Friday, March 12, 2010

More on Camus

I like your initial thoughts, but let's keep going.

Does Camus succeed in his argument? I've been thinking about it, and, while I like his writing and his points alot, I'm not sure his argument is actually viable. What do you think?

He starts with Descartes' doubt and its foundation (I cannot doubt that I think), and then moves to the certainty of absurdist doubt (life is absurd, so there's no meaning to life, yet I can't kill myself to escape, and can't place myself above or below others, so I can't kill anyone else either).

"The absurdist view, translated into action, is inconceivable. It is equally inconceivable when translated into expression. Simply by being expressed, it gives a minimum of coherence to incoherence, and introduces consequence, where, according to its own tenets, there is none. Speaking itself is restorative. The only coherent attitude based on non-signification would be silence - if silence, in its turn, were not significant. The absurd, in its purest form, attempts to remain dumb. If it finds its voice, it is because it has become complacent."

Camus offers then a system based directly on rebellion or revolt, and indirectly on the dignity which is to be protected.

But can we really prefer Camus' system over pure amoral nihilism? I don't really see how, once you first admit to Descartes' doubt, you can really get values. Are we to accept Camus as being more "authentic"? Why value authenticity? He restrains us from suicide on the grounds that we are not permitted to act (thereby choosing values) and then from murder on the grounds that our doubt is not worth more than anyone else's. But then a reaction to indignity can be a value by which to act? How can I choose to rebel? Or maybe rebellion as a involuntary reaction is what he means, and in this reaction we see the one break in the silence of the universe? But if this be the case, why wasn't the phenomenon of our questioning enough to begin with?

It seems to me that when you get down to it, the rebel rebels to stop something that is wrong. And either the rebel is right, or the nihilist is right and the rebel can't rebel.

No comments:

Post a Comment