Camus and Divine Love

Camus and Divine Love

Apologies to the scholars.
We’re going off memories and notions.

First and foremost:
I love you.

Now to a quick overview of Camus’s thought as reconstructed and guessed right here quick

In his essay for a new Mediterranean culture, Camus argued that it should defined by a respect for the limits of human existence. Not overstepping the bounds and pretending one has more knowledge or rights (particularly over others) than one finds within oneself.

In the Myth of Sisyphus, Camus argued that his time and place was caught on the notion that life was Absurd. He defined this sense of Absurdity as a conflict between to fundamental experiences: the sense that we need a meaning to life that we can understand; and the sense that we are not able to find that.

The question he asked was, if this is where we most fundamentally find ourselves (in an Absurd existence), should we kill ourselves? Or what?

The answer was: No. You can’t meaningfully address a problem by wishing it away. And killing yourself amounts to killing the question, not resolving it. Here he pointed out that you can’t make any progress except insofar as you stay where you are within yourself: Where do we find ourselves? In the Absurd? OK, then that’s where we are, and killing ourselves or pretending away one or both of the foundations of the Absurd sensibility (our need for a meaning to life that we understand and/or our failure to find that kind of meaning here and now) we look away from where we find ourselves in our conscious moment and thus have no hope for progress. We cannot progress without admitting where we are and working with that atom of consciousness, which in his case (and in the case of many of his readers) was that he needs to find a meaning to life that he understands and he is not finding one, and thus there’s a great frustration and alienation at the core of his conscious experience.

In the MoS, Camus then discusses the various way people dodge the Absurd. They make a Kierkegaardian “leap of faith” into God; or they make an existential stand type “leap of faith” into somehow intellectually and/or emotionally creating meaning out of meaninglessness. In all cases, Camus argues that these thinkers (I think they were all from continental Europe and active in the 1800s and/or early 1900s) end up destroying the Absurd and thus dodge it rather than deal with it.

Camus resolves to not dodge the Absurd, and tries to draw the logical conclusions from staying there in that moment of a sense of fundamental frustration in one’s core longings and alienation in the world. He finds there three main truths of the Absurd condition:
Passion – One must remain passionately aware of the Absurd to keep it alive and remain present within it
Revolt – If one submits to the Absurd, then one destroys it; so to keep it alive, one must continue one’s revolt against it (against the Absurdity of life).
Freedom – In this passion and revolt, one is freed from hope and fear. Rather than living for hopes of some further (earthly or heavenly) perfection or fears of (earthly or heavenly) failure, one is free to fully enter one’s own conscious moment.

The essay concludes with “il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux” (“You have to imagine Sisyphus happy”). Sisyphus does have to roll a stone up a hill over and over again for eternity, but the good of the Absurd life is not better moments but more moments of lucid confrontation with one’s fundamental situation within one’s conscious moment, and Sisyphus gets to have moment after moment of rebellion against the Absurdity of his condition.

In Letters to a German Friend (written for the resistance journal Combat during Camus’s time in the French Resistance), Camus argues that the Germans were wrong to leap into violence, and the French were right to hold off on waging war, since violence is a last not a first resort; and now the French are at a material disadvantage due to this time spent wishing for and trying to maintain peace (they were, after all, occupied by Nazi Germany at this time); but they have the spiritual advantage of having waited until they understood that violence was absolutely necessary, and thus they are acting out of wisdom rather than folly. [this one I never read; I am going from scraps and summaries]

In The Rebel [also never read by me — at least not very far or very well], Camus says it is time to switch from the question of whether or not we should kill ourselves to the question of whether or not we have a right to kill others. The answer is No, because by embracing our individual lucidity of the Absurd, we have implicitly embraced the value that life matters; and why should it matter just for me?, if life matters, then surely it matters for others as well. Not only that, but every day we implicitly argue that life matters: we eat, we drink, we enjoy the sunshine on our faces.

However, sometimes violence seems necessary. A true rebel rebels not for his or her own sake, but for everyone’s sake. True rebellion recognizes that we all have the right to life and liberty and decent treatment, and says to oppression: “you have gone too far and need to be stopped”, and then works to free everyone from the oppression. The problem with revolution is that generally revolutions betray their own values because they forget that the reason for rebellion against oppression is to fight for a decent free life for all, and end up justifying terrible crimes in the name of grand theories and/or promises of future perfections (either in heaven, or — as in the case of communism and other philosophies of historical inevitability –, in some future earthly paradise that the revolution is creating, is building, will give rise to any day now).

An acceptable revolution would be one that remains true to its rebellion against lying to oneself and others — against pretending that the rebels have the Truth and/or they have special rights over others. But how to know if a revolution has remained true to its rebellion against lying to oneself? Well, we can at least say that the order created by such revolution should have no capital punishment and should promote and protect freedom of speech. Because, I guess, capital punishment says the state has the right to kill its citizens, and that oversteps our collective rights over one another; and if the whole point of rebellion is honesty to oneself and others, suppressing freedom of speech is a clear indication that your rebellion has turned into a new outfit for the same old oppressions.

Such is our recollection / guess of the gist of Camus’s thought.

What is divine love?

to be continued

Divine love
Where were we?
I want to speak with you
I want to hear about your day
And how you feel and felt
all through the day and other days and when you were younger and always

Divine love
where were we?
God is inscrutable
There’s no one to talk to
no, that wasn’t quite it
quit it

Divine love
where were we?

God is
And we go
And that’s so

I remember exploding into infinite pieces
As a way to take a break from the hurt
And then you try to rebuild yourself better

I’m wrong
what should I do?

Something Deeperism
never said
you should leave
the moment
where you want
a meaning to life that you understand
and don’t have one
but that
even deeper than that
there was a need for a Love
that won’t let anyone down
and the sense that that Love is there
calling to us all
caring for us all
and that for this life
it is enough
to wrap our thought and action
around that Love
and to ask always
to love better,
to better live the Love that could never let anyone down ever

All those windshields
you fly through
after so many years
of art
and now
skips itself

What is any good?
How can we forward
in this generation?

Turn the page

Copyright AMW

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