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O meu balanço de 2012 e resolução de Ano Novo

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 30.12.12


Albert Camus, The Rebel:


«What is a rebel? A man who says no: but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation. He is also a man who says yes as soon as begins to think for himself. A slave who has taken orders all his life, suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command. What does he mean by saying “no”?


He means, for instance, that “this has been going on too long”, “so far but no farther”, “you are going too far”, or again, “there are certain limits beyond which you shall not go.” In other words, his “no” affirms the existence of a borderline. You find the same conception in the rebel's opinion that the other person is “exaggerating”, that he is exerting his authority beyond a limit where he infringes on the rights of others. He rebels because he categorically refuses to submit to conditions he considers intolerable and also because he is confusedly convinced that his position is justified, or rather, because in his own mind he thinks that he “has the right to...”. Rebellion cannot exist without the feeling that somewhere, in some way, you are justified. It is in this way that the rebel slave says yes and no at the same time. He affirms that there are limits and also that he suspects - and wishes to preserve - the existence of certain things beyond those limits. He stubbornly insists that there are certain things in him which “are worth while ...” and which must be taken into consideration.


In every act of rebellion, the man concerned experiences not only a feeling of revulsion at the infringement of his rights but also a complete and spontaneous loyalty to certain aspects of himself. Thus he implicitly brings into play a standard of values so far from being false that he is willing to preserve them at all costs. Up to this point he has, at least, kept quiet and, in despair, has accepted a condition to which he submits even though he considers it unjust. To keep quiet is to allow yourself to believe that  you have no opinions, that you want nothing, and in certain cases amounts to really wanting nothing. Despair, like Absurdism, prefers to consider everything in general and nothing in particular. Silence expresses this attitude very satisfactorily. But from the moment that the rebel finds his voice - even though he has nothing to say but “no” - he begins to consider things in particular. In the etymological sense, the rebel is a turncoat. He acted under the lash of his master’s whip. Suddenly he turns and faces him. He chooses what is preferable to what is not. Not every value leads to rebellion, but every act of rebellion tacitly invokes a value. Or is it really a question of values?


An awakening of conscience, no matter how confused it may be, develops from any act of rebellion and is represented by the sudden realization that something exists with which the rebel can identify himself – even if only for a moment. Up to now this identification was never fully realized. Previous to his insurrection, the slave accepted all the demands made upon him. He even very often took orders, without reacting against them, which were considerably more offensive to him than the one at which he balked. He was patient and though, perhaps, he protested inwardly, he was obviously more careful of his own rights. But with loss of patience – with impatience – begins a reaction which can extend to everything that he accepted up to this moment, and which is almost always retroactive. Immediately the slave refuses to obey the humiliating orders of his master, he rejects the condition of slavery. The act of rebellion carries him beyond the point he reached by simply refusing. What was, originally, an obstinate resistance on the part of the rebel, becomes the rebel personified. He proceeds to put self-respect above everything else and proclaims that it is preferable to lie itself. It becomes, for him, the supreme blessing. Having previously been willing to compromise, the slave suddenly adopts an attitude of All or Nothing. Knowledge is born and conscience awakened.


But it is obvious that the knowledge he gains is of an “All” that is still rather obscure and of a “Nothing” that proclaims the possibility of sacrificing the rebel to this “All.” The rebel himself wants to be “All” – to identify himself completely with this blessing of which he has suddenly become aware and of which he wishes to be recognized and proclaimed as the incarnation - or “Nothing” which means to be completely destroyed by the power that governs him. As a last resort, he is willing to accept the final defeat, which is death, rather than be deprived of the last sacrament which he would call, for example, freedom. Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.»

publicado às 18:42

3 comentários

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De Anónimo a 31.12.2012 às 19:31

Brilhante excerto de The Rebel a poder ser lido nesta bela transcrição.  And intelligently put too. But then again from Camus nothing but the best was expected.
Parabéns Samuel.
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De Samuel de Paiva Pires a 31.12.2012 às 19:33

Muito obrigado pelas suas sempre simpáticas palavras, Maria. Acredite, este excerto assenta que nem uma luva no meu estado de alma. Continuaremos a andar por aqui. Boas entradas! 
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De Anónimo a 31.12.2012 às 23:48

Obrigada Samuel. Igualmente para si, para o Nuno e para os demais integrantes desta simpática casa, assim como para os leitores que têm o saudável hábito de por aqui passar.

Permito-me enviar votos direccionados especialmente à gente nova que muito pouco aprende (nas escolas) nos tempos que correm: que façam de tudo o que por aqui se vai escrevendo leitura obrigatória em 2013 . É que não só bebem cultura como adquirem conhecimentos.

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