Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thoughts about How Moby Dick Fits into Digital Culture

I think the introduction in Moby Dick had some very important points regarding the link to today’s digital culture. Here are a few quotes from the intro that I would like to expound upon a little bit.

“‘[Moby Dick] is the world of mind; wherein the wanderer may gaze around…’ In Moby Dick Melville gazes and roves—and hunts and plays—in that world even to its furthest reaches” (vii). In the novel, Melville has laid out a world that very few people have known. However, by means of this novel, and the digital culture of today, people are able to experience a world other than their own. Someone who searches the internet is able to go virtually anywhere and virtually do anything.

“Melville wants the whole world in—particularly the human world; hence the slightly improbable spectrum of the crew of the Pequod” (ix).  This quote, like the previous one, is speculating the wideness of the world, but it is also commenting on the variety of its cultures and people. In the introduction, it continues by listing the races of the crew.  Melville brought the crew together with a common element, the Pequod. Online networks do similar things; they give people from all over the world a shared interest or problem, thereby creating a community online.

“Melville himself certainly believed that all men are united by the bond of reciprocal dependence, by a community of function and responsibility” (xv). By creating or joining a community, a person takes on a responsibility to be regularly involved with the work that takes place. In Moby Dick the crew has an obligation to the ship as well as other members of the crew, and therefore they work toward a common goal; there is a strong sense of comradery or loyalty to the crew. It works with online communities as well. For example, when you are a member of a forum you are expected to give any advice or opinions with knowledge you have, and in return, others will help you with the knowledge that they have. For the most part, it is a symbiotic relationship.