The Myth of Sisyphus


Camus’ Concept of the Absurd in Myth of Sisyphus

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Albert Camus (1913–1960) was a French-Algerian philosopher, journalist and novelist. Perhaps not as much of a philosopher (as he denied himself to be) as a novelist with a strong philosophical bent, he is most famous for his work on the Myth of Sisyphus and his novels of ideas, such as The Stranger and The Plague. Camus used both his fictional novels alongside with the Myth of Sisyphus in contest with philosophy itself to present his central concern of what Camus calls the feeling of the Absurd. He claims that the Absurd is the fundamental conflict between humans’ eternal search for what we ask/want from the universe (meaning, order, or reasons) and what in turn we find in it: shapeless silent chaos. Camus states that we will never in fact find any sort of meaning that we want from life itself. People will either reach the conclusion that one may hide behind a meaning given through a transcendence by faith (leap of faith), placing hope in a God or the irrational beyond this world (which in turn would ultimately lead to philosophical suicide), or people will embrace that life is inherently meaningless.

I find that some of his explanation of the method for modern man to effectively deal with the Absurd world to be realistic, as we may never find any sort of absolute meaning. However, I discord in relation to his assumptions of meaning being in essence universal, static, “unobtainable”, and eternally searched for; which in turn leads me to think of his approach of the Absurd Man on responding to Absurdism as contradicting. Camus’ conclusion and idea of the Absurd only works successfully on the true assumption of two premises: that our being is bound in nature to the search of meaning, and that the ultimate meaning does not exist. Even if these premises are to be considered true, although there is no proof, I believe that it does not entail that we are not capable of giving a subjective meaning to our lives ourselves instead of revolting against not receiving an answer from the irrational. Apart from the fact that living to revolt against the absurd is just as similar as providing oneself meaning to escape the reality of life’s lack of one. Therefore, in order to further elaborate on my thesis, I believe that it is foremost important to provide context and understanding about Camus’ interpretation of the feeling of the Absurd and the assumptions he proclaims in reference to the Myth of Sisyphus.

Albert Camus graduated specializing in philosophy, while also obtaining certificates in sociology and psychology at the University of Algiers. There he was brought to contact with two of the major branches of twentieth century philosophy: existentialism and phenomenology. Although he self-proclaimed not to be a philosopher or an existentialist at the very least, he opposed systematic philosophies and rationalism. Nevertheless, his line of thought explicitly rejects religion as one of its foundations, centering his work on choosing to live without God. The latter is clearly evident in the manner that Camus comments on religious existentialists, such as Kierkegaard (although it is not necessarily fair and correct to label him as such), and his critic of other existentialists approach to the discovery of the absurd.

Camus wrote both his first novel, The Stranger, and his first philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, around the same time at the beginning of World War II. when he was working for the French Resistance. Even though it isn’t fair to reduce an author’s idea to their autobiographical background, the special circumstance in which both papers were written can help express the tone of their content. Perhaps Camus’ metaphor of individualistic exile that he uses to describe part of humans’ predicament of meaningless and futile struggle had a personal influence. From his own experience as a man alone and far away from his home eternally struggling against this seemingly relentless unconquerable power (ie. Germany, and other countries). Furthermore, Camus idea of acceptance of his fate could be influenced by the cruel reality that one soldier probably must have to accept the fate that independent of their efforts and struggles, their influence toward either fate of defeat or victory in the war could prove meaningless on the grand scheme of things. Therefore, in the place of this eternal of this contradiction, would anything but suicide prove to be the only escape from this conflict?

Camus opens the essay on The Myth of Sisyphus exactly by asking the same question. “There is only one really serious philosophical problem,” Camus says, “and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that” (MS, 3). Perhaps a proper manner to display this question would be of under what circumstances is suicide justified? Does this latter conclusion that life is meaningless and that is pointless to struggle for an answer necessarily lead one to commit suicide? If life has no meaning, does this imply it is therefore not worth living? Given the content of The Myth of Sisyphus, however, it seems that essential philosophical question assimilates more to simply whether or not one should kill themselves. For him, it seems clear that his concern about such is less theoretical than actually practical over this life-and-death issue of whether and how to live and not the justification of death.

