Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Conroy

I'm two thirds of the way through The Lords of Discipline, and just needed to share the following quote, which is like much in McCarthy, and expressive of a concept around which Kevin McColley fashioned an entire novel, called Praying to a Laughing God. From Conroy:

"I have read too much history, Mr. McLean," he said, moving past Vanderhorst Row. "And it has depressed me about my fellow man."

"Why has it depressed you, sir?" I asked.

"Because the single theme of human existence is atrocity, sir. Even the most casual perusal of the subject would tell you that. Anything that man can do that will irreparably harm his fellow man, he will certainly do. I can close my eyes, Mr. McLean, close them this instant on this very pleasant walk, and my brain will come alive with horrendous, unspeakable images of heinous crimes men have performed against other men. Nothing surprisese me anymore. Nothing shocks me. I have reached the point in my life when I am seized with an utter hopelessness about the human race. And you, sir," he said, fixing his gaze on me, "how do you feel about the race that violates this lovely planet?"

"I like human beings all right, Colonel," I said, "better than wart hogs or sting rays, anyway."

"I assure you, cad, that you would receive far more justice and mercy from a wart hog than from one of the monstrous chimps who wears a black robe and sits in judgment against his fellow man. The God that created man in his own image, Mr. McLean, must be a vile, unconscionable being. Or he must be highly amused by depravity." --p. 395