A horizon implies a limit. A human being wants to cross limits. Sea seems to be endless and also powerful, man likes challenges. A horizon attracts dreams. Man wants to dream, he needs this /her dreams. Sea is both freedom in our imagination and a limit in our reality.

I didn't grow up by the sea but'craved that' and my first swim in the sea was a huge happening in my 'child life'.

ziki :-)


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Choisya
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Re: comic social tableaux

And MD would have been a trilogy, with each volume hyped up and eagerly awaited:smileyhappy:




ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:
These chapters, 1-27, are some of the most comic and richly observed social tableaus in the entire novel. If he had just kept his novel to these opening scenes on land, he still would have had a masterpiece.>




Right. I suspect that if Melville lived today the publisher would edit him hard and he would have a best seller in hand to tour with. He'd shake hands with both Oprah and Larry King, having a tail of paparazzis behind his behind. ;-)

ziki
hehe


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Choisya
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Re: Inns

Great analysis Katelyn - 'dark' as a indication of dark events to come.




Katelyn wrote:
I found the inn interesting too. I also found it interesting the way that Melville uses references to darkness, cold, and solitude. As our narrator is looking for a place to stay for the night, he goes past well-lighted establishments in part because such places are costly, but it also indicates that he is going to take the less traveled path because it is his nature to be individualistic and collect experiences (even at the expense of comfort) as evidenced by his desire to sign up for the whaling expedition in the first place.

As he moves away from the more well-traveled streets, he enters a blackness that is only punctuated by a few solitary lights, that are remote signs of civilization (rather than indications of immediate participation in it), as he is traveling into his own solitude. His sense of solitude is shared by his fellow lodgers at the inn; at first there is very little conversation at the dining table as these men also have their own solitude.

The church he later visits is dark & the men and women who sit in the pews sit far apart from each other also indicating their sense of solitude as they look up at the silent tablets on the wall that that are tributes to other voyagers who perished at sea. The church is dark and cold. We see a wild assortment of people that populate the town's streets; the ice on their fur hats indicate this is a cold & not entirely hospitable place and those who've made this town their home and not only survived here but flourished (as evidence by the large house and elaborate gardens) invite our curiosity.Collectively, I find these references to dark, cold and solitude very powerful and moving. What type of person ventures into the dark, cold, & solitude; what is it that they hope to find, what will they ultimately gain, and what price will they have to pay for it?

Kate

Message Edited by Katelyn on 12-30-200608:44 PM




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Re: right or wrong



Choisya wrote:
Perhaps Melville is not only telling us to trust the 'other' more here but to step outside of our own boundaries and live a fuller life?





Yes (which of course is easy to say but harder to do) and see others as equals not as enemies just because they look different or have different habits or a different religion. To me that is not utopia. The point with 'religion' is to find peace and it doesn't matter how you get there. Ishmael got to the 'peace level' very quickly. Melville makes clear what it means/what it takes to step out of the smallness of the 'bourgeois' (or any other) frame.
He writes something to the point that he didn't care that he and Queequeg were different that they mad esuch a strange pair, that people looked etc (on their way to the harbor).

they were married, not as gays guys but in the soul. And so are we all, in our humanity but generally we do not understand it.

Today we travel easily all over the globe (immense change since Melville's times) but the attitudes of enmity and fear are not fully uprooted. The war is on.

ziki
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spinsters abroad



Choisya wrote:
I recently read a book called 'Spinsters Abroad' which told of the extraordinary adventures of several Victorian women who set out on such journeys just because they wanted to 'buck the system' and get away from the restrictions of their everyday lives.




That sounds interesting. I'll look for it.

ziki
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Re: right or wrong

[ Edited ]

book-nut wrote:I understand what he's getting at here.

Why shouldn't a person be cautious out of self-protection? The situation, as described in the book, could easily have gone the other way. Personally, I'd rather be a careful person than to be a naively stupid one. If I'd been Ishmael in the bedroom scenario, I would have been uncomfortable as well. Unfortunately, I know that I just can't trust strangers all the time, no matter how great it may sound. The world isn't made that way. In a perfect civilization (Utopia, if you will) ~ there would be no need for caution... but this is still the real world. What I do agree with is that Queequeg's race should NOT have had any bearing on the matter... Ishmael should have been equally careful if his roomate was an "American White Christian" than a "cannibal."

Unfortunately, cultural divisions do exist... that was (is) one of Melville's main points in MD. But the fact that Ishmael and Queequeg move past these "first impressions" to become fast friends is the whole point of the story.