I believe that it is of importance that Camus’s argument for suicide is explained as a logical contradiction. He expresses that by suicide, one only amounts to confessing that life is not worth the trouble. As seen in Camus’s political continuation of Absurdism,“The Rebel”, he states:

‘Every solitary suicide, when it is not an act of resentment is, in some way, either generous or contemptuous. But one feels contemptuous in the name of something. If the world is a matter of indifference to the man who commits suicide, it is because he has an idea of something that is not or could not be indifferent to him. He believes that he is destroying everything or taking everything with him; but from this act of self-destruction itself a value arises which, perhaps, might have made it worth while to live. Absolute negation is therefore not consummated by suicide.’ – The Rebel, 7.

Someone who commits suicide recognizes ‘the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering’ (MS, 6). Suicide, is acceptance taken to the extreme, instead of a denial of the Absurd. One accepts their fate and leaps toward it, in which “Suicide settles the absurd” (BW, 480). In other words, to stay alive means refusing to resign oneself to the absurd, to be aware of the inevitability of death and also to reject it. Suicide does not follow revolt, one must die unreconciled and not of one’s own free will (BW, 480).in order to achieve the logical result of revolt

It seems that Camus perceives the question of suicide as a natural response of people’s encounter and discovery of feeling of the Absurd. One perhaps might say it is absurd to continually keep attempting to reach an understanding of meaning in life when there is none, and that it is also absurd to hope for some form of answer to existence, or a continuation of such existence, after death given that such results in the extinction of our being. However, Camus also thinks it absurd to try to know, understand, or explain the world; any attempt to rationalize or gain rational knowledge of life is seen as useless. Therefore putting himself against science and philosophy, he dismisses any form of claims from rational analysis: “That universal reason, practical or ethical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh” (MS, 21).

If we are to consider all previous premises to be true, wouldn’t our other main options is but to take a leap of faith in order to escape? However, Camus describes the Absurd to be seen as the ultimate contradiction that cannot be reconciled, hence any attempt to reconcile it is simply an attempt to escape from it. Therefore he clearly depicts that any choice of those two options is inherently futile and that leap of faith, just as suicide, is a form of acceptance of the Absurd. In his eyes, existentialist philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Chestov, and Jaspers, and phenomenologists such as Husserl, are all able to understand the contradiction of the absurd but then try to escape from it; they find no meaning or order in existence and then attempt to find transcendence or meaning in this very meaninglessness. “They deify what crushed them and find reason to hope in what impoverishes them. That forced hope is religious in all of them” (BW, 463). Camus believes that these existentialist philosophers are incoherent between their initial premise and conclusions: “starting from a philosophy of the world’s lack of meaning, it ends up by finding a meaning and depth in it” (MS, 42). However, Camus evidently agrees that although we may attempt to avoid such escapist efforts and irrational appeals through one’s life, he’s conscious of the human desire of submitting to such. He would say that we are unable to free ourselves from “this desire for unity, this longing to solve, this need for clarity and cohesion” (MS, 51). Nevertheless, when he states “The absurd is lucid reason noting its limits” (MS, 49), he emphasizes that it is urgent for one to recognize and not succumb to the temptation to leave rational thought in order to attempt on reconciling the irrational with logic. Therefore Camus is only interested in pursuing a last possibility; instead of attempting to flee from the conflict, we can revolt against it and live in a world empty of meaning. However, what exactly are we ought to revolt against exactly?

