Today marks the 167th anniversary of the publication of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. I read the book a few years back and have to admit it was challenging….to say the least. This is something that needs a PhD to interpret, methinks.
But one particular passage stayed with me:
Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea….
Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return.
Is Herman Melville petitioning us to listen to our inner voice, to hear what it wants us to do in our lives, and to let it lead us?
For me, yes – the further I’ve gone from my art, the more turmoil I’ve had to bear in my life. Similarly, that churning pulls me away from the artistic journey that is at my true core. I think Melville is shamefully pessimistic though, in saying that we can’t ever go back.
What is your inner Tahiti telling you?
PS – Moby Dick washed over me a bit. But Melville is definitely a deep thinker – worth going back to one day. Let me know what insights he gave you!