Hi Cheryl, I understand also what is in the pot but the point is not that you shoud be careless. The point discussed is where fear gets you and where love gets you. You can't walk in both dimensions simultaneously. You gotta make a choice between trust and distrust. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't discern. Those are two different things that you mix together here.


you say:
Unfortunately, cultural divisions do exist..." that is not the main point in MB in my view. Ishmael got over such differences pretty swiftly, but usually we don't, we (like you here) hold onto the divisions!


Yes uncomfortable in the bedroom...but that is not the point. The dilema is brilliantly exemplified in the book and the point is that Ishmael was able to move beyond the level of his personal discomfort (implied only by the habits of his limited mind) and embrace another mental attitude that actually brought him a friend! His life was enriched in that moment, he grew as an individual. If you serve your fear you pay homage to your smallness and you do not move in the direction of your full human potential.

You say this world is real. I dare say you do not know what real is. We don't, we just 'think' we do. Love between humans is real, not suspicion (=fear),fight and murder.
Yes they happen but we would then need to define reality. You can't define reality by what you see. Even science today arrived at the point where they know that the scientist influences the experiment. In the same manner you influence your life by the attitudes you hold onto.

Your choice is always between those two standpoints of love/fear as long as you exist in a dual world. If you are lucky you move mentally beyond that duality altogether, permanently. Usually we call that enlightenment. But that is rare.

Choose friedship and you'll be rewarded. What then is the message of Christianity? You can't have a theory and keep it in a compartment and say ha, that is utopia world is rotten. It is a question of your belief, here and now, in each situation, not on Sunday in the church.

The world may appear rotten (to me many times it does) but the question doesn't lie there. The power is with you, with your soul; how do you act in that world that 'appears' to you as rotten? Your own mind creates the frame. Ask yourself: Can I see this differently? Investigate. Change your mind, change your world. It's easy if we want to. It was easy for Ishmael, it doesn't need to be more difficult for you or anybody else.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200703:05 PM

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people who kill whales (to chad)

Hi Chad,
Now I am curious: what is demeanor of people who kill whales?

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: right or wrong

Ziki wrote:
'..they were married, not as gay guys but in the soul. And so are we all, in our humanity [My italics.C.] but generally we do not understand it.

Today we travel easily all over the globe (immense change since Melville's times) but the attitudes of enmity and fear are not fully uprooted. The war is on.'

Beautiful post Ziki - thankyou. If you look at the world since Melville's time with regard to understanding the 'other', I think the 'war' is abating. My grandparents would scarcely have known any foreign people (except gypsies) and did not travel to foreign places but now as a grandparent myself I know people from all over the world and have travelled quite a lot too. It was knowing Queequeg and other countries/customs which made Ishmael able to accept him and so it is with us. Peace & Love, Peace & Love:smileyhappy:




ziki wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Perhaps Melville is not only telling us to trust the 'other' more here but to step outside of our own boundaries and live a fuller life?





Yes (which of course is easy to say but harder to do) and see others as equals not as enemies just because they look different or have different habits or a different religion. To me that is not utopia. The point with 'religion' is to find peace and it doesn't matter how you get there. Ishmael got to the 'peace level' very quickly. Melville makes clear what it means/what it takes to step out of the smallness of the 'bourgeois' (or any other) frame.
He writes something to the point that he didn't care that he and Queequeg were different that they mad esuch a strange pair, that people looked etc (on their way to the harbor).

they were married, not as gays guys but in the soul. And so are we all, in our humanity but generally we do not understand it.

Today we travel easily all over the globe (immense change since Melville's times) but the attitudes of enmity and fear are not fully uprooted. The war is on.

ziki



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book-nut
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Re: right or wrong



ziki wrote:

book-nut wrote:I understand what he's getting at here.

Why shouldn't a person be cautious out of self-protection? The situation, as described in the book, could easily have gone the other way. Personally, I'd rather be a careful person than to be a naively stupid one. If I'd been Ishmael in the bedroom scenario, I would have been uncomfortable as well. Unfortunately, I know that I just can't trust strangers all the time, no matter how great it may sound. The world isn't made that way. In a perfect civilization (Utopia, if you will) ~ there would be no need for caution... but this is still the real world. What I do agree with is that Queequeg's race should NOT have had any bearing on the matter... Ishmael should have been equally careful if his roomate was an "American White Christian" than a "cannibal."

