Archive for the ‘Albert Camus’ Category

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves

November 17, 2009

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves.

Albert Camus

How to behave when one does not believe in God or reason

September 11, 2009

I am not a philosopher, because I don’t believe in reason enough to believe in a system. What interests me is knowing how we must behave, and more precisely, how to behave when one does not believe in God or reason.

Albert Camus, address to foreign students in Aix-en-Provence, in Olivier Todd, p.408

Francine, Camus’ 2nd wife (he had numerous lovers, yet was wounded when he himself ws betrayed), said to him: ‘How can you write about love when you are incapable of it? ibid.,p.405

The eternal problem of the basis of morality

September 10, 2009

The universe is not absurd in itself, any more than it is yellow or sugary: it simply is. Life and the world have a meaning for the believer who has a code of conduct in the Gospels based on the word of Christ. Camus’ anguish came from the fact that no morality was imposed by an atheist or agnostic’s world…For Camus, truth existed in the sciences, but not a single truth…Both (Sartre and Camus) confronted the eternal problem of the basis of morality if one does not believe in God.

Camus’ biographer, Olivier Todd, pp.145, 156

Needless to say, neither found that basis and no one ever will.

A man cannot live without meaning

September 9, 2009

Here is what frightens me: to lose one’s life is a little thing, and I will have the courage when necessary.  But to see the sense of life dissipated, to see our reason for existence disappear, that is what is intolerable.  A man cannot live without meaning.

A character in Albert Camus’s play, Caligula,

The need for incarnation

September 9, 2009

I don’t know if this world has a meaning which escapes me, but I know that I don’t know this meaning and that for the moment, it’s imossible for me to know it. What can a meaning outside of my condition mean for me? I can only understand it in human terms.

Albert Camus, in Olivier Todd, p.156

All revelation from God is a condescension to human limitations. When the Ten Commandments were written, they were written in an intelligible, human language. the supreme condescending revelation is the ‘Word made flesh’ (John 1.14) who dwelt among us.

Nihilism: Nothing is meaningful, and yet…

September 7, 2009

I proclaim that I believe in nothing and that everything is absurd, but I cannot doubt the validity of my proclamation and I must at least believe in my protest.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

A literature of despair is a contradiction in terms . . .In the darkest depths of nihilism I have sought only for the means to transcend nihilism.


Atheism – absurdity

July 29, 2009

Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity…And maybe that’s what gives us our joy for living, because the only thing that can defeat absurdity is lucidity.

Albert Camus, letter to Claude Freminville, 1/1/36

Albert Camus: A Life, Olivier Todd, Vintage, 1998, p.41

The absurd is not in man…nor in the world, but in their common presence.

Albert Camus: A Life, Olivier Todd, p.4

Todd comments: “He did not agree with Dostoyevsky that if God did not exist, all was possible. Certain facts, which are crimes, must be rejected: Camus used man to explain man, first and foremost. He took as a good the human person’s fulfilment and happiness. Thus absurdism became a kind of humanism: the world had the meaning one gave to it. (ibid, p.143)

But what is a ‘crime’ but an evaluation of something based on an already-held ethical system. Where does that come from except it is arbitrarily chosen? And how can ‘man’, the unknown, undefined by God in an atheist system of thought, be used to explain man? The unknown can only be explained in terms of what is already known. This arbitrariness is seen when we ask, ‘What if Stalin found ‘fulfilment and happiness’ in his chosen life?’

Camus saw an ‘unspeakable universe where contradiction, antinomy, anguish and impotence reign.’

Man finds himself confronted by the irrational…He feels inside himself the desire for happiness and reason…(absurdity is) born at the confrontation between the human cry and the world’s unreasoning silence.

(ibid, 143)