The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays PDF × of

The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays PDF × of


10 thoughts on “The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

  1. Rakhi Dalal Rakhi Dalal says:

    Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him While for some, Camus ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers Although Camus is often categorized as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that In one of his interv Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him While for some, Camus ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers Although Camus is often categorized as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that In one of his interviews he saidNo, I am not an existentialist Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked We have even thought of publishing a short statement in which the undersigned declare that they have nothing in common with each other and refuse to be held responsible for the debts they might respectively incur It s a joke actually Sartre and I published our books without exception before we had ever met When we did get to know each other, it was to realise how much we differed Sartre is an existentialist, and the only book of ideas that I have published, The Myth of Sisyphus, was directed against the so called existentialist philosophers When compared with different periods of his life, his writings offer an insight into the state of mind Camus was often fraught with The penning of The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus , which he did almost simultaneously, came at a point when he himself faced despair about the kind of life he was living, which included his anxiety about his future as a writer and finding his place in the World At this time he was in Algiers, his native land, far from the hubbub of Paris Hismature works i.e The Rebel and The Plague came later on where Rebel dealt with the problem of murder as against the problem of suicide which he dealt in The Myth of Sisyphus We can notice the change in the focus of the writer, which turned from inner to outer, from individual to social As he progressed from Sisyphus to the Rebel, he matured as a writer and later on himself felt annoyed at his proposed idea of absurd He saidThis word Absurd has had an unhappy history and I confess that now it rather annoys me When I analyzed the feeling of the Absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus, I was looking for a method and not a doctrine I was practicing methodical doubt I was trying to make a tabula rasa, on the basis of which it would then be possible to construct something If we assume that nothing has any meaning, then we must conclude that the world is absurd But does nothing have any meaning I have never believed we could remain at this point Now this is what keeps me in awe of the writer He is one writer, who has never been afraid of opening his heart, his thoughts, anything which plagues his mind, before his readers, before this world In that sense, he may be termed as a radical and approached with skepticism, but it cannot be ignored that the ideas he proposed came to influence the generation of writers engaged in the works of absurd e.g Samuel Beckett who contributed significantly to the theatre of Absurd The idea of repetition which he proposed with Sisyphus, which in turn was inspired by Kierkegaard s Repitition, is witnessed significantly in the works of Beckett too What is , his ideas also, even now influence the readers like me in whose face the why of existence suddenly strikes one fine day It wouldn t be an overstatement or some form of fervent adherence to the writer if I admit that he inspired the mind to seekand not be satisfied till the response unites the thought and the experience He is not an easy writer to read, agreed, but his writings are not disturbing, specially if one gets to understand that his writing,in The Myth of Sisyphus, is a declaration of writer s notion that the life must be lived fully in awareness of the absurdity of this World In the Myth of Sisyphus, he terms the World as absurd because it doesn t offer any answer to the question of existence, it being a silent spectator to the suffering of whole humanity In a Universe, divested of meaning or illusions, a man feels 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 But does this situation dictate death Camus ponders upon the problem of suicide and contemplates then whether suicide is the answer to this absurd world which doesn t answer anything He opines In the face of such contradictions and obscurities must we conclude that there is no relationship between the opinion one has about life and the act one commits to leave it Let us not exaggerate in this direction In a man s attachment to life there is something stronger than all the ills in the world The body s judgement is as good as the mind s and the body shrinks from annihilation We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead. And to kill one self means to allow both life and death to have dominion over one Hence, the absurd doesn t dictate death but calls for the awareness and rejection of death It calls for living it with consciousness with revolt, freedom and passion Neither religion, nor Science for that matter, provides answer to a questioning mind satisfactorily While the former tends to imbue it with an idea of eternity an extension of life in heaven, the latter merely tries to explain it by hypothesis But Camus cannot believe either of them.Then turning to existential philosophers, he says that they without exception suggest escapeThrough an odd reasoning, starting out from the absurd over the ruins of reason, in a closed universe limited to the human, they deify what crushes them and find reason to hope in what impoverishes them That forced hope is religious in all of them To further explain this, he presents to us the ideas proposed by different philosophers For example he says Of Jasper Jasper writesDoes not the failure reveal, beyond any possible explanation and interpretation, not the absence but the existence of transcendence So that Jasper proposes the existence which cannot be defined as unthinkable unity of the general and the inability to understand as the existence which illuminates everything.Of Chestov Chestov names the fundamental absurdity by sayingThis is God we must rely on him even if he does not correspond to any of our rational categories For Chestov, reason is useless but there is something beyond reason, even if that something is indifferent to us.Of Kierkegaard Kierkegaard calls for the third sacrifice required by Ignatius Loyola, the one in which God most rejoices The sacrifice of the intellect He says, In his failure, the believer finds his triumph Kierkegaard substitutes his cry of revolt for frantic adherence.Camus doesn t agree with these philosophers, who did, all of them, tried to understand the absurd but finally gave into that which they found impossible to define He calls their giving up as Philosophical suicide He cannot believe in Jasper s idea of Transcendence In response to Chestov, he says To an absurd mind reason is useless and there is nothing beyond reason He chooses despair instead of Kierkegaard s frantic adherence He says I want everything to be explained to me or nothing So now when faced with absurd and being in consciousness, how best to live the life Camus advocates the life of a seducer Don Juanism actor, conqueror or creator following the three consequences of absurd i.e revolt, passion and freedom.By revolt, Camus means to keep the absurd alive by challenging the world anew every second By Freedom, he means losing oneself in that bottomless certainty , feeling henceforth sufficiently removed from one s own life to increase it and take a broad view of it.By passion, he means being aware of one s life, one s revolt, one s freedom, and to the maximum Though he praises the absurd man in a seducer, actor or conqueror, it was his stance on creator which I feltinclined towards He saysCreating is living doubly The groping, anxious quest of a Proust, his meticulous collecting of flowers, of wallpapers, and of anxieties, signifies nothing else SisyphusTowards the end of this essay, he compares absurd with Sisyphus, who, according to the myth, was condemned to rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, only to see it rolling down back every time he reached the top He says that though Sisyphus is well aware of his fate, of the continuous struggle he has to engage in, but he is still passionate about his life and doesn t give up It is during his descent, that Sisyphus silent joy is contained Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory There is no sun without shadow, and it is es sential to know the night The absurd man says yes and his effort will henceforth be unceasing If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable For the rest, 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 that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory s eye and soon sealed by his death Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go The rock is still rolling.The other essays in the collection, Summer in Algiers, The stop in Oran, Helen s Exile and Return to Tipasa are worth reading too In Return to Tipasa, we observe Camus prevailed over by nostalgia for home, for his land It is here that he says In the direction of the ruins, as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but pock marked stones and wormwood, trees and perfect columns in the transparence of the crystalline air It seemed as if the morning were stabilized, the sun stopped for an incalculable moment In this light and this silence, years of wrath and night melted slowly away I listened to an almost forgotten sound within myself as if my heart, long stopped, were calmly beginning to beat again And awake now, I recognized one by one the imperceptible sounds of which the silence was made up the figured bass of the birds, the sea s faint, brief sighs at the foot of the rocks, the vibration of the trees, the blind singing of the columns, the rustling of the wormwood plants, the furtive lizards I heard that I also listened to the happy torrents rising within me It seemed to me that I had at last come to harbor, for a moment at least, and that henceforth that moment would be endless.What I realized reading these essays over again was that despite of being labelled as the proponent of absurd, it is actually living that he so fervently speaks about Not just living but living passionately and fully Living in awareness and questioning Though he seems to be recommending a negative faith as James Wood says in introduction against the religious or existentialist ideologies, he nevertheless demonstrates a distinctive way to the seekers to come to terms with the existence the way to be chosen henceforth, of course, depending upon the individual, starting every day with an ever new lightIn the middle of winter, I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summerFrom an interview with Jeanine Delpech, in Les Nouvelles Litt raires, 1945 Cited in Albert Camus Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage 1970 From an interview with Gabriel d Aubar de, in Les Nouvelles Litt raires, 1951 Cited in Albert Camus Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage 1970 Source


  2. Lisa Lisa says:

    The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man s heart One must imagine Sisyphus happy One must definitely imagine Sisiphus a teacher Teaching 15 year olds every day is pretty much like pushing that boulder up the hill One knows one has to do it, as the future of humanity depends on proper education It is hard work that requires concentration, and one can never look the other way or take a break In the evening, one is exhausted, and quite happy to see that stupid boulder The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man s heart One must imagine Sisyphus happy One must definitely imagine Sisiphus a teacher Teaching 15 year olds every day is pretty much like pushing that boulder up the hill One knows one has to do it, as the future of humanity depends on proper education It is hard work that requires concentration, and one can never look the other way or take a break In the evening, one is exhausted, and quite happy to see that stupid boulder roll all the way to the deepest depths of Hades But tomorrow is another day, and Sisiphus sets out to roll that boulder up the hill again.One must imagine Sisiphus happy.Imagination, that means, is the main tool of any teacher.I say, looking at today s boulder catching speed down the hill See you tomorrow


