download pdf L'homme révoltéAuthor Albert Camus –

I must confess that I didn t find much that was especially insightful in Camus account of rebellion, revolution, and nihilism here while reading it, but now that I look back on it, I see that he actually has much to say and that much of it is worthwhile.Camus begins by defining the rebel as one who affirms by negating, who says yes in saying no one who decries absolute freedom in establishing limits to acceptable behavior He thus immediately counterposes the rebel with the nihilist, who, in denying that anything has meaning, valorizes a conception of life which is dominated by mere facts power He takes issue with revolutionary movements as they have existed in the twentieth century, claiming most of them to have betrayed the origins of rebellion by replacing it with an absolutist even, totalitarian ethic He sees much to be respected in the efforts of the Russian revolutionaries of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a group from which he of course excludes Lenin , who rebelled against tsarism and tyranny often violently Camus finds their nobility partly in the fact which he posits that these revolutionaries, unlike many of their counterparts of the twentieth century, were often quite consumed by doubt and engaged in murder and assassination only with much reluctance and much moderation He laments, then, the disappearance of such doubt and moderation in the nihilism that gripped much of the twentieth century, nihilism that gave rise to the uncompromising ideology of Marxism Leninism and, not unrelatedly, Nazism, and denounces its consequences.Camus also roundly criticizes many of his intellectual contemporaries for their undying faith in Marxism, claiming, for one, that Marxism reproduces some of the central problems of religious faith ie, in relegating justice, etc., to the Later On, as he puts it that is, post capitalist society and entails the negation of much that is defensible and good in humanity by reducing human obligation to the promotion of revolution I think he s certainly on to something here, but I think his reading of Marx is also somewhat flawed, in that Camus seems to disregard Marx s concern with emancipation and free conscious activity in his efforts to discredit the approach of the prophet of justice Camus posits a different approach to social change, claiming that rebels revolutionaries, in their efforts to combat injustice, should never lose sight of the importance of beauty within the conception of human dignity.It seems that many so called revolutionaries, though probablyof the socialist Marxist bent , would reject Camus analysis as sentimental and, in fact, supportive of the status quo Does Camus then break with the predominance of Marxist thought in his day and accept something close to anarchism He certainly seems to reject revolutionary society at least, the revolutions demonstrated thus far by history , but he remains highly critical of bourgeois society as well Contemplating these tensions is crucially important, and Camus s The Rebel certainly represents an important contribution to this debate. Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present. By One Of The Most Profoundly Influential Thinkers Of Our Century, The Rebel Is A Classic Essay On Revolution For Albert Camus, The Urge To Revolt Is One Of The Essential Dimensions Of Human Nature, Manifested In Man S Timeless Promethean Struggle Against The Conditions Of His Existence, As Well As The Popular Uprisings Against Established Orders Throughout History And Yet, With An Eye Toward The French Revolution And Its Regicides And Deicides, He Shows How Inevitably The Course Of Revolution Leads To Tyranny, As Old Regimes Throughout The World Collapse, The Rebel Resonates As An Ardent, Eloquent, And Supremely Rational Voice Of Conscience For Our Tumultuous TimesTranslated From The French By Anthony Bower Camus makes me think He is the author who has the power to steer my thoughts, along the line of his beliefs He is dead If he were alive, I am sure he would have supported the readers movement against the irrational outlook of GR administration as regarding the freedom of readers to express their views He would have hailed their rebellion and joined in to support, because I am sure he understood that all readers have their own opinions He wouldn t be bothered by criticism.As the choreographer, Mark Morris saysYou don t have to like me, you don t have to like my work, but you have to be able to say something about it I love a vicious review, really ripping something apart, there s nothing better than that But it has to be done really courageously and accurately I think Manny is one reviewer who has stood for what he feels is right and I join in to add my support by deciding not to review this work, which, as I read, I know will influence me for times to come.Posted with Manny s permission, his deleted review In the shower just now, I suddenly had a Eureka moment The aspect of this current censorship war that s been upsetting us most is the feeling of powerlessless Goodreads can arbitrarily change the rules, and they hardly even bother to respond when we complain But we are not powerless There are twenty million of us, and only a few dozen of them We just need to get a littleorganized, and we can easily resist So here s one concrete way to do it, based on the legend of Hercules You will recall that Hercules had a difficult time against the Lernean Hydra every time he cut off one of its heads, tengrew back We can do the same thing if we adopt the following plan 1 Back up all your reviews, so that you have a copy of everything you have posted 2 If you think that one of your reviews has been unreasonably deleted by Goodreads, repost it with an image of the Hydra at the top.3 If you see someone else posting a Hydra review, make a copy of it and post it yourself.We can improve this basic scheme with a little thought for example, it would be better to have a place where we keep HTML marked up source