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Why is this book a classic on the literature circuit ? 
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Thomas Hood wrote:
Instead of a will to power, I'd vote for a will to imagination.
But what is the question you are answering? You introduced the idea of satisfaction as an explanation of why Europe conquered Africa, why the 'eruption was foredoomed'. Are you now saying that this eruption was a product of imagination? I just don't think that imagination was the key driver for imperialism. That would be like saying lava has an ego.

A closely related issue, linking the operation of power to the concept of eternal return, is whether we can understand fate operating in history. I think we can, in the terms of your earlier post in the Ending of the Novella thread:
Thomas Hood wrote:
we are actors in the Play of History but don't write the script. Considering how unaware we are of ourselves, I don't see how events could have been otherwise.

I fully agree with this comment, but don't see how you can reconcile it with your latest suggestion that history is inspired by a will to imagination. Pursuit of power seems a much more elegant explanation, in line with your observation of the lack of awareness of the cause of events and the implication that most motivation for action is subconscious. I am a big fan of imagination as a key force that can redeem and subdue instinctive passion by expanding the realm of the conscious. This gets to the issue of the relative influence of religion and commerce, with religion in the imaginative corner and commerce in the power/passion corner. Looking at history, I would have to say that will to power has been far more decisive than will to imagination, especially in contexts like Heart of Darkness.



Wed May 07, 2008 7:22 am
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Quote:
Thomas Hood wrote:
Instead of a will to power, I'd vote for a will to imagination.

But what is the question you are answering? You introduced the idea of satisfaction as an explanation of why Europe conquered Africa, why the 'eruption was foredoomed'. Are you now saying that this eruption was a product of imagination? I just don't think that imagination was the key driver for imperialism. That would be like saying lava has an ego.


Robert, imagination is the smoke in which unconscious motives emerge as images. The question I'm trying to answer is, Why were Europeans fascinated by Africa? Why was Marlow there? The answer as I see it is that African culture is the Dionysian complement to the European Apollonian. Marlow was as much under the spell as was Kurtz. The power of the spell comes from unrecognized psychological needs. Even with the disease, brutality, irrationality, the stench and flies -- Africa is a thing of beauty, and the people too. The mythic is usually gory. Part of the irony in Marlow's 'pilgrims vs. cannibals' is that Christianity is a religion of symbolic cannibalism.

Quote:
A closely related issue, linking the operation of power to the concept of eternal return, is whether we can understand fate operating in history. I think we can, in the terms of your earlier post in the Ending of the Novella thread: Thomas Hood wrote:
we are actors in the Play of History but don't write the script. Considering how unaware we are of ourselves, I don't see how events could have been otherwise.


Yes, self knowledge is disclosed through imagination, but this is meditation after the event -- like on a yawl at night with an evocative atmosphere. "When it's dark enough, we can see the stars" (Emerson).

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I fully agree with this comment, but don't see how you can reconcile it with your latest suggestion that history is inspired by a will to imagination. Pursuit of power seems a much more elegant explanation, in line with your observation of the lack of awareness of the cause of events and the implication that most motivation for action is subconscious. I am a big fan of imagination as a key force that can redeem and subdue instinctive passion by expanding the realm of the conscious. This gets to the issue of the relative influence of religion and commerce, with religion in the imaginative corner and commerce in the power/passion corner. Looking at history, I would have to say that will to power has been far more decisive than will to imagination, especially in contexts like Heart of Darkness.


I agree, Robert, that there is salvation through imaginative reconstruction of tragedy. The Heart of Darkness transmutes the sufferings of Africa as Illiad and Odyssey do the sufferings of Troy. And I still believe that Penelope would feel less despair in tragedy if she would cook something creative -- put herself into it :) -- for her friends. Worked for Jesus.



Wed May 07, 2008 9:50 am
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