  3. Trevor Trevor says:

    One of the things I ve been thinking a lot about lately is the question of whether it is better to have no hope at all, or to be constantly confronted with dashed hope There are certainly parts of my life that I have structured so as to ensure that I have no hope at all that is, that I live my life in such a way that it is impossible for certain things to ever happen, and those are things that otherwise I would desire intensely and in large part that is because dashed hope was proving far One of the things I ve been thinking a lot about lately is the question of whether it is better to have no hope at all, or to be constantly confronted with dashed hope There are certainly parts of my life that I have structured so as to ensure that I have no hope at all that is, that I live my life in such a way that it is impossible for certain things to ever happen, and those are things that otherwise I would desire intensely and in large part that is because dashed hope was proving far too much for me to really live with.Now, that is part of the reason why I thought I would read this book The myth of Sisyphus is surely one of the better examples of having to live constantly with dashed hope, and so I was hoping all very ironic, when you think about it that this book might provide some answers or guidance This series of essays basically ends with Camus telling the story of the myth which I found a bit unexpected, as I might have thought he would have started here But in fact, this myth is sort of the punch line to the series of ideas he is discussing mostly related to suicide His main point is the assertion that life is fundamentally absurd We generally don t recognise this absurdity life presents patterns and ways of being that we enact, rather than think about, and so one day follows another It is only when we pause and think what is the point that the real absurdity of life becomes overwhelming It is for this reason that Camus says that the only real question of philosophy is why do I not commit suicide this does seem a rather predictable response to the it is all meaningless anyway problem.I think of this argument as being somewhat an argument with religion and so a sort of first generation atheist problem In the sense that religious people often say stuff like if life is so meaningless, why don t you just kill yourself then To which, I presume, the answer is, fiveminutes of stupid bloody questions like that and I might welcome it As an atheist who has never felt or even felt the need for eternal life, that level of confronted meaningless of life has never really bothered me The absurdity that Camus speaks of is, as heor less admits himself, an abstract conception outside of the actual living of life While we are living life, such absurdity is basically impossible to acknowledge so, the answer, it seems, is just to get back to living life and shut up.Anyway, you have a great big rock and your task is to push it to the top of the mountain You never quite get it there It always rolls back down to the bottom And on the trip back down the mountain to start pushing the rock back up again, surely you must say to yourself god, no, not this shit again Which is part of the reason why this is a punishment Camus s response is to say that Sisyphus has to approach his task with a happy heart, despite knowing it is pointless, absurd, meaningless It is his only refuge from suicide.Right But, I m not sure how well that would keep me from committing suicide, this sort of whistle while you work idea We are not told what reward Sisyphus has been promised if he were to get the rock to the top of the mountain Presumably, Camus has decided that this is immaterial as Sisyphus would soon realise that was never going to happen For this reason I find the myth of Tantalusimmediately confronting of the issues I actually want to grapple with It is completely obvious what Tantalus desires he is hungry and thirsty and all around him there is food and drink But he is never able to satisfy his hunger or thirst He is surrounded by what he desires, and knows he has no hope of ever satisfying them This is what I mean about the choice between no hope and dashed hope For Tantalus, desire is all but he constantly must live with his desires going unfulfilled, with his hopes being dashed I don t know that this is a sustainable way to live one s life when it becomes clear to me that my desires will be constantly dashed, that is one of the hardest things I can think of I ve worked in jobs as meaningless as Sisyphus s, boredom I can cope with Dashed desire is quite another matter And so, I believe Tantalus is likely to seek to blind himself to his desires I am not sure how successfully one is able to do this desire and hope find ways to sneak in while we are unguarded, they find ways to tempt us, despite our will and our reason, but we are soon punished yet again for these hopes and desires in much the same way Tantalus was As I said, I had hoped Camus would have discussed these issues the issues of dashed hope and how to actually live with them For Camus, Sisyphus is the most proletarian of the myths something noted previously by Marx and Engels in relation to the meaninglessness of work under capitalist alienation of labour If Sisyphus is a myth illuminating the horrors of capitalist production surely Tantalus is the myth that does so for capitalist consumption We are drowning in desires that can never be satisfied, and are never meant to be satisfied And yet, we seem to constantly choose thwarted desire over abandoned hope every time despite our repeated experience, despite the pain of that experience Perhaps it is because we simply could not live in Dante s hell where all hope is abandoned and so any alternative is preferable If you do decide to read this, I recommend you notice when Camus talks about rocks given what Sisyphus got up to in his day job, this talk of rocks is always something worth considering and worrying over, always worth noticing


  4. Yuval Yuval says:

    Most of my friends will probably think I m being sarcastic when I call this as good a self help book as any I can imagine, but this essay honestly inspired in me an awe of human nature and its absurd indomitability I think Camus gets a bad rap for being a cold, detached pessimist who only points out the meaninglessness of life again and again in his books OK, he may indeed declare life meaningless, but this book is passionately affirmative of life in the face of that void Beginning as a r Most of my friends will probably think I m being sarcastic when I call this as good a self help book as any I can imagine, but this essay honestly inspired in me an awe of human nature and its absurd indomitability I think Camus gets a bad rap for being a cold, detached pessimist who only points out the meaninglessness of life again and again in his books OK, he may indeed declare life meaningless, but this book is passionately affirmative of life in the face of that void Beginning as a refutation of suicide, the essay encourages an embrace of the absurdity of life and the refutation of hope for a future life or afterlife as the only ways to live with any liberty or happiness While I ultimately don t see eye to eye with all his thinking and if you re at all religious, you should probably save your self the agitation of reading this but viewing human nature and activity through his eyes in this book has been immensely rewarding


  5. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I still vividly remember my writing class in my first semester of college Our professor was a lover of paradoxes She had us read Kafka and Borges, whom none of us could understand And she had a habit of asking impossible questions such as What does it mean to be infinitely finite and savoring the uncomfortable silences that followed Once, she even scared us half to death by asking one of these questions, and than yelping like a banshee half a minute later Quite a good professor.The final I still vividly remember my writing class in my first semester of college Our professor was a lover of paradoxes She had us read Kafka and Borges, whom none of us could understand And she had a habit of asking impossible questions such as What does it mean to be infinitely finite and savoring the uncomfortable silences that followed Once, she even scared us half to death by asking one of these questions, and than yelping like a banshee half a minute later Quite a good professor.The final section of this iconic essay was among the readings she assigned Of course I did not understand a word of it I was no where near mature enough to wrap my mind around the idea of absurdism The meaning of life was not a problem for me at that time Surrounded as I was by thousands of potential friends and girlfriends free for the first time in my life to do as I pleased such a confrontation with nihilism was beyond the horizons of my mental life.This was not the case four years later, when I graduated college with thousands of dollars in debt, confronted with the possibility of deciding Who I Wanted to Be Probably I should have read this book at that time, when I could so keenly feel the weight of life s pointlessness Or maybe I should have read it a year later, when I was working in an office job Humankind has seldom plunged deeper into the void than in entry level positions.I mention this biographical background because I think this book should likely not be read during a time of relative stability and contentedness, such as I am in now We seldom pause to ponder the meaning of life when we are enjoying ourselves The problem of philosophical suicide is not a problem at all on beautiful summer days It is only a problem on cold, rainy Tuesday nights, in the few minutes of mental calm between work, chores, sleep, and work the next day Unfortunately, such Tuesdays come all too often in this world of ours.My point is simply that I would have enjoyed this essay farunderpropitious circumstances Albert Camus s style is well calculated to please a winsome mixture of anecdote, philosophy, literary criticism, and poetry Certainly it is a relief after dragging my way through Sartre s tortured syntax and cumbersome verbiage Camus, by contrast, is concise and stylish My only reservation is that, for all his accessibility, Camus is not perfectly clear I say this from the perspective of somebody trying to read his essay as a philosophical work All philosophy consists in argument and in order to accept or reject an argument, one must use clearly defined terms With Camus, however, I was never quite sure what his criteria were for considering something absurd or meaningful his two central categories.This is perhaps the wrong way to read Camus What he was trying to create was arguablyin the tradition of wisdom literature than formal philosophy From this perspective, the essay is somewhatsatisfying However, here too I found Camus lacking One extractspiquant lessons in the art of life from Montaigne or La Rochefoucauld than from Camus Where Camus excels these authors is not in wisdom per se, but in capturing a certain mood, a mood peculiar to modern times being intellectually and spiritually adrift After all of the traditional systems belief which underpinned life have crumbled, it is the crushing realization that one is unable to justify anything, even life itself In this peculiar vein, Camus is difficult to beat.Even so, I wonder if this iconic essay adds anything essential to that famous remark of Pascal Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed Camus s Sisyphus is the twin brother of Pascal s thinking reed the plaything of an indifferent universe, and yet dignified by his consciousness In hisdespairing moments, Pascal may have been quite as horrified by the vast spectacle of an indifferent cosmos as Camus The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me The essential difference between these two men is not their realization of humanity s insignificance, but their reactions Pascal seeks to escape this conclusion any way he can, bolstering his faith with every fallacious argument under the sun Camus was innovative in his insistence that we must calmly accept this situation, taking it as a starting point and not as a depressing conclusion.My main criticism with this essay is that, if life has no inherent meaning, and the universe is nothing but a cold expanse, this throws the question of the meaning of life back upon each individual Answering that question definitively, for every person, becomes de facto impossible But, again, perhaps Camus is not trying to prove anything universal Rather, his essay is a sort of invitation to abandon the traditional justifications of life, and to focus, as Camus himself did, on the smaller joys sunlight, the sea, travel The rest of the essays in this collection may be seen in that light, as enlarging upon Camus s omnivorous curiosity for his surroundings.What bothers me is that I do not agree with Camus s opening assertion I do not think the most pressing question is whether we should all just commit suicide To the contrary, once this question is decided in the negative, it opens up a world of farinteresting issues


