I just may embody certain aspects of my personality in common with Kurtz.
And, more interesting, we share them with Almaz, my African wife.
They must be exceedingly rare and exceptional traits, poorly understood by
anyone around us, and its pointless to even attempt to explain them.
I am quite gratified that Conrad himself had some knowledge of what I am
talking about. So let me just share some choice quotes from this
little book (which I enjoyed immensely!)
I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn't even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts. Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long eight-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent -- and nothing happened.
I've seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! these were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men -- men, I tell you. But as I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly.
I let him run on, this papier-mache Mephistopheles, and it seemed to me that if I tried I could poke my forefinger through him, and would find nothing inside but a little loose dirt, maybe.
Droll thing life is -- that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. the most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself -- that comes too late -- a crop of unextinguishable regrets.
Oh! The horror, the horror!