The Impact of Imperialism
The spread of culture is inevitable in our ever-globalizing world. However, the forced imposition of culture on those who may be unaware of its implications is detrimental to that society’s culture. The oppression and exploitation of human beings will ultimately lead to failure for both parties, the oppressed and exploited as well as the oppressive and exploitative. Although temporary monetary gain may be evident in the stealing of natural resources from lands to build and manufacture goods, the buildup of bitter emotion combined with the emotional toil forced upon both the colonized and the colonizers will result in conflict and setbacks in the development of the colonized and integrity and global status of the colonizers. In asserting themselves through trade and through imperialism, Western cultures have not improved the world but have rather caused irreversible damage. The damage is clearly seen through the negative impacts on the colonized, colonizers, and the conflict that ensued as a result of imperialism.
When one party decides to subjugate another, that party is in danger of losing their own identity, surrendering their original purpose and subsequently deteriorating into a state of savagery and depravity. In Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, the character Marlow ventures into the wilderness of the Congo only to find that the leaders of the organization for which he works have succumbed to the intoxicating lure of the wild jungle. Marlow finds Kurtz, one of the men who has had great economic success in the Congo, and realizes that his sanity has faded with the greed of imperialism:
The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images…of wealth and fame revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression….But both the diabolical love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame,...