"An Outpost of Progress": Ideology and Action

Topics: Colonialism, Colony, Christianity Pages: 2 (874 words) Published: October 18, 2014
Harriet Abramowitz
James Click
October 2014
Post Colonial Literature
Progress & Ideology
Reflection happens when there is an absence of action. In the case of colonization the role of the inferior is imposed onto the colonized by the self-proclaimed superior, the colonizer. Simplifying the actions for both sides in relation to ideology, the inferior’s actions are placed on a spectrum of accepting that ideology to rebelling against it and the superior on a spectrum of the action of imposing [his] own ideology to the lack of imposition. As stated earlier, due to there being a lack of action the superior is then able to potentially see the wrongs in [his] actions while the inferior is constantly stuck in a place of action without ability to reflect — a victim’s complex. The short story “An Outpost of Progress,” written by Joseph Conrad, speaks about the individual and the crowd: “the courage, the composure, the confidence; the emotions and the principles; every great and every insignificant thought belongs not to the individual but to the crowd: to the crowd that believes blindly in the irresistible force of its institutions and of its morals, in the power of its police and of its opinion” (Conrad 2). The idea Conrad gives that an individual is only capable of thinking and/or believing what [his] environment suggests is meant to refer specifically to the colonizer’s (European) ideology. French essayist Albert Memmi would disagree with Conrad’s ideas about the crowd and the individual, however (similar to Conrad) his text The Colonizer and The Colonized places its focus on the flaws of the colonizer’s ideology rather than ideology in general. Though the intention of both texts is to give an outlook on a specific ideology and the way it should be questioned by colonized and colonizer alike, it is also a gateway to think deeper about and question ideology — one’s own and other’s — in general. Looking only at religion and the evident religious aspects in the...
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