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Albert Camus - Geskiedenis

Albert Camus - Geskiedenis


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Albert Camus

1913- 1960

Romanskrywer

Albert Camus is op 7 November 1913 in Franse Algerië gebore. Hy het na die Universiteit van Algiers gegaan en 'n BA Camus gekry wat by die kommunistiese party aangesluit het. Camus verhuis na Frankryk voor die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Hy was 'n lid van die Weerstand tydens die oorlog.

Romanskrywer en essayis Albert Camus word onthou vir sy eksistensialistiese werke soos Die vreemdeling, Die plaag, en Die Rebelleer. Alhoewel Camus eers naby Jean Paul Sartre was, verbreek Camus die verhouding oor die kwessie van die stalinistiese beleid van die vroeë vyftigerjare. Camus ontvang die Nobelprys vir letterkunde in 1957. Hy sterf in 1960 in 'n motorongeluk.


Albert Camus: Eksistensialisme en Absurdisme

Albert Camus was 'n Frans-Algerynse joernalis en romanskrywer wie se literêre werk as 'n primêre bron van moderne eksistensialistiese denke beskou word. 'N Hooftema in Camus se romans is die idee dat die menslike lewe, objektief gesproke, betekenisloos is. Dit lei tot absurditeit wat slegs oorkom kan word deur 'n verbintenis tot morele integriteit en sosiale solidariteit. Alhoewel hy miskien nie 'n filosoof in die strengste sin is nie, word sy filosofie wyd uitgedruk in sy romans en word hy algemeen beskou as 'n eksistensialistiese filosoof. Volgens Camus word die absurde geproduseer deur konflik, 'n konflik tussen ons verwagting van 'n rasionele, regverdige heelal en die werklike heelal dat dit redelik onverskillig is vir al ons verwagtinge.

Hierdie tema van konflik tussen ons begeerte na rasionaliteit en ons ervaring van irrasionaliteit speel 'n belangrike rol in baie eksistensialiste se geskrifte. In Kierkegaard het dit byvoorbeeld 'n krisis veroorsaak wat 'n persoon moes oorkom deur 'n sprong van geloof, 'n bewuste verloëning van enige vereiste vir rasionele standaarde en 'n openlike aanvaarding van die irrasionaliteit van ons fundamentele keuses.

Camus het die probleem van absurditeit geïllustreer deur die verhaal van Sysiphus, 'n verhaal wat hy aangepas het vir 'n opstel in boeklengte Die mite van Sysiphus. Deur die gode veroordeel rol Sysiphus voortdurend 'n rots op teen 'n heuwel om dit elke keer weer te sien rol. Hierdie stryd lyk hopeloos en absurd, want niks sal ooit bereik word nie, maar Sysiphus het in elk geval gesukkel.

Camus het dit ook in sy ander beroemde boek, Die vreemdelingwaarin 'n man die irrasionaliteit van die lewe en die gebrek aan objektiewe betekenis aanvaar deur te onthou van enige oordele, deur selfs die ergste mense as vriende te aanvaar, en nie eers ontsteld te raak as sy ma sterf of as hy iemand vermoor nie.

Albei hierdie figure verteenwoordig 'n stoïese aanvaarding van die ergste wat die lewe kan bied, maar Camus se filosofie is nie die van stoïsisme nie, dit is eksistensialisme. Sysiphus verag die gode en trotseer hulle poging om sy wil te verbreek: hy is 'n rebel en weier om terug te staan. Selfs die antiheld van Die vreemdeling volhard ondanks wat gebeur en stel hom, wanneer hy tereggestel word, oop vir die absurditeit van die bestaan.

Dit is in werklikheid die proses om waarde te skep deur rebellie dat Camus geglo het dat ons waarde vir alle mense kan skep en die absurditeit van die heelal kan oorkom. Die skep van waarde word egter bereik deur ons verbintenis tot waardes, beide persoonlik en sosiaal. Tradisioneel het baie geglo dat waarde in die konteks van godsdiens gevind moet word, maar Albert Camus verwerp godsdiens as 'n daad van lafhartigheid en filosofiese selfmoord.

'N Belangrike rede waarom Camus godsdiens verwerp het, is dat dit gebruik word om pseudo-oplossings te bied vir die absurde aard van die werklikheid, die feit dat menslike redenasies so swak pas by die werklikheid soos ons dit vind. Inderdaad, Camus verwerp alle pogings om die absurde, selfs eksistensialistiese oplossings te oorkom, soos die geloofsprong wat Kierkegaard bepleit het. Om hierdie rede was die kategorisering van Camus altyd as 'n eksistensialis 'n bietjie moeilik. In Die mite van Sysiphus, Het Camus eksistensialisties geskei van absurdistiese skrywers en hy het laasgenoemde meer as die eersgenoemde beskou.


Vroeë lewe en opvoeding

Albert Camus is op 7 November 1913 in Mondovi, Algerië, gebore. Sy pa, Lucien Camus, kom uit 'n familie van Franse migrante en het by 'n wynmakery gewerk totdat hy tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog in diens geneem is. Op 11 Oktober 1914 sterf Lucien nadat hy in die Slag van die Marne gewond is. Die Camus-gesin verhuis kort na Lucien se dood na die werkersklas in Algiers, waar Albert saam met sy ma Catherine, sy ouer broer Lucien, sy ouma en twee ooms woon. Albert was baie toegewyd aan sy ma, alhoewel hulle sukkel om te kommunikeer weens haar gehoor- en spraakgebrek.

Camus se vroeë armoede was vormend, en baie van sy latere skryfwerk fokus op die 'aaklige slytasie van armoede'. Die gesin het nie elektrisiteit of lopende water in hul beknopte drieslaapkamerwoonstel gehad nie. As 'n Pied-Noir, of Europees-Algeryn, was sy armoede nie so volledig soos die Arabiese en Berberiese bevolkings in Algerië, wat as tweederangse burgers in die Frans-beheerde staat beskou is nie. Albert geniet sy jeug in Algiers, veral die strand en die straatspeletjies vir kinders.

Camus se laerskoolonderwyser, Louis Germain, het belofte by Albert gesien en hom geleer vir die beurseksamen om die Franse hoërskool by te woon, bekend as die lycée. Albert het geslaag en dus sy opleiding voortgesit in plaas daarvan om te begin werk soos sy broer Lucien. Op hoërskool studeer Camus onder die filosofie -onderwyser Jean Grenier. Later het Camus die boek van Grenier geskryf Eilande gehelp om hom te herinner aan 'heilige dinge' en vergoed vir sy gebrek aan godsdienstige opvoeding. Camus is met tuberkulose gediagnoseer en het die res van sy lewe aan afwykende siektes gely.

In 1933 het Camus filosofie aan die Universiteit van Algiers begin studeer, en ondanks baie valse begin het hy hom baie besig gehou. In 1934 trou hy met die boheemse morfienverslaafde Simone Hié, wie se ma die egpaar finansieel ondersteun het tydens hul kort huwelik. Camus het verneem dat Simone sake onderhandel met dokters in ruil vir dwelms en dat die twee geskei is. Teen 1936 skryf Camus as joernalis vir die linkses Alger Republiek, het as akteur en dramaturg aan 'n teatergroep deelgeneem en by die Kommunistiese Party aangesluit. In 1937 is Camus egter uit die party geskors omdat hy Arabiese burgerregte ondersteun het. Daarna skryf hy 'n roman, 'N Gelukkige dood, wat nie as sterk genoeg vir publikasie beskou is nie, en daarom publiseer hy sy opstelversameling in 1937, Die verkeerde kant en die regterkant.

Camus se punte was nie uitsonderlik nie, maar moes hom in aanmerking kon laat kom vir doktorale studie en sertifisering as professor in filosofie. In 1938 word sy aansoek om hierdie graad egter deur die chirurg -generaal van Algiers afgekeur, sodat die regering nie vir mediese sorg hoef te betaal vir iemand met die geskiedenis van Camus nie. In 1939 het Camus probeer om in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog te veg, maar is om gesondheidsredes verwerp.


