Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Albert Camus

“I’m diminished: Each time I cede to this vanity of faking my appearance…”

 « Chaque fois que l'on (que je) cède à ses vanités, chaque fois qu'on pense et vit pour « paraître », on trahit. À chaque fois, c'est toujours le grand malheur de vouloir paraître qui m'a diminué en face du vrai. Il n'est pas nécessaire de se livrer aux autres, mais seulement à ceux qu'on aime. Car alors ce n'est plus se livrer pour paraître mais seulement pour donner. Il y a beaucoup plus de force dans un homme qui ne paraît que lorsqu'il le faut. Aller jusqu'au bout, c'est savoir garder son secret. J'ai souffert d'être seul, mais pour avoir gardé mon secret, j'ai vaincu la souffrance d'être seul. Et aujourd'hui, je ne connais pas de plus grande gloire que de vivre seul et ignoré. Écrire, ma joie profonde ! Consentir au monde et au jouir - mais seulement dans le dénuement. Je ne serais pas digne d'aimer la nudité des plages si je ne savais demeurer nu devant moi-même. Pour la première fois, le sens du mot bonheur ne me paraît pas équivoque. Il est un peu le contraire de ce qu'on entend par l'ordinaire "Je suis heureux ". » Albert Camus - Carnets ; CAHIER I ( Mai 1935 - Février 1942 )
« Chaque fois que je cède à ses vanités, chaque fois qu’on pense et vit pour « paraître », on trahit.
À chaque fois, c’est toujours le grand malheur de vouloir paraître qui m’a diminué en face du vrai.
Il n’est pas nécessaire de se livrer aux autres, mais seulement à ceux qu’on aime. Car alors ce n’est plus se livrer pour paraître mais seulement pour donner.
Il y a beaucoup plus de force dans un homme qui ne paraît que lorsqu’il le faut. Aller jusqu’au bout, c’est savoir garder son secret.
J’ai souffert d’être seul, mais pour avoir gardé mon secret, j’ai vaincu la souffrance d’être seul.
Et aujourd’hui, je ne connais pas de plus grande gloire que de vivre seul et ignoré. Écrire, ma joie profonde !
Consentir au monde et au jouir – mais seulement dans le dénuement.
Je ne serais pas digne d’aimer la nudité des plages si je ne savais demeurer nu devant moi-même.
Pour la première fois, le sens du mot bonheur ne me paraît pas équivoque. Il est un peu le contraire de ce qu’on entend par l’ordinaire
“Je suis heureux “. »
Albert Camus – Carnets ; CAHIER I ( Mai 1935 – Février 1942 )


Albert Camus on Happiness and Love,

Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

“If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them …

they could perceive what they have made of us.”

In this new installment of the Brain Pickings artist series, I’ve once again teamed up with the wonderfully talented Wendy MacNaughton, on the heels of our previous collaborations on famous writers’ sleep habits, Susan Sontag’s diary highlights on love and on art, Nellie Bly’s packing list, Gay Talese’s taxonomy of New York cats, and Sylvia Plath’s influences.

I asked MacNaughton to illustrate another of my literary heroes’ thoughts on happiness and love, based on my highlights from Notebooks 1951–1959 (public library) — the published diaries of French author, philosopher, and Nobel laureate Albert Camus, which also gave us Camus on happiness, unhappiness, and our self-imposed prisons.

The artwork is available as a print on Society6 and, as usual, we’re donating 50% of proceeds to A Room of Her Own, a foundation supporting women writers and artists. Enjoy!

If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them … they could perceive what they have made of us.

When love ceases to be tragic it is something else and the individual again throws himself in search of tragedy.

Betrayal answers betrayal, the mask of love is answered by the disappearance of love.

For me, physical love has always been bound to an irresistible feeling of innocence and joy.

Thus, I cannot love in tears but in exaltation.

The loss of love is the loss of all rights, even though one had them all.

Those who prefer their principles over their happiness, they refuse to be happy outside the conditions they seem to have attached to their happiness.

It is not humiliating to be unhappy.

Physical suffering is sometimes humiliating, but the suffering of being cannot be, it is life.

The end of their passion consists of loving uselessly at the moment when it is pointless.

At times I feel myself overtaken by an immense tenderness for these people around me who live in the same century.

I have not stopped loving that which is sacred in this world.

Get the print here.

For more literature-inspired art benefiting some favorite organizations, dive into the artist series visual archive.

For more of MacNaughton’s own fantastic work, see her book Meanwhile in San Francisco and her illustrations for The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert and Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology.


