Tomorrow is Albert Camus birthday… I really just learned that fact but find it striking in that he and his works have been on my mind for the past week or so.
When I was in high school I loved the french existentialists and absurdists principally because it seemed like an intellectual and avant-garde thing to do among my peers, and as someone who has constantly felt stupid, it was a way to make myself feel less so as I navigated the intricacies of an American adolescence (and, if I am being perfectly honest, adulthood).
I think what spoke to me more, in terms of what Camus wrote, were the ideas of being a revolutionary both in thought and in action. He reminds me of Conrad (with the German bent substituted by the French). As I learned more about him I realized that he was a seeker, someone who strove to understand, in a deep and meaningful way, what it means to be a part of our universe.
As I grew older and manged to get past the notion that he was some french fop and gave his work a bit more consideration. I think that he wrote about the human relationship to their environment… at times challenging notions on things like love, religion, nature…
I think he saw that humans tend to find something they idolize (intentional or not) and they can, at times, do so in a completely absurd and self indulgent way.
I really know very little about Camus, as the person reflected in his preserved history.
What I do know is that among the plethora of literary works out there, he was willing to challenge a reader… which is something I value.
(update on 11/7/13 to add: )
Today, his actual birthday, I heard a radio piece about his Myth of Sisyphus and got the quote below in an email.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus
(I always wondered if this implied that autumn was secondary to spring or if it was another way to view renewal)