  6. Lynne King Lynne King says:

    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards. Only Albert Camus, I believe, could have made that statement.I ve tried many times over the years to accept philosophical reasoning by reading various books by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, H There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards. Only Albert Camus, I believe, could have made that statement.I ve tried many times over the years to accept philosophical reasoning by reading various books by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Plato, etc and the only individual I could equate to was Roger Scruton with his Philosophy, an Introduction and Survey with his own specific logic and in particular his views on God It s certainly not light reading, rather dry in fact, and looking at this book now I m even beginning to wonder what I truly felt when I read this twenty years ago.I ve always had a very high regard for Albert Camus since I first encountered his works at university He has an extremely rich and elegant writing style, and yet he seems to open up his heart to the reader and his reasoning is invigorating In fact I ve thoroughly enjoyed his works in the past, especially The Stranger Nevertheless I found it very hard to come to terms with The Myth of Sisyphus It was the meditation on suicide that rather unnerved me I really do not believe philosophers, unless they have contemplated suicide themselves, should air their opinions That s my personal view of course If an individual wishes to end his her life, be it for whatever reason, they have the choice I feel sorry, however, for those individuals with dreadful terminal diseases who wish to end their lives and are unable to do so because of legal constraints.Anyway, linking absurdism with suicide was all too much for my psyche and she went into full revolt Camus is indeed very persuasive but what I don t understand is that he is supposedly discussing Absurdism and yet the cover on the back states that this is a book on Existentialism I also thought that he was an Absurdist In fact recently I ve read so many articles regarding the above paragraph that I believe the following seems to be the closest that comes to my own way of thinking The Algerian born French thinker Albert Camus was one of the leading thinkers of Absurdism He was actually a writer and novelist with a strong philosophical bent Absurdism is an off shoot of Existentialism and shares many of its characteristics Camus himself was labelled as an Existentialist in his own life, but he rejected this title..So I pass from this section of the book which also covers Don Juan rather interesting onto Absurd Creation with Philosophy and Fiction, and to parts that are quite beyond my comprehension I m still in revolt Here is an example All those lives maintained in the rarefied air of the absurd could not persevere without some profound and constant thought to infuse its strength into them Right here, it can be only a strange feeling of fidelity Conscious men have been sent to fulfill their task amid the most stupid of wars without considering themselves in contradiction This is because it was essential to elude nothing There is thus a metaphysical honour in enduring the world s absurdity Conquest or play acting, multiple loves, absurd revolt are tributes that man pays to his dignity in a campaign in which he is defeated in advance I m sure that many individuals will have no problem with interpreting the above mentioned paragraph but I certainly did.There s an excellent section on Dostoevsky and in fact even he discusses logical suicide in his Diary of a Writer.The individual that I really felt sorry for was Sisyphus who ceaselessly rolled a rock to the top of a mountain and then the stone would fall back on its own weight It certainly doesn t do to be condemned by the Gods and that s for sure.In the Appendix to this section, hope and the absurd are discussed in the life of Franz Kafka and actually one of the best parts in The Myth of Sisyphus I could never really understand Kafka s reasoning until I read two excellent biographies about him.The following essays are excellent Summer in AlgiersThe Minotaur or The Stop in OranHelen s ExileAnd indeed my favourite, Return to Tipasa.One really gets a sense here why Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 I found that this essay talked to me and also resonated with me It was so touching as he describes his feelings upon returning to the place of his childhood, Tipasa, Algeria after an absence of twenty years I absolutely loved this and there is also a sense of place This is Camus philosophizing at the highest level, after having lived through a horrific second world war by making comparisons between the two periods Plus the descriptions are exquisite I wanted to go to Tipasa myself when I read At noon on the half sandy slopes covered with heliotropes like a foam left by the furious waves of the last few days as they withdrew, I watched the sea barely swelling at that hour with an exhausted motion, and I satisfied the two thirsts one cannot long neglect without drying up I mean loving and admiring For there is merely bad luck in not being loved there is misfortune in not loving All of us, today, are dying of this misfortune For violence and hatred dry up the heart itself the long fight for justice exhausts the love that nevertheless gave birth to it In the clamour in which we live, love is impossible and justice does not suffice This is why Europe hates daylight and is only able to set injustice up against injustice But in order to keep justice from shrivelling up like a beautiful orange fruit containing nothing but a bitter, dry pulp, I discovered onceat Tipasa that one must keep intact in oneself a freshness, a cool wellspring of joy, love the day that escapes injustice and return to combat having won that light Here I recaptured the former beauty, a young sky, and I measured my luck, realizing at last that in the worst years of our madness the memory of that sky had never left me This was what in the end had kept me from despairing.The final essay, The Artist and His Time, consists of questions and answers of Camus views as an artist An example Is not the quixotism that has been criticized in your recent works an idealistic and romantic definition of the artist s role , and this was answered in a rather splendid way.In conclusion, I have my own philosophical views on life, as we all do and only I can choose what direction my life is going to take, be it with a certain amount of serendipitous luck thrown in along the way This was not an easy book to read but still it is excellent and succeeded in bringing happiness and optimism to me for the future.And yes, I mustn t forget Rakhi Do read her review below as it is excellent


  7. Simeon Simeon says:

    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards These are games one must first answer Albert CamusTo be, or not to be that is the question Whether tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to t There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards These are games one must first answer Albert CamusTo be, or not to be that is the question Whether tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them To die to sleep Noand by a sleep to say we endThe heart ache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to, tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish d To die, to sleep To sleep perchance to dream ay, there s the rub For in that sleep of death what dreams may comeWhen we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause there s the respectThat makes calamity of so long life For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,The oppressor s wrong, the proud man s contumely,The pangs of despised love, the law s delay,The insolence of office and the spurnsThat patient merit of the unworthy takes,When he himself might his quietus makeWith a bare bodkin who would fardels bear,To grunt and sweat under a weary life,But that the dread of something after death,The undiscover d country from whose bournNo traveller returns, puzzles the willAnd makes us rather bear those ills we haveThan fly to others that we know not of Thus conscience does make cowards of us all And thus the native hue of resolutionIs sicklied o er with the pale cast of thought,And enterprises of great pith and momentWith this regard their currents turn awry,And lose the name of action Soft you now The fair Ophelia Nymph, in thy orisonsBe all my sins remember d Shakespeare, Hamlet


  8. Elie F Elie F says:

    Sisyphus must be humanism in its fiercest form, but is it as heroic as in Camus idolization Because there is no assured eternality and reason knows its limit, man is forced into the corner of absurdity There are three available options 1 Turn away from the absurd and leap into spiritual irrationality 2 Commit suicide and kill one s self consciousness which is the very source of the break between one and the world 3 Keep the absurd alive, live unreconciled, revolt consciously, and scorn t Sisyphus must be humanism in its fiercest form, but is it as heroic as in Camus idolization Because there is no assured eternality and reason knows its limit, man is forced into the corner of absurdity There are three available options 1 Turn away from the absurd and leap into spiritual irrationality 2 Commit suicide and kill one s self consciousness which is the very source of the break between one and the world 3 Keep the absurd alive, live unreconciled, revolt consciously, and scorn triumphantly There is no unity between the man and the world, but there is a unity between man and his own crushing fate It is the consciousness of this unity that fills a man s heart and makes Sisyphus happy My main objection to Camus humanism is that it s all consciousness and no action As Dostoevsky s underground man shows us, mere consciousness doesn t make a man heroic Yes one must imagine Sisyphus happy but that s just an imagination and in reality a submission to futility Awareness of the superiority of one s personal fate should not be the final step To end with a quote from Achilles in The IliadXanthos, why do you prophesy my death This is not for you I myself know well it is destined for me to die here far from my beloved father and mother But for all that I will not stop till the Trojans have had enough of my fighting


  9. Jason Jason says:

    Okay, so the basic premise in this book is that there are two schools of thought involved with becoming conscious as a man There is one in which you become conscious of God, accepting faith as the channel between this world and the next Existence is a matter of order, one that is concrete and follows the compelling obligations towards the God whom you commit your faith The other option is the absurd, for which this book is written The problem asks is it possible not to commit suicide in a me Okay, so the basic premise in this book is that there are two schools of thought involved with becoming conscious as a man There is one in which you become conscious of God, accepting faith as the channel between this world and the next Existence is a matter of order, one that is concrete and follows the compelling obligations towards the God whom you commit your faith The other option is the absurd, for which this book is written The problem asks is it possible not to commit suicide in a meaningless world and without faith in God The absurd man simply states, I and my plight are ephemeral, but I still choose life Why The comparison to Sisyphus is made through this absurd man A man who is doomed by the gods to perpetually push a rock up a mountain which becomes steeper as it moves up Eventually slope takes the better of the effort and as a matter of prescribed definition the rock falls down the hill to which, the man, Sisyphus, must start again The absurd man follows the archetype of the Sisyphus myth of which Camus says is wanting to know, and in wanting to know realizing that the whole of existence is a continuous repetition, nothing is gained nor loss the sin of which the absurd man can feel guilt and innocence This is not existentialism It is presupposed in an existence without explanation that it is unreasonable to assume anything concrete As Camus puts it, the theme of the irrational, as it is conceived by the existentials, is reason becoming confused and escaping by negating itself He confines the absurd to, rather than negation, setting up a lucid reasoning, or playground for activity, and merely noting limits so that you are free to work within your living situation It s all about cheerful compliance Realizing you re in the situation and you re damned to it Fuck it It s not that I m lost in this absent void of existence, with no telling of the future and no cause for impetus I realize that there is a chance, be it strong or tiny, that there is a vastness far beyond the compelling straits of life that leave me wondering what s the difference If I do anything, I am compelled to the possibility of it not mattering Camus was talking about a lucid indifference to this Saying, I live it It would be a crime to strip my life of the possibility of something Even if I am a slave I can sing I give up on morality, a legitimization of my actions that either says this, based on prescribed foundations okays it or disallows it Really, the impetus is for responsibility What I do in this life is directly reflected in this life If I steal, then there is recourse If I lie but what if someone lies to me I guess it s the categorical imperative, but sans morality Morality lines things within the sights of God, establishing guilt What is guilt It s mindless, an obscenity I feel guilt for not abiding to my addiction Who can identify the real factions of guilt, who can identify its sincerity It s emotional I d rather be rational I d rather see that this whole circus, a great jibe of the floating, tender inevitability of death is but a contraption set for me to build and destroy and collect and decipher Camus said, for the absurd man it is not a matter of explaining and solving, but of experiencing and describing Everything begins with lucid indifference I am in a state of despair Anything that I do has no value On the other hand, I am living and I am breathing and in a strange way I have a personal freedom unpronounced by most people who establish their own freedoms All I have to do is have faith in my freedom and like a majesty that is lain out in silver robes before me, it is there I only have to respect that I am living in a free slate, unmitigated by a stratified moral imperative that limits so many people from following intuition and there actual imperative needs Do you believe in destiny That we all have a purpose and it is designated by our need to imbibe the principles of our life into a system that we can identify for ourselves There is that mode of philosophy that says that we are the people whom we are, we are meant to be these people, this specific type of person completely genuine to himself and totally as that self My identity is the world surrounding me combusting into a single frame that I can represent justly by my merely living life as I should be doing it I do not need to live up to this social strata of an impartial development towards nowhere, rather I should live life as I make fit, feeling good Feeling established So what if my endeavors are rooted to rolling a rock up a hill at least I have something to do, in the formation of my universe I need a place to put what is concrete, even if there is nothing concrete As analogous creatures, if we do not have any basis to compare then we are nocapable of being thoughtful than a bar of soap I d rather be the dirt, simply abiding to my state of being, minus the will, minus the infirmity, I d be an obstacle for the righteous, and standing in the way I could laugh at the adversity, laugh at the spectacle of my life so deranged in its absurdity And at the last moment before my death, that is how I could acknowledge that I was alive Or how I am still alive, whatever


