Friday, July 09, 2010


Today is going to be, if I can stay awake long enough, a double hero day, and neither one of those heroes was born on this day, but that does not detract from their hero status.
Our first hero is the fellow above one Albert Camus, born November 7th, 1913 in Drean, French Algeria. The son of a poor agricultural worker who was killed when Albert was only a year old, M. Camus was raised dirt poor in Algiers. However, he eventually made it into the University of Algiers, and when on to obtain what would be the French equivalent of a Master's Degree. At the tender age of 22 he joined the French Communist Party, but was eventually expelled after being denounced as a Trotskyite (whose birthday he shared). He was married twice, one was quite short lived (he married a morphine addict, which is probably a never good plan), and then again to a pianist with whom he had children. Despite being married, he maintained that the institution of marriage was unnatural, and he conducted numerous affairs. Hey, I never said I would invite him over for dinner, his hero status is based upon his writing, not his morals.
And what writing it was the three works of his that resonate the most with me are "The Plague" "The Stranger," and "The Myth of Sisyphus" (more on that one later). All three books are masterpieces of the absurd, and the absurd is meat and drink to Camus. He once said that "the absurd is the essential concept, and the first truth." It is the absurd that his name is commonly linked to, and he is one of its "founding fathers." The idea that humans are unable to find any inherent meaning in the universe. This absurdity leaves humans with three choices; suicide, a leap of faith, or recognition. Camus claimed that suicide would be an admission that "life is not worth living" and when on to state that the leap of faith defied rationality, and was a form of philosophical suicide. The final choice, recognition, is the only answer for Camus. To recognize, and embrace the absurdity of your existence allows humans the chance for "freedom."
Though he would distance himself from being labeled a "philosopher of the absurd" in later life, absurdity remains forever attached to his name, and his writings on the subject are fantastic. His life was cut tragically short by a fatal car accident in 1960. But, for writing such brilliant works that help attempt to explain that perhaps it is best to "just let go of the bloody rope," and accept your fate Albert Camus (November 7th, 1913-January 4th 1960, at the age of 46) you are my (319th) hero of the day.

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