Camus considers that man is confronted with a contradiction between his desire to understand the world and the silence of the world that does not answer his questions. This situation creates a feeling of absurdity in the man who feels foreign to the world and to himself
Camus then proposes two possible attitudes to the absurd: suicide or revolt. Suicide is a way to escape the absurd by giving up life, but Camus rejects it as an easy and unreasonable solution. Revolt is a way of facing the absurd by accepting one's condition without resigning oneself, by living with passion and freedom, by creating human values and solidarity.
But be careful, for Camus revolt is not the same thing as revolution. The revolt is a spontaneous and individual movement that expresses a refusal of injustice and absurdity, without trying to impose a new ideology or a new system. "Revolution is a collective and organized project that aims to transform the world according to a doctrine or utopia, even if it means sacrificing human lives in the name of an ideal. "
Camus criticizes historical revolutions such as the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution, which he accuses of having betrayed the original spirit of revolt and of having generated totalitarian and oppressive regimes. Instead, he defends an ethic of revolt that respects the dignity and freedom of every human being, without giving up the fight against tyranny and oppression.
I have made here only a slight summary of his Philosophy.
First I respect and enjoyed reading Camus. But I'll give my answer to the question in the form f both a puzzle and a joke I am particularly fond of.
We are in a high school gym and the boys are lined up against one wall and the girls are against the opposite wall. The walls are 20 metres apart. Every 30 seconds the boys and girls step forward so as to halve the distance between them.
There is a mathematician, a physicist and an engineer present. They are asked when will the boys and girls meet?
The mathematician emphatically says never meet as no two points can ever coincide.
The physicist says they will meet in an infinite amount of time as the distance will then approach 0 in an infinite number of halvings.
The engineer is scribbling on a scarp of paper, the looks up and says "In 3 minutes flat for all Practical Purposes because they will be 30 cm apart which is well within groping distance".
The engineer is our hero because he has applied practicality to this thorny issue whilst the mathematician and the physicist are applying highly theoretic views inappropriately.
I admire Camus and he influenced me and I felt the absurdity. But I have gone down the practical Engineers path instead. Camus is right in the same sense that both the mathematician and the physicist are right in a highly theoretic way.
I would not revolt against the tyranny of an increase in retirement age seeing inexorable practicalities of demographics. But I would revolt against the oppression of restricting voting rights from retired people on the basis they don't have much skin left in the game.
To be honest I don't feel that what Camus says is purely theoretical. For him existence is absurd is a fact, and he says that there are two solutions to face it. Noticed that for an atheist it is not surprising that Camus develops this idea.
However, the religious have the impression that conceiving a life without God opens the way to immorality etc., but Camus does not exclude morality and ethics in his philosophy and his commitments in his life prove that his words were accompanied by action. It is for that which will fall out with Sartre.
OK. Maybe I have taken it as should revolt when that is not intended. In the case of retirement age I might see that as oppressive and tyranny for those close to retiring especially tradies who are feeling the effects of years of manual work wearing out their bodies.
So if I look to Camus for guidance should I revolt on their behalf? Do I have a moral duty in this?
he distinguished between revolt and revolution. Revolt is a personal act of rejecting injustice and affirming one’s freedom and dignity. Revolution is a collective attempt to transform the world according to a utopian vision. Camus was critical of revolutions that sacrificed individual lives for an abstract ideal. He advocated for a revolt that respects the limits of human nature and seeks solidarity with others.
So, if you look to Camus for guidance, you might ask yourself: what kind of injustice are you facing or witnessing? How can you express your revolt without harming yourself or others? What kind of values do you want to uphold and share with others? These are not easy questions, but they might help you find your moral duty in this situation.
Thank you for your patience and further explanation. It is making more sense to me now.