Session III

Alaan de Botton commenting on Camus, “The Plague”: “Plagues are merely concentrations of a universal precondition, dramatic instances of a perpetual rule that all human beings are vulnerable to being randomly exterminated at any time, by a virus, an accident or the actions of our fellow man.”

“The Plague isn’t trying to panic us, because panic suggests a response to a dangerous but short-term condition from which we can eventually find safety. But there can never be safety – and that is why, for Camus, we need to love our fellow damned humans and work without hope or despair for the amelioration of suffering. Life is a hospice, never a hospital.” 

Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson – 1869-1935:

“Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked,
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich–yes, richer than a king–
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

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