October 22, 2014 - 1:30pm

Stimulate your mind and learn a thing or two about the absurd.

Retired Vancouver Island University (VIU) philosophy professor Bob Lane is giving a free talk about Albert Camus: The Absurd Hero at VIU’s Nanaimo campus on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Lane has spent many years considering the wisdom of Camus, a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist and philosopher after a tragic accident claimed the life of Camus in 1960.

"I was a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara when Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus, was suddenly and senselessly killed in an automobile accident on his way back to Paris,” says Lane. "We learned that he had a train ticket in his pocket, but had made the choice to ride with his friend and publisher. We were studying Continental Literature at the time and this sudden death made Camus' works even more important - in the way that all of our heroes seem to die young. Throughout my teaching career I have tried to follow the advice Camus gives in his notebooks:

'We help a person more by giving him a favorable image of himself than by constantly reminding him of his shortcomings. Each individual normally strives to resemble his best image. This can be applied to teaching, to history, to philosophy, to politics. We are for instance the result of twenty centuries of Christian imagery. For two thousand years man has been offered a humiliating image of himself. The result is obvious. Anyway, who can say what we should be if those twenty centuries had clung to the ancient ideal with its beautiful human face.'

Camus, who influenced the idea of the philosophy known as ‘absurdism’, was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. Lane’s talk will address Camus’s notion of the absurd as well as “the thing that lights up the world and makes it bearable.”

Lane was among the first faculty hired when the institution became a college in 1969. He was the first coordinator of the English department and first Chair of the Philosophy department, and is the founding director of the Institute of Practical Philosophy.

He taught literature and philosophy until his retirement in 2000. Lane is the author of Reading the Bible: Intention, Text, Interpretation and a book of short stories entitled Redneck.

Lane has continued his academic interests by hosting a blog, Episyllogism, reviewing books and writing short fiction.

His talk, one in a series of free lectures co-hosted by VIU’s Department of Philosophy and the Institute of Practical Philosophy, takes place at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, Thursday, Nov. 13 from 4 to 5:30pm in Building 356, Room 109. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Robert.Pepper-Smith@viu.ca or Carolyn.Swanson@viu.ca


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