  10. David Lentz David Lentz says:

    In Sisyphus Camus explores the great Greek myth to address Hamlet s ultimate question as to whether one should be or not be Camus scoffs at Kierkegaard who also addresses the plight of the Absurd Man, by which both thinkers understand the human condition today when faced with life in which it appears incomprehensible through pure reason Camus darkly adds that life is ultimately futile because mankind is powerless and after all life is simply an endless series of hardships, which symbolically In Sisyphus Camus explores the great Greek myth to address Hamlet s ultimate question as to whether one should be or not be Camus scoffs at Kierkegaard who also addresses the plight of the Absurd Man, by which both thinkers understand the human condition today when faced with life in which it appears incomprehensible through pure reason Camus darkly adds that life is ultimately futile because mankind is powerless and after all life is simply an endless series of hardships, which symbolically entail rolling a boulder up a mountainside only to watch it fall to the bottom whereupon the process must be repeated endlessly Camus derides the Kierkegaardian leap of faith as committing a suicide of logic, reason and abandoning both to sacrifice the lucidity which only a person confronting the hopelessness of his human condition with reason can assume Camus praises Nietzsche and in the writing style in many places Camus reads very much like Nietzsche Camus also widely praises Kafka and his novels as projecting in The Trial and The Castle worthy epitomes of the hopeless condition of man against the absurdity of life For Camus, reason takes one sooner or later to the abyss where one peers into the utter hopelessness of the human condition and catches a lucid glimpse of death, which challenges him to question the everydayness of existence For Camus this glimpse requires an intellectual honesty brought only by standing up to the Absurd and projecting the lucidity of reason into the abyss In his mind Camus believes that Sisyphus finds a certain happiness in the futility of his condition, when the boulder rolls back down the mountain, for it is in these moments of climbing back down the mountainside that Sisyphus is able to consider that despite the futility of his existence all is well He adds that Homer deemed Sisyphus to be the wisest of mortals and admires that Sisyphus was in a state of revolt against the gods and was unafraid of their power in his protest against them despite his rebellion landing him with an eternal task of futility at their bidding In his view the everydayness of mankind in work robs us of the consciousness necessary to gain a lucid perspective of life Camus has infinite faith in reason This is where he and Kierkegaard divide their views of the human condition Camus criticizes Kierkegaard for making a leap of faith into the god which consumes him He sees Sisyphus as becoming as strong as the rock that he pushes up the mountainside and views himself as the Absurd Man pushing the rock up the mountain in revolt of the gods but gaining the lucidity of a Zarathustra in the process and accepting his life bravely without appeal Consider that the rock pushed by Sisyphus is of sufficient size and weight that the mortal can actually move it up the mountainside in other words the boulder is not so great that Sisyphus cannot maneuver it even up a mountain despite the enormous strains that the process takes of him Camus proposes that it is senseless and perhaps even foolhardy and cowardly to abdicate to hope and then wander into the desert of god s grace He sees Kierkegaard as abdicating himself to a humiliated logic which is intellectual suicide and cites Kierkegaard s foolish pursuit, now legendary, of Regina Olson as an example of what can happen when reason is given up to faith and hope and love As Camus writes with the confidence of Nietzsche in his beautiful phrasing in this essay, at times almost gnostic in tone and sense, with a propensity to cite apparent contradictions in which the opposites both seem true Kierkegaard understands the fallacy of the either or set up withthan two possible answers or solutions and won t fall victim to them Camus wants us to choose between the either or of faith, or humiliated reason, and pure reason And for Camus this choice is a life and death matter While I admire the writing and philosophy of Camus, he does not seem fully to understand the reason why reasonable people adopt positions of faith Camus is an egoist and narcissist for whom the world beyond his reason is a reason not to commit intellectual suicide at the expense of humiliated reason Kierkegaard is a higher genius in my view because he has taken a long, perceptive and intelligent study of the abyss and recognizes that his reason can only take him so far If God exists, as Kierkegaard believes, then He has not created humanity with sufficient brains to make sense of the vastness, complexity and mystery of the universe Kierkegaard is a proponent of reason but recognizes with proper humility that he is not the center of the universe and when his reason reaches a dead end, then faith can kick in as a reasonable means of experiencing the Absurd in a life affirming approach which recognizes that some of the deeper questions may be answered later, if only one will persist, and that the best hope to overcome the abyss is to give reasontime to fathom the Absurd This requires faith in oneself, faith in existence andfaith in the power reason itself Camus is a chauvinist to pure reason Kierkegaard says rather humbly that in this grand dance to the music of time that faith is the only sane and, indeed, the most reasonable approach to the Absurd Camus deals with suicide Kierkegaardreasonably proposes faith and love instead as solutions, as real weapons to confront the Absurd Why address an Absurd universe with reason anyway as Camus proposes Why not confront an Absurd universe with your own Absurdity at least, this approach is consistent and attuned to life itself Kierkegaard s faith represents humility total abdication to the blind faith of Camus to reason is highly unreasonable and possibly the height of unreason I know of no dead men who manage to achieve a higher state of personal enlightenment after they off themselves It is really only a matter of timing, after all, isn t it Woody Allen points out that 90% of life is simply showing up I would add the the other 10% is timing Why would it not be the height of reason to admit that there are many grand mysteries of existence which man does not have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, nor the limited intellectual bandwidth to process in a universe as vast as ours It is not necessary to deny life and time the opportunity to hope that answers will be forthcoming and abdicate, as Camus discusses, to the senseless prospect of cutting short both I find this approach of Camus to be the height of insanity, which is precisely where Nietzsche s chauvinism to pure reason ultimately led him In the world of Camus there is no God but him if God does not exist, then Camus is his own God Camus believes that, if man has no higher God to appeal to, then man must be free from the will of a non existent God Kierkegaard s view is that faith and love are two of the tools with which mankind is endowed as gifts to overcome the abyss and the Absurd Further, life requires the courage of Abraham to take the leap of faith and is not intellectual suicide but rather is a higher form of intelligence which enables the faculties beyond the limits of reason to add value to the existential experience of life I emphasize that taking a leap of faith requires courage it is neither a blind nor irrational abdication The leap of faith also requires humility of which many intellectual egotists are incapable so much so that some intellectual egotists would consider the logic of suicide Spare me the logic of such pure unreason death comes to us all soon enough as it is Faith adds an additional intellectual sense as a another dimension to come into play and to deny its expression, out of egoism or chauvinism to pure reason, seems to me to be the height of pure folly The vast ego of Camus discounts people who deploy faith as intellectual lightweights because he does not have the good, common sense to give them credit for having the intellectual bandwidth to examine deeply the abyss and find the resources in faith to build a bridge to span it and overcome life s many anxieties, its pain, suffering and debilitating effects in everyday life Kierkegaard lived in the streets of Copenhagen like Dostoyevsky in St Petersberg as a homeless person this penniless and lonely genius knew intimately from dark experience the depths of despair and yet was able to forge a faith that illuminated life Kierkegaard s Works of Love is a masterpiece like Fear and Trembling and Either Or on how the expansion of the human tool chest beyond pure reason alone enriches life and fulfills hope every single day of life We have ample reason to believe in hope and our everyday life is full of reason as to why mankind should be hopeful about future outcomes while lucidly grasping from reason and experience that many outcomes will not play out as hoped amid the randomness and chaos which inhabit our vast universe Mankind does have the highly reasonable freedom at its disposal to hope that on the whole life is well worth living Even if life were on the whole no better than a zero sum game, there are valuable lessons in the downsides, which stoke one s reason, and, when one actively seeks it, incredible joy exists on the upside sufficiently to convince us of the wisdom and rationality both of faith and love I must reject the narrowness of the perspective of Camus in this essay and embrace in all humility the limits of human reason while concurrently embracing it for all it is worth, which is considerable, and enable both the twin leaps or faith and love to perform for me when the absurdity of life leaves me no other reasonable approach As Camus points out the trip down the mountainside even for Sisyphus was full of enlightenment and from the mountaintop the view is absurdly vast and truly lucid in its overwhelming and inexhaustible beauty


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The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays ❴Download❵ ➾ The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays Author Albert Camus – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk One of the most influential works of this century, this is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought Influenced by works such as Don Juan, and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a medit One of Sisyphus and Other eBook Û of the most influential works of this of Sisyphus PDF Î century, this is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought Influenced by works such as Don Juan, and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide the question of living or not living in an absurd universe The Myth Kindle - devoid of order or meaning With lyric eloquence, Camus posits a way out of despair, reaffirming the value of personal existence, and the possibility of life lived with dignity and authenticity.

