Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Quote of the Day

with 4 comments

A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavor to do, he drowns…The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up…In the destructive element immerse.

Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Written by nevalalee

May 25, 2017 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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4 Responses

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  1. syntax often obscures meaning.


    May 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm

  2. It has been more than 50 years since I read Lord Jim. But this quote was the one I had retained almost verbatim. Jim’s affliction, too much idealism and romanticism, may also have been mine in youth. The quote offers a way to survive in the world as it is. Conrad is amazing, better than most and using English as a third language.


    July 8, 2018 at 2:14 pm

  3. I heard this quote said slightly differently by James Hillman (who attributed it to Conrad) which made me search for the original. James Hillman quoted “You don not begin to live until you immerse yourself in the destructive element”, in his lecture A Defence of Carl Jung. Similar but said slightly differently. Both versions are fantastic quotes. They speak to me of the process of truthful and sometimes painful self reflection and whatever tools one may find to aid this.

    Ashley Ashworth

    September 15, 2020 at 4:55 am

  4. @Ashley Ashworth: Thanks for the pointer to the Hillman lecture! I’ll check it out.


    September 15, 2020 at 8:29 am

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