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Extra info for Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought: Between Despair and Hope

Sample text

This is because the vital particularity of one’s life bears witness against the unfairness of an oblivion that asserts itself absolutely. Camus’s is a story that warns against the tyranny of social convention, of course, and the perverse injustices that arise from uncritical conformism. Meursault is condemned as much (if not more) for being ‘foreign to the society in which he lives’ (Camus 1970: 336), as he is for the actual crime he commits. Yet in addition, it illustrates core ideas concerning human existence when the comfortable fabric of our lives is torn asunder.

Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought: Between Despair and Hope. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 0004. 0004   Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought This chapter offers an analysis of one of Camus’s most widely read works, The Myth of Sisyphus. It outlines in detail two aspects of his general argument; first his meditations on the absurd, and second his critique of nihilism and dogmatic foundationalism. These are key elements of Camus’s thought as a whole, and the reading of The Myth of Sisyphus offered here aims to open up the central pathways into his moral and political thought that will be followed in subsequent chapters.

The absurd, in other words, stimulates a kind of borderthinking, a restless questioning that cannot settle permanently on any absolute, comforting answer but instead remains ‘on that dizzying crest’ (Camus 1991: 50). 0004  Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought of characterizing the urgency of moral and political thinking, because the self that is aware it is situated within the limits of life and the world begins to consider the enormous significance of comparative options. But, as Arendt (1994: 174) warns, this ‘new serious engagement with life that uses death as a point of departure does not, however, necessarily imply an affirmation of life or of human existence as such’.

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