Albert Camus

'N Lbert Camus (1913-1960) was 'n verteenwoordiger van die nie-metropolitaanse Franse letterkunde. Sy oorsprong in Algerië en sy ervarings daar in die dertigerjare was die dominante invloede in sy denke en werk. Van semi-proletariese ouers, vroeg verbonde aan intellektuele kringe van sterk revolusionêre neigings, met 'n diep belangstelling in filosofie (slegs toeval het hom verhinder om 'n universiteitsloopbaan op daardie gebied te volg), het hy op vyf-en-twintigjarige ouderdom na Frankryk gekom. Die man en die tye ontmoet: Camus het tydens die besetting by die versetsbeweging aangesluit en was na die bevryding 'n rubriekskrywer vir die koerant Bestry. Maar sy joernalistieke aktiwiteite was hoofsaaklik 'n reaksie op die eise van die tyd in 1947, maar Camus tree uit die politieke joernalistiek en was, benewens die skryf van sy fiksie en essays, baie aktief in die teater as vervaardiger en dramaturg (byvoorbeeld Caligula, 1944). Hy verwerk ook toneelstukke deur Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati en Faulkner's Requiem vir 'n non. Sy liefde vir die teater kan teruggevoer word na sy lidmaatskap van L ’Equipe, 'n Algerynse teatergroep, wie se gesamentlike skepping ” Révolte dans les Asturies (1934) is om politieke redes verbied.

Die opstel Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), 1942, verduidelik Camus se idee van die absurde en van die aanvaarding daarvan met die totale afwesigheid van hoop, wat niks te doen het met wanhoop nie, 'n voortdurende weiering, wat nie verwar moet word met afstanddoening nie #8211 en 'n bewuste ontevredenheid ”. Meursault, sentrale karakter van L ’Étranger (The Stranger), 1942, illustreer baie van hierdie opstel: die mens as die naar slagoffer van die absurde ortodoksie van die gewoonte, later as die jong moordenaar tereggestel word en#8211 versoek word deur wanhoop, hoop en redding. Dr Rieux van La Peste (The Plague), 1947, wat onverpoos die plaaggeteisterde burgers van Oran bywoon, tree die opstand in teen 'n wêreld van absurde en onreg, en bevestig die woorde van Camus: “We weier om wanhoop van die mensdom. Sonder om die onredelike ambisie om mans te red, wil ons hulle nog steeds dien ”. Ander bekende werke van Camus is La Chute (The Fall), 1956, en L ’Exil et le royaume (Exile and the Kingdom), 1957. Sy soeke na morele orde het sy estetiese korrelasie gevind in die klassisisme van sy kuns. Hy was 'n stilis van groot suiwerheid en intense konsentrasie en rasionaliteit.

Van Nobellesings, letterkunde 1901-1967, Redakteur Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

Hierdie outobiografie/biografie is tydens die toekenning geskryf en die eerste keer in die boekreeks gepubliseer Les Prix Nobel. Dit is later geredigeer en herpubliseer in Nobel lesings. Gee altyd die bron soos hierbo getoon om hierdie dokument aan te haal.

Albert Camus sterf op 4 Januarie 1960.

Kopiereg en kopie The Nobel Foundation 1957

Om hierdie afdeling aan te haal
MLA -styl: Albert Camus – Biografiese. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Ma. 21 Junie 2021. & lttttps: //www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1957/camus/biographical/>

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Albert Camus - Geskiedenis

Albert Camus was 'n Franse intellektuele en invloedryke filosoof wat in 1957 die Nobelprys vir letterkunde ontvang het. Die romans wat hy agtergelaat het na 'n tragiese dood op 46 -jarige ouderdom, word beskou as een van die belangrikste literêre werke van die 20ste eeu.

Benewens die skryf en ontwikkeling van vooraanstaande idees oor post-moderne denke, was Camus 'n man met intense politieke betrokkenheid en optrede. Hy was 'n produktiewe sosiale kritikus. Hy word dikwels met kommunisme verbind, maar sy 'handelsmerk' van kommunisme was in stryd met die hoofelemente van die stelsel, soos die Sowjet -handelsmerk van kommunisme. Dit is miskien meer akkuraat om aan Camus te dink as 'n anargis wat totalitêre regimes gehaat het. Hy het geglo dat mense verdien om in vryheid en gelykheid te leef.

Vroeë jare van Camus

Albert Camus is in 1913 in Franse Algerië gebore. Hy word geïdentifiseer as 'n Pied-Noir, 'n term wat gebruik word om mense van Franse nasionaliteit te beskryf wat in die voormalige Franse protektorate van Noord-Afrika gewoon het. Sy pa, Lucien, was 'n laer klas landbouwerker. Sy ma, Catherine Helene Sintes, was van Spaanse afkoms.

Die gesin het in 'n tweekamerhuis met 'n vuil vloer gewoon. Lucian is dood in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, wat beteken dat Albert in nog swakker omstandighede sou grootword. Hy het skaars sy pa geken. Mevrou Camus was dikwels siek en amper doof. Sy het gesukkel om haar twee kinders groot te maak. Albert het 'n ouer broer, Lucien.

Skooljare

Skool en opvoeding was die redding van die jong Albert toe hy grootgeword het in 'n sombere armoede. Hy geniet sy skoolwerk met entoesiasme. Sy onderwysers herken hom as 'n student met spesiale vermoëns, veral in die skryf en interpretasie van letterkunde. Toe een van sy onderwysers van sy verarmde agtergrond verneem, was hy verbaas dat so 'n briljante student in sulke nederige omstandighede was.
Camus se skerp verstand het hom 'n beurs besorg om die Universiteit van Algiers by te woon. Daar voltooi hy wat gelykstaande is aan 'n meestersgraad in filosofie. Hy het ook uitgeblink in sokker (sokker). Camus het beskou as voetbal speel as een van die grootste vreugdes van sy lewe.

Swak gesondheid en skryf

Camus het in 1930 tuberkulose opgedoen, wat sy deelname aan sokker beëindig het. Na die universiteit het Camus by die Kommunistiese Party aangesluit en as skrywer, joernalis en politieke aktivis gewerk. Hy was ook aktief in teater en het 'n aantal toneelstukke geskryf.
Terwyl hy nuusverhale en politieke traktate skryf, begin Camus ook aansienlike fiksiewerk, waaronder kortverhale en romans.

Sy eerste roman, Die vreemdeling, verskyn in 1942. Hy skryf verder Die plaag, gepubliseer in 1947, en Die sondeval, 1956. Twee romans verskyn na sy dood, 'N Gelukkige dood, uitgereik in 1971, en Die Eerste Man, in 1995. Hy is in 1957 met die Nobelprys vir letterkunde bekroon.

Die filosofie van Camus

Die romans van Albert Camus weerspieël sy vreemde en taamlik unieke filosofie, wat dikwels verkeerd verstaan ​​is. Baie mense kategoriseer Camus nog steeds as 'n eksistensialis, soortgelyk aan Jean-Paul Sartre, maar dit is bekend dat beide Camus en Sartre verbasing uitgespreek het dat iemand hulle in dieselfde kamp sou plaas.

Camus se "absurditeit" behels moeilike begrippe om te begryp, want baie van wat dit voorstel, lyk teenstrydig en paradoksaal. Camus het geglo dat die lewe bykans betekenisloos is, en tog het hy aangevoer dat mense hul lewens moet leef asof hulle werklik betekenis het.

Camus het ook gesê dat dit dwaas is dat mense nie pyn en hartseer in die lewe verwag nie, wat volgens hom 'n natuurlike gevolg is van lewe. Aan die ander kant het hy aangevoer dat dit ewe belangrik is om te erken dat die lewe vreugdevol en gelukkig kan wees. Hy het voorgestel dat ons die gelukkige tye waardeer en nie op die donker tye fokus nie. Camus het gesê dat geen kwaliteit permanent is nie en dat donker tye altyd plek maak vir helderder tye. Hy het geglo dat mense beide eerlik moet erken en omhels.

Camus lyk ook teenstrydig deurdat hy voorstel dat 'n ateïs ook 'kan verlang na redding en betekenis'. Hy was diep beïnvloed deur die Christelike filosoof Sint Augustinus, en ook die ou Griekse Neoplatonis, Plotinus. Camus het geglo dat elke mens se direkte ervaring van die allergrootste belang is.

Polities het Camus homself geïdentifiseer as 'n anargis, wat ontstaan ​​het uit 'n fundamentele grondslag in 'n goedaardige vorm van kommunisme. Hy was uiters gekant teen diktatoriale regimes en nasies wat onder die heerskappy van totalitarisme ly.