Camus introduces his concept of the Absurd within the following: “In a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting,is properly the feeling of absurdity (MS 6)”. Camus believes that the recognition of the Absurd happens when we become aware of our meaningless existence in the world and of the overall unimportance of our daily actions. It is interesting to think that by his definition, Absurdity comes to us in our ordinary life as a feeling before an idea. Consider that most if not everything in our lives is mechanical and methodical. People just go through work, transports, eating, meeting friends without questioning the world around us until the very day one looks back to themselves and asks “why?”. This “flash of reality” comes randomly from some kind of weariness at times when one has become tired of the mental and physical routines. At this point, one no longer recognizes the beauty in nature, but only its incoherency.

When we are faced with the Absurd, we begin to re-evaluate all that is known to be true: beliefs, morals, and perhaps even our own existence. However, the consequence as one once has come to terms with this truth is that it becomes part of one’s self. This means that once one has become aware of the absurd, they are tied to its reality. Although consequential, Camus depicts this moment as not so bad in his way of thinking, because this moment of weariness is when conscience is clarified and invites one to reinhabit oneself and review the previously given truths of the world; distinguishing between what is true and false in the world. In result, Camus asserts that all one will find is an immensity of contradictions, but this remounts to no reason on stopping of one’s search.

Camus often also refers the feeling of absurdity with the feeling of exile. As rational beings, we instinctively associate life with meaning or purpose. Hence when we act under this assumption, we feel at ease and familiar. However, as said before, once we have acknowledged the validity of the perspective of a world without values or meaning, there is no turning back. As a result, those who have acknowledged the Absurd may feel like strangers in a world lacking of reason. Even if we choose to live as if life has a meaning, escaping through a leap of faith, the absurd will linger. The feeling of absurdity exiles us from the familiar comforts of a meaningful existence.

Although one may think the opposite, Camus did not intend to apply a negative connotation to the Absurd. He simply observed and interpreted an absence of a universal meaning. By dismissing the idea of an universal absolute purpose, he turned to creating one’s own definition of the world. He believes that as one accepts to living with the Absurd, it is only a matter of facing this fundamental contradiction and maintaining awareness of it. Facing the absurd does not lead to suicide, but allows one to feel free from the existential conflict of searching for meaning and to live life to its fullest. This result is in fact displayed through Sisyphus depiction as Camus’ Absurd Man by the conclusion of the essay, where Sisyphus is seen as ‘stronger than his rock’ after he has accepted his fate and the futility of attempting to obtain a different one.

Camus elaborates on the three consequences that result from one living in acceptance and against the Absurd and characterize the Absurd Man: ‘my revolt, my freedom, and my passion.’ The first (revolt) refers to one not ceasing in both search for reason and of being aware that such is only futile; one eternally revolts hopeless of an answer. The concept of “freedom” refers to one’s act of concentrating not on one’s liberty from the irrational (such as God or physical laws), but rather on freedom on an individual level. Meaning that one isn’t committed on living to a particular goal, but for every new moment. Although Camus is not worried by the restraints done by the irrational anymore, he still acknowledges the problem of freedom of an individual in relation to the state, as well as that of the prisoner to social norms. Lastly, Camus refers to ‘passion’ as the final consequence of living the absurd, in which one lives beyond the concern of future and of the past and enjoys the present moment to its fullest.

In accordance to the consequences of living as an Absurd Man, Camus provides four different fictional characterizations of what an Absurd Man ought to be. First he depicts the seducer, Don Juan. He who moves from woman to woman, seducing each one in turn with the same tactics previously used. Although counter intuitive, Camus dismisses the accusation that Don Juan hopes to achieve any transcendence beyond his daily journeys; he pursues the passions of the moment. Second is the Absurd Man as the actor, who is not content on simply observing life and therefore imagines living many different from his own; The actor gathers and accumulates the diverse intensity many lives into the span of his only one career. Third is the Absurd man depicted as the conqueror, or rebel, who is drawn to rebellion and conquest in order to overcome their individual’s full potential. One may may induce Camus own personal view as the conqueror as he partook on the Second World War. Fourth is the Absurd Man depicted as the artist, who doesn’t attempt to reason, explain, and picture the world as it would be universally, but creates entire particular worlds.

