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January 1, 2005

sieze il momento

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Jones @ 12:00 am

I was cleaning out my basement after what we like to call the ?great sewer backup that soaked my basement in feces for 3 days? when I came across an old book I read back in high school. It was called hop over to this site The Stranger by Albert Camus. If you?re not already familiar with him, Camus was an existentialist and perhaps one of my all-time favorite philosophers.

Anyway, the main character of this book, Meursault, is a typical existentialist. So extreme is he that most of his life progresses without emotion. He does not judge the quality of actions nor does he care about the future. He is only concerned with the fleeting present. His mother dies yet he is unable to cry at the funeral, he even goes as far as to have sex shortly after with a girl whom he just met. Meursault?s life is driven by physical stimuli and physical responses and his devotion to the truth. He refused to conform to society by hiding his feelings, and therefore becomes a martyr.

Despite what else happens in the book, Meursault?s views on life are not only true, but depressing as well. When you get right down to it, the universe really is benign and indifferent. It doesn?t make one lick of a difference to anybody but you whether or not you live or die. We are all insignificant. We are mortal, the universe is permanent. The universe is forever.

Nature gives us pleasure throughout our limited lifespan, however as it did in Meursault?s case nature can also be destructive. Nature does not care about us, nature does not give a shit what happens. Nature isn?t good, it isn?t bad, and it doesn?t have feelings. It?s just there, it always was there, and it will be there long after we aren?t.

Accepting this is the first key to being able to squeeze pleasure and sensation out of each fleeting moment. Not being able to look beyond this pleasure and sensation however is the first step down the road to self destruction.

Is this the life society has dictated for us? Are we to lie about our feelings in order to succumb to society?s rituals? When asked if he loves his mother, Meursault says he was ?fond? of her, and that he ?loved her in ways people love their mothers? but no more. If King Lear had taught us anything, it?s that however true this answer may be, it surely won?t get us anything in the long run.

Meursault is a prime example of the major problem affecting the world today. Ask yourself, how committed are you to your own ideals? How far would you go before being forced to succumb to the rituals of society? Are your ideals worth dying for?

Camus once said ?there is only one true philosophical question and that is Suicide: whether or not the human life is actually worth living?. What do you think?

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