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chad
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I can't keep commenting on Moby, we have to move on but...

[ Edited ]
on page 150 in B&N edition at the end of "knights and Squires": "But this august dignity I treat of...our divine equality." The sun is god is democracy is equality. We threw out the monarchs of Europe, only to find American enterprise creating several more.

Chad

PS-I think Melville finds some of our whales to be noble. Nature is noble.

Message Edited by chad on 08-03-2007 09:29 PM
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democracy: back by popular demand

[ Edited ]
Hmmmm...those 1800's were something. Melville probably believed that we were not a democracy, but a large whale of some kind that formed a union with the whales in the ocean. Democratic principles of equality were used by the north mainly to swallow the larger whale in the south, and the principles of democracy were something that business used to maintain order in its own hierachical structure or to use modern terminology, "corporate structure." Indeed, human resource departments ensure equal opportunity and I believe there is a "work your way to the top" work ethic-- everyone starts on the bottom on equal footing.

So, democratic principles have appeal to the masses, but such principles would not be practical to a necessary hierarchy of business. Principles of the democratic government attract or swallow people. Subsequently, the people swallowed are put to work... this is a controversial book, but do you think things have changed? I'm not sure... maybe they did not change, but we are a whale!!!!! How are the northern whales doing? They would be an important part of our history....

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-06-2007 07:24 PM
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Democratic principles

[ Edited ]
I would say that they would be the "basic truths" in our very own Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

"Among" implies that there could be more. How about freedom, tolerance, individualism and equality? And the list may go on. I think we might come up with a few democratic principles that the world would agree upon, but I'm not sure an attempt has been made to confer agreement on such principles. Interesting to note: the economic union in Europe is based on democratic principles.


Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-07-2007 08:11 PM
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I see red

"I see red."- I don't know about this one.

The long watches of the sailors of whaling ships probably gave them red eyes- lack of sleep, eye strain and, oh yes, that "anger" emotion. So, sailors could not see things for what they were, could not see the truth with their own eyes-- they were taught to focus. Moby Dick is what the sailors are: a sailor with red eyes, or one big mutinous crew with anger beneath the surface of their skin which we can see in their eyes. Communism? Well, if you like.

Democracy could be a large whale, but the best example might be the US as a whale with the democratic governemnt as its central brain.

Chad

We do have drugs which help kids to focus in school.
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Economics

Mind you, not all the books I read are about Economics. Much of the literature from the 1800's is about commerce and busines and the times saw the beginnings of fields such as economics and science. To Melville, economics might not be much more than the center which forms another whale, or maybe a harpoon that snags. Business is represented in Moby by the whaling industry, which used religion, politics and philosophy to turn profits. Economic reports/analyses can confirm business objectives. In other words economic theories, tenets, theorems, etc etc. are use also used by business. However, economics is not mentioned by Melville and, more specifically, Shelley's Frankenstein might be more appropriate-- it alludes to Adam Smith's philosphy and "Invisible Hand Theory."

Chad
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Re: Etymology

[ Edited ]
"While you take in hand to school others, and to teach them by what a name a whale-fish is to be called in our tongue, leaving out, through ignorance, the letter H, which almost alone maketh up the signification of the word, you deliver that which is not true." p. 9

The letter H is silent in some words and audible in others. In this sense, the letter "H" is symbolic of languages which form invisible layers of skin, but occassionally becoming visible to the naked eye in different forms: hieroglyphics, scrimshaw and tattoos, to name a few examples.

Chad

PS- Language assumes the characteristics of its letters, or components, if you will.

Message Edited by chad on 08-14-2007 10:57 PM
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Classification

[ Edited ]
It is about classification- but I had to add the word "fish" to the word "whale" to make sure we weren't talking about a "wail." So we mis-classified the animal because of a silent letter "H." Anyway, the shortcomings of our language, I think. Very good!

I lifeguard and I like the comparison of our language to the surface of the ocean. Sometimes we can see the interaction between the air and water (foamy brine!), and sometimes we cannot. I still give it two thumbs up- I'm waiting for some new fall selections.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-15-2007 11:27 AM
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Re: Classification and ghosts- groovie goulies!

[ Edited ]
Language is sometimes seen and not heard and vice versa and has maybe a "ghostlike" or phantom quality about it, all embodied in the letter H. G, "H", O, S, T, for example.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-15-2007 11:37 AM
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Sense of duty? Chad?

[ Edited ]
The best book on something we describe as "duty", is so far, "The Last of the Mohicans." After the French-Indian wars, many of the Native American tribes became extinct. As tribal numbers dwindled, the duty to the tribe became the duty to oneself. You are Uncas, the last Mohican. Your duty to yourself is your duty to your tribe. You might think that the word duty becomes somewhat meaningless in this scenario....We talk of duty in this century? Hmmmmm... there's hope for us yet.


Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-18-2007 10:14 AM
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Duty

[ Edited ]
More clearly: I'm wondering what my duties would be to my fellow Americans if I were the last American. My guess is that I could not defend her borders alone and I might find out what "American" means, if anything, without being on the land defined as "America." This kind of thing was happening to some of the Indian tribes in our country. Duty became a little obscure in the North American wilderness. By the way, everyone at B&N can ignore this stuff. I'm waiting for another book club- people are being strange around my way, but its a great place just to reflect...

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-18-2007 09:04 PM
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Convolutions

[ Edited ]
There is a "through the looking glass" theme in the 1800's. But in Moby Dick, as mentioned, the metaphysical and the physical meld in the interface. Our reflections are not our reflections, they are actually us.

Chad

Refer to Last of the Mohicans for a better example of this "through the looking glass theme" with our religion- this was a little controversial.

Message Edited by chad on 08-22-2007 10:35 AM
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Re: Convolutions

The water is more than a reflection. The surface becomes part of the sailor's minds and vice versa: hullucinations, daydreaming, etc.

Chad
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Moby Dick

[ Edited ]
I didn't feel like discussing the name. Its dirty. There is some phallic symbolism in Moby. The skin of the whale's penis was sometimes worn by the whalers. So, men literally became a large dick. Collectively, humans formed a union with the whale population and life here on earth became a larger organism which would hopefully impregnate the stars for its own survival - we would later build a rocket ship. The way biology usually works is that a portion of ourselves survives in our offspring and then we die. So, my guess is, only a segment of our population would shoot from the earth to survive on other planets in the solar system and beyond. Or..... we could all go to the moon, and, hopefully, we would not fall back down to the earth as the whale does, when it occasionally rises perpendicularly through the air.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-25-2007 10:25 AM
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Re: Moby Dick: death to death itself

Language formed "Moby Dick." Indeed, his name is written in language, the English language which civilizations use for their survival. So, and this is the way I see it, Ahab had to fight Moby Dick to survive- he had to beat the reputation of the whale magnified by our own language, and thereby achieve immortality. So, he had to fight language, which includes the word, "death." and its a collision of life and death as we know it in our own language, out on the high seas, or the interface of the sea and the sky. Killing Moby Dick would mean killing our language and the word, "death", but that would also mean destroying civilization as we know it and our chances for survival. Language is kind of a give and take.

Chad

Pip was present, but not Pippy Longstockings.
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Language

[ Edited ]
Yes, you can think of Moby as symbolic of language. He is an amalgamation of tales told around the world in different languages, and, like language, Moby is sometimes seen and not heard, or heard and not seen, or both. But I don't think that to say Moby is language personified(animated?) in the form of a whale captures all of what Moby is and it doesn't exlude the possibility that Moby was a real whale. There were tales of whales like him.

The earlier authors have a particular style which I don't see as particularly unintelligent or antiquated, and, as a magician never reveals his trick, an author is never supposed to tell you "what its about." But we seem to be going through some rough times over here, and you can always disagree....

I must go looking for the white whale...

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-26-2007 07:33 AM
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Its an outrage!

 
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Its an outrage!

I don't think Moby is an outrage, but I'm not sure about the billion dollar Starbuck's coffee company. I might go with naming it "Ahab's", but both characters seem to have their flaws I guess.

Chad
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The EEC- more Moby, you didn't want to go there

[ Edited ]
Generally, unions are made for economic reasons and attract members through other various philosophies. So, in the case of the US, democratic principles and philosophies attracted the migrant workers to its industries. The EEC is an interesting case. Originally it did not hide behind any philosphy-- its as if economics was something of a philosophy itself, something that would create a better life for everyone. As you know, this is not always the case in economics, depending on which side of the fence you fall. The EEC would later change its name to the EU and find a core philosophy to support an education of its members.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-27-2007 09:25 AM
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The grand Armada

[ Edited ]
"Corresponding to the crescent in our van, we beheld another in our rear. It seemed formed of detached white vapors, rising and falling something like the spouts of the whales; only they did not so completely come and go; for they constantly hovered, without finally disappearing. Levelling his glass at this sight, Ahab quickly revolved in his pivot-hole, crying, "Aloft there, and rig whips and buckets to wet the sails; - Malays, sir, and after us!"

This is the union of whales and men that I keep mentioning, there might be other examples. Later, a boat from the Pequod and some female whales would unite and find a peace with one another in the center of the circle. Its like two cells fusing, but on a large scale. The atom and the cell are also mentioned in Moby. Generally, land and sea, whale and man, or earth combines its forces and points its bayonets, or the whales spouts, back towards the sun. The spouts would later combine to form a rocket which would escape the sun's forces.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 08-27-2007 08:37 PM
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Re: The grand Armada- they were just hunting in that one?

But I think Ahab was hunting the white whale, Moby Dick. I can't believe Ahab coerced the entire crew to hunt Moby.

Chad
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