In conclusion, after providing understanding of the origin of the feeling of the Absurd and of solution as the Absurd Man and his different examples, I believe it is clear to see some of the contradictions of his point of view. I believe that when Camus advocates on embracing the absurd he is not necessarily asking for one to find their our own meaning independently of social conditions but that he ultimately promotes that one makes their struggle against the Absurd their meaning. Although it doesn’t constitute to finding their own meaning, as in Nietzsche’s Egotism, but another form of philosophical suicide. Similar to that of the other existentialists, Camus seems to embrace this answer, which in turn would actually be the lack of one, given from the irrational and formulating a way of life based on it. He attempts to prescribe a way of living, which is a denial of the absurd premise of his own argument, rendering his solution incoherent. However, I believe that it is not the same leap of faith at the very least, though perhaps Camus might seem to rely on a faith of a negative kind, in the opposite direction to what Kierkegaard adopts.

Even though Camus uses the premise that there’s is no answer to any of the irrational, he seems to be more clearly determined throughout the essay to display his belief that there is no God and that life is meaningless more than he is determined to argue for that meaninglessness. It’s true that it’s not his goal, as he states, to present a philosophical system, but to display a personal diagnosis and opinion of a certain way of looking at the world, yet he still attempts in providing a formula of how to approach meaninglessness just like the other philosophers he criticized. I believe that, not only inherently contradicting, Camus’ solution is also impossible. Following Camus’ arguments, I imagine that he might concede life can be experienced in meaningful ways, such as the seducer’s passion (love) or the conqueror’s revolt (pain). Both of these examples might involuntary entail responses such as hope and despair (respectively given the character), which even on a non-universal level are clear to exist beyond the experiential qualities but are bound by the experiences themselves. Therefore creating the conflict between an individual’s moments of meaning through one’s experience and the premise that life is inherently meaningless.

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Common Themes in The Myth of Sisyphus, Waiting for Godot, and Hannah and Her Sisters

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Joseph Campbell once argued “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Whether you believe in universal truths or finding individual meaning in life, one cannot argue with the fact that the human race greatly differs in their opinions on this subject. The Myth of Sisyphus, Waiting for Godot, and Hannah and Her Sisters are three very different stories from entirely different time periods and settings, each offering their own unique opinion on the human experience.

In Albert Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”, he offers his opinion on the life and nature of the mythological greek figure. However, it is in Camus’ description and analysis of Sisyphus’ afterlife, rather than his earthly existence, where Camus’ opinions on the meaning of life really come to light. Our hero, forced to strive endlessly day and night to push a large stone up to the top of a hill, is cursed with the fate of watching it roll down again. He then must again partake in the arduous task of returning the boulder to its previous position up on the hill, only to watch it fall once more. This repeating cycle would be torture for any man. Camus, however, sees it in another light. Admitting that this action is indeed futile, he makes no attempt to argue that the pushing of the rock itself is a worthwhile action. Instead, he argues that the action should give Sisyphus enough meaning to be happy, saying “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” Therefore, it is inferred that it is not the destination that we find meaning in, but rather the journey that makes us truly happy.

The play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett tells the story of two lonely men, striving to find meaning and purpose in their actions. Vladimir and Estragon discuss pointless and trivial subjects, hardly ever reaching any sense of conclusion. Their setting, a tree beside a road, has no real bearing on the events of the story. Every action seems to be completely without purpose. In fact, sometimes they hardly remember what they did simply a few minutes before! They wait constantly for Godot, but it is clear at the end that they have come no closer to seeing him. They are quite utterly and completely back where they started. Ultimately, it is determined that all is useless, life simply nonsensical and meaningless. At first glance, this may seem very much like Camus’ interpretation of the Myth of Sisyphus; On second glance, however, the reader will come to realize that true happiness can never be achieved for the characters, as they are hoping for something that will forever be out of reach.

