Archive for the ‘Camus’ Category

The curse or blessing of the conscious brain

December 27, 2008

We simply cannot live as Meursault in Albert Camus’ The Stranger (in the former part of the novel).

In The Stranger, Meursault lives solely through sensory experience. He has no plans, no ambitions, he doesn’t follow the dictates of reason, he lacks emotion, he always takes the path of least resistance.

The reality is that we cannot live like that, at least not all the time. We are limited to the extent that we can experience ‘flow’ (Csíkszentmihályi) or ‘self-realisation’ (Maslow) in our activities.

The curse or blessing of the conscious brain is the we humans, unlike simpler animals who only have a subconscious brain, have by nature the necessity to introspect, keep track of experiences, and plan. These faculties can be a source of despair and worry, or joy and excitement. Should we envy the cockroach that does not have these concerns?

See also: In Our Time: Neuroscience


The prison of selfhood

September 14, 2008

Albert Camus in ‘The Stranger’ suggests that selfhood or self-concept is developed upon being put in a metaphorical prison of others’ judgements.

We do not think of ourselves as selves until we are objectified by others and embrace that objectification as ourselves.

Suicide and the meaning of life

September 13, 2008

Albert Camus says the question of the meaning of life ought to be asked in relation to the question ‘why not commit suicide?’

I have contemplated this and my first thought was ‘desire for experience’ or ‘desire for more’ – with no further qualification.

With further reflection I asked the question, ‘why not live?’, and then felt a sense of hope.

However, I don’t believe ‘desire for experience’ is the meaning of life, rather it may be the primordial urge. This may be what Plato called Eros, “always to be and never not to be.”