Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Camus and the Absurd
For Camus, understanding the Absurd is to confront the meaninglessness of life. Death is a certainty, but we must act as though life has meaning. Our only salvation from this despair and nihilism comes through taking responsibility for our lives. Living the Absurd comes down to these tenets:
1. To confront the meaninglessness of life
2. Recognizing it is cowardly to kill oneself (we must live between hope and suicide)
3. We must act as if life had meaning (with "clown-like" distractions)
4. Continue walking the tightrope between these extremes and we accept full responsibility for our lives
Life without meaning
Camus said that "Life will be more fully lived in so far as it has no meaning". Now man can "live out his adventure within the confines of his own lifetime" and recognize the "optimism without hope".
We are not abandoning ourselves to despair, but recognizing the futility of our existence. We are in a sense living a much more fulfilled life. To illustrate these, Camus uses the the Myth of Sisyphus.