Views of the Human Condition: Joseph Conrad

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(Conrad in 1904; photo by Beresford, Radio Times Hulton Picture Library)

“What makes mankind tragic is not that they are victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it. To be part of the animal kingdom under the conditions of this earth is very well–but as soon as you know of your slavery the pain, the anger, the strife–the tragedy begins.”

“The fact of a humanity condemned ultimately to perish from cold is not worth troubling about….If you believe in improvement you must weep, for the attained perfection must end in cold, darkness and silence. In a dispassionate view the ardour for reform, improvement for virtue, for knowledge, and even for beauty is only a vain sticking up for appearances as though one were anxious about the cut of one’s clothes in a community of blind men.”

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