Notebook 1942 c | Pessimism | Optimism


January I942-September I945

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the foundation of the only constant value in the history of men, who have never really died except for liberty. Liberty is the ability to defend what I do not think, even in a regime or a world that I approve. It is the ability to admit that the adversary is right.

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Revolt. Finally, I choose liberty. For even if justice is not realized, liberty maintains the power of protest against injustice and keeps communication open. Justice in a silent world, the justice of mute men, destroys complicity, negates revolt, and restores consent, but in the lowest possible form. That's where one sees the priority gradually go to the value of liberty. But the difficult thing is never to lose sight of the fact that liberty must at the same time insist upon justice, as has been said. Once this is established, there is a justice likewise, though quite different, in laying

Unpublished writings of Ch. "I have never been hugged by a woman with that utter surrender, those double knots, that ardent passion I have sought and whose charm would be worth a lifetime." "There are times when character being devoid of energy, vices produce only corruption instead of crimes." ld. "If there were no passion, there would be no virtue, and yet this century has reached such a depth of wretchedness that it is without passion and without virtue; it does good and evil, while remaining passive like matter." "When one has a noble mind and a mean heart, one writes great things and does only small ones."

Novel "I gave men their share. In other words, 1 lied and desired with them. I rushed from person to person; I did what
9 Chateaubriand's Vie de Rance (1844) tells the story of the seventeenth-century founder of the monastic order of Trappists.




was necessary. Now, that's enough. I have an account to settle with this landscape. I want to be alone with it."
J U L Y 30, 1945

At the age of thirty, a man ought to have control over himself, know the exact reckoning of his faults and virtues, recognize his limit, foresee his weakness-be what he is. And above all accept them. We are entering a positive period. Everything to be done and everything to be forsaken. Settle in to being natural, but with a mask. I have known enough things to be able to surrender almost everything. There remains an amazing effort, daily, insistent. The effort of the hidden, without hope or bitterness. No longer negate anything since everything can be asserted. Better than heartbreak.

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the past. But the future belongs to him neither more nor less than to man.

September1 945 April 1 948

Political antinomies. We are in a world in which we must choose between being a victim or an executionerand nothing else. Such a choice is not easy. It always seemed to me that in fact there were no executioners109

The only contemporary problem: Can one transform the world without believing in the absolute power of reason? Despite rationalistic, even Marxist, illusions, the whole history of the world is the history of liberty. How could the paths of liberty be determined? It is doubtless false to say that what is determined is what has ceased to live. Yet nothing is determined but what has been lived. God himself, if he existed, could not modify

Nothing more. 110 Aesthetics of revolt. But he may very well commit suicide for two reasons. that she will drag about with her. infinitely more serious. X. Today when collective passions have won out over lndi1 The words Qu'est-ce que 2 See preface to Chamfort's were penciled on the manuscript. and then contradicts herself or admits without discussion that she is wrong. never have. But determinism likewise is a mistake. Consequently those-and they are few-who live with this scruple must perish some day or other (there are several ways of dying in this regard). This odd character talks and says nothing. of course. She speaks. Politics (continued). III ." If classicism is defined by the domination of passions. several times repeated. a real concern for liberty.. But how could they fight properly against their brothers and all justice? They will bear witness. But such a reconciliation can be brought about only in a certain climate which today almost strikes me as Utopian. of Socrates. I have known that for a long time. I have a very keen liking for liberty. Everything derives from the fact that those who have the responsibility of speaking for the masses don't have. She doesn't really think of what she is saying. When they are sincere. But this is a truth that is not widely known.NOTEBOOK V September I945-April 1948 only victims. unto death. All this because she considers it unimportant. What could be (What is )" immortality for me? Living until the last man has disappeared from the earth. If they are proud. Maximes ei anecdotes and the last chapter of The Rebel. a classical era is one whose art shapes and codifies the passions of the contemporaries. they will not do so without having put up a fight. in that case? Revolt: Create in order to return to mankind? But little by little creation separates us from everyone and sets us apart without the shadow of a love. of the West lay in such a reconciliation. But I am quite aware that this concern is not the primary one of a very large number of Europeans because justice alone can give them the material minimum they need and rightly or wrongly they would gladly sacrifice liberty to that elementary justice. concerned as she is with another wound. If I found it necsesary to defend the reconciliation of justice and liberty it is because I thought the last hope. unknown. But the mere concern would be enough . And after two millennia we shall see the sacrifice. But she is the opposite of frivolous. We are not born for liberty. they even boast of the contrary. \ People always think that a man commits suicide for a reason. that's all.. And for any intellectual. In the last analysis. Program for tomorrow: solemn and Significant execution of the witnesses of liberty. liberty is eventually confused with freedom of expression. One or the other of these values must be sacrificed? What to think.

