An Outpost of Progress: Ideology and Action

Category: Philosophy, Truth, Virtue
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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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 Orca of Its Institutions and of its morals, In the power of Its police and of Its opinion" . 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 colonizers (European) ideology.

French essayist Albert Mermen would disagree with Concord'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 colonizers ideology rather than ideology in general. Though the intention f 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 others in general.

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Looking only at religion and the evident religious aspects In the story and the act of colonization In general, both the colonized and the colonizers are subject to the Ideology of religion. Asserts and Carrier, the colonist characters, are Christian: Make or "Henry Price"l a native, believes in "dark spirits. " The way the story ends can be interpreted two ways if the bat: the colonists give up (realizing defeat) or they realize the wrongs in their Christian European ideology and the act of forcing it upon others, even indirectly.

Putting the focus on religion, one could say that the dark spirits Make believes in brought about the two men's downfall. Ignoring the idea of the dark spirits, Asserts and Carrier more likely had reflected upon their actions and realized the Christian faith and the corresponding ideology is not universal truth. Asserts and Carrier are how Mermen describes the colonist's eye or assumptions toward the colonized: Nothing could better Justify the colonizers privileged position than his Industry, and nothing could better Justify the colonized destitution than his Indolence.

The mythical portrait of the colonized therefore Includes an unbelievable laziness, and that of the colonizer, a virtuous taste for action" (Mimi 123). The two men are said Mimi explains the colonist view point: "The point is that the colonized means little to the colonizer. Far from wanting to understand him as he really is, the colonizer is preoccupied with making him undergo this urgent change" (Mimi 127).

For Illinois to see Make as the opposite of what a native is supposed to be according to what they had been taught would be a shock of reality; being put into a new situation makes it so prior assumptions can be replaced with real life observations. Based on observations made, the concept of forcing now actual people into slavery appears different. The initial 'progress' for the colonist characters, in general, is to successfully colonize the new land, potentially halting progress for the colonized and their society.

Mimi says, "What is clear is that colonization weakens the colonized ND that all those weaknesses contribute to one another" (Mimi 159). The progress changes meaning for colonizers and becomes more so a sense of awakening for the colonizer and carries a darker literal message: "Progress was calling to Asserts from the river. Progress and civilization and all the virtues. Society was calling to its accomplished child to come, to be taken care of, to be instructed, to be Judged, to be condemned; it called him to return to that rubbish heap from which he had wandered away, so that Justice could be done" (Conrad 16).

Asserts had failed his session, but due to his realization and not due to a lack of ability to succeed. The two men died by acknowledging the fact that they were both "slave dealers," to them a dirty thing to be which, once put out there, caused Asserts to kill his assistant and then commit suicide himself. The symbolism in Asserts' death relating to the crucifix is powerful and makes his intentions clear; Asserts realized the Christian religion and his European ideology were not the only way and that his people, himself inclusive, were forcing the native people into something that was not correct.

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An Outpost of Progress: Ideology and Action. (2018, Jan 08). Retrieved from

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