In Woody Allen’s movie “Hannah and Her Sisters”, a troubled family struggles in the midst of betrayal, insecurity, and jealousy. Allen’s comic writing and directing make for a comedy, but truly there are much darker issues lying beneath the surface. Through the film’s exploration of each character’s desire to have more out of life, each sister goes through her own life journey. Lee struggles with attention and a lack of satisfaction with the men in her life, one of whom is Hannah’s husband. Hannah’s ex-husband, Mickey, constantly worries about everything in his life, from his job to his health to his relationships. In the end, however, he overcomes his seemingly ceaseless worried attitude and realizes that in order to enjoy his life, he must free himself from his worry. It is this realization that helps him to fall in love with Hannah’s other sister, Holly, and eventually marry her. While some characters find what they are looking for and some do not, the ending is generally a happy one. I would argue that the point that Allen is making is that life can be but is not necessarily happy, we must find our own way and realize that life is ultimately what you make of it. Life itself has no purpose, we must give it purpose.

It is utterly impossible to come up with one meaning of life that everyone can agree on. Each religion, philosophy, and even each individual has their own perception of what gives life meaning according to them. Some may agree that purpose is found in the struggle of day to day life, others may argue that true meaning is always out of reach, and still others may believe that life is what you make of it. Whichever one’s opinion is, we are not alone in attempting to discover it. The quest for meaning in life is an eternal journey for every member of the human race.

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Sisyphus Myth And The Significance Of Life

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Nobody would point the finger at Sisyphus for surrendering but he doesn’t. Notwithstanding the obvious aimlessness of his undertaking, Sisyphus’ strength forces meaning. Life is just as absurd, yet we get up each day and do it again in any case. What’s more, it is from our struggle that we create meaning. We go to work and have similar discussions about similar subjects with similar individuals, drink a similar drink, handle similar difficulties, confront similar absurdities, and watch defenselessly as the these repetitive work piles on us. It’s never fully finished but endless. We are never done.

Sisyphus helps us to remember the recurrent idea of our work. Life isn’t direct, it spirals into the future in a progression of concentric circular segments. Here is breakfast time once again, here I am washing my spoon once more. Despite this redundancy we may be excused for giving up on the task. In any case, giving up isn’t unavoidable. Truth be told, the world is neither absurd nor not-ludicrous – it is vague. It is left for us to choose. No one but we can eliminate the state of our own significance. It doesn’t get any more pointless than pushing a stone up a slope. The stone doesn’t do anything, it isn’t for anything, and it’s similarly as futile at the highest point of the slope as at the base. However we should consider Sisyphus to be triumphant because he created the meaning for this mundane task. Every day he was given the opportunity to find the positive message in this task.

Like Sisyphus, we have the ability to transform our destiny into a gift. We can’t change the past, nor the majority of the conditions around us, however we can simply pick new perspectives about those occasions and conditions. In the boundlessness of cognizance, we are fundamentally allowed to force meaning onto the absurdities of life. It is just from our persistent responsibility and conclusive activity that importance rises. His familiarity with his part in life make him a tragic character. He continues pushing, regardless of whether he knows it’s trivial or that it won’t change his condition, however the comprehension of the futility of his assignment is the thing that influences him to acknowledge life as it is and, maybe, be content with it.

Take for example, the repetition of one taking a bus to school every day to study. Though we would take the bus every day, the conditions around us are ever changing which alters our perspectives. On a rainy day we might feel lazy to take this bus as the journey may seem long, but upon reaching our end-stop we may see it as a struggle that we managed to overcome. Whereas, on a sunny day we might rejoice at the idea of taking the bus as it provides us with an air conditioned environment to study for a test later on in the day. With the change on conditions, a simple repetitive task may easily have a different meaning each day. Our comprehension that this mundane task leads to an important role in the bigger picture, allows us to be content with it.

In any case, in actuality, I believe that it is fine on the off chance that we don’t find significance to life that fits what society anticipates us to infer. Toward the day’s end, we may never infer them, and this can influence us to feel futile. It is tied in with discovering satisfaction in spite of when we cannot discover importance to those life desires.

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The Myth Of Sisyphus By Albert Camus: An Allegory For The Human Condition

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

There are many reasons why the tale of “The Myth of Sisyphus” is important to Albert Camus, for one, it is an allegory for what it means to be human. Camus expertly dissects Sisyphus’ existence and relates it to three final consequences of human life with the absurd; freedom, revolt and passion. Sisyphus’ story is the epitome of the human condition, and that human beings cannot escape the condemnation of futile labor. Sisyphus is crowned as the absurd hero of the story by Camus, a title not to be taken lightly. Sisyphus lived his whole life revolting against death and was fiercely passionate about living, he always chose to fight for life. This passion, revolt and freedom is precisely why he was punished for his passions.

The absurd is a theme that much of Albert Camus’ work revolves around. The absurd is described as the gap between oneself and one’s senses, who one thinks they are and the resistance of the world to human endeavors. Camus wrote that “the world evades us because it becomes itself again. That stage scenery masked by habit becomes again what it is”. Here Camus is talking about the primitive hostility of the world, how dense and strange it is. The absurd is the realization that the world exists independently from any meaning that one attempts to give it. Camus wrote about routine and waking up, “Rising, street-car, four hours in the office or factory, meal, street-car, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday, Tuesday… According to the same rhythm – this path is easily followed… but one day the ‘why’ arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement”. Here Camus explains that one can only become conscious by asking themselves ‘why’ they are doing what they are doing, usually this happens when one is unhappy, Camus expresses often in “The Myth of Sisyphus” that the human experience is not an easy one. Camus further explains that habits cover up the obscure character of the world, where the world might seem as though it serves one’s purpose, the world really has nothing to do with one’s purposes, desires or interests. “For if I try to seize this self of which I feel sure, if I try to define and to summarize it, it is nothing but water slipping through my fingers.”, essentially, the world resists any attempts of appropriation. The absurd also involves the knowledge and understanding one has. In the grand scheme of things, we cannot comprehend ourselves and our actions do not mean anything. Camus says that ultimately, we know very little and what we do know falls short of what we really want, “Yet all the knowledge on earth will give me nothing to assure me that this world is mine”.

In order to understand the relationship of the concept of the absurd and of Sisyphus’ existence one must know a brief synopsis of Sisyphus’ story. The myth of Sisyphus is the story of how Sisyphus became the “futile laborer of the underworld” tasked with rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, just to watch it roll back down and repeat the task for all of eternity. Sisyphus had a long list of misdeeds he committed against the gods, from “stealing their secrets”, to “putting death in chains”, and finally tricking Pluto into allowing him to return to earth whence he promptly ran off to live by the sea and enjoy the “smiles of the earth”. These actions made Sisyphus the absurd hero. Camus wrote that “Sisyphus is the absurd hero, as much through his passions as though his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty…”. Sisyphus’ punishment, Camus writes, is the “price that must be paid for the passions of this earth”. This is why Camus is so drawn to the story, the pure absurdness of Sisyphus’ life and the relation to absurd freedom. This leads into the most important moment of the story to Camus, when Sisyphus’ becomes conscious of his punishment.

The moment in Sisyphus’ story that was most important to Albert Camus is when Sisyphus gains consciousness of his futile labor. There is one specific moment, “During that return, that pause…At each of those moments when Sisyphus leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock”. Sisyphus becomes stronger than his rock because he is conscious and content with his sentence, Camus even wrote “One must imagine Sisyphus happy”. Consciousness is key, this is what makes Sisyphus an absurd hero, he is completely aware of his fate in a constant cycle of futile labor.

This moment of realization for Sisyphus relates perfectly to the three consequences of the absurd that Camus outlines at the end of his essay. The three consequences were passion, revolt and freedom. Camus main thesis is that life has no meaning and that is what makes it worth living, this is the perfect introduction to passion. Passion is the commitment to life even though it is meaningless, Sisyphus does this by committing to his destiny, “he knows himself to be the master of his days. At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates the serious of unrelated actions which becomes his fate”.

Revolt is the refusal of a certain fate, not the acceptance. A great illustration is when Sisyphus revolts against the gods, he refused even if could not win, he lived without appeal to transcendent order. Another form of revolt is saying no to death by living. Camus lists suicide as one way to evade the absurd, but the only way to revolt against it is to live and search for some kind of meaning in life even though real knowledge cannot be achieved. “The absurd man can only drain everything to the bitter end and deplete himself. The absurd is his extreme tension, which he maintains constantly by solitary effort, for he knows that in that consciousness and in that day-to-day revolt he gives proof of his only truth, which is defiance”. It is clear that Camus believes one should always keep the absurd at the front of one’s mind never suppressing it or attempting to escaping it which is exactly what Sisyphus does by accepting his fate.

Finally, there is freedom. Camus is interested in freedom from the order of transcendent value and freedom from the temporality that is defined by the future. Sisyphus is free from transcendent power because he “negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well”. Sisyphus owned his fate “created by him… soon to be sealed by death”. “The absurd man thus catches sight of a burning and frigid, transparent and limited universe in which nothing is possible, but everything is given, and beyond which all is collapse and nothingness. He can then decide to accept such a universe and draw from it his strength, his refusal to hope, and the unyielding evidence of a life without consolation”. Here Camus explains that no matter the life, choices or consequences, we all have the same fate, and because of this lack of hope for the future one can have a sense of “inner freedom”.

It is clear that “The Myth of Sisyphus” is an allegory for the human condition. Through the triumphant story of Sisyphus who owns his fate and his rock one can see that Camus was marked by the actions Sisyphus took against the absurd to be passionate, revolt and be liberated by the creation of his own freedom.

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A Theme Of Life Purpose In The Myth Of Sisyphus By Albert Camus

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

For as long as humans have lived on the earth, they have looked for a purpose, for meaning to what we do. In the essay I read it talks about just that. The essay I read was The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. In this work he explains how individuals use ignorance as protection from the idea that our life needs to have purpose. Only when we stop thinking about our own mortality and purpose, can we really start to enjoy the present.

Camus is correct in his assumption that the world is absurd, subsequently, people should live their lives without concern for a higher meaning, which is proven through Nagel’s argument of the absurd and Nietzsche’s argument posed about absurdity. For Camus, the absurd is the realisation that the world isn’t rational, he describes it as a man who is face to face with the irrational; he wants to be happy and have a reason to live. “I’m filled with a desire for clarity and meaning within a world that offers neither”. Camus says the absurd is born from the human need and the silence or mysteries of the world that will never be solved. Nagel disagrees with part of Camus’ explanation about the absurd, he argues that even if nothing we do matters in the distant future, nothing in the distant future matters now. Nagel explains that if we cannot predict whether or not what we do will matter in the future, how can we be sure that what we do matters now. He also argues a similar point to Camus, which is that everything ends in death anyway, so really there is no final purpose for our actions. Nagel’s main point on absurdity is on the lack of similarity between the importance we place on our lives from a subjective point of view, compared to how unjustified they appear objectively. What this means is that in our subjective lives, we stress over our appearance, our relationships, etc. But, objectively, we think about whether life is worth it. Usually, after a period of reflection, we just stop thinking about it and proceed with our lives. To avoid the absurdity in our lives we place meaning on our lives through a role, something “larger than ourselves” such as being in the service of society or joining the military to protect your country. In the end you could still question how this higher purpose will bring you meaning or when your quest for justification will end, so realistically, the quest is futile.

