I was first attracted by Camus, "prince of the absurd" when I was 16. Camus still fascinates me, now well beyond what would have been his 100th birthday, and 60 years after his premature death in a car crash in Burgundy (it's said that he was found with an unused train ticket in his pocket - he'd planned to go by rail to Paris to rejoin his wife and children, but had accepted at the last minute the offer of a lift from his publisher).
Unlike Sartre, who was more of a systematic philosopher, Camus preferred to be labelled only as a writer, since he was doubtful about the power of reason and preferred to focus on how one should live, especially whether one should be primarily "solitaire ou solidaire".
The great advocate of the former, isolated path is Meursault, anti-hero of L'Etranger (full text here), the first book I read for my French A Level course and one of the forces that launched me into adulthood. Meursault talks about the "benign indifference of the universe".
"The realisation that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning" quote shows Camus the absurdist. He argued that nothing has any meaning behind it. Life, the universe, and everything just happens to happen, so we humans have a hard time with this and create systems to bestow meaning on things. When we look at something without meaning and fail to give it one, we experience the feeling of the absurd. Camus argues that we must grasp this, and face the world as the meaningless void that it is. Indeed, in Le Mythe de Sisyphe, which I studied for my MA course at Edinburgh, Camus offered "suicide, religion or acceptance" as three possible responses to the Absurd: he chose acceptance.
Commentator Geoff Dyer said of Camus that he carried within him "an unconquerable summer" that still warms us today.
- The return of Camus
- Albert Camus: The Madness of Sincerity
- Albert Camus' historic lecture, "The Human Crisis"
- Philosophy: Albert Camus
- Albert Camus on What It Means to Be a Rebel and the Heart of Human Solidarity
- Camus on how to ennoble our minds in difficult times
- An irrational world: Camus' quest for meaning
- Camus' Myth of Sisyphus and the Meaning of Life
- Albert Camus on what it means to be a rebel
- A Cross-Cultural Bridge of Kinship and Mutual Appreciation: The Moving Correspondence of Albert Camus and Boris Pasternak
- Albert Camus and the problem of absurdity
- The Forum: Albert Camus: Embracing life’s absurdity
- Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee? The Stoics and Existentialists agree on the answer
- Albert Camus on love and the absurd
- Out of a clear blue sky - Camus’s The Plague and coronavirus
- Sartre's radicalism and Camus' solidarity - IAI TV
- Sartre vs Camus: Violence and force - IAI TV
- See Albert Camus’ Historic Lecture, “The Human Crisis,” Performed by Actor Viggo Mortensen
Personal values are unique to every individual and can loosely be described as a set of beliefs or intuitive feelings inside our heads. They act unconsciously as a guide - telling us how comfortable we feel about different situations,
Please see below a growing and non-exhaustive Halcyon list of values that we can try to live by: