Sisyphus’s Revolt as the Ebbing Away of Humanity after the Withdrawal of Paradise

Had Camus enjoyed the benefit of the teachings of Henri Cazalis (1840–1909), or had Cioran been familiar with the arguments of this latter’s “Livre du néant”, both authors would perhaps have felt inclined to formulate more radical propositions than they did in fact formulate regarding the necessity of a metaphysical revolt of those “Sisyphus”es that we all in fact are.

On Cazalis’s diagnosis of our condition there remains, after the collapse of the paradisiac institutions of compensation, and after the falling of the religious veil, only the ebbing away of humanity, if modern Man is not to drag out his existence, and pass it on to others, as Sisyphusist: “The day will doubtless come when Man will no longer wish to procreate and propagate himself. And for what possible reason indeed, would he wish that?  To prolong this infernal comedy? To pursue these labours of Sisyphus on into eternity? To grub and dig forever in this filth and nothingness? Once, Man had God and the hope of a light-filled existence after death. But modern science proves to us that we are nothing but animals among all the other animals – with animal passions that we like to dress up with shining, dazzling lies; our “flashes of inspiration” are nothing more than neuroses; our prophets are madmen and our religions are mere figments of the imagination which were born of our own pitiful brains. The old veils have been lifted. In the end there is only the ignominious grave and nameless Death… And, all this being so, can it really be that there are still people who tranquilly go about eating, drinking, sleeping and procreating?”

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