  • Paperback
  • 212 pages
  • The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
  • Albert Camus
  • English
  • 20 March 2018

About the Author: Albert Camus

Albert of Sisyphus and Other eBook Û Camus was a representative of of Sisyphus PDF Î non metropolitan French literature His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work Of semi proletarian parents, early attached to intellectual circles of strongly revolutionary tendencies, with a deep interest The Myth Kindle - in philosophy only chance prevented him from pursuing a university career in that field , he came to France at the age of twenty five The man and the times met Camus joined the resistance movement during the occupation and after the liberation was a columnist for the newspaper Myth of Sisyphus PDF/EPUB ë Combat But his journalistic activities had been chiefly a response to the demands of the time in Camus retired from political journalism and, besides writing his fiction and essays, was very active in the theatre as producer and playwright eg Caligula, He also adapted plays by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Dino Buzzati, and Faulkner s Requiem for a Nun His love for the theatre may be traced back to his membership in L Equipe, an Algerian theatre group, whose collective creation R volte dans les Asturies was banned for political reasonsThe essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe The Myth of Sisyphus , , expounds Camus s notion of the absurd and of its acceptance with the total absence of hope, which has nothing to do with despair, a continual refusal, which must not be confused with renouncement and a conscious dissatisfaction Meursault, central character of L tranger The Stranger , , illustrates much of this essay man as the nauseated victim of the absurd orthodoxy of habit, later when the young killer faces execution tempted by despair, hope, and salvation Dr Rieux of La Peste The Plague , , who tirelessly attends the plague stricken citizens of Oran, enacts the revolt against a world of the absurd and of injustice, and confirms Camus s words We refuse to despair of mankind Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them Other well known works of Camus are La Chute The Fall , , and L Exil et le royaume Exile and the Kingdom , His austere search for moral order found its aesthetic correlative in the classicism of his art He was a stylist of great purity and intense concentration and rationality.


10 thoughts on “The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

  1. Rakhi Dalal Rakhi Dalal says:

    Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him While for some, Camus ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers Although Camus is often categorized as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that In one of his interv Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him While for some, Camus ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers Although Camus is often categorized as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that In one of his interviews he saidNo, I am not an existentialist Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked We have even thought of publishing a short statement in which the undersigned declare that they have nothing in common with each other and refuse to be held responsible for the debts they might respectively incur It s a joke actually Sartre and I published our books without exception before we had ever met When we did get to know each other, it was to realise how much we differed Sartre is an existentialist, and the only book of ideas that I have published, The Myth of Sisyphus, was directed against the so called existentialist philosophers When compared with different periods of his life, his writings offer an insight into the state of mind Camus was often fraught with The penning of The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus , which he did almost simultaneously, came at a point when he himself faced despair about the kind of life he was living, which included his anxiety about his future as a writer and finding his place in the World At this time he was in Algiers, his native land, far from the hubbub of Paris Hismature works i.e The Rebel and The Plague came later on where Rebel dealt with the problem of murder as against the problem of suicide which he dealt in The Myth of Sisyphus We can notice the change in the focus of the writer, which turned from inner to outer, from individual to social As he progressed from Sisyphus to the Rebel, he matured as a writer and later on himself felt annoyed at his proposed idea of absurd He saidThis word Absurd has had an unhappy history and I confess that now it rather annoys me When I analyzed the feeling of the Absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus, I was looking for a method and not a doctrine I was practicing methodical doubt I was trying to make a tabula rasa, on the basis of which it would then be possible to construct something If we assume that nothing has any meaning, then we must conclude that the world is absurd But does nothing have any meaning I have never believed we could remain at this point Now this is what keeps me in awe of the writer He is one writer, who has never been afraid of opening his heart, his thoughts, anything which plagues his mind, before his readers, before this world In that sense, he may be termed as a radical and approached with skepticism, but it cannot be ignored that the ideas he proposed came to influence the generation of writers engaged in the works of absurd e.g Samuel Beckett who contributed significantly to the theatre of Absurd The idea of repetition which he proposed with Sisyphus, which in turn was inspired by Kierkegaard s Repitition, is witnessed significantly in the works of Beckett too What is , his ideas also, even now influence the readers like me in whose face the why of existence suddenly strikes one fine day It wouldn t be an overstatement or some form of fervent adherence to the writer if I admit that he inspired the mind to seekand not be satisfied till the response unites the thought and the experience He is not an easy writer to read, agreed, but his writings are not disturbing, specially if one gets to understand that his writing,in The Myth of Sisyphus, is a declaration of writer s notion that the life must be lived fully in awareness of the absurdity of this World In the Myth of Sisyphus, he terms the World as absurd because it doesn t offer any answer to the question of existence, it being a silent spectator to the suffering of whole humanity In a Universe, divested of meaning or illusions, a man feels 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 But does this situation dictate death Camus ponders upon the problem of suicide and contemplates then whether suicide is the answer to this absurd world which doesn t answer anything He opines In the face of such contradictions and obscurities must we conclude that there is no relationship between the opinion one has about life and the act one commits to leave it Let us not exaggerate in this direction In a man s attachment to life there is something stronger than all the ills in the world The body s judgement is as good as the mind s and the body shrinks from annihilation We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead. And to kill one self means to allow both life and death to have dominion over one Hence, the absurd doesn t dictate death but calls for the awareness and rejection of death It calls for living it with consciousness with revolt, freedom and passion Neither religion, nor Science for that matter, provides answer to a questioning mind satisfactorily While the former tends to imbue it with an idea of eternity an extension of life in heaven, the latter merely tries to explain it by hypothesis But Camus cannot believe either of them.Then turning to existential philosophers, he says that they without exception suggest escapeThrough an odd reasoning, starting out from the absurd over the ruins of reason, in a closed universe limited to the human, they deify what crushes them and find reason to hope in what impoverishes them That forced hope is religious in all of them To further explain this, he presents to us the ideas proposed by different philosophers For example he says Of Jasper Jasper writesDoes not the failure reveal, beyond any possible explanation and interpretation, not the absence but the existence of transcendence So that Jasper proposes the existence which cannot be defined as unthinkable unity of the general and the inability to understand as the existence which illuminates everything.Of Chestov Chestov names the fundamental absurdity by sayingThis is God we must rely on him even if he does not correspond to any of our rational categories For Chestov, reason is useless but there is something beyond reason, even if that something is indifferent to us.Of Kierkegaard Kierkegaard calls for the third sacrifice required by Ignatius Loyola, the one in which God most rejoices The sacrifice of the intellect He says, In his failure, the believer finds his triumph Kierkegaard substitutes his cry of revolt for frantic adherence.Camus doesn t agree with these philosophers, who did, all of them, tried to understand the absurd but finally gave into that which they found impossible to define He calls their giving up as Philosophical suicide He cannot believe in Jasper s idea of Transcendence In response to Chestov, he says To an absurd mind reason is useless and there is nothing beyond reason He chooses despair instead of Kierkegaard s frantic adherence He says I want everything to be explained to me or nothing So now when faced with absurd and being in consciousness, how best to live the life Camus advocates the life of a seducer Don Juanism actor, conqueror or creator following the three consequences of absurd i.e revolt, passion and freedom.By revolt, Camus means to keep the absurd alive by challenging the world anew every second By Freedom, he means losing oneself in that bottomless certainty , feeling henceforth sufficiently removed from one s own life to increase it and take a broad view of it.By passion, he means being aware of one s life, one s revolt, one s freedom, and to the maximum Though he praises the absurd man in a seducer, actor or conqueror, it was his stance on creator which I feltinclined towards He saysCreating is living doubly The groping, anxious quest of a Proust, his meticulous collecting of flowers, of wallpapers, and of anxieties, signifies nothing else SisyphusTowards the end of this essay, he compares absurd with Sisyphus, who, according to the myth, was condemned to rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, only to see it rolling down back every time he reached the top He says that though Sisyphus is well aware of his fate, of the continuous struggle he has to engage in, but he is still passionate about his life and doesn t give up It is during his descent, that Sisyphus silent joy is contained Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory There is no sun without shadow, and it is es sential to know the night The absurd man says yes and his effort will henceforth be unceasing If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable For the rest, 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 that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory s eye and soon sealed by his death Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go The rock is still rolling.The other essays in the collection, Summer in Algiers, The stop in Oran, Helen s Exile and Return to Tipasa are worth reading too In Return to Tipasa, we observe Camus prevailed over by nostalgia for home, for his land It is here that he says In the direction of the ruins, as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but pock marked stones and wormwood, trees and perfect columns in the transparence of the crystalline air It seemed as if the morning were stabilized, the sun stopped for an incalculable moment In this light and this silence, years of wrath and night melted slowly away I listened to an almost forgotten sound within myself as if my heart, long stopped, were calmly beginning to beat again And awake now, I recognized one by one the imperceptible sounds of which the silence was made up the figured bass of the birds, the sea s faint, brief sighs at the foot of the rocks, the vibration of the trees, the blind singing of the columns, the rustling of the wormwood plants, the furtive lizards I heard that I also listened to the happy torrents rising within me It seemed to me that I had at last come to harbor, for a moment at least, and that henceforth that moment would be endless.What I realized reading these essays over again was that despite of being labelled as the proponent of absurd, it is actually living that he so fervently speaks about Not just living but living passionately and fully Living in awareness and questioning Though he seems to be recommending a negative faith as James Wood says in introduction against the religious or existentialist ideologies, he nevertheless demonstrates a distinctive way to the seekers to come to terms with the existence the way to be chosen henceforth, of course, depending upon the individual, starting every day with an ever new lightIn the middle of winter, I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summerFrom an interview with Jeanine Delpech, in Les Nouvelles Litt raires, 1945 Cited in Albert Camus Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage 1970 From an interview with Gabriel d Aubar de, in Les Nouvelles Litt raires, 1951 Cited in Albert Camus Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage 1970 Source

  2. Lisa Lisa says:

    The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man s heart One must imagine Sisyphus happy One must definitely imagine Sisiphus a teacher Teaching 15 year olds every day is pretty much like pushing that boulder up the hill One knows one has to do it, as the future of humanity depends on proper education It is hard work that requires concentration, and one can never look the other way or take a break In the evening, one is exhausted, and quite happy to see that stupid boulder The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man s heart One must imagine Sisyphus happy One must definitely imagine Sisiphus a teacher Teaching 15 year olds every day is pretty much like pushing that boulder up the hill One knows one has to do it, as the future of humanity depends on proper education It is hard work that requires concentration, and one can never look the other way or take a break In the evening, one is exhausted, and quite happy to see that stupid boulder roll all the way to the deepest depths of Hades But tomorrow is another day, and Sisiphus sets out to roll that boulder up the hill again.One must imagine Sisiphus happy.Imagination, that means, is the main tool of any teacher.I say, looking at today s boulder catching speed down the hill See you tomorrow

