In my pre-Christmas book splurge, I picked up Kafka’s The Trial, which has so far reminded me why I wait 1.5 decades between reading Kafka books, and Camus’ The Rebel, which has delicious bits of tasty absurdity.
And deliberately so. One cannot be a rebel without a set of values to hold higher than the powers-that-be, but one cannot — pace Nietzche — create one’s own value system without arriving at absurdity and nihilism.
So Camus fails here:
The final conclusion of absurdist reasoning is, in fact, the repudiation of suicide and the acceptance of the desperate encounter between human inquiry and the silence of the universe.
It cannot wash. Absurdism with values is a contradiction. The “encounter” with the silent universe has no purpose. It is to encounter nothing. One can just as easily do that dead.
This sickness will run its course. Either the fever will break and sanity will return to civilization, or it will kill the host and give rise to a new age of innocent barbarism.
But from where will the barbarians come? We have made them scarce of late.
Revisionism in the name of the oppressor? The worm be turning.