Camus se omstrede dood

Albert Camus is dood in 'n motorongeluk in 1960 naby Villeblevin, Frankryk. Destyds was hy 'n wêreld gerespekteerde skrywer en filosoof. Hy het die Nobelprys minder as drie jaar tevore gewen. Hy was 'n beroemde figuur in Frankryk, waar hy die grootste deel van sy volwasse lewe geleef het nadat hy van Algerië daarheen verhuis het. Daar is 'n saak gemaak dat sy tragiese dood nie 'n ongeluk was nie, maar deur die Sowjet -KGB ontwerp is, hoewel dit baie omstrede is.

Ten tyde van sy dood was hy getroud met sy tweede vrou, Francine Faure, met wie hy tweeling dogters, Catherine en Jean, gehad het. Hy was voorheen 'n kort tydjie getroud met Simone Hie.


'N Inleiding tot Albert Camus

Albert Camus is gebore in Algerië in 1913, destyds 'n Franse kolonie. Hy studeer filosofie aan die Universiteit van Algiers, en word daarna joernalis.

Hy is gebore in 'n arm werkersgesin, sy ma was 'n ongeletterde skoonmaakster, en daar was geen boeke in sy huis nie; hy het sy pa verloor toe hy 'n paar maande oud was in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Toe hy na die lycée of hoërskool begin gaan, was hy 'n vreemdeling. Hy kom uit 'n arm voorstad en is skielik omring deur jong seuns met gesinne uit die middelklas.

Met verloop van tyd het hy gou 'n bekende karakter in die universiteitskringe geword en dames was baie aangetrokke tot hom. Hy was veral lief vir sokker en verklaar dat: 'Alles wat ek seker weet oor moraliteit en verpligtinge wat ek aan sokker te danke het.'

Camus met sy voetbalspan (voor, gehurk met baret)

Op 17 -jarige ouderdom is hy egter deur tuberkulose getref. Dit onderbreek sy studies en sy fisiese lewe. Gedurende hierdie tyd het hy gefassineer geraak deur teater en toneelspel. Hy organiseer die Theatre de l'Équipe, 'n jong avant-garde dramatiese groep.

Camus trou met die pianis en wiskundige Francine, wat die tweeling, Catherine en Jean, gebaar het.

Francine en Camus saam met Jean en Catherine

In 1939 verskyn sy toneelstuk, Caligula, die verhaal van 'n Romeinse keiser wat bekend was vir sy wreedheid en skynbaar kranksinnige gedrag. Later publiseer hy sy beroemde roman Die vreemdeling vertaal as Die vreemdeling (of Die buitestander), en die filosofiese opstel Die mite van Sisifos.

Na die besetting van Frankryk deur die Duitsers in 1940, word Camus een van die intellektuele leiers van die Weerstandsbeweging. Hy het by die Franse verset aangesluit en die hoof van die ondergrondse koerant geword Bestry, wat hy gehelp het om op te spoor. Al die studente het destyds Combat gelees, dit was die koerant wat uit die verset gekom het en 'n daaglikse artikel gedra het.

Na die oorlog het hy hom toegewy aan skryf en het hy 'n internasionale reputasie en 'n beroemde persoon met sy romans gevestig. Hy is bekroon met die Nobelprys vir letterkunde in 1957. Op die ouderdom van 44, die tweede jongste ontvanger in die geskiedenis. Hy het gesê:

'Wat ook al die omstandighede van 'n skrywer se lewe, onduidelik of tydelik beroemd, ondergedompel in die tirannie of 'n rukkie vry om homself uit te druk, hy kan 'n gevoel van 'n lewende gemeenskap herstel wat hom sal regverdig, maar slegs op voorwaarde dat hy dit aanvaar soveel as wat hy kan, die twee verantwoordelikhede wat die grootsheid van sy beroep verteenwoordig, om waarheid en vryheid te dien. ”

Camus ontvang die Nobelprys vir letterkunde (1957)

Destyds veg Algerië vir onafhanklikheid en daar was groot meningsverskille oor die hele wêreld. Hy was ontsteld oor die gebeure daar, hy kon aan niks anders dink nie; hy aanvaar nie die idee van onafhanklikheid nie en voel dat hy gelyke regte het op die grond in Algerië wat tot die grootste deel van sy kinderjare behoort.

'Ek wou jare lank volgens die moraliteit van die meerderheid lewe, ek het myself gedwing om soos almal te lewe. Ek het gesê wat nodig is om te sê, selfs al voel ek apart. Die gevolg hiervan was katastrofies, nou dwaal ek tussen die puin, bedank my eie en my gestremdhede en ek moet die waarheid herbou, omdat ek my hele lewe lank in 'n leuen geleef het. ”

Nadat hy die Nobelprys ontvang het, was hy nie meer arm nie en het hy vir die eerste keer geld gehad om te bestee. Hy het 'n spaarsamige lewe gelei, afgesien van die aantreklike aantreklikheid. Hy het homself verban in Frankryk, pynlik afgesny van Algerië, sy geboorteland, sy son. Hy leef in diepe eensaamheid.

Camus se sienings het bygedra tot die opkoms van die filosofie bekend as Absurdisme, wat sy oorsprong het in die werk van Deense filosoof Søren Kierkegaard, wat gekies het om die krisis waarmee mense te kampe het met die Absurde te konfronteer deur sy eie eksistensialistiese filosofie te ontwikkel. Camus word ook as 'n eksistensialis beskou, alhoewel hy die term beslis gedurende sy leeftyd verwerp het.

Kierkegaard

Hy het besluit dat sy werk as skrywer sal vorder. Elke fase sou gekenmerk word deur 'n toneelstuk, 'n roman en 'n opstel. Die eerste siklus was The Absurd, die tweede The Rebellion, en toe aan die einde van sy lewe het hy gevoel dat hy tot 'n heeltemal nuwe siklus kom, wat die liefde of geluk sou wees.

Op hierdie tydstip, in 1960, toe hy terugkeer na Parys, is hy egter dood in 'n padongeluk. In sy sak is 'n ongebruikte treinkaartjie gevind. In die wrak was ook bladsye met die handgeskrewe manuskrip, 'n epiese roman wat hy voorspel het dat hy sy beste werk sou wees. Dit is 34 jaar later geredigeer en gepubliseer as Die Eerste Man deur Camus se dogter Catherine, wat onmiddellik 'n topverkoper geword het en gehelp het om die karakter van Camus dieper te verstaan ​​as enige ander van sy werke.

Motorongeluk wat Camus onmiddellik doodgemaak het

Camus leer ons deur sy absurdisme dat die lewe inherente waarde het, selfs al het dit geen inherente betekenis nie, baie anders as nihilisme, waarin niks betekenis het nie. Sy aardse aard laat 'n mens voel dat hy 'n soort vriend is wat ons op ons lewensreis lei en ons help om ons stryd met angs, depressie of selfmoord te oorkom. Hy bekamp die lewe, en vra ons om dit te leef, tot by trane.

Dit is 'n inleiding tot Camus; in latere poste gaan ons sy hoofgedagtes ondersoek: The Absurd, Revolt, Rebellion, sowel as sy mees opvallende werke: The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Rebel, The Plague, and The Fall .


L ' Étranger

Sy eerste roman, L ' Étranger (The Stranger), wat in 1942 gepubliseer is, fokus op die negatiewe aspek van die mens. Die tema van die roman is beliggaam in die " vreemdeling " van die titel, 'n jong klerk genaamd Meursault, wat sowel 'n verteller as 'n held is. Meursault is 'n vreemdeling vir alle verwagte menslike emosies. Hy is 'n menslike slaapwandel deur die lewe. Die krisis van die roman vind plaas op 'n strand, toe Meursault, wat betrokke was by 'n rusie wat nie sy oorsaak was nie, 'n Arabier skiet. Die tweede deel van die roman handel oor sy verhoor weens moord en sy doodsvonnis, wat hy net so goed verstaan ​​as waarom hy die Arabier vermoor het. Meursault is absoluut eerlik om sy gevoelens te beskryf, en dit is hierdie eerlikheid wat hom 'n vreemdeling in die wêreld maak en die skuldigbevinding verseker. Die totale situasie simboliseer die absurde aard van die lewe, en hierdie effek word verhoog deur die doelbewus plat en kleurlose styl van die boek.