  3. Trevor Trevor says:

    One of the things I ve been thinking a lot about lately is the question of whether it is better to have no hope at all, or to be constantly confronted with dashed hope There are certainly parts of my life that I have structured so as to ensure that I have no hope at all that is, that I live my life in such a way that it is impossible for certain things to ever happen, and those are things that otherwise I would desire intensely and in large part that is because dashed hope was proving far One of the things I ve been thinking a lot about lately is the question of whether it is better to have no hope at all, or to be constantly confronted with dashed hope There are certainly parts of my life that I have structured so as to ensure that I have no hope at all that is, that I live my life in such a way that it is impossible for certain things to ever happen, and those are things that otherwise I would desire intensely and in large part that is because dashed hope was proving far too much for me to really live with.Now, that is part of the reason why I thought I would read this book The myth of Sisyphus is surely one of the better examples of having to live constantly with dashed hope, and so I was hoping all very ironic, when you think about it that this book might provide some answers or guidance This series of essays basically ends with Camus telling the story of the myth which I found a bit unexpected, as I might have thought he would have started here But in fact, this myth is sort of the punch line to the series of ideas he is discussing mostly related to suicide His main point is the assertion that life is fundamentally absurd We generally don t recognise this absurdity life presents patterns and ways of being that we enact, rather than think about, and so one day follows another It is only when we pause and think what is the point that the real absurdity of life becomes overwhelming It is for this reason that Camus says that the only real question of philosophy is why do I not commit suicide this does seem a rather predictable response to the it is all meaningless anyway problem.I think of this argument as being somewhat an argument with religion and so a sort of first generation atheist problem In the sense that religious people often say stuff like if life is so meaningless, why don t you just kill yourself then To which, I presume, the answer is, fiveminutes of stupid bloody questions like that and I might welcome it As an atheist who has never felt or even felt the need for eternal life, that level of confronted meaningless of life has never really bothered me The absurdity that Camus speaks of is, as heor less admits himself, an abstract conception outside of the actual living of life While we are living life, such absurdity is basically impossible to acknowledge so, the answer, it seems, is just to get back to living life and shut up.Anyway, you have a great big rock and your task is to push it to the top of the mountain You never quite get it there It always rolls back down to the bottom And on the trip back down the mountain to start pushing the rock back up again, surely you must say to yourself god, no, not this shit again Which is part of the reason why this is a punishment Camus s response is to say that Sisyphus has to approach his task with a happy heart, despite knowing it is pointless, absurd, meaningless It is his only refuge from suicide.Right But, I m not sure how well that would keep me from committing suicide, this sort of whistle while you work idea We are not told what reward Sisyphus has been promised if he were to get the rock to the top of the mountain Presumably, Camus has decided that this is immaterial as Sisyphus would soon realise that was never going to happen For this reason I find the myth of Tantalusimmediately confronting of the issues I actually want to grapple with It is completely obvious what Tantalus desires he is hungry and thirsty and all around him there is food and drink But he is never able to satisfy his hunger or thirst He is surrounded by what he desires, and knows he has no hope of ever satisfying them This is what I mean about the choice between no hope and dashed hope For Tantalus, desire is all but he constantly must live with his desires going unfulfilled, with his hopes being dashed I don t know that this is a sustainable way to live one s life when it becomes clear to me that my desires will be constantly dashed, that is one of the hardest things I can think of I ve worked in jobs as meaningless as Sisyphus s, boredom I can cope with Dashed desire is quite another matter And so, I believe Tantalus is likely to seek to blind himself to his desires I am not sure how successfully one is able to do this desire and hope find ways to sneak in while we are unguarded, they find ways to tempt us, despite our will and our reason, but we are soon punished yet again for these hopes and desires in much the same way Tantalus was As I said, I had hoped Camus would have discussed these issues the issues of dashed hope and how to actually live with them For Camus, Sisyphus is the most proletarian of the myths something noted previously by Marx and Engels in relation to the meaninglessness of work under capitalist alienation of labour If Sisyphus is a myth illuminating the horrors of capitalist production surely Tantalus is the myth that does so for capitalist consumption We are drowning in desires that can never be satisfied, and are never meant to be satisfied And yet, we seem to constantly choose thwarted desire over abandoned hope every time despite our repeated experience, despite the pain of that experience Perhaps it is because we simply could not live in Dante s hell where all hope is abandoned and so any alternative is preferable If you do decide to read this, I recommend you notice when Camus talks about rocks given what Sisyphus got up to in his day job, this talk of rocks is always something worth considering and worrying over, always worth noticing

  4. Yuval Yuval says:

    Most of my friends will probably think I m being sarcastic when I call this as good a self help book as any I can imagine, but this essay honestly inspired in me an awe of human nature and its absurd indomitability I think Camus gets a bad rap for being a cold, detached pessimist who only points out the meaninglessness of life again and again in his books OK, he may indeed declare life meaningless, but this book is passionately affirmative of life in the face of that void Beginning as a r Most of my friends will probably think I m being sarcastic when I call this as good a self help book as any I can imagine, but this essay honestly inspired in me an awe of human nature and its absurd indomitability I think Camus gets a bad rap for being a cold, detached pessimist who only points out the meaninglessness of life again and again in his books OK, he may indeed declare life meaningless, but this book is passionately affirmative of life in the face of that void Beginning as a refutation of suicide, the essay encourages an embrace of the absurdity of life and the refutation of hope for a future life or afterlife as the only ways to live with any liberty or happiness While I ultimately don t see eye to eye with all his thinking and if you re at all religious, you should probably save your self the agitation of reading this but viewing human nature and activity through his eyes in this book has been immensely rewarding

  5. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I still vividly remember my writing class in my first semester of college Our professor was a lover of paradoxes She had us read Kafka and Borges, whom none of us could understand And she had a habit of asking impossible questions such as What does it mean to be infinitely finite and savoring the uncomfortable silences that followed Once, she even scared us half to death by asking one of these questions, and than yelping like a banshee half a minute later Quite a good professor.The final I still vividly remember my writing class in my first semester of college Our professor was a lover of paradoxes She had us read Kafka and Borges, whom none of us could understand And she had a habit of asking impossible questions such as What does it mean to be infinitely finite and savoring the uncomfortable silences that followed Once, she even scared us half to death by asking one of these questions, and than yelping like a banshee half a minute later Quite a good professor.The final section of this iconic essay was among the readings she assigned Of course I did not understand a word of it I was no where near mature enough to wrap my mind around the idea of absurdism The meaning of life was not a problem for me at that time Surrounded as I was by thousands of potential friends and girlfriends free for the first time in my life to do as I pleased such a confrontation with nihilism was beyond the horizons of my mental life.This was not the case four years later, when I graduated college with thousands of dollars in debt, confronted with the possibility of deciding Who I Wanted to Be Probably I should have read this book at that time, when I could so keenly feel the weight of life s pointlessness Or maybe I should have read it a year later, when I was working in an office job Humankind has seldom plunged deeper into the void than in entry level positions.I mention this biographical background because I think this book should likely not be read during a time of relative stability and contentedness, such as I am in now We seldom pause to ponder the meaning of life when we are enjoying ourselves The problem of philosophical suicide is not a problem at all on beautiful summer days It is only a problem on cold, rainy Tuesday nights, in the few minutes of mental calm between work, chores, sleep, and work the next day Unfortunately, such Tuesdays come all too often in this world of ours.My point is simply that I would have enjoyed this essay farunderpropitious circumstances Albert Camus s style is well calculated to please a winsome mixture of anecdote, philosophy, literary criticism, and poetry Certainly it is a relief after dragging my way through Sartre s tortured syntax and cumbersome verbiage Camus, by contrast, is concise and stylish My only reservation is that, for all his accessibility, Camus is not perfectly clear I say this from the perspective of somebody trying to read his essay as a philosophical work All philosophy consists in argument and in order to accept or reject an argument, one must use clearly defined terms With Camus, however, I was never quite sure what his criteria were for considering something absurd or meaningful his two central categories.This is perhaps the wrong way to read Camus What he was trying to create was arguablyin the tradition of wisdom literature than formal philosophy From this perspective, the essay is somewhatsatisfying However, here too I found Camus lacking One extractspiquant lessons in the art of life from Montaigne or La Rochefoucauld than from Camus Where Camus excels these authors is not in wisdom per se, but in capturing a certain mood, a mood peculiar to modern times being intellectually and spiritually adrift After all of the traditional systems belief which underpinned life have crumbled, it is the crushing realization that one is unable to justify anything, even life itself In this peculiar vein, Camus is difficult to beat.Even so, I wonder if this iconic essay adds anything essential to that famous remark of Pascal Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed Camus s Sisyphus is the twin brother of Pascal s thinking reed the plaything of an indifferent universe, and yet dignified by his consciousness In hisdespairing moments, Pascal may have been quite as horrified by the vast spectacle of an indifferent cosmos as Camus The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me The essential difference between these two men is not their realization of humanity s insignificance, but their reactions Pascal seeks to escape this conclusion any way he can, bolstering his faith with every fallacious argument under the sun Camus was innovative in his insistence that we must calmly accept this situation, taking it as a starting point and not as a depressing conclusion.My main criticism with this essay is that, if life has no inherent meaning, and the universe is nothing but a cold expanse, this throws the question of the meaning of life back upon each individual Answering that question definitively, for every person, becomes de facto impossible But, again, perhaps Camus is not trying to prove anything universal Rather, his essay is a sort of invitation to abandon the traditional justifications of life, and to focus, as Camus himself did, on the smaller joys sunlight, the sea, travel The rest of the essays in this collection may be seen in that light, as enlarging upon Camus s omnivorous curiosity for his surroundings.What bothers me is that I do not agree with Camus s opening assertion I do not think the most pressing question is whether we should all just commit suicide To the contrary, once this question is decided in the negative, it opens up a world of farinteresting issues

