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Transcript of Albert Camus
Nonsense of Life
A. Fundamental question of philosophy – Is life worth living?
1. Living is not easy.
2. Man is a creature of habit.
3. Committing suicide happens when man decides that. . .
a. Daily habits are ridiculous.
b. There is no profound reason to live.
c. Daily agitation is insane.
d. Suffering is useless.
A Journey on the Life of Camus
*Born in a small village in Algeria of a French father & a Spanish mother; he spent most of his early life in the city of Algiers.
*His father was killed in WWII.
*His mother supported herself and her two sons doing cleaning.
*Won a scholarship to the local lycée (college preparatory school)
*In 1930, at the age of seventeen, suffered an attack of tuberculosis. Affected his health for the remainder of his life.
*Attended the University of Algiers between 1932 and 1936 where he studied philosophy.
*Married in 1933; lasted briefly.
*In 1934, joined the Community Party; left the Party a few years later.
The meaning of life:
According to absurdism, humans historically attempt to find meaning in their lives.
Traditionally, this search results in one of two conclusions: either that life is meaningless, or life contains within it a purpose set forth by a higher power—a belief in God, or adherence to some religion or other abstract concept.
For Camus, the Absurd is a human being’s desire to have meaning and purpose, to define the universe and bring it under human dominion, when all that the universe offers is meaninglessness and lifelessness.
Camus thought the human condition was absurd; that is, our desire for meaning in this world is a very strange thing indeed when all the world defies meaning.
Albert Camus was a French-Algeria-born French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism.
Born: 7 November 1913
Dréan, El Taref, French Algeria
Died: 4 January 1960 (aged 46)
Villeblevin, Yonne, Burgundy, France
Era: 20th century philosophy
Region: Western philosophy
*Joined a theatrical company from 1935 to 1939.
*Then decided to become a journalist. Worked first for the Alger-Républicain; then moved to Paris and worked for Paris-Soir.
*With the invasion of France in 1940, he, with the staff of Paris-Soir, moved to Lyons.
*In Lyons, in 1940, he married Francine Faure
*In 1941, for reasons of health, he moved to Oran and then Algiers.
*Suffered another attack of tuberculosis in 1942. Went to the mountains of central France to recover.
*The allied landings cut him off from his wife, who had remained in Oran
*1942 - published L’Etranger & in 1943, Le Mythe de Sysyphe.
These two works brought him fame
*1943 - he joined the resistance and became the editor of the movements newspaper, Combat
*September 1945 - birth of twins, Jean & Catherine
*1946 - lecture tour of the United States
*1947 - publication of La Peste
*1950 - L’Homme révolté - a collection of essays expressing his political philosophy; strongly anti-Marxist (see the character Tarrou in The Plague)
*1956 - publication of La Chute
*1957 - awarded the Nobel prize for literature
*1960 - killed in an automobile accident
The Feeling of Absurdity
1. Comes from the nausea of mechanical daily existence
a. Same routine, day after day
b. Lassitude leads to the question, Why?
c. In a world without sparkle, man is a “stranger”.
2. Is a result of the divorce between man and his life.
3. Is revealed by the certainty of death.
4. Comes from believing that each day is subject to tomorrow. Therefore, time is an enemy.
5. Comes when intelligence recognizes that it cannot understand the world. (The world is irrational.)
. Camus assigns three consequences to the absurd.
a. A perpetual confrontation between man and his own obscurity.
b. It is not an aspiration, but rather, it is the absence of hope.
c. It gives man a sense of nobility.
d. It is the certainty of a crushing fate.
a. The absurd man sets aside the problem of personal liberty within, because it relates to the belief in God.
b. The absurd allows man to see things from a new perspective. (Man knows that his condition is without hope)
Faith C. Clavaton
The Myth of Sisyphus
In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values.
Chapter 1: An Absurd Reasoning
Camus undertakes to answer what he considers to be the only question of philosophy that matters: Does the realization of the meaninglessness and absurdity of life necessarily require suicide?
Camus described suicide as the most appropriate and rational reaction to the absurd — but admitted that this is not a very rewarding or worthwhile reaction.
Chapter 2: The Absurd Man
How should the absurd man live? Clearly, no ethical rules apply, as they are all based on higher powers or on justification. "Integrity has no need of rules." 'Everything is permitted' "is not an outburst of relief or of joy, but rather a bitter acknowledgment of a fact."
Chapter 3: Absurd Creation
Here Camus explores the absurd creator or artist. Since explanation is impossible, absurd art is restricted to a description of the myriad experiences in the world. "If the world were clear, art would not exist." Absurd creation, of course, also must refrain from judging and from alluding to even the slightest shadow of hope.
Chapter 4: The Myth of Sisyphus
In the last chapter, Camus outlines the legend of Sisyphus
Camus sees Sisyphus as the absurd hero who lives life to the fullest, hates death and is condemned to a meaningless task.
What is Absurdism?
A philosophy based on the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless and that the search for order brings the individual into conflict with the universe.
Camus considers absurdity as a confrontation, an opposition, a conflict or a "divorce" between two ideals. Specifically, he defines the human condition as absurd, as the confrontation between man's desire for significance, meaning and clarity on the one hand – and the silent, cold universe on the other.
He continues that there are specific human experiences evoking notions of absurdity. Such a realization or encounter with the absurd leaves the individual with a choice: suicide, a leap of faith, or recognition. He concludes that recognition is the only defensible option
a. Living in an absurd universe consists of multiplying intelligible experiences with passion.
b. Camus insists on the quantity rather than the quality.
c. Man must be ready to pay for his actions.
d. Man is his one and only end.
Camus’ search for ethics starts with three basic statements of the human situation:
1. “God is Dead." Camus never actually states the principle this way, but it is derived from his atheism (the statement was actually coined by Nietzsche). But, according to him, that while absurdity does not lead to belief in God, neither does it lead to the denial of God.
2. “Life is Absurd.” This is derived from examples of absurdity that individuals encounter in their lives.
3.“Life is Meaningless.” This seems to be derived from both the death of God and the absurdity of our lives.