Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nature and History

While one should disagree with much of what provides the foundation for what Camus here articulates, nevertheless there is much on which to meditate:
Hellenism . . . implied that man was self-sufficient and had within himself the capacity to explain destiny and the universe. His temples were built to his measure. In a certain sense the Greeks accepted an aesthetic and sportive justification of existence. The design of their hills and the running of a young man on the beach would reveal the secret of the world to them. Their gospel said: our Kingdom is of this world. It is the "Everything which satisfies you, Cosmos, satisfies me," of Marcus Aurelius.

This purely rational conception of life - that the world can be completely understood - leads to a moral intellectualism: virtue is something which is learned . . . All Greek philosophy makes the wise man an equal of God . . . The entire universe is centered around man and his works. If moral evil is simply ignorance or error therefore, what place can there be for the notions of Sin and Redemption?

What constitutes the irreducible originality of Christianity is the theme of the Incarnation. Problems are made flesh, and they immediately assume that tragic and necessary character which is so often lacking in certain Greek mind games.

The problems of the world themselves are incarnated and the philosophy of history is born . . . It is no longer a question of (merely) knowing and understanding, but of loving. And Christianity will only give body to this idea, so foreign to the Greeks . . .

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