the greatest chance of authenticity is also the greatest chance of failure for art. Or. But if. In other words. the chances of failure I mention can be offset only by the chance of numbers-that is. M." Why am I an artist and not a philosopher? Because) think according to words and not according to ideas. It is the cry of a thousand sentinels. And here Hegel would be wrong. The work of art stands up by itself. just reverse the reasoning). and published in Two Cheers for Democracy. hopeful or destructive. "It's an accident that proves them right. by 113 . the echo from a thousand labyrinths. It achieves something which has often been promised by society. and nothing else does. then he owes his triumph to a whole generation. Wherefor this classicism is perhaps impossible. A literature of despair will never be universal. this classicism is possible. the French in the second is Forster's.. 195I). '45 Universal literature cannot stop at despair (nor at optimism either.. but that he overcomes or forgets despair." he said. as we seem to believe. Forsterv=. It (art) is the one orderly product which our muddling race has produced. in the purest sense. The remarkable thing in man is not that he despairs. (2) because the chances of death are greater. it is so because truly the history of human revolt has a meaning. and indeed the only way of living the collective passion authentically is to be willing to die for it. Brace. E. which was to lead to this limit. the chance that out of ten authentic artists one will survive and manage to find in his life time for passion and time for creation. if passions must be experienced before being formulated. But how much more difficult the task is (I) because. but only in a failure."[The work of art] is the only material object in the universe which may possess internal harmony. All the others have been pressed into shape from outside. p. at least we see that it can be built up only by a generationand not by an individual. Creation corrected "Men like me are not afraid of death. Man has developed a passion. but of dominating politics. 112 Aesthetics of revolt E. it is no longer a matter of dominating love through art. the collective passion consumes all the artist's time. The artist can no longer be a solitary. and when their mould is removed they collapse. but always delusively. In this case then." " . The italics in the first are Camus's. \." an address delivered in New York in 1949. if he is. for his condition.NOTEBOOK V September 1945-April 1948 vidual passions. it must merely take despair into account. To be added: reasons for which literature is or is not universal. Conclusion: any literature of despair represents but an extreme case and not the most significant. OCT 0 B E R AESTHETICS OF REVOLT Impossibility for man to despair utterly. it is the lighthouse which cannot be hidden: c'est le meilleur 3 Both quotations are from "Art for Art's Sake. But if it were. 92. Forster (Harcourt. Hegel would be right and the end of history would be imaginable.

." u' sl ators of ""----."It is not the world that must be remade. ." L.."If the world is tragic. you won't find a single coward." "All of them are right. . liberty embarrasses me. That is my human wisdom. C . a deep. . That is what 1 am going to do.(looking at him) .." "History shows that your conviction is wrong.. those who are fighting him are free and at peace." "1 cannot understand what is inhuman. When the adII S -. Wilen the adversary is wrong." "My conviction is that they can be reconciled." ld. and that is enough to divide them forever. ."1 am sending you to an almost certain death. 1 am send- C. your esteem?" L."Heroism is a secondary virtue. and L. And because liberty is never the concern. there is no problem. I4 1 C.-"Why?" "It keeps me from establishing justice." C. But everywhere else there are fools and cowards. I believe they are not reconciled." a character shouts."1 come to you in this emergency." L. a common fight against the tyrants. . You and 1 know that there is a liberty.NOTEBOOK V September 1945-April 194 8 temoiqnaqe que nous puissions donner de notre dignite.We must suppress the witnesses of liberty. it's a weakness that has no meaning. . ." L."Yet it is that weakness that makes me maintain my esteem for you. But what will be the primary virtue then?" L."What does that matter to you?" C." "Why choose this rather than that?" "Because I want the largest possible number of men to be happy. Among us. Farewell. . . if we live torn asunder. it is not so much because of tyrants. . of any but a few. but man." L."L. ." "I'm going to tell you what will happen" (tableau). ." C. . But I insist that you understand me. When evil dominates."You are right. . That is my human suffering. ing you into mortal danger. / Tragedy C.. Today's liberty embarrasses me." C.. . the primary concern."Friendship.'1 do not believe in liberty."There are fools everywhere. shared joy.." C." / "Each man bets on what he believes to be the truth ." "And if you have missed your justice?" "Then I shall enter a hell that even today you cannot imagine." "So 1 shall have to give up also being understood by those I love. Men like me always look as if they were dying alone. ~e-fsare the yVorld." L. a justice. But the split develops because men equally eager for the good of mankind either want it at once or else aim for three generations from now."You have a right to say so because you are showing your mettle. " "Let me repeat."Remaking the world is an insignificant task. But in truth I shall have done the necessary to keep men from being alone.

. no! And I know for sure who was right. will you refuse?" C. X."It's not up to you to go." L." L." C. It is vast.'s body is brought back. . And at the end of tragedy. but to serve humanity this time. A good leader is the condition of efficiency.: "This man died as a hero for the cause that was ours."It so happens that we need you. Look at this night."It's the sign for me that you are not in the path of truth."But who is right then?" The lieutenant ." L. . yes. Hence I'll go. to be sure. . Men no longer know how to love." X."! C." 4 L. liberty is immoral. That's why it is immoral today." X."I seem to be winning out because I am alive."It wasn't possible. your desires. It is up to us to respect him and to avenge him."You should have got through anyway. . you could have got through. Silence. A partisan treats it frivolously. 1I6 These three lines were penciled on the manuscript. and in itself."Look. and your fears were nothing compared with the divinity. It was he." C. .NOTEBOOK V September 1945 . Collective passions win out over individual passions. ."I'm the leader here. . Revolt. L. he who called for a reconciliation. ." A man comes in: "He too died. It revolves its mute stars above frightful human battles. But I don't much like truths that turn to my advantage.«I should consent if it were necessary. Through millennia you have adored this sky though it was obstinately silent. But I am in the same night as you."Because I am going to die. Liberty is the last of individual passions."Why?" L. having no other help than my human will." End."Yes. and I'm the one to decide. . you accepted the fact that your paltry loves. Philosophy is the contemporary form of indecency. That is my ethic. 1I7 ." C. . C." C." C." L.April 1948 versaries are both right. And today when you are asked to make the same sacrifice. C. you know what there is?" C. We are not here to perform noble deeds. ."Yes."The one who survives. returns wounded. ."Since you were able to come back."It wasn't possible. . And yet I shall never agree to kill you. 5 \ The manuscript is almost illegible at this point."You're right. ."Do not take me for an utterly blind soul. And it's the sign for me that you are not in the path of truth. ." Oh! no. . then we enter tragedy. there is death. there is death. ." C. What interests them today is the human condition and not individual fates. Both in society. but to be efficient. You believed in your solitude." The F.