  6. Lynne King Lynne King says:

    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards. Only Albert Camus, I believe, could have made that statement.I ve tried many times over the years to accept philosophical reasoning by reading various books by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, H There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards. Only Albert Camus, I believe, could have made that statement.I ve tried many times over the years to accept philosophical reasoning by reading various books by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Plato, etc and the only individual I could equate to was Roger Scruton with his Philosophy, an Introduction and Survey with his own specific logic and in particular his views on God It s certainly not light reading, rather dry in fact, and looking at this book now I m even beginning to wonder what I truly felt when I read this twenty years ago.I ve always had a very high regard for Albert Camus since I first encountered his works at university He has an extremely rich and elegant writing style, and yet he seems to open up his heart to the reader and his reasoning is invigorating In fact I ve thoroughly enjoyed his works in the past, especially The Stranger Nevertheless I found it very hard to come to terms with The Myth of Sisyphus It was the meditation on suicide that rather unnerved me I really do not believe philosophers, unless they have contemplated suicide themselves, should air their opinions That s my personal view of course If an individual wishes to end his her life, be it for whatever reason, they have the choice I feel sorry, however, for those individuals with dreadful terminal diseases who wish to end their lives and are unable to do so because of legal constraints.Anyway, linking absurdism with suicide was all too much for my psyche and she went into full revolt Camus is indeed very persuasive but what I don t understand is that he is supposedly discussing Absurdism and yet the cover on the back states that this is a book on Existentialism I also thought that he was an Absurdist In fact recently I ve read so many articles regarding the above paragraph that I believe the following seems to be the closest that comes to my own way of thinking The Algerian born French thinker Albert Camus was one of the leading thinkers of Absurdism He was actually a writer and novelist with a strong philosophical bent Absurdism is an off shoot of Existentialism and shares many of its characteristics Camus himself was labelled as an Existentialist in his own life, but he rejected this title..So I pass from this section of the book which also covers Don Juan rather interesting onto Absurd Creation with Philosophy and Fiction, and to parts that are quite beyond my comprehension I m still in revolt Here is an example All those lives maintained in the rarefied air of the absurd could not persevere without some profound and constant thought to infuse its strength into them Right here, it can be only a strange feeling of fidelity Conscious men have been sent to fulfill their task amid the most stupid of wars without considering themselves in contradiction This is because it was essential to elude nothing There is thus a metaphysical honour in enduring the world s absurdity Conquest or play acting, multiple loves, absurd revolt are tributes that man pays to his dignity in a campaign in which he is defeated in advance I m sure that many individuals will have no problem with interpreting the above mentioned paragraph but I certainly did.There s an excellent section on Dostoevsky and in fact even he discusses logical suicide in his Diary of a Writer.The individual that I really felt sorry for was Sisyphus who ceaselessly rolled a rock to the top of a mountain and then the stone would fall back on its own weight It certainly doesn t do to be condemned by the Gods and that s for sure.In the Appendix to this section, hope and the absurd are discussed in the life of Franz Kafka and actually one of the best parts in The Myth of Sisyphus I could never really understand Kafka s reasoning until I read two excellent biographies about him.The following essays are excellent Summer in AlgiersThe Minotaur or The Stop in OranHelen s ExileAnd indeed my favourite, Return to Tipasa.One really gets a sense here why Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 I found that this essay talked to me and also resonated with me It was so touching as he describes his feelings upon returning to the place of his childhood, Tipasa, Algeria after an absence of twenty years I absolutely loved this and there is also a sense of place This is Camus philosophizing at the highest level, after having lived through a horrific second world war by making comparisons between the two periods Plus the descriptions are exquisite I wanted to go to Tipasa myself when I read At noon on the half sandy slopes covered with heliotropes like a foam left by the furious waves of the last few days as they withdrew, I watched the sea barely swelling at that hour with an exhausted motion, and I satisfied the two thirsts one cannot long neglect without drying up I mean loving and admiring For there is merely bad luck in not being loved there is misfortune in not loving All of us, today, are dying of this misfortune For violence and hatred dry up the heart itself the long fight for justice exhausts the love that nevertheless gave birth to it In the clamour in which we live, love is impossible and justice does not suffice This is why Europe hates daylight and is only able to set injustice up against injustice But in order to keep justice from shrivelling up like a beautiful orange fruit containing nothing but a bitter, dry pulp, I discovered onceat Tipasa that one must keep intact in oneself a freshness, a cool wellspring of joy, love the day that escapes injustice and return to combat having won that light Here I recaptured the former beauty, a young sky, and I measured my luck, realizing at last that in the worst years of our madness the memory of that sky had never left me This was what in the end had kept me from despairing.The final essay, The Artist and His Time, consists of questions and answers of Camus views as an artist An example Is not the quixotism that has been criticized in your recent works an idealistic and romantic definition of the artist s role , and this was answered in a rather splendid way.In conclusion, I have my own philosophical views on life, as we all do and only I can choose what direction my life is going to take, be it with a certain amount of serendipitous luck thrown in along the way This was not an easy book to read but still it is excellent and succeeded in bringing happiness and optimism to me for the future.And yes, I mustn t forget Rakhi Do read her review below as it is excellent

  7. Simeon Simeon says:

    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards These are games one must first answer Albert CamusTo be, or not to be that is the question Whether tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to t There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy All the rest whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories comes afterwards These are games one must first answer Albert CamusTo be, or not to be that is the question Whether tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them To die to sleep Noand by a sleep to say we endThe heart ache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to, tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish d To die, to sleep To sleep perchance to dream ay, there s the rub For in that sleep of death what dreams may comeWhen we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause there s the respectThat makes calamity of so long life For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,The oppressor s wrong, the proud man s contumely,The pangs of despised love, the law s delay,The insolence of office and the spurnsThat patient merit of the unworthy takes,When he himself might his quietus makeWith a bare bodkin who would fardels bear,To grunt and sweat under a weary life,But that the dread of something after death,The undiscover d country from whose bournNo traveller returns, puzzles the willAnd makes us rather bear those ills we haveThan fly to others that we know not of Thus conscience does make cowards of us all And thus the native hue of resolutionIs sicklied o er with the pale cast of thought,And enterprises of great pith and momentWith this regard their currents turn awry,And lose the name of action Soft you now The fair Ophelia Nymph, in thy orisonsBe all my sins remember d Shakespeare, Hamlet

  8. Elie F Elie F says:

    Sisyphus must be humanism in its fiercest form, but is it as heroic as in Camus idolization Because there is no assured eternality and reason knows its limit, man is forced into the corner of absurdity There are three available options 1 Turn away from the absurd and leap into spiritual irrationality 2 Commit suicide and kill one s self consciousness which is the very source of the break between one and the world 3 Keep the absurd alive, live unreconciled, revolt consciously, and scorn t Sisyphus must be humanism in its fiercest form, but is it as heroic as in Camus idolization Because there is no assured eternality and reason knows its limit, man is forced into the corner of absurdity There are three available options 1 Turn away from the absurd and leap into spiritual irrationality 2 Commit suicide and kill one s self consciousness which is the very source of the break between one and the world 3 Keep the absurd alive, live unreconciled, revolt consciously, and scorn triumphantly There is no unity between the man and the world, but there is a unity between man and his own crushing fate It is the consciousness of this unity that fills a man s heart and makes Sisyphus happy My main objection to Camus humanism is that it s all consciousness and no action As Dostoevsky s underground man shows us, mere consciousness doesn t make a man heroic Yes one must imagine Sisyphus happy but that s just an imagination and in reality a submission to futility Awareness of the superiority of one s personal fate should not be the final step To end with a quote from Achilles in The IliadXanthos, why do you prophesy my death This is not for you I myself know well it is destined for me to die here far from my beloved father and mother But for all that I will not stop till the Trojans have had enough of my fighting

  9. Jason Jason says:

    Okay, so the basic premise in this book is that there are two schools of thought involved with becoming conscious as a man There is one in which you become conscious of God, accepting faith as the channel between this world and the next Existence is a matter of order, one that is concrete and follows the compelling obligations towards the God whom you commit your faith The other option is the absurd, for which this book is written The problem asks is it possible not to commit suicide in a me Okay, so the basic premise in this book is that there are two schools of thought involved with becoming conscious as a man There is one in which you become conscious of God, accepting faith as the channel between this world and the next Existence is a matter of order, one that is concrete and follows the compelling obligations towards the God whom you commit your faith The other option is the absurd, for which this book is written The problem asks is it possible not to commit suicide in a meaningless world and without faith in God The absurd man simply states, I and my plight are ephemeral, but I still choose life Why The comparison to Sisyphus is made through this absurd man A man who is doomed by the gods to perpetually push a rock up a mountain which becomes steeper as it moves up Eventually slope takes the better of the effort and as a matter of prescribed definition the rock falls down the hill to which, the man, Sisyphus, must start again The absurd man follows the archetype of the Sisyphus myth of which Camus says is wanting to know, and in wanting to know realizing that the whole of existence is a continuous repetition, nothing is gained nor loss the sin of which the absurd man can feel guilt and innocence This is not existentialism It is presupposed in an existence without explanation that it is unreasonable to assume anything concrete As Camus puts it, the theme of the irrational, as it is conceived by the existentials, is reason becoming confused and escaping by negating itself He confines the absurd to, rather than negation, setting up a lucid reasoning, or playground for activity, and merely noting limits so that you are free to work within your living situation It s all about cheerful compliance Realizing you re in the situation and you re damned to it Fuck it It s not that I m lost in this absent void of existence, with no telling of the future and no cause for impetus I realize that there is a chance, be it strong or tiny, that there is a vastness far beyond the compelling straits of life that leave me wondering what s the difference If I do anything, I am compelled to the possibility of it not mattering Camus was talking about a lucid indifference to this Saying, I live it It would be a crime to strip my life of the possibility of something Even if I am a slave I can sing I give up on morality, a legitimization of my actions that either says this, based on prescribed foundations okays it or disallows it Really, the impetus is for responsibility What I do in this life is directly reflected in this life If I steal, then there is recourse If I lie but what if someone lies to me I guess it s the categorical imperative, but sans morality Morality lines things within the sights of God, establishing guilt What is guilt It s mindless, an obscenity I feel guilt for not abiding to my addiction Who can identify the real factions of guilt, who can identify its sincerity It s emotional I d rather be rational I d rather see that this whole circus, a great jibe of the floating, tender inevitability of death is but a contraption set for me to build and destroy and collect and decipher Camus said, for the absurd man it is not a matter of explaining and solving, but of experiencing and describing Everything begins with lucid indifference I am in a state of despair Anything that I do has no value On the other hand, I am living and I am breathing and in a strange way I have a personal freedom unpronounced by most people who establish their own freedoms All I have to do is have faith in my freedom and like a majesty that is lain out in silver robes before me, it is there I only have to respect that I am living in a free slate, unmitigated by a stratified moral imperative that limits so many people from following intuition and there actual imperative needs Do you believe in destiny That we all have a purpose and it is designated by our need to imbibe the principles of our life into a system that we can identify for ourselves There is that mode of philosophy that says that we are the people whom we are, we are meant to be these people, this specific type of person completely genuine to himself and totally as that self My identity is the world surrounding me combusting into a single frame that I can represent justly by my merely living life as I should be doing it I do not need to live up to this social strata of an impartial development towards nowhere, rather I should live life as I make fit, feeling good Feeling established So what if my endeavors are rooted to rolling a rock up a hill at least I have something to do, in the formation of my universe I need a place to put what is concrete, even if there is nothing concrete As analogous creatures, if we do not have any basis to compare then we are nocapable of being thoughtful than a bar of soap I d rather be the dirt, simply abiding to my state of being, minus the will, minus the infirmity, I d be an obstacle for the righteous, and standing in the way I could laugh at the adversity, laugh at the spectacle of my life so deranged in its absurdity And at the last moment before my death, that is how I could acknowledge that I was alive Or how I am still alive, whatever

