What’s the Latest?
Can you find meaning in life? Do you have the courage to see what is right in front of you? That was the task with which Camus challenged the world in the wake of WWII. It is a task brought to new life by Robert Zaretsky’s new book, A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus on the Meaning of Life. “A normal, comfortable civilized life is unavoidably supported and protected by violence—police violence, warfare, the slaughter of animals, capital punishment, etc. But most of this violence is invisible to us on a day to day basis. Isn’t there something cowardly about passing our violence into the hidden hands of certain designated violence-workers?”
What’s the Big Idea?
Long before the advent of the Internet and mobile phones, Camus wrote: “Just as we now love one another by telephone and work not on matter but on machines, we kill and are killed by proxy. What is gained in cleanliness is lost in understanding.” Reasonable people can disagree about the justice of these various species of violence, but shouldn’t we have to look at what we’re doing? … His relentless demand that we truly look at what we are and what we’re doing should be emblazoned on a banner and displayed in every ethics classroom and voting booth and checkout line.