📙 The Outsider

(Albert Camus | 1913–1960)

Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

The laconic masterpiece — The Outsider — by Albert Camus is about a Frenchman who murders an Arab in colonial Algeria. The work is famous for the way it diagnoses the state of alienation and spiritual exhaustion which sociologists sat summed up the mood of mid-twentieth century Europe. To this day, the book continues to be relevant and remains one of the most widely read and influential works of the 20th century.

Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was also a philosopher and journalist.

His other notable works include:

* The Rebel is a philosophical exploration of the idea of ‘rebellion’ that ooks at artistic and political rebels throughout history, from Epicurus to the Marquis de Sade.

** The Myth of Sisyphus is a summation of the existentialist philosophy threaded throughout all of his other writing. Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves. This is our ‘absurd’ task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly overshadows us.

✍🏻 Darkest Night

[ part 1 of 2 ]


  When a lover is lost
   Death daily is the cost
   Oh bitter and sweet love
   ~ Nothing is more painful
   ~ ~ Nothing’s more beautiful

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

— Vladimir Nabokov

See part two (2 of 2)

when I type a certain letter on my phone, it automatically suggests your first name as my wanted word — the name that I do in fact say to myself more that 1,000 times per day — and when I type in another letter, it automatically suggests your family name as my wanted word — a name we jointly chose to drop as an act of emancipation.

Little Britain redux, well, sort of:

✍🏻 Blinding Light

[ part 2 of 2 ]

I see a white car and I want it to be black;
No colours anymore I want all to be black.

— everything’s loaded whether we know it or not.

Colours, like numbers, have implications.

Speaking for me, my true colours are neutral for nowadays I really don’t prejudge. I can say this for the following reason: I’ve read heartache that’s been penned by those on both sides of the gender divide (as well as those of neither or both); those from most continents and confessions (or none); those that’ve been written recently and those set down several millennia ago. It holds then, that ‘Love’ is colourblind (as are the feelings of heartache, longing, regret and remorse). So, I am as one with anyone (anywhere, anytime) who is suffering from the loss of a lover, I’m here, I do deeply feel for you.

Ms black

  Suffice to say Ms Victoria Black, you’re the:
   lady in red: sophisticated & open;
   you are the unknown citizen at rainbow’s end.
   I’ll seek you to eternity come, you’re the one;
   I’ll take the left fork then I’ll take the write one two;
   I’ll dig and etch, I’ll read and I’ll try to do right.
   Forgive me sisters for I have done wretched wrongs.
   Forgive me mother for I have so badly sinned.

See part one (1 of 2)

✍🏻 8 (mate ‘n’ master)

what do you insinu8?

Here, in the sonnet below, our bard is saying, “okay, I know in the eyes of others the one I love probably ain’t the bee’s knees; probably ain’t everyone’s be all and end all” but, in my eyes, she’s perfect and she’s priceless and she’s beyond compare:

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

— William Shakespeare (analysis below)

BBC Listening (oh my 💓; there’d be a summary and a link to the corresponding story too).

October’s Cataclysm

  When the calendar did etch up 3 weeks
  I felt the hole in my heart deepen more
  I felt the rupture in my soul still more
  I felt the hollow of forever more.

  Then I looked up to the blinding sunlight
  I worked hard to make myself stand upright
  I wended for solace with my graphite
  I willed myself to state it’ll be alright.

  Then, back to default: eyes to the abyss
  I see sadness begot from broken hopes
  I see ageing, despair and stark decay
  I see winter grey and cold solitude.

  But i’m incapable of letting go;
  You’re my heart (💖) so, everything I’ll forgo.

Oh my sweetheart, [why must] violent delights have violent ends?

A poet, traditionally one who recites epic poems.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 divides critical opinion. Is this poem a touching paean to inner beauty (opposed to superficiality) or is it simply misogynistic? Before we continue I must say: “Render unto Caesar” (…the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s) Matthew 22:21. By which I mean, thank-you [APAAPA &|| CMS] to Dr Oliver Tearle.