What does all that matter to me in the end? This misunderstanding. It too is a mark of men. But he is infinitely responsible for m that chance. Fame! In the best of cases. Scarcely one or two authentic voices or voices moved to emotion. than hatred. Man is nothing in himself. than friendship. My ambition. N0 V E MB E R - t h e a g e o f t h i r thirty-two years old Man's most natural inclination is to ruin himself and everyone with him. I might have had nightmares about it NOTEBOOK V later on. s But the moment his will." The reason for the praise is as bad as the reason for the criticism. It's not much. I don't regret it. is a deliverance. But I shall not assume the superior look of someone who disdains fame. By himself. A t Thirty articles. neither more nor less important than their indifference. anyone who has an ambition to dominate himself and to dominate the mind. I knew fame. his conscience. What exceptional efforts he must t make y to be merely normal! And what an even greater effort for . his spirit of . a misunderstanding. Now I know what it is. is of a different nature. He is a but l an infinite chance. if I have one.t overnight. man is inclined to water himself o down. for anyone who knows how to take it.

From the animal to the martyr. cha nce beg ins to inc rea se. Each of us has the responsibility of exploiting in himself man's greatest chance. JI8 . When the human 6 After the production of Caluiula.adv ent ure do mi nat es. No one can say that he has rea che d the lim it of ma n. every testimony was staggering. from the spirit of evil to hopeless sacrifice. his definitive virtue. Th e fiv e yea rs we hav e just lived through taught me that.

Such is the law. . s a m Revolt. never before the September I945-April possibility has I94 8 been fully experienced. a To understand is to create. al l y Parain. and one p ends up by r substituting constitutional monarchy for o legitimate. . If man fails in reconCiling justice and e liberty. t It requires bucketsful of blood and centuries of h history e to lead to an imperceptible modification in the n human cont dition. But of all make oneself master of oneself. if i he accepts approximation.d will arise. There is but one possible aim li m great deeds and that is human productiveness. And religion is n right? No. He is the h son of human pride. o I a m n o t m a d e f o r p o l i t i c s b e c a u s e I a m i n c a p a b le of wanting or accepting the death of the adversary. For years heads fall like h hail. But not before then. le m o I lived my whole youth with the idea Of my f innocence. n g. II9 . monb archy. a then he fails in everything. God did not create himself. e \ Terror reigns. G in other words with no idea at all. Revolution is touted. it fi n Tragedy is not a solution. Today .

. such as having children? In the end. unless I were a Christian. if I could still believe that man's task is to create happiness! Keep silent at least. My deepest. This is how I avoid illness and renunciation. absolute determinism. religion. But I know that I stand erect through that very effort and that if I ceased to believe in it for a single moment I . that frightful world of courage and silence-these are the most legitimate consequences of a philosophy without God. 7 Or to cheat by enjoying the material advantages of the privileged artist.NOTEBOOK V September I945 -April I94 8 Only by a continual effort can I create. my situation will be falsehood and murder. I could not do so. and with it the murder of man if the murder of man is necessary to history. I am the witness of pure liberty whose fate in history is to be put to death. Otherwise. keep silent. it took years of perseverance. did I really assume it when I felt such hesitation and still have trouble doing so? Does not this inconstant heart deserve such a contradiction? [Author's note. If God does not exist. my situation lies in silence or death. it will inquire of the existentialist situation whence its origin. raising my head with all my strength to breathe and to conquer. Win for man his catholicity. If I do not choose both against God and against history. That is the question: can I be merely a witness? In other words: have I the right to be merely an artist? I cannot believe so. But its replies do not come from reasoning. But must I reduce my children to poverty. to assume the human condition" when one doesn't believe in God (add the intermediary arguments)? How easy it would be if I yielded to the horror and disgust that this world gives me. What to do between the two? Something in me tells me. I am but a witness. Not a Christian. or accept a commitment that was both sincere and relative. if it exists. really painful) laceration. should roll over the precipice. For to the divinization of history it will always raise the objection of the creation of history. surest inclination lies in silence and the daily routine. was I wrong to accept the simplest human tasks and duties. from being shameful at least and to keep it proud.] I2I .. This is where Parain is right. the fascination of the mechanical. convinces me that I cannot detach myself from my era without cowardice. I must go on to the end. If I choose to do violence to myself and to believe in history. Outside that. Christianity alone is strong in this regard. refuse even the very modest comfort I am preparing for them? And in these conditions. Consequence: Have I the right. But going on to the end means choosing history I20 absolutely. [Author's note. I understand that a man can hurl himself into religion blindly to escape this madness and this painful (yes. It is in poverty that I have found and shall always find the conditions essential to keep my culpability. But I cannot do it. has one the right to have children. My tendency is to drift toward immobility. etc. keep silent." In the present state of things. without accepting slavery. as an artist still attached to liberty. Our task: to create universality or at least universal values. To escape relaxation. Historical materialism. they come from mythology that calls for faith. until I feel I have the right . to accept the advantages in money and consideration that are linked to that attitude? The reply for me would be simple. the negation of all liberty. nothing is permitted. This is my way of despairing and this is my way of curing myself. without denying my mother and my truth.] 8 Moreover.

