Moby Dick helps us understand digital culture because it deals with a vast array of themes that have only become more pertinent and important in the digital age. One such theme is that of fixation. In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to get wrapped up in just one interest as it is easier than ever to find massive amounts of content on that topic. This has caused problems in several ways, perhaps most prominently with videogame addiction, fandoms, and social media and other forms of digital communication that take a lot of time and energy to keep up with.
Moby Dick teaches us of the dangers of obsessive fixation, but also explores the psychology of it in realistic ways that could help us understand the mindset of those who become too fixated on the digital world and begin to neglect the real world. Also, it helps to show the merits of fixation as well that can easily go overlooked. For instance, Ahab was certainly crazed, but he also created a strong sense of community and brought different kinds of people together for a single cause. Obviously, Ahab’s methods and reasons were wrong, but that doesn’t mean that passionate interest can’t also lead to a strong sense of community among a diverse group of people. Moby Dick shows both sides of this coin, and both obsessive fixation and healthy passion have only become more important in the digital age as new technologies provide greater connectivity and greater access to content and people than ever before, raising both opportunity and danger.
Literature and art have always instructed humanity on how to live, and Moby Dick proves that they will continue to do so in important and powerful ways that expand people’s perspectives and open their minds to the broader world around them. In some ways, you might say that Moby Dick is more important in the digital age than ever before, and its study has only become more important. Moby Dick can and should be applied to aspects of digital culture whenever it is taught.