"Camus And The Absurd": Essay Explores The Existentialist Reasonings Of Albert Camus And Discusses His View Of The Self In Comparison To Other Existentalist Thinkers.

985 words - 4 pages

The late Albert Camus was not the only man to write about the absurd. Many other existentialist philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche have their own views on what the absurd is, and more importantly how to deal with it. But what is the absurd anyway?According to Camus, the absurd is realizing the fact that we will not be able to find the meaning of life which we seek. No matter what we accomplish, eventually we will die and ultimately our ventures are meaningless. We can come to the conclusion that life is either meaningless, or we can take a leap of faith, in the hope that God exists and live our lives accordingly. If we look a little closer at the first option, that life is meaningless, does that mean that life is then not worth living? If this were true, we would have no choice but to take a leap of faith or commit suicide!Camus opens his famous work, Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus) by boldly claiming that suicide is the only truly serious philosophical problem. He also rejects the ultimatum of either suicide or a leap of faith and chooses to pursue a third possibility; that we can accept this meaninglessness of life and live life without purpose and enjoy it. In, fact, according to Camus, it is only with realizing this third option that we can live life to the fullest.Camus outlines three distinguishing features of the absurd life wherein the only certainty is there is no certainty: revolt, freedom, and passion. Revolt is Camus' idea that we must always strive for concord and order but realize that this order is impossible putting us in a perpetual state of conflict. Freedom is used not in the traditional sense but in the sense that the absurd man is free because he has abandoned the idea that his life has any purpose and is no longer constrained by the obligation to live towards a particular goal. The third characteristic of the absurd life, passion, is the notion that since the absurd man does not have any concern for the future and also no fascination with the past, he can live every moment in the present. Living the now seems more vibrant and intense to him.In the Myth of Sisyphus we see our absurd hero. The myth tells us of a man, Sisyphus, who is doomed for eternity by the Gods to roll a rock up a hill only for it to fall back down to the bottom where he has to do it again. We react to Sisyphus' fate with dismay because we can see his life as meaningless and futile. This of course is the point, that our lives too are meaningless. Camus also points out that we only see this fate as atrocious when we compare it to better alternative. But when we accept that there is no better alternative we can accept our fate without dread. Only then can we live our lives with...

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