EvoLit 2011: The Plague ... and Evolution



The Plague ... and Evolution/Adaptation
29 March 2011 (PG)

From the forum discussion

I have come to the conclusion that I felt the reality of Camus' characters more-so because of his creation of the ordinary. The language he uses is such that even the most ghastly things can be happening in this town, and yet the characters continue on about their business in this strange, almost cold way. But rather than having this coldness turn me away from the characters, it strengthened my connection to them because it seemed like just an ordinary day in an ordinary town ... elly

By constantly producing anti-bacterial soaps and other substances made to kill off most (but not all) bacteria, those who survive become resistant to that specific type of anti-bacterial and will reproduce to create a new population immune to that.  This results in an arms race between science's attempt to exterminate the "bad" bacteria and nature's answer with resistance.  Who will ultimately win or will there ever even be a victor in this seemingly never-ending cycle? ... lb4walrus

People seemed troubled by the idea that, no matter what we do, the rats will rise up again – randomly, unpredictably, and inevitably. So what do we do? How do we create things and feel good if we think that no matter what we do, bad things are going to keep happening?  I wonder if this is a little bit like our worries about the Library of Babel. ... AnnaP

Is agency anything but an illusion, and (in the case that it is), does that prove the existence of Babel? ... ckosarek

I think Camus' message is less about inevitability and more about how one should act.  Everything changes, good or bad, and trying to suppress change will only make things worse ... alexandrakg

I viewed the ending as a call to make the most of the present. You never know when the rats are going to come again, so live and do what you want to do now before your time is up. Really, life itself is a bit of a plague because everyone is going to die eventually and unpredictably ... I think the reason that Thomas Kurton, in “Generosity,” had so much trouble with Camus’ ending is because Kurton wanted to control life through discovering genes that result in predictable outcomes. As with the plague, and despite our efforts to the contrary, life isn’t always predictable and controlled ... KT

I’m very intrigued by this idea that “each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free from it” (253). I was instantly struck by Tarrou’s insight on the plague when he states, “that’s why everybody in the world today looks so tired; everyone is more or less sick of plague. But that is also why some of us, those who want to get the plague out of their systems, feel such desperate weariness, a weariness from which nothing remains to set us free except death” (253) ...  although at times I think I try to fight the plague/ get upset and work hard against things that are beyond my control, for the most part I am at ease with my disease. I think that even though it is kind of scary and depressing that we all have the “plague” within us, I also find comfort in it. That really no one is perfect and since the only way to be free from our “disease” is to die, we really don’t need to sweat the small stuff- it is just the effect of the plague and fighting for a cure will simply hurt you more. If you learn to live with the plague of life, however, appreciate the good things, make the best of every situation, and live each day the best you can, the plague won’t be so bad and you’ll hardly notice it ... hlehman

"convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go ... One must imagine Sisyphus happy." ... Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

most of our copies did not have the epigraph that the french version has, which I think speaks strongly to the goals of Camus in this book and should not be disregarded. ""It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not." –Daniel Defoe ... elly (cr88)


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