Friday, February 7, 2020

without the shadow of a reason

The more I write the less substance do I see in my work, ... It is tolerably awful. 
And I face it, I face it but the fright is growing on me. My fortitude is shaken 
by the view of the monster. It does not move; its eyes are baleful; it is as still as death itself 
— and it will devour me. Its stare has eaten into my soul already deep, deep.

Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; 
words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy 
as the hope of to-morrow....

In this world – as I have known it – we are made to suffer without the shadow
 of a reason, of a cause or of guilt....

There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness 
of ourselves which drives us about a world that... is always but a vain
 and fleeting appearance....A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains
 – but a clod of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space,
 rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing.
 Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.

~ Joseph Conrad

born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski  was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard British ships, learning English from his shipmates. He was made a Master Mariner, and served more than sixteen years before an event inspired him to try his hand at writing.

He was hired to take a steamship into Africa, and according to Conrad, the experience of seeing firsthand the horrors of colonial rule left him a changed man. His introspective need to come to terms with his experience lead to Heart of Darkness, which was followed by other fictionalized explorations of his life.

He has been lauded as one of the most powerful, insightful, and disturbing novelists in the English canon despite coming to English later in life, which allowed him to combine it with the sensibilities of French, Russian, and Polish literature.