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Quotes Joseph Conrad
Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
I don't like work... but I like what is in work - the chance to find yourself. Your own reality - for yourself, not for others - which no other man can ever know.
All roads are long which lead to one's heart's desire.
Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don't be afraid to follow it.
It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.
Kisses are the remnants of paradise.
You must squeeze out of yourself every sensation, every thought, every image, - mercilessly, without reserve and without remorse: you must search the darkest corners of your heart, the most remote recesses of your brain, - you must search them for the image, for the glamour, for the right expression. And you must do it sincerely, at any cost: you must do it so that at the end of your day's work you should feel exhausted, emptied of every sensation and every thought, with a blank mind and an aching heart, with the notion that there is nothing, - nothing left in you.
Reality, as usual, beats fiction out of sight.
Every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early and the human race come to an end.
My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.
You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends.
We live as we dream - alone.
You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appals me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.
Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.
All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.
All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising.
Any fool can carry on, but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time.
One ship is very much like another and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny.
It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it’s just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome.
All a man can betray is his conscience.
The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.
Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
As a general rule, a reputation is built on manner as much as on achievement.
The ethical view of the universe involves us in so many cruel and absurd contradictions that I have come to suspect that the aim of creation cannot be ethical at all.
If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything.
What makes mankind tragic is not that they are the victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it.
The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.
There is no credulity so eager and blind as the credulity of covetousness, which, in its universal extent, measures the moral misery and the intellectual destitution of mankind.
It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.
Everything can be found at sea according to the spirit of your quest.
It is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self knowledge.
He struggled with himself, too. I saw it -- I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.
We can never cease to be ourselves.
In order to move others deeply we must deliberately allow ourselves to be carried away beyond the bounds of our normal sensibility.
Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off.
Few men realize that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.
Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.
A man is a worker. If he is not that he is nothing.
There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
A word carries far, very far, deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.
I am afraid that if you want to go down into history you'll have to do something for it.
I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace.
The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement - but it passes away from them. They are not the leaders of a revolution. They are its victims.
My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see. That — and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm — all you demand; and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.
But it is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker - may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling!
We live as we dream - alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully.
I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine.
The artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition-and therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty and pain.
I slipped the book into my pocket. I assure you to leave off reading was like tearing myself away from the shelter of an old and solid friendship.
History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.
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 inextinguishable regrets.
A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.
To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence.
You can't, in sound morals, condemn a man for taking care of his own integrity. It is his clear duty.
To be busy with material affairs is the best preservative against reflection, fears, doubts ... all these things which stand in the way of achievement. I suppose a fellow proposing to cut his throat would experience a sort of relief while occupied in stropping his razor carefully.
They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force--nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
Everybody had to be thoroughly understood before being accepted.
That's why love is so inseparable from any talk about truth and death, because we know that love is fundamentally a death of an old self that was isolated and the emergence of a new self
now entangled with another self, the self that you fall in love with.
I do not know whether I have been a good seaman, but I know I have been a very faithful one.
Nowhere else than upon the sea do the days, weeks, and months fall away quicker into the past. They seem to be left astern as easily as the light air-bubbles in the swirls of the ship's wake.
Danger lies in the writer becoming the victim of his own exaggeration, losing the exact notion of sincerity, and in the end coming to despise truth itself as something too cold, too blunt for his purpose -- as, in fact, not good enough for his insistent emotion. From laughter and tears the descent is easy to sniveling and giggles.
The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.
Your strength is just an accident owed to the weakness of others.
He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.
The sea never changes and its works, for all the talks of men, are wrapped in mystery.
It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
I would not unduly praise the virtue of restraint. It is often merely temperamental. But it is not always a sign of coldness. It may be pride. There can be nothing more humiliating than to see the shaft of one's emotion miss the mark of either laughter or tears. Nothing more humiliating! And this for the reason that should the mark be missed, should the open display of emotion fail to move, then it must perish unavoidably in disgust or contempt.
Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it.
The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.
It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun. It is as if loneliness were a hard and absolute condition of existence; the envelope of flesh and blood on which our eyes are fixed melts before the outstretched hand, and there remains only the capricious, unconsolable and elusive spirit that no eye can follow, no hand can grasp.
It is to be remarked that a good many people are born curiously unfitted for the fate waiting them on this earth.
Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory, and the truth of every passion wants some pretence to make it live.
I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmostphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.
The moon had spread over everything a thin layer of silver - over the rank grass, over the mud, upon the wall of matted vegetation standing higher than the wall of a temple, over the great river I could see through a sombre gap glittering, glittering, as it flowed broadly by without a murmur. All this was great, expectant, mute, while the man jabbered about himself.
Everything belonged to him--but that was a trifle. The thing to know was what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own.
Yet, when one thinks of it, diplomacy without force is a but a rotten reed to lean upon.
It occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.
Do not talk to me of Archimedes' lever. He was an absent-minded person with a mathematical imagination. Mathematics commands my respect, but I have no use for engines. Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world.
The atmosphere of officialdom would kill anything that breathes the air of human endeavour, would extinguish hope and fear alike in the supremacy of paper and ink.