The eleventh chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace contains Albert Camus‘ 1946 essay Neither Victims nor Executioners. This week we discuss the second part of the essay, Saving Our Skins. Camus wrote this 16-page essay as World War II had just ended, and it seemed as if the Soviet Union and the United States were dragging the planet into the horrors of a third world war. Eleven years later, he would win the Nobel prize for literature. This week we discuss the second part of the essay.
The title of this section comes from the conclusion of the first section that we must refuse to either to kill or be killed. This launches the discussion of the accusations that Camus is living in a Utopia because so-called political reality calls for murder. He finds the ease with which his accusers call for murder is “a freak of the times” where the accusers are disassociated from the actuality of what they are calling for. Camus describes how the whole culture is disassociated from reality:
We make love by telephone, we work not on matter but on machines, and we kill and are killed by proxy. We gain in cleanliness, but lose in understanding.
This poetically describes the evil of our current world where we execute innocent children by drones operated by someone half way across the globe. Continue reading Saving Our Skins: Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners