The Daily Dick: A Study in Leadership


"God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates."

The Study: It has taken me years and years to halfway begin to understand this passage. Melville seems to say that like Prometheus, who created his own myth by stealing fire from the gods, Ahab has created his own myth of the white whale. I accept an interpretation that the whale might be the creation of Ahab's imagination. We all have things we create and then fight against - most of us, anyway. Prometheus is punished by having a vulture feed on his liver for eternity. Ahab is punished by having his heart fed on by revenge. Ironically, Ahab is seeking revenge for his own dark thoughts.

Great leaders are not held hostage by white whales. We should not be held hostage by our own created anger. That is what I figured out after years of reading this passage. Will someone pass this White Whale info on to the White House please?

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