Seventy years earlier, just after the close of World War II, another genius of the times addressed this predicament and its attendant question of what reimagining progress looks like as we behold the future from the precarious platform of the present. Albert Camus, Photograph: Cecil Beaton At the outset of the war, Camus considered what it means to have strength of character in difficult times. Now, at its grim end, he examines what it takes to maintain that strength and make it a heritage to future generations in the aftermath of extreme moral weakness at the level of a whole civilization. We are being torn apart by a logic of History which we have elaborated in every detail — a net which threatens to strangle us. It is not emotion which can cut through the web of a logic which has gone to irrational lengths, but only reason which can meet logic on its own ground.
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Shelves: philosophy-of-rule A proper scolding by a master. Out 20th century is the century of fear. A hope that is grounded precisely in this contradiction, since it forces—or will force—the Socialists to make a choice.
They will either admit that the end justifies the means, in which case murder can be legitimized; or else, they will reject Marxism as an absolute philosophy.
But today one can conceive only the extension of a revolution that has already succeeded. This is something Stalin has very well understood, and it is the kindest explanation of his policies the other being to refuse Russia the right to speak in the name of revolution.
The forties have taught us that an injury done a student in Prague strikes down simultaneously a worker in Clichy, that blood shed on the banks of a Central European river brings a Texas farmer to spill his own blood in the Ardennes, which he sees for the first time.
There is no suffering, no torture anywhere in the world which does not affect our everyday lives. Today, tragedy is collective. We know, then, without a shadow of a doubt, that the new order we seek cannot be merely national, or even continental; ceitainly not occidental nor oriental. Yes, we must minimize domestic politics. A crisis which tears the whole world apart must be met on a world scale And if there are many today who, in their secret hearts, detest violence and killing, there are not many who care to recognize that this forces them to reconsider their actions and thoughts.
They will admit that little is to be expected from present-day governments, since these live and act according to a murderous code. If he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward.
And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.
Neither Victims Nor Executioners Quotes
Neither Victims Nor Executioners