We might conclude Shakespeare is saying that the object of the poem is not exactly a conventional beauty, but he still thinks she is the one for him. I think Shakespeare is locating the source of his love for the lady in the poem in things that go beyond physical beauty (remember she’s not depicted as being ugly but rather, she’s not being depicted as a goddess). The key word is “love” — I think my love as rare/as any she belied with false compare — despite being no better looking than any other woman, she “is” the one he loves. Some argue that it is not about the early blooming of love in youthful passion but the lasting love and friendship that endears us to our chosen one. Love then ceases to be intent on appearances and focuses on character. Remember familiarity often breeds love, we love our old furniture etc.

Some contend that the poem is a continuation of the argument put forward in earlier sonnets in the sequence (such as Sonnet 87), which detailed Shakespeare’s desire to distance himself from his contemporaries — suggesting that the poem is not really about the Dark Lady per se, but about repudiating other poets’ methods and styles. In other words, repudiating their overly flowery language when idolising the women of their obsessions. He basically says ‘my lover looks very normal, like everyone else’ and is poking fun at poets who insist in using ridiculous hyperbole and similes to spin a yarn. Was this sonnet, in fact, the first complaint against the fashion industry of poetry creating unrealistic images of women which simply could not be met by most women?

Robert Frost

(American | 1874–1963)

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I had that gold, I held it and I possessed it. I erroneously took it for granted and now it’s gone. It’s gone but it can never be forgotten.

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.

What once was, no longer is. But I’ll dig ’til I die. I live for one more kiss; one more seismic shift.

Poetry is what gets lost in translation.

Robert Frost was an American poet and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes.
Arguably he is one of the greatest American poet of the 20th c. His 1916 poem, “The Road Not Taken,” is often read at graduation ceremonies across the United States.


This may be one of the first poems we ever worked on together:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Did we conclude it was a dream, a morbid dream about mortality? Oh J, what have I done, what possessed me to be so cavalier with the open book?

Walt Whitman

(American | 1819–1892)

Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’d love,
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one
way or another,
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’d,
Yet out of that I have written these songs.)

Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I’ve read in my life.

Walt Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most important nineteenth-century poets.

We were together. I forget the rest.

Friedrich Nietzsche

[German | 1844–1900]

The problem of how to live a life with meaning has puzzled philosophers since the days of ancient Greece, China, and India. Yet, for Nietzsche, the problem took on a new importance in the aftermath of the Enlightenment and what he saw this as resulting in; the death of god.

It is often said that Nietzsche is a nihilist but, it’s not so simple. In fact, much of his work is concerned with the problem of overcoming nihilism despite all the things (life problems) that drive people towards acting in a nihilistic way.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster… if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Nietzsche’s was focused on this: in an increasingly secular and scientific society we humans could no longer turn to god/religion to find meaning. In the past (or for religious people today( the meaning of everything was assured by God. So, Nietzsche pondered, without the ability to turn to god, where could we find meaning?

Nietzsche argued that there were two fundamental types of morality: “master morality” and “slave morality”. Master morality values pride and power, while slave morality values things like kindness, empathy, and sympathy.

Key point:

Nietzsche believed that the Christian morality, with its emphasis on kindness, meekness, subservience to a greater good, and a focus on the afterlife rather than the present condition, did not reflect how the world actually works.

Instead of relativism, Nietzsche advocates for something that has been called “perspectivism.” Simply put, perspectivism means that every claim, belief, idea, or philosophy is tied to some perspective and that it’s impossible for humans to detach themselves from these lenses in order to learn about objective Truth.

According to Nietzsche perspectivism isn’t the same as relativism because unlike relativism (which says all views are equally valid because they’re relevant to each person) perspectivism doesn’t claim that all perspectives have equal value — some are in fact better than others.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

— my why is you J and that is how I can bear the now (which basically is hell).