“Suicide. Yes? No?” Beware of binary logical traps

Binary questions have nothing to do with real life situation.

The French author Albert Camus once wrote: “The only viable life question is: Suicide. Yes? No?

Would you approach a physically healthy young person who is going through a life existential mental problems and state: Suicide. Yes? No?

Would you exhibit your philosophical talent on a friend suffering from terminal illness and say: In your dire condition, I would ask myself: Suicide. Yes? No?

What do you think would be the reaction of your friend to your sad-assed conversation?

Suppose a friend who has been active in euthanasia issues and aided many terminally people or totally paraplegic individuals in extending practical means for dying comfortably and surrounded with friend said to you: “I am closely familiar with situations like you. If you need my services I’ll be care for all the details for you. I’ll take you by the hand through all the turmoil and procedures…”

Past the first horror reaction, you probably would appreciate greatly this pragmatic help, coming from someone ready to confront the legal problems on your behalf.

In your condition of total detachment, you are unable to focus on anything, much less to make any worthwhile decision. You need a down-to earth friend ready to stay by you and support you in everyday hassles.

Logic has nothing to do with real life, particularly binary logic.

If you are cornered in any discussion to choose between two aspects, avoid it by all means. There is nothing worth gaining from such a discussion.

If you are enamoured with binary logic, at least have the decency to expound on the topic from all its aspects before venturing on a yes or no closure.


Existence is Resistance


If you need an introduction to the flap between Scarlett Johanson and Oxfam

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd writes letter to Scarlett Johanson about her support of Israeli Apartheid

In the past days I have written privately to Neil Young (once) and to Scarlett Johanson (a couple of times). Those letters will remain private.

Sadly, I have received no reply from either.

And so I write this note on my Facebook page somewhat in bewilderment.

Roger Waters

Neil? I shall ponder all of this long and hard. We don’t really know each other, but, you were always one of my heroes, I am confused.

Scarlett? Ah, Scarlett. I met Scarlett a year or so ago, I think it was at a Cream reunion concert at MSG.

Scarlet was, as I recall, fiercely anti Neocon, passionately disgusted by Blackwater (Dick Cheney’s private army in Iraq), you could have been forgiven for thinking that here was a young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love. I confess I was somewhat smitten. There’s no fool like an old fool.

A few years down the line, Scarlett’s choice of Soda Stream over Oxfam is such an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.

I would like to ask that younger Scarlett a question or two:

1. Scarlett, just for one example, are you aware that the Israeli government has razed to the ground a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in Southern Israel 63 times, the last time being on the 26th of December 2013. This village is the home to Bedouin. The Bedouin are, of course, Israeli citizens with full rights of citizenship. Well, not quite full rights, because in “Democratic” Israel there are 50 laws that discriminate against non Jewish citizens.

I am not going to attempt to list, either those laws (they are on the statute book in the Knesset for all to research) or all the other grave human rights abuses of Israeli domestic and foreign policy. I would run out of space. But, to return to my friend Scarlett Johanson.

2. Scarlett, I have read your reposts and excuses, in them you claim that the Palestinian workers in the factory have equal pay, benefits and “Equal rights”. Really? Equal Rights? Do they?

1. Do they have the right to vote?

2. Do they have access to the roads?

3. Can they travel to their work place without waiting for hours to pass through the occupying forces control barriers?

4. Do they have clean drinking water?

5. Do they have sanitation?

6. Do they have citizenship?

7. Do they have the right not to have the standard issue kicking in their door in the middle of the night and taking their children away?

8. Do they have the right to appeal against arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment?

9. Do they have the right to re-occupy the property and homes they owned before 1948?

10. Do they have the right to an ordinary, decent human family life?

11. Do they have the right to self determination?

12. Do they have the right to continue to develop a cultural life that is ancient and profound?

If these questions put you in a quandary I can answer them for you. The answer is, NO, they do not.

The workers in The Soda Stream Factory do not have any of these rights.

So, what are the “equal rights” of which you speak?

Scarlett, you are undeniably cute, but if you think Soda Stream is building bridges towards peace you are also undeniably not paying attention.

Love. R.

Taken From Roger Waters Facebook Page

A shed of my own: Not necessarily Marcus Berkmann’s

Do you think mid-life crisis is in the eye of the beholder? Whatever statistics of researchers in social sciences mildly try to make you swallow?

Do you believe by now that mid-life crisis is actually a series of crises after “maturity”, interspersed with memory lapses?

Like this kid of 9 who wrote: “Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42“.