Kon nie werk kry in Frankryk tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog nie (1939 � 'n oorlog waarin Groot -Brittanje, Frankryk, die Sowjetunie en die Verenigde State teen Duitsland, Italië en Japan geveg het), omdat Duitsland Frankryk binnegeval en beset het, het Camus teruggekeer na Algerië in 1941 en voltooi sy volgende boek, Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), ook gepubliseer in 1942. Dit is 'n filosofiese opstel oor die aard van die betekenisloosheid van die lewe, wat getoon word in die mitiese figuur van Sisyphus, wat vir ewig gevonnis word om slegs 'n swaar rots teen 'n berg op te rol om dit weer terug te laat rol. Sisifos word 'n simbool van die mensdom en behaal in sy voortdurende pogings 'n sekere hartseer oorwinning.

In 1942 het Camus, terug in Frankryk, by 'n versetgroep aangesluit en ondergrondse joernalistiek beoefen tot die bevryding in 1944, toe hy redakteur van die voormalige versetskoerant geword het Bestry vir drie jaar. Ook gedurende hierdie periode is sy eerste twee toneelstukke opgevoer: Le Malentendu (Kruis-doel) in 1944 en Caligula in 1945. Ook hier is die hooftema die betekenisloosheid van die lewe en die finaliteit van die dood. Dit was in toneelskryf dat Camus die suksesvolste gevoel het.

In 1947 publiseer Camus sy tweede roman, La Peste (Die plaag). Hier fokus Camus op die positiewe kant van die mens. In die beskrywing van 'n fiktiewe aanval van builepes ('n hoogs aansteeklike uitbraak van siektes wat baie sterftes veroorsaak) in die stad Oran in Algerië, behandel hy weer die tema van die absurde, verteenwoordig deur die betekenislose en totaal onverdiende lyding en dood wat deur die pes veroorsaak word . Maar nou is die tema van opstand sterk ontwikkel. Die mens kan hierdie lyding nie sonder 'n geveg aanvaar nie. Die verteller, dr. Rieux, verduidelik sy ideaal om eerlikheid " — te behou deur sy karaktersterkte te behou deur so goed as moontlik te sukkel, al is dit onsuksesvol, teen die uitbreek van 'n siekte. Op een vlak kan die roman beskou word as 'n fiktiewe voorstelling van die Duitse besetting van Frankryk. Dit het ook 'n groter aantrekkingskrag, maar as 'n simbool van die stryd teen boosheid en lyding, die grootste morele probleem van menslike ervaring.


4. Camus en die wêreld van geweld: Die rebel

Hierdie meditasie oor absurditeit en selfmoord volg nou op die publikasie van Camus & rsquos se eerste roman, Die vreemdeling, wat ook gesentreer is op individuele ervaring en draai om sy protagonis en rsquos sinnelose moord op 'n Arabier op 'n strand in Algiers en eindig met sy teregstelling deur guillotine. En dit word dikwels vergeet dat hierdie absurdistiese romanskrywer en filosoof ook 'n politieke aktivis was, en mdashhe was lid van die Algerynse tak van die Franse Kommunistiese Party in die middel van die dertigerjare en organiseerder van 'n teatergeselskap in Algiers wat avant-garde en politieke toneelstukke opgevoer het en mdashas sowel as 'n kruisvaarder -joernalis. Van Oktober 1938 tot Januarie 1940 werk hy daaraan Alger r & eacutepublicain en 'n susterskoerant. In Junie 1939 skryf hy 'n reeks verslae oor hongersnood en armoede in die bergagtige kusstreek Kabylie, onder die eerste gedetailleerde artikels wat ooit deur 'n Europese Algeriër geskryf is wat die ellendige lewensomstandighede van die inheemse bevolking beskryf.

Na die begin van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog word Camus redakteur van Le Soir r & eacutepublicain en gekant teen die toetrede van die Franse tot die oorlog. Die skouspel van Camus en sy mentor Pascal Pia wat daagliks hul linkervleuel in die grond hardloop omdat hulle die dringendheid van die stryd teen Nazisme verwerp het, is een van die opvallendste periodes van sy lewe met die minste kommentaar. By die misverstand van Nazisme aan die begin van die oorlog, bepleit hy onderhandelinge met Hitler wat gedeeltelik die vernedering van die Verdrag van Versailles sou omkeer. Sy pasifisme was in ooreenstemming met 'n ou Franse tradisie, en Camus meld hom vir militêre diens uit solidariteit met die jong mans, soos sy broer, wat soldate geword het. Met die bedoeling om lojaal te dien en 'n onderhandelde vrede in die kaserne te bepleit, was hy kwaad dat sy tuberkulose hom gediskwalifiseer het (Lottman, 201 & ndash31 Aronson 2004, 25 & ndash28).

Hierdie biografiese feite is relevant vir die filosofiese ontwikkeling van Camus en rsquos Die mite van Sisifos. Toe hy na Frankryk verhuis en besig was met die weerstand teen die Duitse besetting, het Camus in twee briewe aan 'n Duitse vriend en in 1943 en 1944 klandestien gepubliseer, die vraag oorweeg of geweld teen die besetters geregverdig is. Hy het gepraat oor die wat ons [Frans] vir alle oorlog gehad het, en die noodsaaklikheid om uit te vind of ons die reg het om mense dood te maak, of ons mag toevoeg tot die verskriklike ellende van hierdie wêreld & rdquo (RRD, 8). Hy het oorlog geminag, wantrouig oor heroïsme, en beweer dat die besette Franse duur betaal het vir hierdie ompad en met tronkstraf en teregstellings ter dagbreek, met verlatenhede en skeidings, met daaglikse hongersnood, met uitgeteerde kinders en bowenal met vernedering van ons mens waardigheid en rdquo (RRD, 8). Eers toe ons die dood en die deur, die agterkant van die Duitsers was, het ons die redes vir die geveg verstaan, sodat ons voortaan sukkel met 'n skoon gewete en 'n kwadrilliese hande. vir geregtigheid en nasionale oorlewing. Die daaropvolgende briewe het die Franse steeds kontrasteer met die Duitsers op morele gronde wat direk uit die Camus & rsquos -filosofie gekom het, en het voorgestel dat die oorgang van Die mite van Sisifos aan Die rebel: as beide teëstanders begin met 'n gevoel van die wêreld en absurditeit in die wêreld, het Camus beweer dat die Franse hierdie bewustheid erken en geleef het, terwyl die Duitsers dit probeer oorkom deur die wêreld te oorheers.

Camus & rsquos se anti-Nazi-verbintenis en koerantervaring het daartoe gelei dat hy Pia in Maart 1944 as redakteur van Bestry, die belangrikste ondergrondse koerant van die nie-kommunistiese linkses. Na die bevryding het die kwessie van geweld hom egter polities en filosofies steeds besig gehou. Sy allegorie van die oorlogsjare, Die plaag, toon 'n gewelddadige weerstand teen 'n onverklaarbare pes, en in 1945 was syne een van die min stemme wat uit protes teen die Amerikaanse gebruik van kernwapens om Japan te verslaan (Aronson 2004, 61-63). Na die bevryding het hy die doodstraf vir medewerkers teengestaan, hom tot marxisme en kommunisme gekeer omdat hy revolusie aangeneem het, die dreigende koue oorlog en die dreigende geweld daarvan verwerp, en dan in Die rebel het sy dieper begrip van geweld begin uitspel.

4.1 Absurditeit, rebellie en moord

Aan die begin van Die rebel, Kom Camus op waar hy opgehou het Die mite van Sisifos. As hy weer as filosoof skryf, keer hy terug na die terrein van argumente deur te verduidelik wat absurdistiese redenering behels. Die uiteindelike gevolgtrekking daarvan is die afwysing van selfmoord en die aanvaarding van die desperate ontmoeting tussen menslike ondersoek en die stilte van die heelal. (R, 6). Aangesien 'n ander gevolgtrekking sy uitgangspunt, naamlik die bestaan ​​van die vraesteller, sou ontken, moet absurdisme die lewe logies aanvaar as die enigste noodsaaklike voordeel. & ldquo Om te sê dat die lewe absurd is, moet die bewussyn lewendig wees & rdquo (R, 6, tr. verander). Om te lewe en te eet, waardeer hulself oordele en waarde (Camus 1968, 160). Om asem te haal is om te oordeel & rdquo (R, 8). Net soos in sy kritiek op die eksistensialiste, bepleit Camus 'n enkele standpunt waaruit hy kan argumenteer vir objektiewe geldigheid, die van konsekwentheid.

