“Afterword: Posner at 75 — ‘It’s My Job.'”

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I have followed Professor Ronald K.L. Collins’ posts on Judge Posner and urged you, the readers, to do so too. Collins’ last post is up, and to my mind it is the best and most informative. If you haven’t read any of the other posts, you must read this last one.

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Professor Collins’ skills as a writer, as an analyst of the human condition, as one intimately familiar with the great literature that illuminates this veil of tears, as a wily interrogator of an elusive witness and as a worthy interlocutor of Judge Posner are unmatched. Collins is an intellectual wonder just like his subject.

To understand Posner, consider this from Collins. Posner does what he does because: “‘It’s my job.'” Nothing more complex than that simple description except, that is, if you have ever read Albert Camus.

In prettier words, “‘I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. – Albert Camus (1942).'” I suggest an additional explanation from Camus apropos of Posner. “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays.

Or, as Posner might say as he strokes his cat, “Whatever.”

RGK

4 responses

  1. Judge:
    The more one learns about Judge Posner–and these posts by Collins have been both illuminating and entertaining–the harder it is to draw a bead on him. What’s more, I am sure he likes it that way. Truman Capote once said of Bob Dylan that he was the Sphinx without the riddle. I get the sense that Judge Posner may be the riddle without the Sphinx.
    Robert

  2. Robert,

    You wrote: “Truman Capote once said of Bob Dylan that he was the Sphinx without the riddle. I get the sense that Judge Posner may be the riddle without the Sphinx.”

    Please don’t upstage me again!

    God, how I wished I had written those words. Perfect.

    All the best.

    RGK

  3. I suspect the best explanation of Posner maybe membership in Holmes’s cult of the goodjobist, he seems genuinely to enjoy doing his work well. Given my near contemporary age with his I have a 50s taste for the Existentialists, more Sartre than Camus, but I wonder if at heart he was a bright solitary teenager who read Francoise Sagan or saw the movies of her early novels, and adopted a slightly existential manner to put a little romance in his life. Not me of course, I still believe that existence is prior to essence.

  4. RL,

    Thinking of Jean Paul reminded me that (1) I never liked his politics and (2) we are all alone in a small boat in a vast ocean.

    All the best.

    RGK

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