In any case. if I were not absolutely sure that all mankind does not coincide with history. Thibaudet" of Balzac: "The Human Comedy is the imitation of God the Father. in the worst of cases. Added to the face's fatigue. and trees. I eat at his house. And then. He is pushing me now to work. if you wish . We are made to live in relation to others. So." No. I accepted.. 80 human loves do not resist five years of separation. it'll come back to me in a moment . It's a better conception of man that we revere and acknowledge in this way. I'm the manager of a boxer. Thomas: "Eh . Whence this dreadful longing to choose the earth. The best of men must be damned if he serves only man. the even more cruel fatigue of humiliation. The soldiers hold the workmen until Saint-Etienne.. But one dies truly only for oneself. Roupp suggested I set out for Paris. He got me a room in a hotel. He's paying it all. It is natural that we should be grateful to someone who allows us at least once to be better than we are.. 9 Albert Thibaudet (1874-I936) was a vigorous and always original critic of French literature." X. Of course. I like my freedom.. Under the Occupation: the gatherers of dung. By what right would a Communist or a Christian (to take only the respectable forms of modern thought) blame me for being a pessimist? I didn't invent human misery or the terrible formulas of divine malediction. in Balzac. The suburban gardens.. we love them equally. His death at least belongs to him. Aesthetics of revolt. I'd like to manage a painter too. And it's not a misfortune. . Against the literature of commitment. . Man is not only social. The big fellow who was to get off at Firminy. A tragedy on the problem of evil. Saint-Etienne Dunieres: The workmen in the same compartment as German soldiers. "We love people less for the good they have done us than for the good we have done them. of We are asked to choose between God and history. I didn't say 13 2 I22 . the world. The only original philosophy would be the one that would justify someone else.A modest and charitable satanism.' I didn't wish. 80 of divorces among repatriated prisoners. what was I saying? Well. of the outlaw. Raupp said to me: 'You see. A bayonet has disappeared. His rage on the verge of tears." The theme of revolt. All philosophy is a justification of oneself.NOTEBOOK V September I945 -April I948 Creation corrected.

according to the case. pessimistic as to destiny." Significant. Hegel: "Only the modern city offers the mind the terrain in which it can be conscious of itself. in sincerity. etc. death. the sea. etc. Marxism. the t gram is received ane Rieux's death. If Christianity is pessimistic as to man. The human effort toward liberty and its habitual contradiction: discipline and liberty die at their own hands. Plague. pessimistic as to the human condition. I24 . etc .. Sartre. It has its spr~me when it germinates and flowers. Few men have carried further distrust of their fellow men. that it is superior to all the rest. I am optimistic as to mankind. all the modern philosophies of history.NOTEBOOK V September I945 . etc. its summer and its autumn." Tarr "The plague exists.. Truly it's a£mall matter and in any case it doesn't ove anything. gue follows the /ourse of the year. allow me to laugh. This is the time of big cities. is optimistic as to the progress of history (its contradiction t). My effort: show that the logic of revolt rejects blood and selfish motives. pessimistic as to human nature. I have the same reasoning to make. I believe they are the means to an unequaled psychological revolution.. The world has been amputated of a part of its truth. They simpl end packages parachute. etc . and that God or history. How can they fail to see that never has such confidence in man been expressed? I believe in the dialogue.. and economic conditions are in their world more terrible fatalities than divine whims. A workman cannot be made out of a bourgeois. I shall say that. Marxists do not believe in persuasion or in dialogue. As for M. of what makes its permanence and its equilibrium: nature. And that the dialogue carried to the absurd gives a chance to purity. it is optimistic as to human destiny. . Revolution must accept its own violence or be denied. sponsored the conservative and popular periodical of this name. Herriot and the subscribers to Les Annalesi» Communists and Christians will tell me that their optimism looks further ahead.." The airfield is too from town set up a regular service. several times premier of France. We must de d ourselvesAgainst it and that's what we are doin .) 1 Edouard Herriot (1872-1957). As for the famous Marxist optimism.April I948 Revolt. "Let's not exaggerate an g. is the satisfactory aim of their dialectic. but only in blood and selfish motives... Consequently it cannot take place in purity.Through compassion? (suffer together) that man was incapable of saving himself alone and that from the depths in which he wallows he had no definitive hope save in the grace of God. There is consciousness only in city streets I (Cf.

as they say. That's where I stand." to man and not in the Gospel. in front of SaintGermaln-des-Pree. Camus wrote the preface for the reprint of one of these. we choose to serve the dialogue carried to the absurd against any policy of falsehood or of silence. a monologue and dictated from the top of a solitary mountain. And no one said anything. it's no credit to me because I have no imagination." The limits. Id. a pal would disappear. To be sure. I saw two big fellows pushing a man into a taxi while pummeling his face. It's them. The truth is that I could never believe in the Gestapo until I got kicked in the belly myself. I took my precautions.. Then she comes and warns him. But only a hint. And that's why you mustn't have too exalted an idea of my courage because I am in To Guilloux: 2 "The whole misfortune of men comes from the fact that they don't use a simple speech. here I am and I am your son. A cafe waiter said to me: 'Keep quiet. others take it. Any risk was better than what would follow. From this point of view. Thus I shall say that there are mysteries it is suitable to enumerate and to meditate. Progress and true nobility lie in the dialogue from man 2 A socialist imbued with a deep love of humanity. Nothing more. "If you really want to know. Socrates is the one who is right. Because you never saw it.. There would have been no tragedy because the height of all tragedies lies in the deafness of the protagonists. But it is easier to remain a prisoner and to let yourself drift toward the horror than to escape.) I2 5 in :£953· the Resistance. That's the way I am. (1899. No. La Maison du peuple. Another day. The bitch howling all night long. The dreadful obsession of arrest. If the hero of The Misunderstanding had said: Well. The two Jews of Verdelot during the Occupation. That's the way one is free with others. In the first." . From time to time. 126 wrote novels dealing with the working class. against Jesus and Nietzsche. What balances the absurd is the community of men fighting against it. Because in the latter case you have to take the initiative.' the dialogue would have been possible and not at cross-purposes as in the play.September 1945 -April 1948 NOTEBOOK V Creation corrected: "1 had always been told that you had to seize immediately the first opportunity to escape. Louis Guilloux Creation corrected.' That gave me a hint that they really existed and that some day . And if we choose to serve that community. She becomes mad and goes and denounces him. but abstractly in a way. as in the most ordinary of thrillers. They are found hanged together. I never believed in the Gestapo.

