Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Daily Moby

I have to wonder if Melville was a vegetarian. And while I don't have the committment to act on it, I can't really disagree with his argument: "But no doubt the first man that ever murdered an ox was regarded as a murderer; perhaps he was hung; and if he had been put on his trial by oxen, he certainly would have been; and he certainly deserved it if any murderer does. Go to the mean-market of a Saturday night and see the crowds of live bipeds staring up at the long rows of dead quadrupeds. Does not that sight take a tooth out of the cannibal's jaw? Cannibals? who is not a cannibal? I tell you it well be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgment, than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feastest on their bloated livers in they pate-de-foie-gras." (from Chapter 65, The Whale as a Dish)

I guess, though, that I've never truly attained profound thought: "And I am convinced that from the heads of all ponderous profound beings, such as Plato, Pyrrho, the Devil, Jupiter, Dante, and so on, there always goes up a certain semi-visible steam, while in the act of thinking deep thoughts. While composing a little treatise on Eternity, I had the curiousity to place a mirror before me; and ere long saw reflected there, a curious involved worming and undulation in the atmosphere over my head." (from Chapter 85, The Fountain)

A nice quote: "Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye." (from Chapter 85, The Fountain)

A curious quote: "In man or fish, wriggling is a sign of inferiority." (from Chapter 86, The Tail)

The key to an enjoyable life: "But in gazing at such scenes, it is all in all what mood you are in; if in the Dantean, the devils will occur to you; if in that of Isaiah, the archangels." (from Chapter 86, The Tail)

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