Piercing The Darkness
Sunday, January 03, 2010 | Author: eventer79
When I was in high school, I had a very interesting English teacher for two years. One of the books that we read that snagged and caught in my memory was Joseph Conrad's psychological morass, Heart of Darkness. The message stuck with me all these years: that deep within, every person has a dark core, a capacity for malfeasance, for black deeds and dark ways. What creates a moral person is one who recognizes, embraces, and controls this, thereby gaining the upper hand over the devil inside.

In the book, the journey into the netherworld of the human spirit is a steamy cruise on a paddleboat through the Congo's tropical jungle. In life, it is a quest of the mind, if you will, to realize what left Conrad's Marlow gasping in horror: that evil capacity is in every human being and the choice to be ruled by it or to rise above it is up to each of us.

Why dwell on such shadowy things, you wonder? Let life be light and air and happiness!

As is repeated to us in a thousand different media, light cannot exist without the contrast presented by darkness. And we cannot recognize good except by comparing it to that which is not good.

The point of all this is the heart of why I think it is important to talk about, to think about things which may not be all pleasantness and joy. Because I don't believe we can be truly alive without seeing, without knowing the full breadth of human existence. If we go through life shutting out awareness of the suffering of other lives, without not only contemplating, but taking action where we can related to situations created by man's ill-doing, then we only half-live. We become only shells, nothing more than creatures of thoughtless consumption and existence without consequence.

There is much wonder in the world, and much cause for the spirit to soar. But in order for it to persist, we must step forward and look boldly into the eye of that dim place in the soul and by our choices, stoke its corners with our own small candles that together, will illuminate the shadow. By doing so, we then become wholly alive and wholly participant in living and the light is that much brighter and more fulfilling for having recognized and beaten back the heart of darkness.
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On January 4, 2010 at 12:18 AM , Frizzle said...

Ooohhhh, how I hated that book! I had to read that and one other Conrad novel and I loathed them both. Loathed, I say!
Great post, though. :-D
I agree that a lot of people just want to block out all the unpleasntness. Like, when I have sent anti horse slaughter e-mails to horsey friends, some of them just dodn't want to know about it. And I certainly never sent anything graphic or disturbing.

On January 4, 2010 at 8:33 AM , eventer79 said...

Hahaha, I can't say I loved the book, overall I found it very...strange. But the message was loud and clear.

On January 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM , emKem said...

LOL, Heart of Darkness. Nice.

On January 10, 2010 at 7:41 AM , Clair said...

Holy Crap, you write well. Must have been that high school English teacher...

On January 10, 2010 at 12:21 PM , eventer79 said...

ROFL, thanks, Clair -- she contributed, but it is always something I have enjoyed...just finding the energy to do it is a happening few and far between these days!