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Dear Meursault…

by OddOneOut

For those who don’t know, Meursault is a character from the famous literary jewel “L’etranger (The Stranger/Outsider), written by Albert Camus, and is pronounced Mur-Sew

The book is famous and controversial because of Meursault’s character (which I won’t explain here; all of you should read the book it’s amazing), which I strongly believe is EXACTLY like how I am becoming right now…
I don’t care anymore. Whether something is ethical or not, what the effects of my actions will be…I feel emotionless (ba-dum, tss), don’t feel pain or happiness, time passes and the only way I know that it does is by the colour of the light at that moment of time. If my own mother died…I’d be indifferent. Just like Meursault is in the book…
I can finally understand why Meursault did things because “he felt like it”. It’s just so simple. So honest. I just feel like doing things. I just feel like starting a conversation with that person via text messaging, just feel like going for a run. Just feel like playing games. Not actual emotions, but something compelling me to do it at that moment. And if things go wrong – the person doesn’t reply, the weather is bad, my laptop is out of power etc. – then screw it. Shrug and move on.

Nothing stays for me, nothing lasts. It’s all just…empty.
And I know that it is, which kinda makes it even more strange. My self-awareness of it all.


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telly34 6/3/2013 - 10:20 am

I had forgotten all about that. I read it in French and I do remember the guy whose mother died and everybody thought that his lack of reaction to it was very odd. Good book !

calimike 6/3/2013 - 1:34 pm

Sounds like worth a read. I don’t care bout anything much either man. Apathy abounds. Would I cry if everyone i knew died prolly not. I would just see it as rather inconvenient.

phoe 6/3/2013 - 3:19 pm

i admire people who can feel nothing.

left22 6/3/2013 - 3:24 pm

To understand Camus you also need to read – the Rebel and the myth of Sisyphus

I don’t think it was that Meursault’s character did not care. A man who does not care could not have become so passionately angry with the priest.
His refusal was not the refusal to care but the refusal to measure, and refusing to measure, live in the moment as it is without ties to the past or the future. (It is his refusal to judge, and act on that judgment that the most of us we measure as reasonable, that sets his fate. This refusal also keeps him from experiencing Love as most of us desire to experience it. In this freedom he losses freedom. This is a paradox of life.)

Camus found that at the end of every philosophical or theological inquiry, honestly pursued to the end, ended in the absurd.
When we find ourselves confuted with the absurd there are two possibilities, leap or refusal to leap.
All leaps are leaps of Faith. This applies to both the Man of science/reason and the man of God. All leaps of faith deny in some aspect of our experience of life and appeal that some “thing” experience greater then ourselves.

Camus felt that any leap was a leap of suicide and refused to leap, refused suicide either physically or intellectually.
He refused to appeal to Faith, Meaning or Hope, all of which take us out of the moment, out of life, and instead leave us stranded in a Past we cannot change or Future “next life”.

Today most of us refuse to leap, or think we have leaped but do so unconsciously, and because it is unconscious find ourselves trapped in the disconcert between our experiences and our expectations of our experiences.
Life should be this or that and when it isn’t, something must be wrong with us or something is wrong with everyone else.
Something is just Wrong, the Stranger does not measure life as wrong but instead allows that is just what it is, as it is, and finds himself happy

In Meursault refusal to leap, in his refusal to appeal to hope and meaning, he is the stranger, the rebel, the absurd man. As the Stranger, his fate is determined, he will be executed, but that too is part of the absurdity as this is the fate of for us all, the difference being that Meursault faces his with eyes open, without appeal, without demanding otherwise, without a leap of suicide.

But even after the Stranger, empting himself of hope returns to hope that in the end “on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration (something cursed).”

And so Camus leaps.


“When I woke, the stars were shining down on my face. Sounds of the countryside came faintly in, and the cool night air, veined with smells’ of earth and salt, fanned my cheeks. The marvelous peace of the sleepbound summer night flooded through me like a tide.

Then, just on the edge of daybreak, I heard a steamer’s siren. People were starting on a voyage to a world which had ceased to concern me forever. Almost for the first time in many months I thought of my mother. And now, it seemed to me, I understood why at her life’s end she had taken on a “fiancé”; why she’d played at making a fresh start.

There, too, in that Home where lives were flickering out, the dusk came as a mournful solace. With death so near, Mother must have felt like someone on the brink of freedom, ready to start life all over again. No one, no one in the world had any right to weep for her.

And I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration. – Albert Camus – THE STRANGER

left22 6/3/2013 - 3:32 pm

Today I can’t help but wonder if Merursalut would have been diagnosed with Aspersers.
He always seemed to misread the response others had to him and be surprise by other’s reaction.

left22 6/3/2013 - 3:35 pm

All leaps of faith deny in some aspect our experience of life as it is and our appeal to that some “thing” experience greater then ourselves.

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