Sunday, March 27, 2016

Albert Camus - The Madness of Sincerity

Camus's writing and thought describe a possible alternative. This is the alternative to so much of the contemporary social predicament, in which indolence, indifference and a resigned lethargy in the worship of technology are so often only countered by a corrupt nihilistic violence and a hatred of the Other. Witness the bombings, the consumption, the political demagogues fostering hatred and neglect of our fellow human beings, which are increasingly becoming the hallmarks of what passes for civilization and its discontents today. We are caught in a downward spiral as money and prestige are offered up as solutions, rather than symptoms. We must resist this catastrophe and re-invent the self, rebuild our relationships with each other and the state and exclude those that would see life as either a cynical exercise in satisfaction or in a bound filial duty to a non-existent God and his egotistical and hypocritical servants on earth ("a mire of tyranny or servitude" -  "The Rebel") .

In the writings of Camus; "The Outsider", "The Myth of Sisyphus" and "The Fall" particularly (full PDF for each text from links), we can find an ethical strategy for making the bitter flax of post-modern life into a nonetheless difficult weave of individual spirit through a creative new pagan sensualism, that is sensitive to others and joyous of the self. I humbly suggest today, as we place our rampant greed before the basic laws of planetary survival and as people are increasingly turned into commodities as shoppers or surgically modified objects plugged into networks of information, that we have little choice but to listen to the absurd and the existential.

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