Met die eerste bloos blyk dit egter dat die boek & rsquos -onderwerp meer 'n historiese tema as 'n filosofiese tema het. Die doel van hierdie opstel is & hellip om die realiteit van die hede, wat logiese misdaad is, in die oë te kyk en die argumente waarmee dit geregverdig is noukeurig te ondersoek, dit is 'n poging om die tyd waarin ons leef, te verstaan. 'N Mens sou dink dat 'n tydperk wat binne 'n tydperk van vyftig jaar wortels ontwortel, slawe maak of sewentig miljoen mense doodmaak, uit die hand gewys moet word. Maar die skuld daarvan moet nog steeds verstaan ​​word (rdquo (R, 3).

Stel sulke vrae 'n heeltemal nuwe filosofie voor, of is dit voortdurend daarmee? Die mite van Sisifos?. Die probleem word nie opgelos deur die verduidelikings wat Camus gee vir sy verskuiwing in die eerste bladsye van Die rebel& mdashby met verwysing na die massamoorde van die middelste derde van die twintigste eeu. Die leeftyd van ontkenning, en hy sê, het vroeër 'n kommer vir selfmoord veroorsaak, maar nou moet ons ons posisie ten opsigte van moord en rdquo (R, 4). Het die & ldquoages & rdquo verander in die minder as tien jaar tussen die twee boeke? Hy het dalk tereg gesê of moord 'n rasionele grondslag het, die vraag implisiet is in die bloed en twis van hierdie eeu, maar as hy sy fokus van selfmoord na moord verander, is dit ook duidelik dat Camus sy filosofiese optiek van die individu verskuif tot ons sosiale besitting.

Hierdeur pas Camus die filosofie van die absurde in nuwe, sosiale rigtings toe en probeer hy nuwe, historiese vrae beantwoord. Maar soos ons sien hoe hy dit aan die begin van Die rebel die kontinuïteit met 'n filosofiese lees van Die vreemdeling is ook opvallend duidelik. Romanskrywer Kamel Daoud, oorvertel The Vreemdeling vanuit die oogpunt van die slagoffer, noem die moord op sy Arabiese & ldquokinsman & rdquo 'n & ldquofilosofiese misdaad & rdquo (Daoud, 19). Aan die begin van Die rebel Camus verduidelik:

As die probleem vandag histories & ldquomurder is & rdquo (R, 5), die ontmoeting met absurditeit vertel ons dat dieselfde filosofies waar is. Wat kan u sê oor moord nadat u selfmoord uitgesluit het?

Starting from the absence of God, the key theme of Nuptials, and the inevitability of absurdity, the key theme of The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus incorporates both of these into Die rebel, but alongside them he now stresses revolt. The act of rebellion assumes the status of a primary datum of human experience, like the Cartesian cogito taken by Sartre as his point of departure. Camus first expressed this directly under the inspiration of his encounter with Being and Nothingness. But in calling it &ldquorevolt&rdquo he takes it in a direction sharply different than Sartre, who built from the cogito an &ldquoessay in phenomenological ontology.&rdquo Ignoring completely the ontological dimension, Camus is now concerned with immediate issues of human social experience. Revolt, to be sure, still includes the rebellion against absurdity that Camus described in The Myth of Sisyphus, and once again he will speak of rebelling against our own mortality and the universe&rsquos meaninglessness and incoherence. Maar Die rebel begins with the kind of revolt that rejects oppression and slavery, and protests against the world&rsquos injustice.

It is at first, like The Myth of Sisyphus, a single individual&rsquos rebellion, but now Camus stresses that revolt creates values, dignity, and solidarity. &ldquoI revolt, therefore we are&rdquo (R, 22) is his paradoxical statement. But how can an Ek lead to a ons? How does &ldquowe are&rdquo follow from &ldquoI revolt&rdquo? How can the individual&rsquos experience of absurdity, and the rebellion against it, stem from, produce, imply, or entail the wider social sense of injustice and solidarity? Die ons in fact is the subject of Die rebel, although the title L&rsquoHomme revolté suggests that one&rsquos original motivation may be individual. Acting against oppression entails having recourse to social values, and at the same time joining with others in struggle. On both levels solidarity is our common condition.

In Die rebel Camus takes the further step, which occupies most of the book, of developing his notion of metaphysical and historical rebellion in opposition to the concept of revolution. Applying his philosophical themes directly to politics in the years immediately after the Liberation of France in 1944, Camus had already concluded that Marxists, and especially the Communists, were guilty of evading life&rsquos absurdity by aiming at a wholesale transformation of society, which must necessarily be violent. And now, in Die rebel, he describes this as a major trend of modern history, using similar terms to those he had used in The Myth of Sisyphus to describe the religious and philosophical evasions.

What sort of work is this? In a book so charged with political meaning, Camus makes no explicitly political arguments or revelations, and presents little in the way of actual social analysis or concrete historical study. Die rebel is, rather, a historically framed philosophical essay about underlying ideas and attitudes of civilization. David Sprintzen suggests these taken-for-granted attitudes operate implicitly and in the background of human projects and very rarely become conscious (Sprintzen 1988, 123).

Camus felt that it was urgent to critically examine these attitudes in a world in which calculated murder had become common. Applying his absurdist ideas and insights to politics, in Die rebel Camus explains what he regards as the modern world&rsquos increasingly organized and catastrophic refusal to face, accept, and live with absurdity. The book provides a unique perspective&mdashpresenting a coherent and original structure of premise, mood, description, philosophy, history, and even prejudice.

4.2 Against Communism

Camus&rsquos hostility to Communism had its personal, political, and philosophical reasons. These certainly reached back to his expulsion from the Communist Party in the mid-1930s for refusing to adhere to its Popular Front strategy of playing down French colonialism in Algeria in order to win support from the white working class. Then, making no mention of Marxism, The Myth of Sisyphus is eloquently silent on its claims to present a coherent understanding of human history and a meaningful path to the future. His mutually respectful relations with Communists during the Resistance and the immediate postwar period turned bitter after he was attacked in the Communist press and repaid the attack in a series of newspaper articles in 1946 entitled &ldquoNeither Victims nor Executioners&rdquo (Aronson, 2004, 66-93).

In Die rebel Camus insisted that both Communism&rsquos appeal and its negative features sprang from the same irrepressible human impulse: faced with absurdity and injustice, humans refuse to accept their existence and instead seek to remake the world. Validating revolt as a necessary starting point, Camus criticizes politics aimed at building a utopian future, affirming once more that life should be lived in the present and in the sensuous world. He explores the history of post-religious and nihilistic intellectual and literary movements he attacks political violence with his views on limits and solidarity and he ends by articulating the metaphysical role of art as well as a self-limiting radical politics. In place of striving to transform the world, he speaks of mésure&mdash&ldquomeasure&rdquo, in the sense of proportion or balance&mdashand of living in the tension of the human condition. He labels this outlook &ldquoMediterranean&rdquo in an attempt to anchor his views to the place he grew up and to evoke in his readers its sense of harmony and appreciation of physical life. There is no substantive argument for the label, nor is one possible given his method of simply selecting who and what counts as representative of the &ldquoMediterranean&rdquo view while excluding others&mdashe.g., some Greek writers, not many Romans. In place of argument, he paints a concluding vision of Mediterranean harmony that he hopes will be stirring and lyrical, binding the reader to his insights.

As a political tract Die rebel asserts that Communism leads inexorably to murder, and then explains how revolutions arise from certain ideas and states of spirit. But he makes no close analysis of movements or events, gives no role to material needs or oppression, and regards the quest for social justice as a metaphysically inspired attempt to replace &ldquothe reign of grace by the reign of justice&rdquo (R, 56).

Furthermore, Camus insists that these attitudes are built into Marxism. In &ldquoNeither Victims nor Executioners&rdquo he declared himself a socialist but not a Marxist. He rejected the Marxist acceptance of violent revolution and the consequentialist maxim that &ldquothe end justifies the means.&rdquo [3] &ldquoIn the Marxian perspective,&rdquo he wrote sweepingly, &ldquoa hundred thousand deaths is a small price to pay for the happiness of hundreds of millions&rdquo (Camus 1991, 130). Marxists think this, Camus asserted, because they believe that history has a necessary logic leading to human happiness, and thus they accept violence to bring it about.

In Die rebel Camus takes this assertion a further step: Marxism is not primarily about social change but is rather a revolt that &ldquoattempts to annex all creation.&rdquo Revolution emerges when revolt seeks to ignore the limits built into human life. By an &ldquoinevitable logic of nihilism&rdquo Communism climaxes the modern trend to deify man and to transform and unify the world. Today&rsquos revolutions yield to the blind impulse, originally described in The Myth of Sisyphus, &ldquoto demand order in the midst of chaos, and unity in the very heart of the ephemeral&rdquo (MS, 10). As does the rebel who becomes a revolutionary who kills and then justifies murder as legitimate.

