Forget oneself; achieve great things, reach nobility and go beyond the vulgarity in which the existence of most individuals stagnates.

Vincent Van Gogh

Favorite recent movie? :) maybe something lighter than my other questions.

Oh, your question regarding Camus wasn’t too heavy by any means, I’m just terrible at correspondence. I wouldn’t say that he is my favorite philosopher, although he is certainly among the few that are vying for that position (I change my mind on this frequently but my current favorite would be the social philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger). 

As for my most enjoying his personality in writing or his overall philosophical framework, I’m not sure the two can be separated. He seemed to have truly lived and embodied his philosophy, and his literature reflected that. What would The Stranger have been without the absurd? Or The Plague without revolt? It is all so deeply intertwined. 

I suppose that is what makes Camus so intensely fascinating to me: He was brilliant and insightful and yet so human, so rooted in humanity. (As opposed to, say, Nietzsche, who was unquestionably brilliant but almost alien in his detachment, or Sartre, whose philosophy pushes one to make an island of oneself.) 

Outside of these explanations I cannot say what draws me to Camus, except perhaps that reading his works feels like conversing with an old friend. 

As for recent movies, I haven’t seen any. Not because I am an intellectual snob or an asshole with too many “better” things to do. It just doesn’t ever come about, ya know?

Compared with the reality which comes from being seen and heard, even the greatest forces of intimate life - the passions of the heart, the thoughts of the mind, the delights of the senses - lead to an uncertain, shadowy kind of existence unless and until they are transformed, deprivatized and deindividualized, as it were, into a shape to fit them for public appearance. The most current of such transformations occurs in storytelling.

H. Arendt (1958), The Human Condition, pp. 50.  

I don’t see at all why I should have respect for lies and frauds because other people are stupid. I respect truth everywhere, and it is precisely for that reason that I cannot respect anything that is opposed to it.

Arthur Schopenhauer 

These two feelings, this knowledge of a world so awful, this sense of a life so extraordinary — how am I to resolve them?

Richard Flanagan, Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish 

(via esotericgadfly)

People suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don’t find themselves at all.

Andre Gide 

It’s possible to bend language to your will, to invest extraordinary amounts of effort and care to make words do what you want them to do.

Our culture celebrates athletes that shape their bodies, and chieftains who build organizations. Lesser known, but more available, is the ability to work on our words until they succeed in transmitting our ideas and causing action.

Here’s the thing: you may not have the resources or the physique or the connections that people who do other sorts of work have. But you do have precisely the same keyboard as everyone else. It’s the most level playing field we’ve got.

Seth Godin on doing the word.

Our lives are storied. Were it not for stories, our lives would be unimaginable. Stories make it possible for us to overcome our separateness, to find common ground and common cause. To relate a story is to retrace one’s steps, going over the ground of one’s life again, reworking reality to render it more bearable. A story enables us to fuse the world within and without.

M. Jackson (2002), The Politics of Storytelling, pp. 245.  (via thegullible)


And all the spaces of our past moments of solitude, the spaces in which we have suffered from solitude, enjoyed, desired, and compromised solitude, remain indelible within us and precisely because the human being wants them to remain so. He knows instinctively that this space identified with his solitude is creative; that even when it is forever expunged from the present, when, henceforth, it is alien to all the promises of the future, even when we no longer have a garret, when the attic room is lost and gone, there remains the fact that we once loved a garret, once lived in an attic. We return to them in our night dreams. These retreats have the value of a shell. And when we reach the very end of the labyrinths of sleep, when we attain to the regions of deep slumber, we may perhaps experience a type of repose that is pre-human; pre-human, in this case, approaching the immemorial. But in the daydream itself, the recollection of moments of confined, simple, shut-in space are experiences of heartwarming space, of a space that does not seek to become extended, but would like above all still to be possessed. In the past, the attic may have seemed too small, it may have seemed cold in winter and hot in summer. Now, however, in memory recaptured through daydreams, it is hard to say through what syncretism the attic is at once small and large, warm and cool, always comforting.

—Gaston Bachelard, from  The Poetics of Space (Orion Press, 1964)

(via memoryslandscape)

Wanna make a monster? Take the parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable—your weaknesses, bad thoughts, vanities, and hungers—and pretend they’re across the room. It’s too ugly to be human. It’s too ugly to be you. Children are afraid of the dark because they have nothing real to work with. Adults are afraid of themselves.