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IV-1- HD: imperialism, ancient history and Victorian era. 
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Penelope wrote:
Please Miss, Robert Tulip said:_honi soit qui mal y pense - rough translation, I don't care what you think. Shame on you Robert Tulip - You know what this means and what it does not mean. You are obviously a caring, educated, thinking and gifted person....using soundbites....stoppit.


Hi Penelope - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Garter says the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense is Old French for "shame upon him who thinks evil of it". How do you interpret this? I think what I said makes good sense. We in Australia now have this wicked motto emblazoned on all our colonial institutions of justice. When Kurtz invaded the Congo, in the Honi Soit spirit, his attitude was 'shame on you bleks for thinking I am evil' - ie 'I don't care what you think'. It goes well with the other half of the British coat of arms 'Dieu et mon droit' or 'God and my right arm'. Brits were eager to criticise the Nazis for putting 'Gott mit uns' on their battle helmets, when they had much the same message on their own imperial symbol. And the unicorn in chains is a symbol of the imperial conquest of nature. I admire the USA, but there is an imperial myopia whereby popular American culture views the 50 states as the whole world. This is what I meant by my comment that the core ignores the periphery.



Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:34 pm
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Post The Japanese and others...
Yes I agree with you about the Japanese, I can't recall that I've read or heard somewhere that they were colonialists, but I'm not sure. They came in rather late in the "race for colonies". I think they were after natural resources and prestige just like the others though, and they sure did establish their rule with military might.

Maybe the term colonialism have something to do with the status of the area dominated. Africa or the Americas were considered uncivilized while the areas Japan conquered belonged to countries like China, home to one of the most ancient civilizations. Besides from some native kingdoms, Africa did not have any centralized states prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

The moghul and ottoman empires I would consider imperialistic but not colonialistic, based on my temporal definition of colonialism.

The real answer is perhaps that the terms are blurry.



Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:43 pm
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Oh my....Robert and Samson

How you have made me think!

Those Latin Mottos......like flags, and patriotism....the last refuge of the rogue.....

How can I explain my point of view to you, males, and of a different generation than I?

I read a lot of literature written by women....not because I am a feminist...I am not. I do not believe in androgeny.....as advocated by Virginia Wolf.......she wrote 'Orlando' as a man......because she said that a good writer should be androgenous. I don't believe her. Women have a different 'raison d'etre' than men. Am I terribly wrong?


I think this website is valuable because we can 'be bothered' to talk to one another.....I find your input invaluable to me......

I am relatively new to posting....and tinternet....but I get the feeling - there are no 'walls' between us of age or gender.....we can communicate...this seems valuable to me....Am I terribly wrong?

Perhaps a true use of the phrase: Honi soit qui mal y pense?



Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:26 pm
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Penelope wrote:
Oh my....Robert and Samson How you have made me think! Those Latin Mottos......like flags, and patriotism....the last refuge of the rogue.....

Hi Penelope, I think the main goal of HD is to try to open up hidden realms of the western psyche, so it is good if we can try to discuss this. I think Conrad intends Kurtz to symbolize Europe, and to shock those who have been deceived about the imperial project. And yet, Conrad is far from a Marxist revolutionary, as he also makes plain in The Secret Agent where he presents a withering critique of the revolutionary outlook. He recognizes and respects traditional values, all the more to expose the hypocrisy of those who hide behind tradition in order to conceal their crimes. Marx was right that there are dialectical relations in history, but, if I may infer from your comments on Rome, accusing western civilization of being the font of evil is problematic on two counts



Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:05 am
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Quoting Robert Tulip

I suggest that Conrad sees untouched nature as in touch with God, and the rape of nature and of those who live lightly on it as the greatest moral problem of our age.

Nope!!!! I am not having that....Conrad lived in the Victorian age when life for most people in the West was not as comfortable as it is for us now. Nature is harsh and cruel for the most part.....In order to make our lives comfortable and even to preserve them whilst we are here on this planet, we have to shield ourselves from nature. I think the 'Mother Nature' picture is sentimentality......raw in tooth and claw....more like.

Nature is very beautiful......Volcanic Eruptions are very beautiful.....

What makes you suggest that Conrad sees untouched nature as in touch with God? Quote me something please?



Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:49 pm
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Penelope wrote:
Quoting Robert Tulip "I suggest that Conrad sees untouched nature as in touch with God, and the rape of nature and of those who live lightly on it as the greatest moral problem of our age."
Nope!!!! I am not having that....Conrad lived in the Victorian age when life for most people in the West was not as comfortable as it is for us now. Nature is harsh and cruel for the most part.....In order to make our lives comfortable and even to preserve them whilst we are here on this planet, we have to shield ourselves from nature. I think the 'Mother Nature' picture is sentimentality......raw in tooth and claw....more like. Nature is very beautiful......Volcanic Eruptions are very beautiful..... What makes you suggest that Conrad sees untouched nature as in touch with God? Quote me something please?


Penelope, thank you for this question. I am more used to being ignored than having to defend a claim I make, so I do appreciate your comment. I think Conrad is critiquing these Victorian values which you imply he shared. 'Shielding' ourselves from nature results in distorted pathologies, with the prime example the Genesis calls to subdue and multiply. Conrad is drawing attention to the modern consequences of the unthinking use of this biblical myth. My view is that one of the important lessons of HD is that truth (ie God) appears more within nature than within the human effort at control. The Congo River is morally superior to the King of Belgium.

I will take relevant HD quotes from those I cited at http://www.booktalk.org/heart-of-darkness-t4250-40.html page 5, posted 2 Feb.

"the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth" p33

"Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings." p48

"stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention" p 48

"inner truth is hidden, luckily, luckily, but I felt it all the same" p 49

The way I read these comments is that Conrad is presenting a critique of mainstream European thought, especially Hobbes' claim that the life of nature is nasty brutish and short. JC's experience of Africa suggests a vision of nature as "great and invincible", words which apply more to truth than to evil, perhaps a deliberate irony. It is interesting that Conrad gives us this choice though



Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:48 am
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Robert said:-

The sense of disharmony on the part of Kurtz is a parable for European alienation from nature.

I don't think Kurtz was alienated from nature Robert. He chose to live in the jungle (with the 'savages') at the sharp end of it after all.

I think Conrad was showing us the shallowness of the man. He became obsessed with collecting Ivory for its own sake......not to make himself rich and comfortable. He enjoyed the Kudos of the natives' and the white mens' admiration......He seems to have just grown in base pride to the exclusion of growing any spiritual dimension. There seems to have been no kindness, no compassion, no 'depth' of character to him......he seems to have become a monster.

I am sure we can all think of instances in real life where this has happened to people......I am not naming names here. But I know what the Bible means when it says that 'Pride' is the deadliest of all the seven sins.



Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:42 am
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