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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musings on the Relevance of Moby-Dick Today

From: The Jeroboam's Story

"Nor is the history of fanatics half so striking in respect to the measureless self-deception of the fanatic himself, as his measureless power of deceiving and bedevilling so many others."

Musing: Moby-Dick is not only filled with cautionary tales of men who bully their way into leadership roles, but it also shows what happens to those who blindly follow. In this chapter, a man comes aboard the Jeroboam and frightens the crew with his intense prophecies. The Captain is aware that this man is crazy, but the Captain also believes the new leader will help the ship find their port. Melville seems to say that there is a space where fear and self-gain are involved that fanatics are born. What a lesson for us to consider today.

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