According to Camus, the execution of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution was the decisive step demonstrating the pursuit of justice without regard to limits. It contradicted the original life-affirming, self-affirming, and unifying purpose of revolt. This discussion belongs to Camus&rsquos &ldquohistory of European pride,&rdquo which is prefaced by certain ideas from the Greeks and certain aspects of early Christianity, but begins in earnest with the advent of modernity. Camus focuses on a variety of major figures, movements, and literary works: the Marquis de Sade, romanticism, dandyism, The Brothers Karamazov, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, surrealism, the Nazis, and above all the Bolsheviks. Camus describes revolt as increasing its force over time and turning into an ever more desperate nihilism, overthrowing God and putting man in his place, wielding power more and more brutally. Historical revolt, rooted in metaphysical revolt, leads to revolutions seeking to eliminate absurdity by using murder as their central tool to take total control over the world. Communism is the contemporary expression of this Western sickness.

In the twentieth century, Camus claims, murder has become &ldquoreasonable,&rdquo &ldquotheoretically defensible,&rdquo and justified by doctrine. People have grown accustomed to &ldquological crimes&rdquo&mdashthat is, mass death either planned or foreseen, and rationally justified. Thus Camus calls &ldquological crime&rdquo the central issue of the time, seeks to &ldquoexamine meticulously the arguments by which it is justified&rdquo (R, 3), and sets out to explore how the twentieth century became a century of slaughter.

We might justly expect an analysis of the arguments he speaks of, but Die rebel changes focus. Human reason is confused by &ldquoslave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or by a taste for the superhuman&rdquo (R, 4)&mdashthe first two refer to Communism, the third to Nazism. In the body of the text, Nazism virtually drops out (it was, he says, a system of &ldquoirrational terror&rdquo&mdashnot at all what interested Camus), sharply narrowing the inquiry. His shift is revealed by his question: How can murder be committed with premeditation and be justified by philosophy? It turns out that the &ldquorational murder&rdquo Camus was concerned with is not committed by capitalists or democrats, colonialists or imperialists, or by Nazis&mdashbut only by Communists.

He does not address the Holocaust, and although his had been a voice of protest against Hiroshima in 1945, he does not now ask how it happened. As a journalist he had been one of the few to indict French colonialism, but he does not mention it, except in a footnote. How was it possible for Camus to focus solely on the violence of Communism, given the history he had lived, in the very midst of the French colonial war in Vietnam, and when he knew that a bitter struggle over Algeria lay ahead? It seems he became blinded by ideology, separating Communism from the other evils of the century and directing his animus there. Camus&rsquos ideas, of course, had developed and matured over the years since he first began writing about revolt. But something else had happened: his agenda had changed. Absurdity and revolt, his original themes, had been harnessed as an alternative to Communism, which had become the archenemy. The philosophy of revolt became Cold-War ideology.

Want Die rebel claimed to describe the attitude that lay behind the evil features of contemporary revolutionary politics, it became a major political event. Readers could hardly miss his description of how the impulse for emancipation turned into organized, rational murder as the rebel-become-revolutionary attempted to order an absurd universe. In presenting this message, Camus sought not so much to critique Stalinism as its apologists. His specific targets were intellectuals attracted to Communism&mdashas he himself had been in the 1930s.

One of these targets was Jean-Paul Sartre, and toward the end of Die rebel Camus now took aim at his friend&rsquos evolving politics. Camus focuses on &ldquothe cult of history&rdquo against which the entire book is directed and his belief that &ldquothe existentialists,&rdquo led by Sartre, had fallen victim to the idea that revolt should lead to revolution. Within Camus&rsquos framework, Sartre is challenged as trying, like the predecessors criticized in The Myth of Sisyphus, to escape the absurdity with which his own thinking began by turning to Marxism. This is a bit of a stretch because Sartre was still several years from declaring himself a Marxist, and it shows Camus&rsquos tendency towards sweeping generalization rather than close analysis. But it also reflects his capacity for interpreting a specific disagreement in the broadest possible terms&mdashas a fundamental conflict of philosophies.

4.3 Violence: Inevitable and Impossible

The concluding chapters of Die rebel are punctuated with emphatic words of conclusion (alors, donc, ainsi, c&rsquoest pourquoi), which are rarely followed by consequences of what comes before and often introduce further assertions, without any evidence or analysis. They are studded with carefully composed topic sentences for major ideas&mdashwhich one expects to be followed by paragraphs, pages, and chapters of development but, instead, merely follow one another and wait until the next equally well-wrought topic sentence.

As often in the book, the reader must be prepared to follow an abstract dance of concepts, as &ldquorebellion,&rdquo &ldquorevolution,&rdquo &ldquohistory,&rdquo &ldquonihilism,&rdquo and other substantives stand on their own, without reference to human agents. The going gets even muddier as we near the end and the text verges on incoherence. How then is it possible that Foley judges Die rebel philosophically as Camus&rsquos &ldquomost important book&rdquo (Foley, 55)?

In these pages Camus is going back over familiar ground, contrasting the implicit religiosity of a future-oriented outlook that claims to understand and promote the logic of history, and justifying violence to implement it, with his more tentative &ldquophilosophy of limits,&rdquo with its sense of risk, &ldquocalculated ignorance,&rdquo and living in the present. However the strain stems from the fact that he is doing so much more. As he tries to bring the book to a conclusion he is wrestling with its most difficult theme&mdashthat the resort to violence is both inevitable and &ldquoimpossible.&rdquo The rebel lives in contradiction. He or she cannot abandon the possibility of lying, injustice, and violence, for they are part of the rebel&rsquos condition, and will of necessity enter into the struggle against oppression. &ldquoHe cannot, therefore, absolutely claim not to kill or lie, without renouncing his rebellion and accepting, once and for all, evil and murder.&rdquo In other words, to not rebel is to become an accomplice of oppression. Rebellion, Camus has insisted, will entail murder. Yet rebellion, &ldquoin principle,&rdquo is a protest against death, just as it is a source of the solidarity that binds the human community. He has said that death is the most fundamental of absurdities, and that at root rebellion is a protest against absurdity. Thus to kill any other human being, even an oppressor, is to disrupt our solidarity, in a sense to contradict our very being. It is impossible, then, to embrace rebellion while rejecting violence.

There are those, however, who ignore the dilemma: these are the believers in history, heirs of Hegel and Marx who imagine a time when inequality and oppression will cease and humans will finally be happy. For Camus this resembles the paradise beyond this life promised by religions, and he speaks of living for, and sacrificing humans for, a supposedly better future as, very simply, another religion. Moreover, his sharpest hostility is reserved for intellectuals who theorize and justify such movements. Accepting the dilemma, Camus is unable to spell out how a successful revolution can remain committed to the solidaristic and life-affirming principle of rebellion with which it began. He does however suggest two actions which, if implemented, would be signs of a revolution&rsquos commitment to remain rebellious: it would abolish the death penalty and it would encourage rather than restrict freedom of speech.

In addition, as Foley points out, Camus attempts to think through the question of political violence on a small-group and individual level. Both in Die rebel and in his plays Caligula en The Just Assassins, Camus brings his philosophy to bear directly on the question of the exceptional conditions under which an act of political murder can considered legitimate. (1) The target must be a tyrant (2) the killing must not involve innocent civilians (3) the killer must be in direct physical proximity to the victim (4) and there must be no alternative to killing (Foley 93). Furthermore, because the killer has violated the moral order on which human society is based, Camus makes the demand that he or she must be prepared to sacrifice his or her own life in return. But if he accepts killing in certain circumstances, Camus rules out mass killing, indirect murder, killing civilians, and killing without an urgent need to remove murderous and tyrannical individuals. These demands turn on the core idea of Die rebel, that to rebel is to assert and respect a moral order, and this must be sustained by the murderer&rsquos willingness to die.


Albert Camus

Albert Camus, along with his friends and fellow thinkers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir became one of the most famous intellectuals of the second half of the 20 th century. As well as this. Camus was also a brilliant and accomplished novelist, essayist and playwright. He is a man who, as well as being my favourite writer and one of my biggest inspirations, had a very extraordinary life and is someone who can continue to inspire us today despite him dying decades ago. This article will be a brief account of his life, philosophy and achievements and will reveal why he was called ‘the conscious of the West’.

