Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Book Notes: "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus

The Myth of SisyphusThe Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Camus gives words and thoughts and theories and literary examples to my own primitive discoveries about work and suicide. I remember waking one morning, at age 19, and thinking: "If this is all my life will ever be, then today I must either change it or end it". If I had to roll that rock up the hill one more time then that was it for me. I don't write this gratuitously or intend to treat suicide glibly, but in the context of Camus' "philosophical suicide", my experience of the absurd has informed much of my philosophy for living. I have often thought that if God does not exist, then there is no point in living. Camus twists around varieties of my thoughts, but he does so referring particularly to Nietzsche (that most famous of God's "assassins") and antitheses of my understanding. This is a short book and it seems to be an abridged version of a much larger work. Nevertheless, it is sufficient to point out a number of my reading deficits. This may require a second reading once I complete Kafka's The Castle, and much of Nietzsche. Camus broaches many topics that tend to be completely avoided by almost any person to whom I have ever spoken. It would seem that once again Continental philosophers have a monopoly on saying what everyone is thinking but were too afraid to say. Two quotes resonated with me:

On the futility of suicide, from p. 6:
I have heard of an emulator of Peregrinos, a post-war writer who, after having finished his first book, committed suicide to attract attention to his work. Attention was in fact attracted, but the book was judged no good.

And on death as a work in progress, from p. 111:
If something brings creation to an end, it is not the victorious and illusory cry of the blinded artist: 'I have said everything', but the death of the creator which closes his experience and the book of his genius.



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