Unfortunately, cultural divisions do exist... that was (is) one of Melville's main points in MD. But the fact that Ishmael and Queequeg move past these "first impressions" to become fast friends is the whole point of the story.




Hi Cheryl, I understand also what is in the pot but the point is not that you shoud be careless. The point discussed is where fear gets you and where love gets you. You can't walk in both dimensions simultaneously. You gotta make a choice between trust and distrust. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't discern. Those are two different things that you mix together here.


you say:
Unfortunately, cultural divisions do exist..." that is not the main point in MB in my view. Ishmael got over such differences pretty swiftly, but usually we don't, we (like you here) hold onto the divisions!


Yes uncomfortable in the bedroom...but that is not the point. The dilema is brilliantly exemplified in the book and the point is that Ishmael was able to move beyond the level of his personal discomfort (implied only by the habits of his limited mind) and embrace another mental attitude that actually brought him a friend! His life was enriched in that moment, he grew as an individual. If you serve your fear you pay homage to your smallness and you do not move in the direction of your full human potential.

You say this world is real. I dare say you do not know what real is. We don't, we just 'think' we do. Love between humans is real, not suspicion (=fear),fight and murder.
Yes they happen but we would then need to define reality. You can't define reality by what you see. Even science today arrived at the point where they know that the scientist influences the experiment. In the same manner you influence your life by the attitudes you hold onto.

Your choice is always between those two standpoints of love/fear as long as you exist in a dual world. If you are lucky you move mentally beyond that duality altogether, permanently. Usually we call that enlightenment. But that is rare.

Choose friedship and you'll be rewarded. What then is the message of Christianity? You can't have a theory and keep it in a compartment and say ha, that is utopia world is rotten. It is a question of your belief, here and now, in each situation, not on Sunday in the church.

The world may appear rotten (to me many times it does) but the question doesn't lie there. The power is with you, with your soul; how do you act in that world that 'appears' to you as rotten? Your own mind creates the frame. Ask yourself: Can I see this differently? Investigate. Change your mind, change your world. It's easy if we want to. It was easy for Ishmael, it doesn't need to be more difficult for you or anybody else.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200703:05 PM






I understand what it is you're saying, Ziki. I am one of the least discrimatory people I know. I certainly don't hold onto "division"; I am know by all my friends as "the diplomat" ~ I can get along with anybody. Especially those people it seems no one else can get along with ~ I really seem to specialize in people others consider to be "difficult". Alas, you're putting words in my mouth ~ I don't see the world as "rotten." Of course, there are certain things in the world that would be considered rotten. Don't pre-judge me, either. I stick by my view that one should be careful when meeting a stranger to begin with ~ not out of discrimination, but out of mere self-preservation. I guess that's so wonderful about living in the free world ~ like Queequeg and Ishmael in the story, there is room for both your views and mine! That's the beauty of it... and BTW Happy New Year!
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georgie
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what it takes to be great

chapter 16 for all men tragically great are made so through a certain
morbidness. be sure of this, o young ambition, all mortal geatness is but
disease.

are any of us rich or famous? if so do you feel that this quality of
morbidness was necessary to be that way? do you feel diseased? or is
this perhaps sour grapes on melvilles part?
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georgie
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balancing evangelism and freedom

chapter 17 i have no objection to any persons religion, be what it may, so
long as that persons religion does not kill or insult any other person,
because that other person does not believe it also. but when a mans religion
becomes really fanatic, when it is a positive torment to him, and in fine
makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in, then i think it
high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.

most religions have an evangelsitic component to propogate them. how do
you feel that we should balance a persons religious duty to spread their
beliefs with socities general desire to be free?
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no right or wrong

Hi Cheryl,
I do not judge you. Far from. This is not personal, we just discuss some issues that the book brings up and we all have a different approach to it and that is what makes this place rather fun. It doesn't matter who says what because an alive discussion can ensue. More so because the book was written so long ago and it is interesting to relate its content to the world we live in today (which in many ways is very different from the world of Melville and in many other ways it is not).

I tend to see in a book just that what I'already think that I know and therefore all others' input is very valuable because it makes me ponder many things in a new way and learn from it. I like that. In this case of Melville's writing I can see how limiting our human mind can be.

Thanks for your contributions and Happy New Year to you and to all others here, too!
ziki
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? chapter 23- Bulkington

...."this six inch chapter is the stoneless grave of Bulkington"....