Albert Camus was born in 1913 in Algeria when it was still a French colony. He was born into a family that were known as ‘pied-noirs’ which was someone of European ancestry but born and raised in Algeria. Camus’ father was killed during the First World War when he was just barely a year old but would continue to inspire his son in his career. He was raised by his mother who was a cleaner, partly deaf and had mental health issues, along with other family members in a working-class part of Algiers in extreme poverty. His house had no running water, bathroom or electricity but despite this, he remembered his childhood as a hard but happy one and his background would serve as an inspiration to him later in his career.

Camus went through school and then entered as a philosophy student in the University of Algiers, supporting himself whilst living alone by doing a variety of odd jobs. During this time, Camus was fortunate enough to have some very good and kind teachers who nurtured his interests and obvious high intelligence. He would never forget what they did for him even later in life. He became an avid reader, reading the classics as well as contemporary writers of the time and acquired a love of sport, especially football. He also began to contribute to various literary publications, co-formed a theatre company and travelled to France and joined the French Communist Party briefly in 1935.

He continued to work as a smalltime writer and journalist in the city of Lyon in France but was forced to return to Algeria in 1940 due to lack of money and stable employment and took a job as a teacher at a school in Oran. He also finished his first and most famous novel ‘L’etranger’ (The Outsider) which was published in 1942. The novel, about an unfeeling young man called Marsault who, seemingly for no actual reason shoots dead an Arab man on a beach in Algeria received massive critical acclaim and made him famous very quickly. He also returned to France in the same year, now under the occupation of the Nazis.

Camus had no run in with the German authorities until he received news that a friend was being executed in Paris by them which made Camus resent the Third Reich and convinced him that he couldn’t just stand by and let their injustices continue. Although a pacifist, he joined the French Resistance and became editor of the resistance newspaper ‘Combat’ which both kept morale up in the French population and hindered the Nazis in any way it could. He was present in Paris when it was liberated by the allies and reported on the last of the fighting there. Unlike other French journalists and intellectuals however, he expressed disgust at the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S in 1945. [1][2]

In the years after the war, Camus became a member of the French intellectual elite which included Sartre and De Beauvoir as well as other philosophers, thinkers and writers who all frequented the Café Du Flor in Paris which is still there and a café to this day. Camus’ own unique contribution to the philosophy of that period was his analysis of what he called ‘the absurd” which he had mainly detailed in his essay published in the same year as ‘The Outsider’ called ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’. In it, he expresses his definition of the absurd which is according to Will Buckingham et al “the feeling that we have when we recognise that the meanings we give to life do not exist behind our own consciousness. It is the result of contradiction between our our own sense of life’s meaning and and our knowledge that nevertheless the universe as a whole is meaningless”. The Greek myth of Sisyphus who was condemned by the gods to endlessly roll a massive boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down again for all time represented for Camus what the absurd was – trying to find meaning in something that didn’t have any. While this may seem depressing, Camus’ solution was to fight the absurd by living life as fully and as freely as possible in revolt against the meaningless of existence.[3] As he writes in his essay ‘ One of the only coherent philosophical positions is thus revolt…that revolt gives life its value, spread out over the whole length of a life, it restores its majesty to that life’.[4] He jokingly later admitted that after the publication of the essay, he could no longer use the phrase ‘How absurd’.

Camus continued to write, publishing his novel ‘The Plauge’ in 1947, the story of a Plauge ridden town in Algeria and its effects on the population through the eyes of characters of different professions and classes as widely seen as an allegory of the occupation of France by the Nazis. Indeed, the final words of the novel seem to serve as a warning by Camus that something as bad as the Nazis could easily come up again:

‘The plauge bacillus never dies or vanishes entirely, that it can remain dormant for dozens of years in furniture or clothing, that it waits patiently in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, handkerchiefs and old papers, and that perhaps the day will come when, for the instruction or misfortune of mankind, the plague will rouse its rats and send them to die in some well-contented city.’[5]

This ‘prophecy’ could have proved itself to be true in our own time with the rise of the so-called ‘alt-right’ and the neo-Nazi marches in Charlottesville earlier this year in the U.S.

Camus also published ‘The Rebel’ in 1951, an essay which examines both the history of and what it is to be a rebel and to revolt, it also criticised violent revolutions and uprisings which, shockingly included the French Revolution and the Soviet Union, in the process rejecting communism as a doctrine which led to a major fall out with Sartre, De Beauvoir and some of his other friends who were almost all Marxist or Marxist-learning. Despite the dire reception at the time, the essay is now remembered as being among Camus’ best works and attracts debate among philosophers to this day. He had always attracted suspicion from the top of French society having never been an elite Parisian intellectual like the others, Sartre and the rest were all from well-to-do families and had been educated in the best universities in the country, Camus as mentioned was from a very poor background, from a different country and had always remained a normal, working class man, even at this time when he was very well known, he still struggled to make ends meet financially.

After publishing a couple more things including a short story collection ‘Exile and the Kingdom’, Camus’ next big thing and crisis was what was happening in his native Algeria. Camus had always felt conflicted about his identity, feeling like a European in Africa or an African in Europe and since 1954 a war had been going on between Algerian nationalists the FLN and the French military and Camus was thrust into the thick of it. By 1956, the conflict had become a series of atrocities between both sides with the French military randomly killing Arab civilians and the FLN committing acts of terrorism against Pied-Noirs and other Europeans. Sartre and co took the side of the Algerians for full independence and the end of French rule. The French government and the majority of Camus’ own Pied Noir community were firmly against the notion. So what did Camus do? He rejected both sides and in 1956 made a speech in Algiers, desperately calling for a cease fire so that both sides could at least spare civilians. Camus was no imperialist and knew and acknowledged that the French government had treated native Algerians terribly. They had little political rights or representation and were viewed as inferior by their French occupiers. Camus though had always advocated that they should be given full equality under the law. He wanted Algeria to remain French but to be given much more autonomy and for Algerians and Frenchmen to live together in peace. Sadly though, he didn’t achieve this and the bloodshed would continue until an independent Algeria was finally established in 1962. [6][7]

Camus’ pacifism was quite different to what would normally be considered to be pacifism. While most pacifists want to abolish killing entirely, Camus said that this couldn’t be done and was too utopian an ideal. It is best expressed in his essays ‘Neither victims nor executioners’ which was written just after the war. Camus writes:

‘I once said that, after the experiences of the last two years [world war 2] I could no longer hold to any truth which might oblige me, directly or indirectly, to demand a man’s life… People like myself want not a world in which murder no longer exists (we are not so crazy as that!) but rather one in which murder is not legitimate.’ [8]

‘I will never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder…We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and such a people but some of us feel too strongly about our common humanity to make such a choice’…’the only honourable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions’[9]

We could all learn from Camus’ stance where he says that we all have a ‘common humanity’ and should not hate a people or country that we don’t even know anything about just because our governments have told us to do so. Robert Zaretsky writes that Camus’ ‘the rebel’ had explained that: ‘The true rebel, while insisting on her humanity, never loses sight of the humanity of others. She resists not only her oppressors’ efforts to dehumanize her, but also her own reflex to dehumanize them in turn…To describe the growing and desperate wave of Syrian refugees as “invaders” or “vermin,”…to declare all Muslim immigrants to our country as persona non grata or propose that we kill those related to Islamic State killers means that we have violated the limits of resistance against inhuman actions set out by Camus.’

So we could all learn from this, in fighting our enemy, in this case, ISIS we must be careful that we ourselves do not become another version of them in calling for violence against and dehumanising innocents.

Camus also passionately fought against the death penalty all his life, the opposition to which had come about because of a story that he had heard about his father who went eagerly to witness a public execution by guillotine and then been violently sick upon seeing it. From then on, both he and Camus had opposed the death penalty. – this also partly stemmed from his pacifism.

In 1957 Camus won the year’s Nobel prize in literature, he was both touched and completely shocked not believing that he was good enough to have won it and that it should have gone to a better writer but he gave a moving speech in Stockholm thanking his teachers for having helped him so much as a child, he spoke about still having work to do in his career, not knowing that it was almost over. After two more years of publishing articles and directing and writing plays, on January 4 th 1960, Albert Camus was tragically killed instantly in a car accident. The car was driven by his publisher and friend Michel Gallimard who was also killed. On his body was found an unfinished novel that had been in progress which was strongly based on his own life in Algeria. It was later published decades later by his daughter. When he heard of his death, Sartre forgot his earlier falling out with Camus and wrote a moving tribute to him seemingly rekindling their old friendship and saluting him for his contributions to the time in which they lived.

