Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Where in Amerika is Captain Brierly these days?

' "Ay, sir, Captain Brierly will be remembered here, if there's no
other place on earth. I wrote fully to his father and did not get a
word in reply--neither Thank you, nor Go to the devil!--nothing!
Perhaps they did not want to know."

'The sight of that watery-eyed old Jones mopping his bald head
with a red cotton handkerchief, the sorrowing yelp of the dog, the
squalor of that fly-blown cuddy which was the only shrine of his
memory, threw a veil of inexpressibly mean pathos over Brierly's
remembered figure, the posthumous revenge of fate for that belief
in his own splendour which had almost cheated his life of its legitimate
terrors. Almost! Perhaps wholly. Who can tell what flattering
view he had induced himself to take of his own suicide?

' "Why did he commit the rash act, Captain Marlow--can you
think?" asked Jones, pressing his palms together. "Why? It beats
me! Why?" He slapped his low and wrinkled forehead. "If he had
been poor and old and in debt--and never a show--or else mad.
But he wasn't of the kind that goes mad, not he. You trust me.
What a mate don't know about his skipper isn't worth knowing.
Young, healthy, well off, no cares. . . . I sit here sometimes thinking,
thinking, till my head fairly begins to buzz. There was some reason."

' "You may depend on it, Captain Jones," said I, "it wasn't
anything that would have disturbed much either of us two," I said;
and then, as if a light had been flashed into the muddle of his brain,
poor old Jones found a last word of amazing profundity. He blew
his nose, nodding at me dolefully: "Ay, ay! neither you nor I, sir,
had ever thought so much of ourselves."

- Chapter 6 from "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad

To think so much of yourself never to be able to just be yourself, the way you are, the way you are not. Cheating life of its opportunity to let you know that life itself is your greatest partner in what so many times seems to be a bloody fight of mere daily existence.

Yet the formidable opponent is but a cloaked friend for should you ever know his true nature you might want to stop your daily toilings and give up, and then cheat life itself from the opportunity to be engaged with you.

Let the mystery stand then. Let the blood be spilled and to the end keep giving up the desire to know. In not knowing there is a space to breathe and continue the conversation.

So, don't be like Captain Brierly my friend, that narcissistic motherfucker.

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