of reviews, so that they can immediately be reposted with the same formatting, and we need a plan for duplicating deleted shelves But we can sort that out later Without getting too bogged down in the details, I m sure you see what will happen The net result of Goodreads unreasonably deleting a review will be that it immediately comes back in many different places People who know their Greek mythology will be aware that Hercules did in fact defeat the Hydra, and Goodreads can use the same method if they dare they can close down the account of anyone who participates in the scheme That will work, but I am not sure that anything less drastic will be effective I think Goodreads will be reluctant to escalate to this level A large proportion of the most active reviewers are now part of the protest movement, and they would be losing much of the content that makes the site valuable Evento the point, the media have already started to get interested maybe you saw the article in the Washington Post They would love the story, and it would create a mountain of bad publicity for Goodreads andI d say the odds are heavily in our favor Why don t we try it I promise now to respond to any Hydra calls. The Rebel is the longest and at some points most difficult essay I ve ever read I think the title of the book itself is enough attractive for both Camus fans and other readers to choose this book But who is a rebel A rebel is someone who says no to a master He was a slave, a labor, perhaps a mechanical iron man built by bolts and nuts who did whatever he was said to do But the moment he rises and rebels he feels the stream of blood in his veins He feels he s alive Despite this alive and fresh change, in order to move ahead, he needs to kill Atrocities have two reasons love and philosophy Heathcliff could kill anybody without bothering himself to ask why he killed He was in love But once came a day when people killed because they thought they had a rational philosophy for it They killed because they believed in freedom, peace, equality, a country with no social class At this point the truth was twisted Where were they going Nobody knew In 19th century human beings killed God They proved that there wasn t any God for real in anytime Nihilists rode their horses A true nihilist killed himself a real one killed others Now that there wasn t any God, and any purpose to living for, men tried to create their own rules In this book only the non religious rebellion was discussed, however we can have rebellion based on religion The ideologies are different but I think they have so many similarities with each other both believe in future, both believe in universality, and both of them kill.This book was written 60 years ago, but one can see that the idea is still new. Lucifer has also died with God, and from his ashes has risen a spiteful demon who does not even understand the object of his venture In 1953, excess is always a comfort, and sometimes a career.My second reading of Camus most divisive and controversial book, The Rebel, achieved somethingthan the first, perhaps over fifteen years ago I had not read The Brothers Karamazov then, nor The Devils or Camus for stage adaptation of The Devils The Possessed, nor Camus play, The Just and, in particular, the two Ivans Karamazov and Kailiayev play pivotal roles in how central ideas are developed and concluded with Is it necessary to know of them Or many of the other people mentioned in this essay, both fictional and factual creations No But it colours it You feel avisceral connection to the interplay of ideas, and the kinds of collapses Camus supervisors over, like a careful and professional demolitions expert with a real flair for the aesthetic touch to explosions.And Camus goes about destroying here, but it s a destruction not in order to lay waste or raze, it isof the early phase of construction it sCamus as builder I wish to explore In 2013, sixty years past the moment he wrote the epigraph above, why read this book What has happened to the rebel Do the ideas still have currency And that most flash and vaguely insulting of questions, a question that dresses in a tuxedo t shirt IS IT RELEVANT Relevance is a word that annoys me It usually makes me wonder if whoever is asking the question is relevant It comes from Scots as a legal term, meaning legally pertinent , which, in turn comes from the Latin relevare, meaning raising up Use of the word began moving upwards in the 1920s, saw it really take off in the 60s, and peak in 2000 It s dropped off a little in recent years, making its own relevance look a little shakyBut I digress What is a rebel A man who says no which I ve seen printed on t shirts, but it is only a sentence fragment The rest of the sentence but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation This is pivotal, for to simply say no and act according to this negation of potentially irrational or unjust circumstances can just as easily lead the rebel on the path to towards what is later characterised as revolution, whereby the slave and master simply revolve their positions.Rebellion arises from the spectacle of the irrational coupled with an unjust and incomprehensible condition.The idea of Rebellion is to follow on from the Absurd In the Absurd cycle of books, Camus confronts the absurdity of our existence and poses the question, why live, why not kill yourself, if this is so In the Rebel we go the step further If life is absurd, but we have discovered a way to live, why let other people live, why not kill them, if this is so In some ways, the Rebel is a new Absurd Hero archetype from The Myth of Sisyphus, which included the Actor, the Don Juan, and the Conqueror The man who is faced with an absurd condition and says, this is enough, this has to stop, what actions may he partake of, and to what extent can his actions be legitimized and not become an example of the very thing that he set out to stop On the day when crime puts on the apparel of innocence it is innocence that is called on to justify