Tuesday, September 19, 2006

deja vu (again)

Another level of déjà vu re Dawkins comes from the conclusion to Martin Amis’s controversial dissection of “horrorism” in the previous week’s Observer. As usual of late, Amis over-reaches himself striving for significance, but he is modest enough to close with a quote which is the most memorable bit of the piece.

We should be with Joseph Conrad, he says:

'The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is - marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvellous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural, which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.

'Whatever my native modesty may be it will never condescend to seek help for my imagination within those vain imaginings common to all ages and that in themselves are enough to fill all lovers of mankind with unutterable sadness.' ('Author's Note' to The Shadow-Line, 1920.)

A pretty succinct summary of Richard Dawkins’ position, no?


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