As requested



“When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line
and finds himself unable to swim about freely,
he begins with a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape.
Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him.
In the same way the human being struggles with his environment
and with the hooks that catch him.
Sometimes he masters his difficulties;
sometimes they are too much for him.
His struggles are all that the world sees
and it naturally misunderstands them.
It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.”
-Karl A. Menninger


  1. acilius

     /  December 9, 2008

    Thanks very much for the post! That’s quite something Menninger has given us to think about.

    Ever since you quoted that line about free fish and hooked fish in an email, I’ve been meaning to look up the chapter in MOBY-DICK about “fast fish and loose fish.” I never think of it when I’m at home and my copy of MOBY-DICK is within reach, but whenever I’m someplace where I can’t get to the book the phrase “fast fish and loose fish” drifts through my mind.

    Anyway, good luck to you and all fish trying to escape hooks.

  2. cymast

     /  December 9, 2008

    Yep- acilius is hooked!

  3. cymast

     /  December 9, 2008

    Melville wrote:

    “It frequently happens that when several ships are cruising in company, a whale may be struck by one vessel, then escape, and be finally killed and captured by another vessel; and herein are indirectly comprised many minor contingencies, all partaking of this one grand feature. For example,- after a weary and perilous chase and capture of a whale, the body may get loose from the ship by reason of a violent storm; and drifting far away to leeward, be retaken by a second whaler, who, in a calm, snugly tows it alongside, without risk of life or line.”

  4. acilius

     /  December 9, 2008

    That’s an interesting contrast in perspective, Melville looking at sea hunting from the viewpoint of whaling men like Ishmael, Menninger looking at it from the viewpoint of the snagged trout.

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