Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Call Me Ishmael"

"Call Me Ishmael" is the opening line of Chapter One of Herman Melville's 1851 novel, Moby Dick. It is the adventurous story of a wandering sailor, Ishmael, on a whale ship voyage. The commander of the ship is Captain Ahab who is in pursuit of one super-sized, predatory, white whale known as Moby Dick. In an earlier confrontation, this alabaster leviathan destroyed Ahab's boat and gnawed his leg off. Moby Dick was the focus Ahab's of vengeance.

Through Ishmael's journey, he ponders his place in the universe and his personal understandings of life. The notions of gods, good and evil, and social status and class are considered. Moby Dick has been seen as symbolic of many things including life events that are beyond human control and nature.

Globally, nationally, and personally many of us are navigating choppy waters and may well fear that life events are out of our control. Careful. There is danger in getting swept along in the rip tides of fear. Looking specifically at problems instead of generally may help. For instance, we continually hear about the bad housing market. We hear that homes and properties are just not selling.

When I asked Brad Maloney, realtor, in Redding, CA, northstatehomes.com, if his business was struggling in the current economy, he said no. He stated that he has been selling properties and that property sales are not as gloomy as reported. When listening to sales reports, you have to consider your region of the country.

He further stated, our north state region is down, but only by about 33%. Some areas of the country are much harder hit. In any business, there are peaks and valleys. And although we are in a valley right now, it is still a good time to buy. Interest rates are down, prices are down, and there is a large inventory currently for sale. It is a good time for first-time home buyers and investors. Prices continue to fall. It is likely that the average buyer will not know where the bottom is, but rather, where it was.

Also, the first-time home buyer has till the end of the year to take advantage a large tax credit. This is a windfall from President Obama's economic stimulus package. They may claim the $8,000 credit or - 10% of the home's value, whichever is less - on their 2008 or 2009 taxes. The $8,000 credit is expected to bring an additional 300,000 new home buyers into the market, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. More information can be found at CNNMoney.com.
Just as killing Moby Dick becomes the single-minded goal in Ahab's life, the whale can be seen to represent all of our goals. His retribution against the whale parallels our struggle against fate. If he reaches his goal of killing the whale, what is left for him to do? We all need something to reach for in life. If we obsess too much on all of the maladies around us, it can become hard to enjoy life's simple pleasures.

maybaby22 photobucket.com

A ship at sea is sometimes a metaphor for the soul. As a friend of mine used to say, come up out of your own little world now and then and lift your eyes up. Look around. Where is your heart? Where is your soul? Like Ishmael, we ponder our understanding of life and our place in the universe. This is a great time for introspection rather than obsession.

Nor was it his unwonted magnitude, nor his remarkable hue, nor yet his deformed
lower jaw, that so much invested the whale with natural terror, as that
unexampled, intelligent malignity which, according to specific accounts, he had
over and over again evinced in his assaults."
-- Herman Melville, MOBY DICK


Mrsupole said...

I cannot remember at what age I read Moby Dick. It is one, you just remember that you read. The movie was great too.

And yes, I think that the news is trying to make everything seem worse than it truly is and then some people believe all the hoopla and exaggerations. Some people have lost their "normal". This just makes the situation even worse. We need to get off this merry-go-round.

They say this is the best time to buy a house. No one knows where the bottom is. But anyone who waits, might lose in the end. The only bad thing is that the banks are not doing their jobs and loaning the money to people who can afford it.

Plus I am sick of those people just walking away from a house because it is not worth what they paid. The minute I drove my car off the lot, it was not worth what I paid. They thought the house was worth that amount when they bought it. These are the ones who are hurting our economy the most. Not the ones who have lost their jobs, but the ones who are just walking away cause they think they lost something. They are making us all lose something. I hope those people never get a house again, unless they put a giant desposit down.

Ronda Laveen said...

All true Mrsupole. All true.

Evening Light Writer said...

Panic is so tangible, so easily spread. I refuse to watch anything on the news about the economy and get all sweaty palmed. This country has seen far worse and still gotten through it. I try to look at this way; at least people are going to finally learn not to live about their means. A house down the street finally sold after about a year on the market. Everyday I see a couple cleaning and fixing the house up and I am so excited for them. I see that as my bright light to the future..people ARE buying just not as much.

Call me a cock-eyed optimist but I believe everything is going to be okay, I refuse to fall in to doom and gloom.

I love the message from your post, that everyone has their own great whale to conquer. You are a fabulous writer!

Ronda Laveen said...

E.L. Thank you and mrsupole for joining me in the "Cock-eyed Optimists Club" or COC." I was beginning to feel like a party of one. I am happy to hear about the couple on your street getting to find joy in their house. And even more pleasing to me, is the fact that you share in their happiness.

Thank you for the compliment on my writing. But it is I who am humbled by your wordship.

Coffee Messiah said...

What an interesting version you have ; )

Thanks for stopping by and for joining in. I really didn't expect anyone to join, but glad ya did.


Ronda Laveen said...

CM: Thanks for the fun time!