Moby DickYou can only see a rainbow when the air is misty.  You can only feel the warmth when part of you–head or toes–are chill.  You will only truly know love when it is lost.  Our culture has been about indulgence, consumption, and comfort.  Excess is the goal of this culture, and greed its modus operandi.  Images flashed endlessly on TV support its illusion, promising more toys, more security, and success (which is defined as bling, ego gratification, and separation from the natural world.)  So we roar around that “idiot driver” who is keeping us from “our” future, where we imagine we have finally succeeded, somehow.  We view other people as the competition, the enemy.  And when we begin to realize that we’ve been duped, we tighten our resolve, and reinforce the values we’ve been given by watching game show contestants (some in tears) vie for their own escape from the inevitable.  But what’s the alternative to raging like Ahab after a grand delusion?  What’s the real key to feeling real and alive again?  That’s simple: realize that death is a part of all stories, including your own.  Steve Jobs did.  Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea, has a new short book (which he reads on audio) titled WHY READ MOBY DICK?  Cited by many as the greatest novel ever written, Melville’s classic is a daunting literary masterpiece that follows no formula, as do the bestselling slasher McNovels of today.  It’s a quintessential American tale told on a large canvas, and in no hurry to be resolved.  Why read it?  Because after you do you will realize that accepting death while still alive is the key to appreciating life in all its unordered, unanticipated quirkiness and beauty.  You might even forego turning up the thermostat on a cold night–a small choice toward feeling a part of nature, and also realizing that you don’t need everything they say you need.  (My mother was happy without any bling or “security” because she didn’t want those things.  Now that she’s gone, the truth of this is real to me, and I don’t want those things either.)  In all the arts, it is the artist that knows the cold who appreciates the rainbow.  As a poignant example of this, watch the video below.  Yulianna Avdeeva is a pianist who won the 2010 Chopin Competition over another performer who was a consummate showman with superb technical skills.  Why did she win?  Watch her face during this performance and you will see why.  She knows the cold, and so the warmth.  She knows the pain, and so the beauty.  She has seen the White Whale, and lives to tell the tale. (And here is someone who never has.)

beach readsFAME ISLAND


2 thoughts on “WHITE WHALE SIGHTED

  1. Where will we be in a hundred years from now?
    A very interesting post and an unexpected and lyrical Chopin performance.
    Call me Ishmael (everybody else does).

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s