Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Universal Thump: Insights from Herman Melville


"What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way--either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content."

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

This has always been one of my faorite quotes. During my past 22 years of serious chronic illnes, years in pain and unable to get out of bed, I oftn felt sorry for myself. When I saw this quote it hit a chord. I realized that I must find a back to rub, someone to comfort other than myself. I opened my eyes and began to search online for people who needed a virtual massage. And what do you know, I did find a sort of content. Knowing that I was helping someone gave me a sort of peace. What a wonderful world if we all listened to Mr.Melville!

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