art by Arlene Kim Suda

pay attention...

pay attention…

Albert Camus

Posted on December 16, 2011 by aks

My introduction to Camus was through 2 books:  The Myth of Sisyphus and Exile and the Kingdom. What I love the most about his writing is his optimism in the face of what can be a cruel and unpreditable world — something that helps me believe that the act of creating is a worthwhile endeavor even when it seems to make no sense.  Here are his closing thoughts from his essay on ‘The Artist and His Time’ (1953).

One of the temptations of the artist is to believe himself solitary, and in truth he hears this shouted at him with a certain base delight. But this is not true. He stands in the midst of all, in the same rank, neither higher nor lower, with all those who are working and struggling. His very vocation, in the face of oppression, is to open the prisons and to give a voice to the sorrows and joys of all. This is where art, against its enemies, justifies itself by proving precisely that it is no one’s enemy. By itself art could probably not produce the renascence which implies justice and liberty. But without it, that renascence would be without forms and, consequently, would be nothing. Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.