Friday, April 21, 2006

Joseph Conrad

Have you ever read Heart of Darkness? It's a dark, dense, depressing book ... as evidenced by the title. I had to read it for AP English my senior year of high school; I remember thinking it was not worth all the effort it took to wade through it (for a non-native English speaker, he has a vocabulary that consists primarily in $10 words).

However, today I ran across a quote from Conrad that makes me think that maybe I should give him a second look. Although he didn't have the right answers, maybe he had keen enough insights into human nature to have helped him start asking some of the right questions. So I did a search for Joseph Conrad quotes, and these are some of the ones that I came up with (don't think I agree with everything he says ... some of it is really an embodiment of Rom. 1):

I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only
some formula of peace.

I can't tell if a straw ever saved a drowning man, but I know that a mere
glance is enough to make despair pause. For in truth we who are creatures of
impulse are creatures of despair.

They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could
explain anything.

Strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.

We live as we dream - alone.

It's extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull
ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it's just as well; and it may be that it is
this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable
and so welcome.

There is no credulity so eager and blind as the credulity of covetness,
which, in its universal extent, measures the moral misery and the intellectual
destitution of mankind.

A caricature is putting the face of a joke on the body of a truth.

A man's most open actions have a secret side to them.

As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and the consistent narrowness of his outlook.

Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.

Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

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