C. '1 am right and that's what gives me the right to kill him. I think according to the world and history." Tragedy.Politics of revolt. "Thus it is that the pessimistic revolution becomes the revolution of happiness. for me it is the whole world and all of history. . I can't hesitate over that detail." 17 2 ."When the detail is a human life.C." L.L.

It denied that he had the possibility of choos128 are grouped the Cochin hospital and prisons like La Sante and SainteAnne. "It (the Party) denied the free will of the individual -and at the same time demanded of him a voluntary abnegation. the insane. It was Christianity that turned man away from the world. The oldest and most melancholy section in town. Id. It is a history of Christians." Typical of the "historical" contradiction." Matt. 12 9 . nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. to repent. "But let your communication be. Whence excess. near the Metro station of La Glaciere. icy streets. One morning in a snowy. And the body found its place in usage. the one that houses the Sante. he was still playing bit parts (utility men. yea. Sainte-Anne. This is one of the meanings of the modern convulsion. as theater people call them). At the end of his life. It reduced him to himself and to his history. God's temptations have always been more dangerous for humanity than those of Satan." The Greeks made allowance for the divine. the poor. The extreme doctrine: "Whoever is opposed to dictatorship must accept civil war as a means. Origins of the modern madness. It remains to give it that place again in philosophy and metaphysics. to be at peace with oneself. and the condemned. It denied that he had the faculty of distinguishing between good and evil-and at the same time it spoke emotionally of guilt and treachery." Novel of love: Jessica. 5:37· Death o f an old actor. That is where he died. After two thousand years of Christianity. "The greatest temptation for men like us is to renounce violence. But was not everything.! Along the dark. Two thousand years before we could again exhibit it naked on beaches. As for Cochin: the barracks of poverty and illness. Communism is a logical successor to Christianity. Yea. changing his single threadbare suit yellowing with 3 On the Boulevard de Port-Royal. and its walls drip with the filthy humidity that belongs to misfortune. Fair criticism of the absurd by Albert Wild: "The feeling of anguish is irreconcilable with the feeling of liberty. the divine Id. Nay. Id. muddy Paris.NOTEBOOK V September 1945 -April 194 8 ing between two solutions and at the same time it demanded that he constantly choose the right one. the sick. Koestler. and Cochin." That is the typical "historical" reasoning. Whoever baulks at civil war must give up the opposition and accept the dictatorship. The individual-a cog in a clockwork which was wound up for eternity and which nothing could stop or influence-was dominated by economic fatality and the Party demanded that the cog should revolt against the clockwork and change its motion. the body's revolt.

being told he was cured." The bill: "And he was put into the clay soil for an exorbitant price. and besides he had no milk. Laval is a little farther on. in the little morgue opening on to the rue de la Sante. "1 don't feel it that way. but he died without that-one night without a fuss. is the obvious sign that it's all coming to an end. It has always amazed me to what degree the loss of a certain amount of weight. the undertaker (why was he wearing a tricolor sash like a mayor?) told me he could still be seen." and as a suggestion was made to him about its delivery. He had to give up his work. He went back to Cochin. "Ahl" he said. a certain manner of having the cheekbones stand out and the gums shrink. He even went back to the bit part of a ludicrous little man that he was playing at that time. She took the trowel and threw the soil in the direction of the hole. Those in the neighboring beds informed his wife. He could no longer drink anything but milk. They still didn't operate. Two or three of his old associates are there with the widow and the widow's daughter. and I. The soil went far beyond the hole. I didn't want to.] 133 . The one who is losing weight is the only one who never seems to "be aware. All I can know is what I see and it so happened that I saw that Liesse was going to die. The hollow sound of the box could be heard." it's only intermittently perhaps." And this morning there he is. clinging morning stuck in my throat. willy-nilly. 13 0 widow stretched out her hand above a mound of earth. But he had lost weight." You know. of course. "You know. No one informed her at the office because no one had been informed. But the daughter missed her shot. He died indeed. He was taken to Cochin and he told his friends that he was going to be operated on and then it would be all over. {The trip to North America (March-May 1946) comes at this point." they said. When I arrived. He stopped working again. And in the morning his wife came to see him as usual.") He wasn't operated on but was sent away. for the minor roles. have no way of knowing.NOTEBOOK V September 1945 -April 1948 age for the more or less glittering costumes that have to be provided. She made a gesture that meant: "Too bad. who is not his daughter. this is the cemetery of the people put to death." Or if he "is aware. "it happened last night. rather wildly. I still had this filthy. (I recall a line from his part: "When I was a little child.

