Monday, October 18, 2010

Call Me Ishmael

I'm finally able to take a small break from work soon, which is great. Starting Wednesday I have 5 days off, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm just staying put. Well actually, I'm going whaling.

Figuratively, anyway. I'm going to spend my 5 days off reading Moby-Dick.

I'm suddenly obsessed with whales. Not only obsessed with their size, their beauty, their age, and their intelligence, but also with their horrific un-chosen marriage with the human race.

I'm almost done reading an amazing book by Philip Hoare, called Leviathan: or, The Whale. This book traces our relationship with the whale from the dawn of time until now. It's a heart-wrenching account, a saddening, depressing and enraging read. Hoare's book also examines Melville's Moby-Dick, which is the main reason why I started reading Leviathan to begin with.

I'm about 100 pages into Moby-Dick right now, and the remaining chunk of the book will be my focus during my time off from work. I feel like Moby-Dick is becoming my second Bible, right next to Les Misérables.

Cetaceans are immensely intelligent; the world's largest brain belongs to the sperm whale. Elder whales teach younger whales how to survive, whale groups have culture, they seem to have feeling and emotion, and most impressively, memory. (if an old whale teaches his young whale where the best feeding waters are, is he also teaching his youth how the evil man has hunted him and slaughtered him for hundreds of years? -Probably.) We've just begun to scrape the surface of understanding what really goes on in those massive heads, and we have a long way to go, yet may never get the chance we want because many species of cetaceans stand a good chance of becoming extinct sooner than we can imagine.

I want to get involved with cetacean activism somehow, but I have no idea where to get started. I guess that's my next big task..