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Friday, January 15, 2010

Camus' notebooks

I read The Fall, The Myth of Sisyphus and his Reflections on the Guillotine (excellent discussion of the death penalty) over the holidays. So far nothing I read was quite like The Rebel. Maybe a more pressing situation creates a better work or maybe it's just me. Not that the rest isn't worth reading; it's all worthwhile reading.

Camus' Notebooks from 1951-1959 have quite a few gems in them. Like most people's journals, they're all over the place. Still making my way through them.
There is not one talent for living and another for creating. The same suffices for both. And one can be sure that the talent that could not produce but an artificial work could not sustain but a frivolous life.

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Why women? I cannot stand the company of men. They flatter or they judge. I can stand neither of the two.

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One of B's secrets... is that she could never accept nor stand, or even forget, illness or death. Hence, her major distraction. She becomes exhausted, already having to live alone like the others, having to simulate the little nonchalance and innocence that is necessary to continue living. But deep inside her she never forgets. She does not even have enough innocence for sin. Life for her is nothing more than time, which itself is disease and death. She does not accept time. She is engaged in a battle already lost. When she gives up, she is there with the waves of water, with the face of a drowned girl. She is not of this world because she refuses it with all her being. Everything starts from there.

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I realized that it was true that there were people greater and more genuine than others and that throughout the world they made an invisible and visible society that justified living.

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Totally eliminating criticism and polemics - From now on, the single and constant affirmation.

Understand them all. Love and admire but a few.

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The "limit" must be everyone's truth. It is mine as long as I am for everyone. But for me alone: the truth one cannot say.

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Humanism. I do not like humanity in general. In myself I sense primarily solidarity with it, which is not the same thing. And then I love some men, alive or dead, with so much admiration that I am always jealous or anxious to protect or defend in all the others that which, by chance or on some day that I cannot foresee, has made or will make them like the former.

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Two common errors: existence precedes essence or essence existence. Both march and rise with the same step.

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