Monday, November 28, 2011

"the horror comes in reality from the mathematical aspect of the event."

evidently, albert camus believed in a deterministic reality, and probably disliked maths.  maybe someone should have told him about quantum mechanics. \-:

as for the title, it's lifted from camus's long essay the myth of sisyphus --- specifically, from the section an absurd reasoning.

to get a sense of this book, the first sentences read:
"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.  judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.  all the rest -- whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories -- comes afterwards."
evidently camus was destined to be a philosopher, not a geometer [-1]. q-:

as for the excerpt that included the title, here's the context:
"here it is barely possible to speak of the experience of others' deaths.  it is a substitute, an illusion, and it never quite convinces us.  That melancholy convention cannot be persuasive. [0]

"if time frightens us, this is because it works out the problem and the solution comes afterward.  all the pretty speeches about the soul will have their contrary [1] convincingly proved, at least for a time.  from this inert body on which a slap makes no mark, the soul has disappeared.

"this elementary and definitive aspect of the adventure constitutes the absurd feeling.  under the fatal lighting of that destiny, its uselessness becomes evident.  no code of ethics and no effort are justifiable a priori [2] in the face of the cruel mathematics that command our condition."
ah, the cruel mathematics, indeed! (-:

[-1] the more i travel, the more the term "geometer" seems rare.  i thought it was the standard name for someone who studies geometry of some kind, but acquaintances tend to refer to me as a geometrician.

[0] this entire excerpt is from part of one big paragraph: the spacing has been included for easier reading on a computer screen.

[1] i think "contrary" is meant in the sense of "all that is contrary (to a particular thing)" but since i don't have the original french version in front of me, this is mere speculation.  as a mathematician, i would still say "negation."

[2] his exact words, none of mine.

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