If they judg e us. But I don't care what they think. Nuremberg. But one doesn't feel like washing in it either.000 bodies under the ruins." The flunky inside likewise. It's water from the Morgue. Revolt. On the lampshades made of human skin can be seen a very ancient dancer tattooed between the nipples.NOTEBOOK V that is what must be learn ed. Beginning: "The only really serious moral problem is murder." Etc. What 4 Victoria Ocampo. "Take the lift." "Carryon. But to find out whether or not I can kill this person in my presence. the Argentine writer who founded and edited the influential review Sur in Buenos Aires. Above the decomposition. to find that I know nothing before finding out whether or not I can cause death. "Carry on. or agree to his being killed. She is received without any other kind of interrogation. When supper was late. the trial. 60. "To see the Queen. 134 Novel. It is prohibited to drink the water. it was because there was to be an execution in the morning. they alwa ys do so with their princ iples in mind . . At the entrance the guard asks her where she is going." Pe ople alwa ys want to push us in the direc tion of their cons eque nces." The Queen's apartments. V. The rest comes after. Ocampo' goes to Buckingham Palace.

I want to find an agreement. I don't want to be a philosophical genius. to draw all the conclusions from it even if that is to leave me in a state of contradiction. and. they begin rubbing their hands. It was a thought that had room for everything. of course.September 1945-April 194 8 matters to me is to find out whether or not I can kill. It seems that I still have to find a humanism. Because you have reached the frontiers where all thought stumbles. But I think I don't care if I am in a state of contradiction. I just find it inadequate. And Greek thought. for example. I have nothing against humanism. what is he going to do?" And they have their truth all ready. Novel on Justice. "And now. knowing that I cannot kill myself." . was quite different from a humanism. I don't even want to be a genius at all. The Terror! And they are already forgetting. for I have enough trouble just being a man. to find out whether I can kill or let others be killed and. knowing it.

I Loves K. and adolescence in revolt). I. injustice. Party (etc. 4) The purging of the collaborators. Native polities. Does not think of principles. At the first example of violence (brutal interrogation.Poor childhood-injustice is natural. 1 3 5 ____ e~_~ •• _ C _________________________________ •• ~_~ . Revolution in general.). 5 Passage reinstated by the French publishers. War and Resistance. J. Justice cannot be reconciled with violence.

13 6 The~ Lourmarin. Historicity leaves unexplained the phenomenon of beauty. Not a single concession. . which is within sight m::i!.. the vast silence. " d the common way of writing an's private hisser een taken . Nothing remains but a motion. September 1945 -April 194 8 NOTEBOOK V N. Blow up everything. He knew that she never thought it worthwhile to disturb someone for her. See Defoe' reface to the ~e of Robinson Crusoe (SeT.. M." First evening. Rebellious preaching. the cypress shivering in the depths of my fatigue. "What a mad. The revolution as myth is the definitive revolution. Give to revolt the form of a tract. Priest? "It's not worthwhile. And even her death . 9 the Life and Surprising Adven res o f Robinson usoe):". after so many years. Revolt and Revolution." But that it wasn't worthwhile. It is as reasonable to present one kind imprisonment by another. The whole effort of German thought has been to substitute for the notion of human nature that of human situation and hence to substitute history for God and modern tragedy for ancient equilibrium. . Camus went to Lourmarin with several other :r~zyShe bought a house in that small village in the about twenty-five miles from Aix-en-Provence. O.. and many assumed that it came from Year. inconceivable thing that a writer cannot -in any conceivable circumstance-be frank with his readers. and two in the local cemetery.' us Reflections du . 137 ." Melville.''6 rd._ aid would have yielded no diversion .. Reyolution and those who will never kill. . in other words.intalU known as Le Luberon. ld.. The star above the Luberon.L. That truth cannot be achieved without a true life. Modern existentialism carries that effort even further and introduces into the idea of situation the same uncertainty as in the idea of nature. What to think of a supposedly absolute explanation that . all I could have . g that really exists by that whi exists not .... Solemn landscape-despite its bewildering beauty.. For The Plague. Return to the mother." She didn't say "no. relations with the world (sentiment of nature) and with persons as individuals (love). first sentence of this quotation from Defoe as an in 1947. But like the Greeks I believe in nature. as It I to represent anyt .

Poor childhood. Another time. having ceased to consider it either good or bad. "I loved my mother with despair." "When comes the day of my last voyage 139 .. 'The sound of the coffin in the earth is an utterly serious thing. And one deserves much less credit. "I was ashamed of my poverty and of my family. That sort of second state . "Yes. First Chapter on the death penalty. "The first time he had been struck was during his interrogation.. . without his having talked to him. Thus. Novel. one can't talk to him about that." Agrippa d' Aubigne Revolt.. my mother and my heart. Whereas I know now that I am and. For then you are judged for what you are and you even go so far as to judge your family by what you have become. I am interested in other things . starting from the absurd." Idea of resistance in the metaphysical sense." "0 Lord. and poverty seemed to me the very air we breathed in this world. natural. and that is vulgar.. customary . They are all prisoners. etc. in the camp. Before then.. for not knowing such ugly feelings. " He tries to talk to the German prisoner to explain what he means.. it all began. NOTEBOOK V September 1945 . . Normal enough in a way considering the exceptional circumstance. At school I came to know the comparison. For then he realized that in the eyes of the man who had struck him it was normal..April 1948 Story of the former deportee who encounters German prisoners in Lourmarin. whereas I am not . Eventually the fellow disappears. Treat of the harm the world does me. "A child is nothing in himself. I have always loved her with despair. On second thought. It makes me disparaging. His parents represent him. he feels that no man is ever free enough to be able to throw light on that. everyone was poor like me. ld. we are alone. when he received two hard slaps for some little mistake in his service. longer ashamed of that shame and no longer despise myself for having felt it. seen the roots. (But they are monsters!) And if I can speak of it today quite simply this is because I am no 138 Machado. end. And if until the age of twenty-five I felt rage and shame at the memory of that lack of courage. I came to know such shame only when I was sent to the lucee.P. "It's dying without death and accomplishing nothing To waver thus In the dark belly of cramped misfortune. I lacked courage. this is because I refused to be vulgar. For two full hours they had dug in the black earth. with new eyes. having reached maturity. the Germans had amused themselves by making them dig their own graves and then had not executed them. But in the camp. I now know it would have required a heart of heroic and exceptional purity not to suffer from those days when I used to read on the face of a more favored friend the surprise he couldn't hide on seeing the house where I lived. But the other is a prisoner. Q. it is not possible to live revolt without reaching at some point or other an experience of love that is still undefined.

