Connections to “The Horror! The Horror!”
we hear The Doors coming in with their piece that will always remind me when I hear it of the movie Apocalypse Now:
With Apocalypse Now we artistically connect back a century or so to one of the greats of literature, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,
wherein he essentially predicted the coming of a figure like Hitler,
European ideologically based empire building, and ultimately the
horrors of WWII. And now, beyond. Vietnam, Iraq, and more.
Chris Hedges did one of his renditions on these connections earlier this week, "Man is a Cruel Animal."
Conrad saw enough of the world as a sea captain to know the irredeemable corruption of humanity. The noble virtues that drove characters like Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness” into the jungle veiled abject self-interest, unchecked greed and murder. Conrad was in the Congo in the late 19th century when the Belgian monarch King Leopold, in the name of Western civilization and anti-slavery, was plundering the country. The Belgian occupation resulted in the death by disease, starvation and murder of some 10 million Congolese. Conrad understood what we did to others in the name of civilization and progress. And it is Conrad, as our society unravels internally and plows ahead in the costly, morally repugnant and self-defeating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, whom we do well to heed.
Those who attempt to mend the flaws in the human species through force embrace a perverted idealism. Those who believe that history is a progressive march toward human perfectibility, and that they have the moral right to force this progress on others, no longer know what it is to be human. In the name of the noblest virtues they sink to the depths of criminality and moral depravity. This self-delusion comes to us in many forms. It can be wrapped in the language of Western civilization, democracy, religion, the master race, Liberté, égalité, fraternité, the worker’s paradise, the idyllic agrarian society, the new man or scientific rationalism. The jargon is varied. The dark sentiment is the same.
If I could say it any better than that I would. Thank you again for your insights, Chris.
Anyone who’s read this blog, please look again at the crimes the U.S. has committed in Fallujah as witnessed in that first video. We hanged people for lesser offenses after WWII. Somehow, we have to bring those responsible to account. We must redeem our humanity. If we are concerned, we can.
For further exploration, here are some historical Democracy Now! links: