In a post some months ago I described the unexpected, but seemingly preordained, encounter with the concept of “swerve” in an article this man had written. Then today, this reference to Moby Dick and in particular the words “high time” triggered an interest in hearing The Swerve‘s author speak about those ideas. The five minute wonder above hit the spot.
It has been at least three decades since I read Moby Dick, but some of my vagabond instincts were strengthened by that book, whether Melville (or my English teacher) intended such an effect or not. There are times when it is clearly high time to go. In Greenblatt’s description of what Lucretius contributed to enlightenment, there is a metaphysical notion of atoms coming and going, dispersing and recombining, of recycling through the ages, that resonates with my foggy memory of Moby Dick‘s message to my teen-nearing-adulthood self: that I should always be prepared to let go even as I hold on tight, to beware of obsession as much as I should stay on course, to always be ready to start again. Opportunities come and go, and come again. And go again, and so on.