  10. David Lentz David Lentz says:

    In Sisyphus Camus explores the great Greek myth to address Hamlet s ultimate question as to whether one should be or not be Camus scoffs at Kierkegaard who also addresses the plight of the Absurd Man, by which both thinkers understand the human condition today when faced with life in which it appears incomprehensible through pure reason Camus darkly adds that life is ultimately futile because mankind is powerless and after all life is simply an endless series of hardships, which symbolically In Sisyphus Camus explores the great Greek myth to address Hamlet s ultimate question as to whether one should be or not be Camus scoffs at Kierkegaard who also addresses the plight of the Absurd Man, by which both thinkers understand the human condition today when faced with life in which it appears incomprehensible through pure reason Camus darkly adds that life is ultimately futile because mankind is powerless and after all life is simply an endless series of hardships, which symbolically entail rolling a boulder up a mountainside only to watch it fall to the bottom whereupon the process must be repeated endlessly Camus derides the Kierkegaardian leap of faith as committing a suicide of logic, reason and abandoning both to sacrifice the lucidity which only a person confronting the hopelessness of his human condition with reason can assume Camus praises Nietzsche and in the writing style in many places Camus reads very much like Nietzsche Camus also widely praises Kafka and his novels as projecting in The Trial and The Castle worthy epitomes of the hopeless condition of man against the absurdity of life For Camus, reason takes one sooner or later to the abyss where one peers into the utter hopelessness of the human condition and catches a lucid glimpse of death, which challenges him to question the everydayness of existence For Camus this glimpse requires an intellectual honesty brought only by standing up to the Absurd and projecting the lucidity of reason into the abyss In his mind Camus believes that Sisyphus finds a certain happiness in the futility of his condition, when the boulder rolls back down the mountain, for it is in these moments of climbing back down the mountainside that Sisyphus is able to consider that despite the futility of his existence all is well He adds that Homer deemed Sisyphus to be the wisest of mortals and admires that Sisyphus was in a state of revolt against the gods and was unafraid of their power in his protest against them despite his rebellion landing him with an eternal task of futility at their bidding In his view the everydayness of mankind in work robs us of the consciousness necessary to gain a lucid perspective of life Camus has infinite faith in reason This is where he and Kierkegaard divide their views of the human condition Camus criticizes Kierkegaard for making a leap of faith into the god which consumes him He sees Sisyphus as becoming as strong as the rock that he pushes up the mountainside and views himself as the Absurd Man pushing the rock up the mountain in revolt of the gods but gaining the lucidity of a Zarathustra in the process and accepting his life bravely without appeal Consider that the rock pushed by Sisyphus is of sufficient size and weight that the mortal can actually move it up the mountainside in other words the boulder is not so great that Sisyphus cannot maneuver it even up a mountain despite the enormous strains that the process takes of him Camus proposes that it is senseless and perhaps even foolhardy and cowardly to abdicate to hope and then wander into the desert of god s grace He sees Kierkegaard as abdicating himself to a humiliated logic which is intellectual suicide and cites Kierkegaard s foolish pursuit, now legendary, of Regina Olson as an example of what can happen when reason is given up to faith and hope and love As Camus writes with the confidence of Nietzsche in his beautiful phrasing in this essay, at times almost gnostic in tone and sense, with a propensity to cite apparent contradictions in which the opposites both seem true Kierkegaard understands the fallacy of the either or set up withthan two possible answers or solutions and won t fall victim to them Camus wants us to choose between the either or of faith, or humiliated reason, and pure reason And for Camus this choice is a life and death matter While I admire the writing and philosophy of Camus, he does not seem fully to understand the reason why reasonable people adopt positions of faith Camus is an egoist and narcissist for whom the world beyond his reason is a reason not to commit intellectual suicide at the expense of humiliated reason Kierkegaard is a higher genius in my view because he has taken a long, perceptive and intelligent study of the abyss and recognizes that his reason can only take him so far If God exists, as Kierkegaard believes, then He has not created humanity with sufficient brains to make sense of the vastness, complexity and mystery of the universe Kierkegaard is a proponent of reason but recognizes with proper humility that he is not the center of the universe and when his reason reaches a dead end, then faith can kick in as a reasonable means of experiencing the Absurd in a life affirming approach which recognizes that some of the deeper questions may be answered later, if only one will persist, and that the best hope to overcome the abyss is to give reasontime to fathom the Absurd This requires faith in oneself, faith in existence andfaith in the power reason itself Camus is a chauvinist to pure reason Kierkegaard says rather humbly that in this grand dance to the music of time that faith is the only sane and, indeed, the most reasonable approach to the Absurd Camus deals with suicide Kierkegaardreasonably proposes faith and love instead as solutions, as real weapons to confront the Absurd Why address an Absurd universe with reason anyway as Camus proposes Why not confront an Absurd universe with your own Absurdity at least, this approach is consistent and attuned to life itself Kierkegaard s faith represents humility total abdication to the blind faith of Camus to reason is highly unreasonable and possibly the height of unreason I know of no dead men who manage to achieve a higher state of personal enlightenment after they off themselves It is really only a matter of timing, after all, isn t it Woody Allen points out that 90% of life is simply showing up I would add the the other 10% is timing Why would it not be the height of reason to admit that there are many grand mysteries of existence which man does not have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, nor the limited intellectual bandwidth to process in a universe as vast as ours It is not necessary to deny life and time the opportunity to hope that answers will be forthcoming and abdicate, as Camus discusses, to the senseless prospect of cutting short both I find this approach of Camus to be the height of insanity, which is precisely where Nietzsche s chauvinism to pure reason ultimately led him In the world of Camus there is no God but him if God does not exist, then Camus is his own God Camus believes that, if man has no higher God to appeal to, then man must be free from the will of a non existent God Kierkegaard s view is that faith and love are two of the tools with which mankind is endowed as gifts to overcome the abyss and the Absurd Further, life requires the courage of Abraham to take the leap of faith and is not intellectual suicide but rather is a higher form of intelligence which enables the faculties beyond the limits of reason to add value to the existential experience of life I emphasize that taking a leap of faith requires courage it is neither a blind nor irrational abdication The leap of faith also requires humility of which many intellectual egotists are incapable so much so that some intellectual egotists would consider the logic of suicide Spare me the logic of such pure unreason death comes to us all soon enough as it is Faith adds an additional intellectual sense as a another dimension to come into play and to deny its expression, out of egoism or chauvinism to pure reason, seems to me to be the height of pure folly The vast ego of Camus discounts people who deploy faith as intellectual lightweights because he does not have the good, common sense to give them credit for having the intellectual bandwidth to examine deeply the abyss and find the resources in faith to build a bridge to span it and overcome life s many anxieties, its pain, suffering and debilitating effects in everyday life Kierkegaard lived in the streets of Copenhagen like Dostoyevsky in St Petersberg as a homeless person this penniless and lonely genius knew intimately from dark experience the depths of despair and yet was able to forge a faith that illuminated life Kierkegaard s Works of Love is a masterpiece like Fear and Trembling and Either Or on how the expansion of the human tool chest beyond pure reason alone enriches life and fulfills hope every single day of life We have ample reason to believe in hope and our everyday life is full of reason as to why mankind should be hopeful about future outcomes while lucidly grasping from reason and experience that many outcomes will not play out as hoped amid the randomness and chaos which inhabit our vast universe Mankind does have the highly reasonable freedom at its disposal to hope that on the whole life is well worth living Even if life were on the whole no better than a zero sum game, there are valuable lessons in the downsides, which stoke one s reason, and, when one actively seeks it, incredible joy exists on the upside sufficiently to convince us of the wisdom and rationality both of faith and love I must reject the narrowness of the perspective of Camus in this essay and embrace in all humility the limits of human reason while concurrently embracing it for all it is worth, which is considerable, and enable both the twin leaps or faith and love to perform for me when the absurdity of life leaves me no other reasonable approach As Camus points out the trip down the mountainside even for Sisyphus was full of enlightenment and from the mountaintop the view is absurdly vast and truly lucid in its overwhelming and inexhaustible beauty

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