Monday, September 17, 2012
@monichirrups_ asked on twitter: what does Camus mean when he says, 'The absurd… does not lead to God… the absurd is sin without God.'?
Camus is referring to Kierkegaard here. Kierkegaard argued that when confronted with the absurd a man must take a leap of faith in God. Despair in the face of the absurd was to him, among other things, a state of sin, as it is a state of alienation from God. Camus's dramatic statement is a reply to Kierkegaard in his own words. It is Camus's assertion that the absurd does not necessitate a leap of faith in the divine.
This will become clear as we consider the context of the quote from The Myth of Sisyphus:
"I want to know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone. I am told again that here the intelligence must sacrifice its pride and the reason bow down. But if I recognize the limits of the reason, I do not therefore negate it, recognizing its relative powers. I merely want to remain in this middle path where the intelligence can remain clear. If that is its pride, I see no sufficient reason for giving it up. Nothing more profound, for example, than Kierkegaard's view according to which despair is not a fact but a state: the very state of sin. For sin is what alienates from God. The absurd, which is the metaphysical state of the conscious man, does not lead to God. Perhaps this notion will become clearer if I risk this shocking statement: the absurd is sin without God."