Welcome to the 2nd “Warning: Wrongless Writer Wednesday” (or “W:WWW“) blog post. Today I look at the following existentialist in his prime:
THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS
by Albert Camus
This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential “absurdity” of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide’s excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds… Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.
(Kirkus Review – September 1, 1955)
- Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying.
- This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.
- Great novelists are philosopher-novelists who write in images instead of arguments.
- At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
- There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.
- If the world were clear, art would not exist.
- A fate is not a punishment.
- A profound thought is in a constant state of becoming; it adopts the experience of a life and assumes its shape.
- One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness . . . There is but one world, however. Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. It would be a mistake to say that happiness necessarily springs from the absurd. Discovery. It happens as well that the felling of the absurd springs from happiness.
- The preceding merely defines a way of thinking. But the point is to live.
Until next Wednesday.
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