itself It is a question of finding out whether innocence, the moment it begins to act, can avoid committing murder.Camus is a man who lived through Nazi occupation, and through the trials of Nazis and Nazi collaborators and was, albeit briefly, a member of the Communist Party, a committed socialist in his early adult and professional life, a darling of the Leftists of the Paris Intelligentsia until the publishing of this book and finally a disaffected anti Stalinist Soviet and pro mediation, not independence, in his native nation of Algeria This book is his argument This book is a man saying, here is my answer I have mine, but you should go find yourself a question to apply to it.But Ideology limits itself to repudiating other people not God they alone are the cheats This leads to murder.ButHe the rebel slave affirms that there are limits and also that he suspects and wishes to preserve the existence of certain things beyond those limits.For rebellion to remain grounded in its own principles man must recognise a solidarity that is universal, so the rebel slave is not rebelling against the master, but rebelling against the idea of the slave and master To turn on the Cartesian ideal, we have I rebel, therefore we exist Solidarity is to be extended beyond identification categories, in which Camus would have considered most overtly the class rivalries of his time Therefore, the first step of a mind overwhelmed by the strangeness of things is to realise that this feeling of strangeness is shared with all men and that the entire human race suffers from the division between itself and the rest of the world.Camus spends a large proportion of the rest of this book examining how both the rebels lack of considering its own limitations, and a lack of the sense of solidarity among us all, have led to such spectacular misunderstanding, failures and fatal error De Sade, Romanticism, Karamazovovian nihilism, Nietzsche and later, through the major political revolutions, the French and the Russian being foremost and revolutionary do ers and thinkers, such as Saint Just, Hegel, Bakunin, Kailiayev and Marx From the century of rebellion 19th we move on to the century of justice and ethics and, finally, to violent self recrimination.Man, at the culmination of his rebellion, incarcerated himself from Sade s lurid castle to the concentration camps, man s greatest liberty consisted only of building the prison of his crimes.And here we begin to see the birth of the Spiteful Demon, that is, the thing left over when we have destroyed all else, when we have taken Reason as a god instead of falling on reason in the arms of solidarity, excess is now the means by which the slave can utilise a burden of guilt which increased in proportion to the degree of liberation they proposed to introduce There is much material here that I could explore in depth, but I m going to limit myself to considering the projection of Camus ideas from The Rebel into our own milieu, and I want to use the examples of the Ivans Karamazov and Kailiayev Both are nihilists, in their ways and both rebels, also, in their ways But there is a central difference to their response to the world both have a YES and a NO , or an affirmation and a negation of the world around them, and both fail and succeed at the same time, and end up being held up as models for the Moderation of Rebellion, which is a kind of aggregate, not a mean You need to be radical in your approach to being moderate, not moderate in your radicalismIvan Karamazov does not say there is no truth He says that if truth does exist it can only be unacceptable.When Ivan questions the idea of morality without God, and considers that if not God, then all is permitted, he also says that if God, then God is the one who is responsible for what is done the evil that occurs on earth , whether permitted or not, therefore, he cannot accept salvation even if he is considered moral and good, since morality is rendered meaningless by its context in God He negates himself, but also affirms that, as a human being, he is in solidarity with all others If not them, then not him either He embodies, for Camus, the Rebel who exchanges himself in generosity and love Ivan Kailiayev is a terrorist He requires, as a negation, the murder of another man, who represents the master to his slave, or all slaves, in solidarity with him He carries out the killing, ensuring no innocents are killed, but then accepts that he must die for what he has committed He is happy to go to the gallows He deliberately exchanges his life as the cost of taking another life He doesn t believe he is going to paradise, that there is a reward for him He will just die, and he accepts the consequence of this as both right and necessary, even as he accepts the rightness of his cause For Camus, he embodies the refusal of ultimate power others murder without its immediate consequence his own murder sans the consolation of religion.Real mastery consists of creating justice out of the prejudices of the time, initially out of the deepest and most malignant of them which would like to reduce man, after his deliverance from excess, to a barren wisdom.We demand justice from all prejudice, to the point that we are happy to release demons everywhere Have we been delivered from this excess yet, sixty years later Have we arrived yet in the lands of barren wisdom, with empty watering cans under our arms and wearing sensible hats Finally, it s a brand of moderation Camus calls on, through the Ivans examples Moderation, born of rebellion, can only live by rebellion, It is in perpetual conflict, continually created and mastered by the intelligence It does not triumph either in the impossible or the abyss It finds its equilibrium through them.Here is the moderation of the sum, whereby we avoid totality through unity we stare into the impossible and the abyss, and they stare back, and we create ourselves through knowing this vision Not rejecting one over the other This is what summons the spiteful demon This is