“This whole book is but a draught – nay, but the draught of a draught,” laments Melville’s narrator. “Unfinished,” remains his system of cetology, “even as the Great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower.”
Are all efforts at systemic endeavor so destined?
I am hardly alone in such hesitations. The draught-of-a-draught reference to Moby Dick opens Harold Morowitz’ book, The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex. Sustainability pioneer Donella Meadows passed away with her long-imagined textbook, A Sustainable World: An Introduction to Environmental Systems, incomplete and unpublished.
Nevertheless, we persist, we aspire. What else would we do?
Plus, persistence can reap rewards. Work on the Cologne cathedral was completed, mere decades after Melville’s opus.
I welcome you to our discussions and trust in your goodwill.
Artwork (“Whale Rider Kings“) by Matthew Bernier.