Man And Evil In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Although the author Joseph Conrad never met the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who died more than a century before Conrad’s birth, their distinct philosophies still have numerous points of intersection, suggesting some fundamental truths within the structure of the human reality. Through the novella, Heart of Darkness, Conrad details his perspectives on the faults of man and reality as a whole, with views often coinciding with many of Leibniz’s own, as found in his numerous philosophical works. Consequently, the two perspectives combine together, like a cyclopean image, to enhance and deepen each of the two men’s philosophies on humanity.
Conrad and Leibniz both note that man has an underlying vulnerability to evil. Among Leibniz’s many conceptual principles is that of perfection vs imperfection, as he claims that no being is entirely flawed or completely ideal (Burnham, n.d.). Rather, all men possess varying magnitudes of perfection, except God, however, whom Leibniz believes to be the embodiment of infinite perfection (Burnham, n.d.). Continuing, Leibniz explains that man’s limited perfection causes a lack of good, in contrast to just an unequivocal inherent evil, that consequently allows man the ability to create evil, arguing that evil and sin are only “negations of positive reality,” a principle that corresponds heavily with Leibniz’s belief in “theodicy,” which serves as an attempt to explain and reconcile evil in the world with its creator, a
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