The sensitivity of dogs is like that.! An African romancero? The only great Christian mind that faced the problem of evil was St. just where is the merit? It seems that to write a poem about spring tOday would be to serve capitalism. T. But it did not keep the consequence. . Alexander Herzen (1812-'70) left Russia in 1847 but was bitterly disappointed by the European revolutions of 184a. and this comes to the same thing. ""~-. and forgetfulness has also reached my heart. which is to refuse in fact any liberty to man. and if we must do the necessary to satisfy that need. You will find me on board with slim baggage And almost naked like the sons of the sea. devoid of the long echo that memory gives. attributed his philosophical aphorisms in prose to one Juan de Mairena. The result is evident. Law suppressing serfdom in Russia. One of the few Russian liberals in the middle of the nineteenth century. February 19. But if this is to become a law." Since then Christianity has striven to give the problem temporary solutions. Courage in one's life and talent in one's works-this is 8 The Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939). And moreover the writer is committed when he wishes to be. or a terror. . if it were beautiful. His merit lies in his impulse. Yes. "And every time I have read a story about plague. which consists in reducing man to history. I should like to see them less committed in their works and a little more so in their daily life. At least they can no longer accept lies on the subject.. from the bottom of a heart poisoned by its own 141 OCT 0 B E R I prefer committed men to literatures of commitment. a creation of his own mind. I have ceased to have any but brief emotions. One serves mankind all together or not at all. NOTEBOOK V September I945 -April 1948 And the ship sails that never returns. They are fed up with evil or resigned. Augustine... And id.-"----------- . even personal ones-too bad. \I Readings for The Just Assassins and The Rebel. Existentialism kept Hegelianism's basic error. S.-. He drew from it the terrible "Nemo Bonus. but I should delight in such a work without mental reservation. Men took their time. And if man needs bread and justice.R. See Whose Fault? a novel by Herzen (1847). which nonetheless were alive." Translate the speeches of Juan de Mairena. 1861. The first shot (fired by Karakozov) was the 4th of April 1866. but today they are poisoned by an intoxication that has been going on for two thousand years. Inability to remember a story told me-to recall whole sections of the past. which is the bread of his heart. obviously I must note here more and more things. I am not a poet. 140 . On the Development o f Revolutionary Ideas in Bussia» not so bad. Until it improves (if it does improve). Plague . Thtrty-three years old in a month My memory has been slipping for the last year. For in the end everything takes its place for me on the same rather foggy plane. For it is the result. he also needs pure beauty. The rest is not serious. whom Camus quotes in French. 1946. a function.

Suicide.).: I can send Saint-Exupery on a fatal mission to save a regiment. purity if you wish. Not to speak out. But it's even more tiring not to want to be a skunk. Of course. Did she accept me? No. it's tiring to be a skunk. health. I shall be sensitive to the attraction of suicide. Genius." "So long as I have not overcome my inclination for sensual pleasure. NOTEBOOK V September I 945 .. the creator's great suffering begins (l no longer have the courage to publish my books. I am well aware. what interests me is not so much being better as being accepted. W." "Presumptuous man. There is no such thing. "Yes. When the sky is cold and nothing supports us in nature ." . The rest. the more authentic my interest. who is nothing.J There are moments when I don't believe I can endure the contradiction any longer. And no one accepts anyone.V. The end justifies the means only if the relative order of importance is reasonableex. it's quite obvious. is an effect of the will and of a will that must never relax. what does he. not to keep silent. . av~a~d~. Ah I better to die perhaps. because no one.. This is why everyone is tired since everyone is somewhat of a skunk. U." "Either one of two things.April I948 rebellions and by the violences of others there rose a clear cry saying that there were nevertheless in men more things to admire than things to despise. "And that everyone carries the plague in him. The admirable man. is untouched by iLl And that one must watch oneself constantly not to be led in a moment of distraction to breathe in someone else's face and to infect him. is the man who has the fewest possible moments of distraction." Conversations with Koestler. next to last chapter of IV. But this is also why a few know an extremity of fatigue that nothing will cure short of death. But I cannot deport millions of persons and suppress all liberty for an equivalent quantitative result and compute for three or four generations previOusly sacrificed. I42 . death s 1 See 'I'arrou in The Plague. integrity. When he is recognized as a talent. What is natural is the microbe. have to fear?" "The greater my disinterestedness. who does not infect anyone. . no one in the world.

