Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Albert Camus, Died 46 Years Ago Today

Albert Camus
"There are no more deserts. There are no more islands. Yet one still feels the need of them. To understand this world, one must sometimes turn away from it; to serve men better, one must briefly hold them at a distance. But where can the necessary solitude be found, the long breathing space in which the mind gathers its strength and takes stock of its courage?"

  —from "The Minotaur, or Stopping in Oran"

"There are places where the mind dies so that a truth which is its very denial may be born. When I went to Djemila, there was wind and sun, but that is another story. What must be said first of all is that a heavy, unbroken silence reigned there— something like a perfectly balanced pair of scales. The cry of birds, the soft sound of a three-hole flute, goats trampling, murmurs from the sky were just so many sounds added to the silence and desolation. Now and then a sharp clap, a piercing cry marked the upward flight of a bird huddled among the rocks. Any trail one followed— the pathways through the ruined houses, along wide, paved roads under shining colonnades, across the vast forum between the triumphal arch and the temple set upon a hill— would end at the ravines that surround Djemila on every side, like a pack of cards opening beneath a limitless sky. And one would stand there, absorbed, confronted with stones and silence, as the day moved on and the mountains grew purple surging upward. But the wind blows across the plateau of Djemila. In the great confusion of wind and sun that mixes light into the ruins, in the silence and solitude of this dead city, something is forged that gives man the measure of his identity."

  —from "The Wind at Djemila"

Albert Camus, November 7, 1913 — January 4, 1960



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect he would have shared my absolute horror of cell-phones.

Ironically, I'm currently lobbying hard for our household to acquire cell-phones. Now that the children are in school, I need to be more reachable in the event of emergency.

Yet, I have a hard time imagining giving my cell number to one and all, willy-nilly, meaningless chatter on the phone in the produce section. Talk about life interrupted!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 8:32:00 PM  

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