Day 16Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
April 4, 2022 by Yiyun Li
“Oh, man! Admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it.” Ishmael’s sermon: “hopeless” in his own words. Perhaps all truths contain an element of hopelessness.
“Oh, horrible vulturism of earth! from which not the mightiest whale is free.” The whale’s reality is ours. As Fan Quai, a Han Dynasty general known for his intrepidity, said, ~190BC: “Others, the cutting board and the meat cleaver; I, the butchered carcass.”
“Nor is the history of fanatics half so striking in respect to the measureless self-deception of the fanatic himself, as his measureless power of deceiving and bedeviling so many others.” A chilling line, with a chilling repetition: “measureless…measureless…”