Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reading opposed philosophies at once: Russell and Camus

I am currently reading the somewhat unpopular, POWER, by Bertrand Russell, at the same time that I'm reading The Rebel, by Camus.  The two could hardly be more different.  Where Russell emphasizes the universal desire for power, Camus emphasizes the Absurd, and a metaphysical rebellion against the human condition.  Power is a very easy read, Camus, is tough and slow.  The rebel tries to go beneath the merely political and to what he thinks of as a universal response to the absurd.  For Russell, rebels are only those who see themselves as competent to take power; those who don't think they're competent don't take the lead.  Their whole starting point is different. 

I have to say I can adopt both positions here.  I will try to figure out how which point of view is mine, if I can choose.  Russell's has a cleanliness to it that makes it very appealing, but Camus tries to go deeper into the human condition. The temptation is to stay with Russell on the surface. On the other hand, what if Camus is just spouting literary nonsense?

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