I need some help with this chapter. I do not understand what is meant by this. How did you interpret this chapter?

ziki
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Choisya
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Re: balancing evangelism and freedom

I think one's desire to be free of prosetlysing should be paramount and that one should not have to listen to evangelising unless one decides to go to a religious meeting to do so. When occasionally Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door, I am afraid I give them very short shrift and ask them to take their evangelism to the Kingdom Hall and away from my doorstep. If, in ordinary conversation (as here) religion crops up then as long as no 'preaching' is done, or a high moral tone taken, exchanges of view can take place amicably. But then I am a wicked atheist:smileyhappy:





georgie wrote:
chapter 17 i have no objection to any persons religion, be what it may, so
long as that persons religion does not kill or insult any other person,
because that other person does not believe it also. but when a mans religion
becomes really fanatic, when it is a positive torment to him, and in fine
makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in, then i think it
high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.

most religions have an evangelsitic component to propogate them. how do
you feel that we should balance a persons religious duty to spread their
beliefs with socities general desire to be free?


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Re: right or wrong

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:
Ziki wrote: If you look at the world since Melville's time with regard to understanding the 'other', I think the 'war' is abating. My grandparents would scarcely have known any foreign people (except gypsies) and did not travel to foreign places but now as a grandparent myself I know people from all over the world and have travelled quite a lot too.




Yes, that is probably the true meaning of the 'global village' term. And the computers are helping some, too ;-)

Some issues that Melville points at are only more hidden today. I.e. no one will perhaps call another a **bleep** [ the system censored that word n-gg-r] but the traces of such neglecting attitude might be there. I have a friend and she's very accepting and liberal but when a situation arises and she's a bit pressed she can pass really judgmental statements and mean it, too! At the same time she sends money to a poor child in Africa to promote his education. See what I mean? The 'niceness'/solidarity is at times just a thin layer, it doesn't yet have any deep roots in the psyche.

This is just an example but we face these issues in many countries today when people from the poor parts of the globe move into the countries with more technological progress and more reliable infrastucture. They become second class citizens. We all know that but we pretend that it is not so. Nevertheless, it is the same attitude as existed with slaves. Someone does the job that you do not want to do and as long as you're rich you keep it aside in your mind. Talk and action is not always the same in such case.

What would Queequeg do today? Clean the tube? At least in this book he was appreciated for his skills. We have a cleaner in the building who is both electrician, engineer and a programmer. And people hardly say hi to him, he's just a cleaner. he sppeeky not goody jet.

But they no speeky his lingo either, moreover, do not bother to learn it. Who is to learn Greek today?

See what I mean?

:-)
ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 01-01-200708:39 PM

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Re: Chapters 1 and 22: Working Class

And it goes even beyond the frame of Christianity back to being human. But the pointer is: what helps Ishmael to maintain such attitude?

ziki
-------
quote pmath posted:
What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way--either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
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Christmas and B&P

The ship is like a newborn child thrown onto an 'unknown' sea (life), an unknown journey and B&P like parents hope the 'ship-child' will make it but they can never be sure. They invested into it and they provided what they could but there's a limit to what they can do. The let go is difficult also because they have their own sailing adventures stored in their bones and if it wasn't for their age they would probably ship again.

ziki
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belittle



ELee wrote: I believe he is actually poking fun at the high-nosed society/culture that sees Queequeg as a heathen who is "in the wrong": that superior, all-knowing bent that some cultures have when they are belittling something/someone they don't understand and won't take the time to know.




Yes. In contrast also to Peleg who calls him Hedgehog and Quohog etc. but who actually quickly recognized his abilities and usefullness for the attempted mission and thus accepted him even if he had no papers.
:-)
ziki
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book-nut
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Re: no right or wrong



ziki wrote:
Hi Cheryl,
I do not judge you. Far from. This is not personal, we just discuss some issues that the book brings up and we all have a different approach to it and that is what makes this place rather fun. It doesn't matter who says what because an alive discussion can ensue. More so because the book was written so long ago and it is interesting to relate its content to the world we live in today (which in many ways is very different from the world of Melville and in many other ways it is not).

I tend to see in a book just that what I'already think that I know and therefore all others' input is very valuable because it makes me ponder many things in a new way and learn from it. I like that. In this case of Melville's writing I can see how limiting our human mind can be.

Thanks for your contributions and Happy New Year to you and to all others here, too!
ziki




Of course, Ziki! That's the fun of these clubs. So let's just try to see the other's point of view. Wouldn't Melville would be happy>? I guess that's what it's all about anyway.

I like the way you said the world is very different than in Melville's time, yet very much the same. People are people no matter what time period. ONly the externals change.
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