Friday, May 20, 2005

He Said: Quote of Interest

Since my attention span has slowly come back, I’ve been reading more. I’m now with Jose Saramago’s “Blindness” and came across this interesting and profound observation. I had to read it a couple of times before getting his point. Also, it is another example of how great things are said in the course of fiction, as it is with this novel.

“The moral conscience that so many thoughtless people have offended against, and many more have rejected, is something that exists and has always existed, it was not an invention of the philosophers of the Quaternary, when the soul was little more than a muddled proposition. With the passing of time, as well as the social evolution and genetic exchange, we ended up putting our conscience in the colour of blood and in the salt of tears, and, as if that were not enough, we made our eyes into a kind of mirror turned inwards, with the result that they often show without reserve what we are verbally trying to deny. Add to this general observation, the particular circumstance that in simple spirits, the remorse caused by committing some evil act often becomes confused with ancestral fears of every kind, and the result will be that the punishment of the prevaricator ends up being, without mercy or pity, twice what he deserved. In this case it is, therefore, impossible to unravel what proportion of fear and what proportion of the afflicted conscience began to harass the thief the moment he started the engine of the car and drove off.”

Jose Saramago


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is he talking about the disbelief in God and why people choose to do so; and that this denial is due to not wanting to believe there is consequence to their evil actions?

Was I close?

5/22/2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger fromclay said...

You make an interesting point between the denial of God and conscience. To answer your question, yes, I think you're close. (When a person publishes something serious, he or she tends to lose interpretive control, allowing the readers to see for themselves what's being said, unless of course something absurd is thrown in.) But my take includes this: the long denial of native conscience and the subsequent (if not reluctant) acceptance of it creates confusion in people to the point that we don't know how to deal with these feelings that prod us. Are they primitive fears or something amazingly real that helps to guide us and keeps us in check?

5/23/2005 9:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home