I Rebel, Therefore We Exist

Some quotes from the beginning of Albert Camus‘ “The Rebel“:

“Not every value entials rebellion, but every act of rebellion tacitly invokes a value…The part of himself that [the rebel] wishes to be respected he proceeds to place above everything else and proclaims it preferrable to everything, even to life itself…As a last resort, he is willing to accept the final defeat, which is death, rather than be deprived of the personal sacrament that he would call, for example, freedom. Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees…

Rebellion, contrary to current opinion, and though it springs from everything that is most strictly individualistic in man, questions the very idea of the individual. If the individual, in fact, accepts death and happens to die as a consequence of his act of rebellion, he demonstrates by doing so that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of a common good which he considers more important than his own destiny…

Therefore he is acting in the name of certain values which are still indeterminate but which he feels are common to himself and to all men. We see that the affirmation implicit in every act of rebellion is extended to something that transcends the individual insofar as it withdraws him from his supposed solitude and provides him with a reason to act…Rebellion, though apparently negative, since it creates nothing, is profoundly positive in that it reveals the part of man which must always be defended…

In out daily trials rebellion plays the same role as does the “cogito” [‘I think, therefore I exist’] in the realm of thought: it is the first piece of evidence. But this evidence lures the individual from his solitude. It founds its first value on the whole human race. I rebel – therefore we exist.”

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