Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. [ . . . ] Consider once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.
Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!
Musing: This passage has always troubled me. I understand the first part - you don't know what lies beneath beauty. I love the line about 'universal cannibalism' too. It's how it applies to us that I think about and think about. In our soul we have a place of beauty. Yay. But surrounding that is the fear of what we can't know. Is what we can't know both about this life and the after life? Or in thinking about this constantly am I pushing off from that isle of peace into troubled waters of questions that can't be answered? Sadly, I think I already know the answer. Damn this book.