Sunday, November 07, 2010

In Memoriam: Albert Camus

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Albert Camus devoted his life (which began on this day in 1913) to the battle against nihilism, the idea that life has no meaning; 'All of us, among the ruins,' he said, 'Are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits of nihilism. But few of us know it.'

Existentialism, the philosophy with which he is most often - and, in his opinion, wrongly - associated, can be a bleak and unforgiving place, but only if you let it. Our existence, he argued is what we make it. What Camus made of his existence is a tidy little career in which he ventured into all areas of writing except poetry, which tidy little career had a major influence on others durings his lifetime, an influence which has continued to grow ever since his death, in January 1960.

Those of us who've read his works and been moved by them in the years since might be skeptical at his assertion that the things we do in life are meaningless; the mere fact that he can speak to us thusly from beyond the grave is the sternest rebuke human mortality ever had.
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