The Plague & The Plague

From 'The Plague & The Plague' by Dylan Daniel published in 'Philosophy Now' (Issue 138, June/July2020)

'In essence, The Plague was written to teach us to treasure the moments of happiness and joy we share, just because humanity is, absurdly, ridiculously, painfully inadequately equipped to cope with stressors and stimuli it encounters. How could it not be so? The passing of time dulls our attention to detail, and despite the power of our civilisation, the mass of humanity remains slow to responds to threats. The quintessence of the absurdity of existence for Camus in The Plague - just as it is for us reacting to our current plague - is that individuals die when the collective fails to recognise or respond adequately to foreseeable threats. So, as predicted by the narrator of The Plague, 'the plague' is not over and will likely never be over. We can only hope and love and act, and be as good as we can be. Yet it is no more right to say we deserve our fate (as father Paneloux would have it), than it's correct to assume that one day the mass of humanity will be able to respond to all threats to it without loss of life. And insofar as we continue to live unawares in the midst of this conflict between our species and nature, life and death will continue to be dictated by means beyond our control, even our understanding. That is to say, life will remain absurd.' (p. 24)

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