tragic dilettantism

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inextricably

New Member
Vietnamese
What does tragic dilettantism mean in this case?

"We shall then decide not to act at all, which amounts to at least accepting the murder of others, with perhaps certain mild reservations about the imperfection of the human race. Again we may decide to substitute tragic dilettantism for action, and in this case human lives be­come counters in a game."

<< Source: 'The Rebel' by Albert Camus >>


 
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  • EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It's a quote from a translation of French philosoper Albert Camus' L'Homme révolté (1951). I think we need more context to comment on the phrase:
    If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance. [...] We shall then decide not to act at all, which amounts to at least accepting the murder of others, with perhaps certain mild reservations about the imperfection of the human race. Again we may decide to substitute tragic dilettantism for action, and in this case human lives become counters in a game. Finally, we may propose to embark on some course of action which is not entirely gratuitous.
    I understand that Camus is, basically, suggesting three courses of action that are open to us when we experience total indifference: to do nothing, to do something artificially, or to act 'for real'. 'Dilettantism' would refer to the second option.

    Note that in the original French version, the phrase is qualified by the definite article: the tragic dilettantism.

    Here's my attempt at translating a French definition of dilettante: "a person who practices an activity without complete devotion".

    Why did Camus say that dilettantism is tragic? I can only speculate that he felt it was a waste.
     
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