In conclusion, we can say that Camus was both a normal and an extraordinary person whose perseverance and intelligence led him from an apartment in Algeria with no running water to being a noble prize winner. In the midst of the uncertainty and tension of the Cold War and the violence occurring in Algeria, Camus was a person who tried to tell the world that we should still respect our fellow man, spare the innocent, fight evil wherever we find it and most importantly to live our lives to the full, to resist the absurdity of our existence in this strange world we call home.

At the end of ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ Camus wrote ‘the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart’ – We can safely say that Albert Camus was, without a doubt, someone who reached the heights.

[3] Will Buckingham et al, ‘The Philosophy Book’, DK Publishers Pp. 284-285

[4] Albert Camus/Justin O’Brien (trans) ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, Penguin Group, Pp. 52-53

[5] Albert Camus/Robin Buss (trans) ‘The Plague’, Penguin Group, Pp. 237-238

[8] Albert Camus/Dwight Macdonald, ‘Neither Victims nor Executioners’, WIPF and Stock, P.31

[9] Albert Camus/Dwight Macdonald, ‘Neither Victims nor Executioners’, WIPF and Stock, Pp. 53-55


What We Can Learn (and Should Unlearn) From Albert Camus’s Die plaag

Usually a question like this is theoretical: What would it be like to find your town, your state, your country, shut off from the rest of the world, its citizens confined to their homes, as a contagion spreads, infecting thousands, and subjecting thousands more to quarantine? How would you cope if an epidemic disrupted daily life, closing schools, packing hospitals, and putting social gatherings, sporting events and concerts, conferences, festivals and travel plans on indefinite hold?

In 1947, when he was 34, Albert Camus, the Algerian-born French writer (he would win the Nobel Prize for Literature ten years later, and die in a car crash three years after that) provided an astonishingly detailed and penetrating answer to these questions in his novel Die plaag. The book chronicles the abrupt arrival and slow departure of a fictional outbreak of bubonic plague to the Algerian coastal town of Oran in the month of April, sometime in the 1940s. Once it has settled in, the epidemic lingers, roiling the lives and minds of the town’s inhabitants until the following February, when it leaves as quickly and unaccountably as it came, “slinking back to the obscure lair from which it had stealthily emerged.”

Camus shows how easy it is to mistake an epidemic for an annoyance.

Whether or not you’ve read Die plaag, the book demands reading, or rereading, at this tense national and international moment, as a new disease, COVID-19, caused by a novel form of coronavirus,

Be assured, before you take up this book, that however fearful COVID-19 may be, it is nowhere near as destructive as Camus’s plague. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death” killed almost a third of the people on the continent of Europe. When it rampaged through London in 1665 and 1666, it killed nearly a quarter of the population. In case you didn’t know, the bubonic plague still exists today, not only in pockets of Asia and Africa, but in the American Southwest. It’s transmitted by fleas from infected rodents, and causes high fever, vomiting and painful swellings called “buboes” (hence the name “bubonic). Even when treated with antibiotics it has a death rate of 10 percent and if untreated, up to 90 percent. Coronavirus is not remotely like that.

When Camus wrote this novel, there was no epidemic of plague in Oran. Still, it had decimated the city in the 16th century and the 17th. (There was a monthlong outbreak in Oran in 2003.) But while Die plaag quite literally and clinically relays the symptoms and consequences of that disease, the bacillus under the author’s lens is not so much physiological as sociological, and philosophical. Although his novel tracks the progression of a specific epidemic in a specific city, country and time frame, Camus’s true subject lies outside of time and place.

His intent is metaphorical: he addresses any contagion that might overtake any society from a disease like cholera, the Spanish Influenza, AIDS, SARS, or, yes, COVID-19 to a corrosive ideology, like Fascism, or Totalitarianism, which can infect a whole population. Camus had seen the Nazis overrun Paris in 1940 during World War II. While he was writing Die plaag, he was the editor in chief of Bestry, the underground magazine of the French Resistance, whose contributors included André Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre and Raymond Aron. He saw a connection between physical and psychological infection, which his book sutures together.

As the story begins, rats are lurching out of Oran’s shadows, first one-by-one, then in “batches,” grotesquely expiring on landings or in the street. The first to encounter this phenomenon is a local doctor named Rieux, who summons his concierge, Michel, to deal with the nuisance, and is startled when Michel is “outraged,” rather than disgusted. Michel is convinced that young “scallywags” must have planted the vermin in his hallway as a prank. Like Michel, most of Oran’s citizens misinterpret the early “bewildering portents,” missing their broader significance. For a time, the only action they take is denouncing the local sanitation department and complaining about the authorities. “In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves,” the narrator reflects. “They were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.” Camus shows how easy it is to mistake an epidemic for an annoyance.

But then Michel falls sick and dies. As Rieux treats him, he recognizes the telltale signs of plague, but at first persuades himself that, “The public mustn’t be alarmed, that wouldn’t do at all.” Oran’s bureaucrats agree. The Prefect (like a mayor or governor, in colonial Algeria) “personally is convinced that it’s a false alarm.” A low-level bureaucrat, Richard, insists the disease must not be identified officially as plague, but should be referred to merely as “a special type of fever.” But as the pace and number of deaths increases, Rieux rejects the euphemism, and the town’s leaders are forced to take action.

Authorities are liable to minimize the threat of an epidemic, Camus suggests, until the evidence becomes undeniable that underreaction is more dangerous than overreaction. Most people share that tendency, he writes, it’s a universal human frailty: “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.”

Soon the city gates are closed and quarantines are imposed, cutting off the inhabitants of Oran from each other and from the outside world. “The first thing that plague brought to our town was exile,” the narrator notes. A journalist named Rambert, stuck in Oran after the gates close, begs Rieux for a certificate of health so he can get back to his wife in Paris, but Rieux cannot help him. “There are thousands of people placed as you are in this town,” he says. Like Rambert, the citizens soon sense the pointlessness of dwelling on their personal plights, because the plague erases the “uniqueness of each man’s life” even as it heightens each person’s awareness of his vulnerability and powerlessness to plan for the future.

This catastrophe is collective: “a feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike,” Camus writes. This ache, along with fear, becomes “the greatest affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead.” Anyone who lately has had to cancel a business trip, a class, a party, a dinner, a vacation, or a reunion with a loved one, can feel the justice of Camus’s emphasis on the emotional fallout of a time of plague: feelings of isolation, fear, and loss of agency. It is this, “the history of what the normal historian passes over,” that his novel records, and which the novel coronavirus is now inscribing on current civic life.

“A feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike,” Camus writes.

If you read Die plaag long ago, perhaps for a college class, you likely were struck most by the physical torments that Camus’s narrator dispassionately but viscerally describes. Perhaps you paid more attention to the buboes and the lime pits than to the narrator’s depiction of the “hectic exaltation” of the ordinary people trapped in the epidemic’s bubble, who fought their sense of isolation by dressing up, strolling aimlessly along Oran’s boulevards and splashing out at restaurants, poised to flee should a fellow diner fall ill, caught up in “the frantic desire for life that thrives in the heart of every great calamity”: the comfort of community. The townspeople of Oran did not have the recourse that today’s global citizens have, in whatever town: to seek community in virtual reality. As the present pandemic settles in and lingers in this digital age, it applies a vivid new filter to Camus’s acute vision of the emotional backdrop of contagion.

Today, the exile and isolation of Plague 2.0 are acquiring their own shadings, their own characteristics, recoloring Camus’s portrait. As we walk along our streets, go to the grocery, we reflexively adopt the precautionary habits social media recommends: washing our hands substituting rueful, grinning shrugs for handshakes and practicing “social distancing.” We can do our work remotely to avoid infecting others or being infected we can shun parties, concerts and restaurants, and order in from Seamless. But for how long? Camus knew the answer: we can’t know.

Like the men and women who lived in a time of disruption almost a century ago, whom Camus reimagined to illustrate his ineradicable theme, all we can know is that this disruption will not last forever. It will go, “unaccountably,” when it pleases. And one day, others will emerge. When they do, his novel warned long ago, and shows us even more clearly now, we must take care to read the “bewildering portents” correctly. “There have been as many plagues as wars in history,” Camus writes. “Yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”


Kyk die video: The Human Crisis by Albert Camus (Junie 2022).