2 Probably "Ni victimes ni bourreaux. 194 6 I43 ." published in November and included in Actuelles I.

devotion. is the result of a situation that has been going on for a hundred years and more. "When the interviewer asked me. if I hated Russia. this would be the beginning of a hope?" The aim of revolt is the pacification of men. Any revolt reaches the ultimate and reverberates in the assertion of 144 B ut th e of a Negro ly nc hi K. NOTEBOOK V human limits-and of a community of all men. I am an average man with an exigency. Hence of getting rid first of a certain number of false scruples. On the other: "Don't you believe that we are all responsible for the absence of values? And that if all of us who come from Nietzscheism. Sartre and David Rousset founded the R. and now like that friend who beat his head against the walls of my room. A Utopia today will cost them less than a war.Momentary impossibility of reaching the proletariat. there is no more hope: " Modes of action.D. But its mistake lay in trying to preserve or imitate only the miraculous side of nature. within those limits. For it is true that the deporting of several million men is more serious than the lynching of a Negro. . . which became a subject of controversy in French intellectual life."1 cannot turn my moral values solely against the U. Human nature. don't you believe Parain. But nature is never crude. What constituted the success of my books is what constitutes their falsehood for me. On the one hand. ." "So many years of struggle.R. where does it come from? Obvious that I ought to give up all creative activity so long as I don't know. . This is why there are painters. But landscapes are fleeting and Soon forgotten. The true rebellious artist does not deny miracles. whoever they are.S. This requires a talent so spare and unadorned that I doubt I have it. Is the proletariat the highest historical value? C.Necessity of defining a minimum political code of ethics. for example. M. Humility and genius.Utopia. Oct I. But if there is a human nature. etc.April 1948 An essay on the feeling for nature-and sensual pleasure. which he calls "fallacies" in English: (a) that what you say may serve causes you yourself cannot serve. Breton is right. something came to a stop there in me. Rimbaud. 145 S. from nihilism. The surrealists becoming Marxists. I said that I hated the Stalin regime as much as I hated the Hitler regime and for the same reasons. X. . B et n g and Art and revolt. But something came undone at that point. In fact. The order of injustices.Y. I don't believe either in the break between the world and man. he overcomes them rather. sary to establish+ and illustrate them. The values I ought to defend and illustrate today are average values. Human condition. I lied for them . And surrealist painting in its movement is the expression of that revolt of man against Creation. That the essence of modern literature is recantation. ethics.S. There are the moments of harmony with crude nature. The opposite of Utopia is war. And that the great problem of the moment is the conflict. And I made an effort.R.. NOTEBOOK V September 1945 . (b) Soul-searching. saying as he turned his blood-spattered face toward me: 'There is no more hope. or from historical realism said in public that we were wrong and that there are moral values and that in the future we shall do the neces3 Soon after this meeting at the home of Andre Malraux. . and that represents in the end the suffering of just as many millions . Sartre.

Guilloux.It must be said that as writers we are guilty of treason in the eyes of history if we do not denounce what deserves to be denounced. So that the guiltiest of men will maintain a relation with the human. yet has the same friendly look in his eyes that he had when I recruited him into the Combat network. Read Owen. everything takes its place on the highest plane. in other words through an idea. etc. a conscientious objector of Communist sympathies. Why does one drink? Because in drink everything assumes importance. as I came away from the public statement I made concerning dialogue. Robert Brasillach (1910-45) was executed in February 1945 for collaboration with the Germans during the Occupation.April I948 side of Hitler. He can't understand anything in this world gone mad. The conspiracy of silence is our condemnation in the eyes of those who come after us. Write the story of a contemporary cured of his heartbreaks solely by long contemplation of a landscape. the Communists are for war and the pacifists are on the 4 The word in the manuscript might be read as The universal order cannot be built from above. Robert. What is a famous man? It's a man whose given name doesn't matter. one believes in all morality.. S. If one believes in moral value.. Conclusion: one drinks through impotence and through condemnation." K. And during all this time the impossibility of determining how much fear or truth enters into what each one says. S A brilliant disciple of Charles Maurras.of Negroes over the years as there are millions of Cherkess deported. in '33· Three years in prison. . There has been a vigorous campaign to rehabilitate him. The only reference is pain. I47 . The reform is total. He signs up with the Spanish republicans and goes off to war. garder ("to preserve"). the given name has a very specific meaning. Etc. When he gets out. He seems reticent. but rather from below. September I945 . He is killed on the Madrid front.. in other words through the common basis which .Yes. With all others. . I46 Met Tar. even and including sexual morality.

We don't want just any hero whatever. NOTEBOOK V "You're a Mara'st . BB. B I do 't want to be any more. Must one try to understand that cowardice too? But it's beyond my strength. music -of art." "Then you'll a urderer. What makes a man feel alone is the cowardice of others." "1 too. Z.AA. I wonder where is the place: of nature-of love-of If everything can be reduced to man and to history. I cannot be a scorner. The reasons for heroism are more important than the heroism 14 8 ."?" "Yes." That Unbearable soIitude-I cannot believe it or resign myself to it." "I've alr~ad bee one. on the other hand." "You we e my onsor. And. Revolt.

which is the life of othe . The proof is that he never uses the freedom and the errible power granted him by his decision to die in der to dominate others: every suicide is illogical in so e regard. the one that allows the confrontation. has accepted suicide. But the men of the Terror have carried the v ues of suicide to their extreme consequence.~ . 149 ~-. The value of consistency therefore precedes the value of heroism. having carried nihilism to its ex me conclusions.April 194 8 itself. this amounts implicitly to admitting life as the oni actual value. Our is the era which. i n o t h e r w o r d s c ollective suiustration: the Nazi apocalypse in BRIAN90N. Nietzscheian liberty is an exaltation. Relation of the absurd to revolt.September 1945 . w h i c h i s g i t i m a t e m u r d e r . The man who kills himself one still maintains one value.. at is the confrontation. or e justification of murder. "the value without which not' g." If the final decisi n is to reject suicide in order to maintain the confront ion." Whence it is clear that to obey that absolute valu whoever rejects suicide likewise rejects murder. '47 6 Sketch for first chapter of The Rebel as it appears in manuscript. JANUARY 1945.----------~ --. This can be rifled in the ease with which we accept murder. .

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