resentment and revolution, cyclical excess and totality that leads to the same and the same and the same calculated revolution which, in preferring an abstract concept of man to a man of flesh and blood, denies existence as many times as is necessary, puts resentment in the place of love.To murder, for whatever the cause, no matter how just, in the end, amounts to the same as killing yourself, and it should This remains the same Demonic spite has been summoned in among us We see it every day Its excess is limitless now Listen to the news Watch your Facebook news feed See how men are being cast for you It feels so comfortable, to be shown the way To be put in the comforting arms of the right side of history And yet, the abyss still beckons, and the impossible remains sothe only original rule of life today to learn to live and to die, and in order to be a man, to refuse to be a god.And the difference, sixty years on Today, there are manydemons among the teachers and heaven is larger and louder andterribly beautiful than ever Although Camus is rememberedas a literary author than a philosopher, I think this work is fantastic It s influenced me and my thinkingthan any other author apart from perhaps Nietzsche and George Steiner Because Camus is such a wonderful author it is also not a particularely difficult read, as opposed to, say, Sartre s philosophical works I do like Being and Nothingness, but he s really overdoing it , which makes it accessible for those who have not been educated in philosophy as well The subject matter is also interesting for just about everything, which makes this altogether a pretty much perfect book. Interesting book, though I also found it challenging to read I don t know nearly enough about French literature or philosophy But the basic question he asks is extremely relevant We hate injustice, and intuitively it seems clearly right to revolt against unjust authority So why does it nearly always go so wrong when we do so, and end up with an even worse injustice .As soon as a man, through lack of character, takes refuge in doctrine, as soon as crime reasons about itself, it multiplies like reason itself and assumes all the aspects of the syllogism The purpose of this essay is once again to face the reality of the present, which is logical crime, and examine meticulously the arguments by which it is justified p 3 This can be very interesting if, like me, you abhor historical Sovietism and all that it has wrought I found that Sarah Bakewell s excellent new book At the Existentialist Caf Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails provided just the background I needed to start this Published in French in 1951, what I especially like so far is Camus s refusal to embrace the concept of the worker s collective He writes only about the individual and his or her need for rebellion A very brave book For example Man s solidarity is founded upon rebellion, and rebellion, in its turn, can only find its justification in this solidarity We have, then, the right to say that any rebellion which claims the right to deny or destroy this solidarity loses simultaneously its right to be called a rebellion and becomes in reality an acquiescence in murder p 22 How they must have hated him The section on the lunatic Marquis de Sade is breathtaking My disgust always prevented me from reading him for subtext But Camus shows us howTwo centuries ahead of his time and on a reduced scale, Sade extolled totalitarian societies in the name of unbridled freedom The history and the tragedy of our times really begin with him Our times have limited themselves to blending, in a curious manner, his dream of a universal republic and his technique of degradation Finally, what he hated most, legal murder, has availed itself of the discoveries that he wanted to put to the service of instinctive murder Crime, which he wanted to be the exotic and delicious fruit of unbridled vice, is notoday than the dismal habit of a police controlled morality Such are the surprises of literature p 46 Lucretius is touched upon, Valentinus and some of the other Gnostics, Milton s Paradise Lost, Dandyism, the Romantics, Ivan Karamazov s moral position on crime particularly patricide in Dostoyevsky s The Brothers Karamazov, and Nietzsche, of whom Camus said, he recognized nihilism for what it was and examined it like a clinical fact p 66 When the ends are great, Nietzsche wrote to his own detriment, humanity employs other standards and no longer judges crimes as such even if it resorts to the most frightful means He died in 1900, at the beginning of the century in which that pretension was to become fatal p 77 Rimbaud is the poet of rebellion the greatest of all His decision to stop writing being perhaps the ultimate act of rebellion He illustrates the struggle between the will to be and the desire for annihilation, between the yes and the no, which we have discovered again and again at every stage of rebellion p.91 Although I ve always been temperamentally skeptical of Utopias, I m thankful to Camus for completely inoculating me, as a 15 year old, against the various postures of chic revolt so common among the teenagers of bored, affluent nations There was no silk screened Che across my bosom Revolutions aren t secular versions of the Rapture, in which the bad government disappears, to be replaced by a new, good one Revolution is generally a social calamity, a nightmare of inhumanity one regime dissolves, and in the already violent chaos of meltdown various factions kill, rape and pillage in a struggle for ascendancy the leaders of said factions tend to be nihilistic knaves Lenin, Hitler who would have lived, ranted, been ignored and died safely on the fringes of the old society This book is an awesome display of philosophical insight and moral awareness next to Camus, Sartre is at best a naive bourgeois, from a distance lionizing the revolutionaries who would have destroyed him if they had had the chance, and at worst a cynical degenerate, a knowing flatterer of tyrants.