By Samantha Novello
An excessive genealogical reconstruction of Camus's political pondering demanding the philosophical import of his writings as delivering an alternate, aesthetic knowing of politics, political motion and freedom open air and opposed to the nihilistic different types of recent political philosophy and the modern politics of contempt and terrorisms
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Quand aurai-je le courage de ne plus être un homme ? Vers des îles lointaines voguent des hommes déchaînés […] (When will the audacious daybreak of my resolutions rise up for me ? When will I have the courage to no longer be a man? Men who have broken their chains sail toward faraway islands […]). (I, p. 947, my italics) Camus openly follows in the footsteps of Ecce homo, where the image of the dawn evokes the liberation from the straitjacket of rationalism that supports traditional morality and which announces a whole series of new mornings, or revaluations of all values (EH, ‘Pourquoi j’écris de si bons livres’ – ‘Aurore’, 1; ‘Pourquoi je suis un destin’, 1).
When the music stops, reason begins to speak once again: Camus imagines himself as the silent spectator of a dialogue between two figures, two opposed projections of the author’s own Self, which he tries to conciliate in vain (I, p. 943). Thus, he associates reason with dédoublement, the internal division of one’s self, and perceives this to engender lassitude and indifference (I, p. 943). The two characters speak the language of power and dominion: on one hand, there is an active figure who bases his ability to command on the capacity to negate his desires (I, p.
In ‘Souhait’ (‘Desire’), Camus dramatises the methodological remarks of Nietzsche’s 1886 preface to Aurore in a dialogue between the actor and the spectator of his divided reflecting self (I, p. 951): ‘Je me persuadais aisément aussi que l’intelligence que nous considérons généralement comme claire et méthodique n’était qu’un obscur et tortueux labyrinthe à côté de ces presciences immédiates. ) (I, p. 950; Camus 1980, p. 133). Camus adopts Nietzsche’s criticism of the Cartesian method and displaces intelligence from the key role that it has been assigned to in modern philosophical and scientific knowledge.
Albert Camus as Political Thinker: Nihilisms and the Politics of Contempt by Samantha Novello