People in their late 30’s prefer to be labeled “thirty something”, and as they reach their 50’s, they like to be called “fiftysomethings”…simply because they lived that glorious period…

Is middle age defined by physical limitations in endurance, such as:

1. Going “ooof” when sitting down on a sofa

2. Refraining from eating pizza after sundown,

3. Preferring to change to slippers immediately as you enter your home…

Is middle age defined by leisure of wider opportunities, as Jane Fonda expressed it: “People tend to be happier after 50: They are less stressed, less anxious, less hostile…Maybe because they realize that “I have been there, done it, and none of it killed me”. You tend no longer to make mountains out of mole hills…”

Late French author Albert Camus wrote: “Nobody realizes that many of us invest tremendous energy merely to be normal“( looking normal in the eye of the majority?)

Dr. von Heller wrote: ” Forty is a critical age.  Between 35 and 40, everybody has to turn a corner in his life, or smash into a brick wall…”

In mid-life crisis we become increasingly paranoid of physical shortcoming, only to discover that the rear tire of our bicycle is flat, and nothing is wrong with our leg muscles…Has one of your kids commented: “You’re a grown up. What do you know about style?”

Jane Austin in Emma wrote: “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasure of the other…”  Is she referring to the two groups divide: Youth and after middle age?

After all, at which age have you started checking the obituary pages of your local daily? Given that you have started reading anything at all before then…

Kurt Vonnegut wrote: “True terror is waking up and discovering that your high-school class is running the country (politically)…” Middle age people knew how stupid they used to look and think, and now they are behaving as the wisest of all…

J.M. Barrie wrote: “I have warned against letting the golden hours slip by.  A few of them hours happened to be golden because I let them slip by…”

And Albert Einstein wrote: “I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity…”

Note: Marcus Berkmann is the author of Rain Man, and he latest is “A shed of his own” reflecting on mid-age crisis

Are you suffering and in pain? Great, you are now superior to God

I just finished reading “Before the End” by late Argentina author Ernesto Sabato. Sabato in his nineties in 1989, was asked to write an “inspirational” book for the youth who feel their walls nailed to the wall. Sabado had already experienced the loss of his elder son Jorge and his wife Mathilda, and he was feeling pretty down and helpless. What follows are a few quotes on pains and suffering from other authors that Ernesto referred to:

Simone Weil wrote: “Pain and suffering have elevated man to a rank superior to God. We needed to invent the notion of Reincarnation to tamper this scandalous realization of our superiority…”   (Advances in the medical field enhanced this feeling, until current technologies and liberal capitalism reversed the trend, making humanity feeling helpless, confronted with so many insurmountable global problems…)

Oscar Wilde wrote before dying: “Where there is pain, the location is sacred…”

Pavese wrote: “Suffering teaches an alchemy that transforms mud into gold, and miseries into privileges…”

Miguel Hernandez wrote from prison: “One of these days, we will celebrate and salute with raised glasses whatever we have lost and recovered: Liberty, chains, happiness, and that obscure tenderness which makes us search across the entire world…”  Hernandez died in prison.

Albert Camus wrote: “The only serious problem in philosophy is suicide: How we judge life? Is it worth living…?” or La vida vale nada?

Manrique wrote: “How life passes, how death approaches, so silently…”

Urs Von Balthasar wrote: “We landed on the sandy banks of rationalism: We keep taking a step back so that our feet may take a firm hold on the abrupt rock of mystery…”

Jasper said: “The origin of philosophy is getting conscious of my weakness and helplessness…”

Kierkegaard wrote: “Having faith is acquiring the courage to confronting the doubt…” (I guess, as long as we keep carrying on with our projects, after encountering so many road blocks and failures, we are mainly shouldered by our faith…This kind of faith has nothing to do with any religious belief)

Maria Zambrano wrote: “We don’t cross from the feasible to the real, but from what is impossible to the truth…”

Leon Felipe wrote: “The current world has become terribly and monstrously reasonable: There are no fools anymore. The extravagant man defying the desert spaces is dead…”

As Gandhi said:  “My windows are wide opened to all world culture and civilization: As long as they don’t threaten to uproot me from my land…” (I guess people resist occupying troops, simply because they tend to uproot customs, traditions, and original culture…)

Note: Ernesto Sabato (1911-2011?) turned down, at the age of 30, a very promising scientific career and teaching sciences and mathematics in universities. He published “The Tunnel”, “Heroes and Graves”, “The Angel of Darkness”…Sabato headed Argentina commission on the crimes of the previous military dictatorship period and issued the 5,000-page report “No mass”.  He painted late in life and was passionate for classical music…




April 2020

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