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Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0076

Herman Melville wrote:
(My Reader's Digest compacted version)
The Sperm Whale's head, in all its compacted collectedness, is a battering-ram. The front of his head presents an almost wholly vertical plane, a dead, blind wall, without a single organ or tender prominence of any sort whatsoever. This whole enormous boneless mass is as one wad. Its contents partly comprise the most delicate oil. About the head the blubber is of a boneless toughness. The sharpest lance darted by the strongest human arm impotently rebounds from it. Those mystical lung-celled honeycombs there may possibly have some hitherto unknown and unsuspected connexion with the outer air, so as to be susceptible to atmospheric distension and contraction. Fancy the irresistibleness of that might, to which the most impalpable and destructive of all elements contributes. Unerringly impelling this dead, impregnable, uninjurable wall, there swims behind it all a mass of tremendous life. Though the Sperm Whale stove a passage through the Isthmus of Darien, and mixed the Atlantic with the Pacific, you would not elevate one hair of your eye-brow. What befell the weakling youth lifting the dread goddess's veil at Lais?


Those who wonder about the identity and relevance of the dread goddess can click on the full stop of this sentence for some help. I'm still having trouble decrypting it.

Here is a clue

Image


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Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:30 pm
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram
Quote:
“For unless you own the whale, you are but a provincial and sentimentalist in Truth. But clear Truth is a thing for salamander giants only to encounter; how small the chances for the provincial then? What befel the weakling youth lifting the dread goddess’s veil at Lais?”


is it saying, in other words, unless you fully know and own (accept) your subconscious you are really just a tourist, but this is a task for a fireproof (fireborn) creature, at home equally on land (conscious) or at sea (subconscious), not a job for the immature unprepared noob (youth). remember what happened to the noob that lifted neith's veil at Sais and was scared witless.

was googling around and found this.

Quote:
The classical author Plutarch recorded that the temple of Neith at Sais bore the following inscription: “I am All That Has Been, That Is, and That Will Be. No mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers Me.”

... “When you gaze into My mirror you may first see the Gorgon's Head of your follies: but through this mask you will with the eye of discernment, see your own immortal beauty. And so you will also see the immortal beauty hidden in all beings.”


is the whale a symbol for the unconscious (and the godess a part of that) which the unprepared youth beholding recoils from in terror not yet knowing himself aright?

and Ahab want's to kill the thing not knowing it is himself?

alas i deserve no answer for i am too lazy to read :lol:



Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:38 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram
You would like Moby Dick youkrst. Reading books like this shows you how to write, and Melville has this amazing depth of ironic wisdom.

I agree with you that Moby Dick represents the unconscious. I'm not sure if there are Jungian readings of the whale as archetype, but my reading is primarily that Moby is the virgin untamed wildness of the American continent which the British settlers sought to tame and control. So I don't think Ahab identifies with the whale except at some very deep level in which he is a child of nature. It is rather that Ahab is alienated from nature and seeks to destroy it.

Regarding Sais, I agree it seems plausible that Lais is a typo for Sais, since Lais means prostitute, which does not really fit in context. I first read about Sais in Black Athena by Martin Bernal, where he says Neith, the Egyptian Goddess, is the source for Athena. Sorry for censoring the salamander, I just couldn't understand it in the context of Lais, although this is the sort of alchemical allegory I should jump at.

Sais: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sais,_Egypt
Salamander: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander ... y_creature)


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram
thanks Robert.

it was interesting how as i read your reply i continued to do what i usually do and kept trying to move the metaphor within. for example where you said...

Quote:
my reading is primarily that Moby is the virgin untamed wildness of the American continent which the British settlers sought to tame and control.


i thought, british settlers seeking to tame and control the untamed wildness of american continent is further metaphor for human tries to tame and control untamed wildness of their own subconscious. mistakenly trying to dominate rather than sublimate.

and where you said

Quote:
It is rather that Ahab is alienated from nature and seeks to destroy it.


i thought it is further metaphor connoting Ahab is alienated from his own subconscious (he doesnt know himself) and in this ignorance has chosen the unfortunate path of responding by trying to "blow it up" rather than come to terms with it, to get to know himself more completely. mistakenly trying to dominate rather than sublimate.

so i only seem to acknowledge outer readings as steps toward the ultimate reading which is always within, so if i read moby dick i would be thinking ok. we are ahab, and we are moby dick, and we are the boat they sail in etc etc everything a metaphor directly connoting an aspect of selves.

even if i look at just a rose plant i think oh wow that's like us it's been cut right back but new life is flourishing on it, and look it has lovely flowers but prickly thorns, just like us etc etc.

i suppose it's my religion :lol:



Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:05 am
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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 76 The Battering Ram
youkrst wrote:
thanks Robert.
You can just click the thank button. :)
Quote:

i only seem to acknowledge outer readings as steps toward the ultimate reading which is always within,

"Ultimate" is a big word. The question here is the relation between the personal and the political. You read the political as metaphor for the personal, where I read the personal as metaphor for the political. As a study in world history, Moby Dick is both personal and political. I see the political meaning of the clash between Western Civilization and the natural earth as primary, providing the context for personal perspectives on the relation between spirit and nature.


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Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:11 am
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