Revolt, Freedom, Passion

Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death — and I refuse suicide. I know, to be sure, the dull resonance that vibrates throughout these days. Yet I have but a word to say: that it is necessary. When Nietzsche writes: “It clearly seems that the chief thing in heaven and on earth is to obey at length and in a single direction: in the long run there results something for which it is worth the trouble of living on this earth as, for example, virtue, art, music, the dance, reason, the mind — something that transfigures, something delicate, mad, or divine,” he elucidates the rule of a really distinguished code of ethics. But he also points the way of the absurd man. Obeying the flame is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. However, it is good for man to judge himself occasionally. He is alone in being able to do so. (64–65)

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, Justin O’Brien (trans.), Random House, New York, NY, 1991. Originally published in France as Le Mythe de Sisyphe by Librairie Gallimard, 1942. First published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.

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This entry was posted in Absurdity, Albert Camus, Existentialism, Freedom, Inquiry, Method, Nietzsche, Passion, Revolt, Sisyphus and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Revolt, Freedom, Passion

  1. Stephen C. Rose says:

    This can also be derived from Peirce and is a good description of my effort to popularize things in Triadic Philosophy.

  2. Poor Richard says:

    The boundary between justified skepticism (or revolt) and justified belief (or passion) is, like atomic matter, a very wiggly, jiggly thing. As with quantum mechanics or a good Hollywood thriller, pragmatism may consist in an artful alternation between the suspension of belief and the suspension of disbelief.

    No matter how often we land on the side of revolt or the side of passion, freedom consists in not remaining on either side too long. Therefore (ironically if not absurdly) freedom is a function of systematic efforts conforming to a set of rules or constraints. Because all the parameters of reality are somewhat ambiguous under the practical constraints of perception and information processing, however, pragmatism might be seen as a “sport” — as much a matter of art as of science, and as much a matter of practice as of inspiration.

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