Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Fall - Albert Camus

Seems it's philosophy season for me..It's Camus work again..Albeit I made several attempts to stay away,I would easily drawn to this without much effort...Lately I was introduced to the concept of absurd philosophy by Hesse's Steppenwolf..Just a strange coincidence,I found a lot of similarities between these two concepts of Existentialism..Must say a timely read for me..In fact these kind of  reads take a huge toll on me..After finishing one such book,I could't make myself read any sort of lighter tone work for some time,perhaps it's due to lack of emphasis..Is it a sort of obsession ?..Or 'Crisis',might be the precise word !!! After staying in Hesse's world for a little while,I dared to read Camus thinking that perhaps I might understand this man now..But do I ? Let me be honest..Not yet fully..It's not a beautiful tale or surface work to be crystal clear..It is all about a person's most honest and profound thoughts which you anyway compare with your's through out reading..So in the end,the feel of inadequacy strikes you for sure..Cause it's very difficult to come to easy conclusions when it's all about mind game.
Image courtesy Google
Sorry I was off the path..However,attempting to analyze a Camus work is nothing but sheer audacity..All you could do is 'just read'...'The Fall' is Camus's second novel for me after 'The Stranger'..I picked this book some time back but at that time it was beyond my grasp..So,I gave a second read now..Though,I must admit that I struggled at some parts to understand him..I read some sentences twice and thrice..But it's worth reading..Here you'll meet Jean Baptiste Clamence,a lawyer by profession,in a bar called 'Mexico City',in Amsterdam..He calls himself as a 'Judge-Penitent'..Eventually he'll let you know what it is meant for..The narration was in the first person..While reading it appears like it's Clamence's confession  but slowly he includes you in his deep analysis and asks you to put your feet in his shoes..Some wonderful arguments were made on morality,judgments,religion,power,connections and relations...Certainly it is one of the few books that will stretch your nerves..Finally it's a highly recommended and a must read work on 'Existentialism'..

Albert Camus - Image courtesy Google
Here I'm quoting few favourite lines from the book,

Haven’t you noticed that our society is organized for this kind of liquidation? You have heard, of course, of those tiny fish in the rivers of Brazil that attack the unwary swimmer by thousands and with swift little nibbles clean him up in a few minutes, leaving only an immaculate skeleton? Well, that’s what their organization is. “Do you want a good clean life? Like everybody else?” You say yes, of course. How can one say no? “O.K. You’ll be cleaned up. Here’s a job, a family, and organized leisure activities.” And the little teeth attack the flesh, right down to the bone.
But I am unjust. I shouldn’t say their organization. It is ours, after all: it’s a question of which will clean up the other.

I was at ease in everything, to be sure, but at the same time satisfied with nothing.

It seemed to me that I was half unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well — how to live. Yes, I think it was probably then that everything began.

I wasn’t good enough to forgive offenses, but eventually I always forgot them. And the man who thought I hated him couldn’t get over seeing me tip my hat to him with a smile. According to his nature, he would then admire my nobility of character or scorn my ill breeding without realizing that my reason was simpler: I had forgotten his very name.

I lived consequently without any other continuity than that, from day to day, of I, I, I. From day to day women, from day to day virtue or vice, from day to day, like dogs — but every day myself secure at my post. Thus I progressed on the surface of life, in the realm of words as it were, never in reality. All those books barely read, those friends barely loved, those cities barely visited, those women barely possessed! I went through the gestures out of boredom or absentmindedness. Then came human beings; they wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to, and that was unfortunate — for them. As for me, I forgot. I never remembered anything but myself.

Some cry: “Love me!” Others: “Don’t love me!” But a certain genus, the worst and most unhappy, cries: “Don’t love me and be faithful to me!

Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death.. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism. So if there were the least certainty that one could enjoy the show, it would be worth proving to them what they are unwilling to believe and thus amazing them.

One dies if necessary, one breaks rather than bending. But I bend, because I continue to love myself.

I encountered hostility especially among those who knew me only at a distance without my knowing them myself. Doubtless they suspected me of living fully, given up completely to happiness; and that cannot be forgiven. The look of success, when it is worn in a certain way, would infuriate a jackass.

Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them. But to be happy it is essential not to be too concerned with others.

Happy and judged, or absolved and wretched. As for me, the injustice was even greater: I was condemned for past successes. For a long time I had lived in the illusion of a general agreement, whereas, from all sides, judgments, arrows, mockeries rained upon me, inattentive and smiling. The day I was alerted I became lucid; I received all the wounds at the same time and lost my strength all at once. The whole universe then began to laugh at me.

But especially because wealth shields from immediate judgment, takes you out of the subway crowd to enclose you in a chromium-plated automobile, isolates you in huge protected lawns, Pullmans, first-class cabins. Wealth, cher ami, is not quite acquittal, but reprieve, and that’s always worth taking.

Above all, don’t believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity. How could sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for truth at any cost is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing resists. It’s a vice, at times a comfort, or a selfishness. Therefore, if you are in that situation, don’t hesitate: promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can. You will satisfy their hidden desire and doubly prove your affection.

Then I realized, as a result of delving in my memory, that modesty helped me to shine, humility to conquer, and virtue to oppress. I used to wage war by peaceful means and eventually used to achieve, through disinterested means, everything I desired. For instance, I never complained that my birthday was overlooked; people were even surprised, with a touch of admiration, by my discretion on this subject. But the reason for my disinterestedness was even more discreet: I longed to be forgotten in order to be able to complain to myself.

With its flat shores, lost in the fog, there’s no saying where it begins or ends. So we are steaming along without any landmark; we can’t gauge our speed.We are making progress and yet nothing is changing. It’s not navigation but dreaming.


magiceye said...


Ravish Mani said...

Thanks Nagini. I'll get it in my hands soon :)

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

Seems to be a good read for sure ..

the experts you have put are interesting for sure