In Nagel’s last main argument on absurdism he says that reflecting on our lives doesn’t mean that they are insignificant compared to what’s important, but that they are only significant when compared to themselves. So when we step back and reflect on our lives, we compare the claim that we have about the meaning of actions with the larger perspective in which no standards of meaning can be discovered. This showing that no matter what, comparing your own accomplishments with that of “the purpose of living” will lead you to believe that your actions will never truly live up to that standard. Nietzsche was known for his existentialism. He argued that there was no meaning to life and that the only reason for us to imagine a higher purpose is because we were taught to do so by different religions. He believed religion and faith were a lie and believing in them would only hinder your experience in life as a person. He also believed in making meaning for yourself just as Camus did and that even if others find meaning in different things, it does not mean that your view is invalid. There is no ultimate meaning, therefore making your own is the best and only way. To satisfy your own meaning in life, one must line up their aspirations and have reason behind their goal. Nietzsche found the notion that the human being is all and only what that being does. He believed we could grow past the lies and deceptions to dive into a more profound humanity.

My life consists of me bringing myself into being, I am the makeup of my past actions. Although what I do is free, I am not free, not to act; therefore my existence is a requirement. Living in a worlds where people rely on their own courage and reasoning in order to figure out their own path rather than hoping a higher purpose will guide you is how the world ought to be. It would make people control their own path instead of following a made up one. Everything may be meaningless but to a person it can mean everything, so if life has no higher meaning, try to give it your own.

In conclusion Camus is correct in his assumption that the world is absurd because people should live their lives without concern for a higher meaning. The world is not rational and there is no higher purpose only what is created by ourselves. Nagel’s argument explains that if we cannot predict whether or not what we do will matter in the future, how can we be sure that what we do matters now. He also argues a similar point to Camus, which is that everything ends in death anyway, so really there is no final purpose for our actions. He argued that there was no meaning to life and that the only reason for us to imagine a higher purpose is because we were taught to do so by different religions. He believed religion and faith were a lie and believing in them would only hinder your experience in life as a person. Overall what is important in life is not to live for a higher meaning but learn to live for the things that give meaning to you, to make sure you live the life you want.

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Albert Camus’ Portrayal of Optimism As Demonstrated In His Book, The Myth of Sisyphus

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Sorrow and joy go hand in hand, as does Sisyphus, as he crowns himself in his defeat. The pendulum between night and day swings, for it is not possible to experience the light without the dark. That being said, there can be joy found in the struggle as you work towards your own purpose. On your journey, as you conclude how all is well, it measures your next step. The struggle on its own was enough for Sisyphus. To find hope in The Myth of Sisyphus, to breathe joy into your own rock, one must picture Sisyphus happy.

Even with the knowledge of the extent of his condition, Sisyphus still found joy. He believed it to be achieving the purpose of fate, to see the top of the mountain, even as the rock rolls back down. Through hard labor, to see the sky for fleeting moments, only to work what seems like ages for that again, is that not life? That happiness, however evanescent, returns as quickly as his torment. That is the period of when consciousness arrives. That period is the breath you exhale before seeing your descent. Therefore Sisyphus knows himself to be the master of his days, the controller of his fate.

Physically, Sisyphus cannot change his fate, yet he wields all the power within his mind. Grief and depression grow from dissatisfaction, as the beginning of our journey calls for success and happiness too insistently. Our mind cries for us to move at a pace faster than we are able, and for that sadness grows. The period of consciousness if turned negative, can turn into a heavy sadness. However patience, even with knowledge of your condition assures your victory. It is what changes your outlook on fate.

It is a balance between both passions and torture as Sisyphus can show you himself. The depending factor being what you choose to focus upon. To have the belief to conclude that all is well, could be a reassurance found delusional. Yet is what hope stems from, the belief that all will be, or could be well. It is what helps us push our own rock. The issues with this are that many people do know what our rock is. However, what we choose to work toward, the top of our mountain is uncertain, or seen as unattainable. We block ourselves from seeing the sky, from pushing our own rock, from finding our purpose. Which is why we must picture Sisyphus happy as the master of his days.

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