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A few question about the meaning of ‘genesis of their labour


The passage below is from Fathoms: The World in the Whale Hardcover by Rebecca Giggs.


‘Something is everywhere and always amiss … It is as though each clay form had baked into it, fired into it, a blue streak of nonbeing.’ The blue streak of mortality: this was what Dillard was referring to. Yet whale worms, whale lice, whalesuckers are nonbeings too, set against the whale, the massive being that is their birthplace, habitat, and the genesis of their labour. For parasites are very like death: the faceless thing amiss, everywhere, finding purchase in even the most enfolded, sunless surfaces. Long considered indicative of sickness, derangement, and decline, the most unnerving quality of any parasite is its profuse, persistent vitality, the wiggling in the womb, the itch on the skin, clinging, consuming, breeding. Worse than a ghost somehow. A parasite will typically reproduce faster than its host, and may exist in greater plenitude; the million-faced beast upon the beast. Being more profoundly alive, according to these measures, than their hosts, parasites can, in contrast, make the larger animal itself seem ghostly and partial — for less of it consists of itself.


I have a few questions about the underlined phrase.

All through the passage the author shows distaste for parasites.


In the underlined passage I cannot understand the contextual meaning of

first, ‘labor

(it’s common meaning is ‘work’, and also can be ‘trying to give birth’. I think in this context it’s work but I cannot exclude the latter since I don’t grasp the meaning of the whole phrase)

second, ‘genesis

(it’s meanig in this context seems ‘origin’. Am I right?)


last, ‘genesis of their labour


In this phrase ‘their’ stands for ‘parasites’, but even if I am right I don’t make out the meaning of the whole phrase.


Thanks in advance.

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Stenka25the whale, the massive being that is their birthplace, habitat, and the genesis of their labour.

'genesis' usually means 'origin' or 'beginning', but it seems that the word is used incorrectly here. Instead, it seems the author meant something more like 'reason'.

The whale is where they are born and where they live, and it is the very reason they have a place where they can do what they need to do (i.e., can "work") in order to survive.

CJ

Comments  
Stenka25first, ‘labor’

She means work.

Stenka25second, ‘genesis’(it’s meanig in this context seems ‘origin’. Am I right?)

God and Ms Grigg know. A massive being cannot be a genesis, and labor cannot have one.

Stenka25last, ‘genesis of their labour’In this phrase ‘their’ stands for ‘parasites’, but even if I am right I don’t make out the meaning of the whole phrase.

And no wonder. When a self-styled visionary gets going, all bets are off. Forget it. The rest of the passage does add up to something pretty cool, so let's forgive this scrap of nonsense. We can try and try, but if there is nonsense on the page, we can't know what was on her mind.

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

Thanks a lot as always, anonymous.

Thanks a lot as always, CalifJim.

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