The philosophy of the absurd is introduced in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. To begin, one needs to know the story of Sisyphus, a character in historic Greek mythology, who was condemned by the leaders of the time to a meaningless task of rolling a boulder up a steep mountain. The result was a repetition of the same task over and over again, because the boulder would then roll down. The tale underscores Camus’ claim about the absurdity found in this life, the challenges, the unexplainable events, and the humanity within us all. Camus spends time describing the life we live in (and the things we face) and man’s thoughts on trying to understand our world, a world of “absurdity.”In our existence of the absurdity, he asks the question, by facing what we do, does it mean that our civilization should accept the act of suicide?, a chance to escape the unanswerable and devastating elements of life through taking one’s life? Camus shares a resounding, NO! Life does have a meaning, even if formalized religion or the personal commitment in a higher being is not within a person’s belief. Camus notes that “killing yourself amounts to confessing that life is too much for you or that you do not understand it. A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world,” one we all experience on some level. Camus offers lots of explanations as to why the absurdity should not provide rationale for ending one’s life. He furthers his arguments through drawing support from the philosophies of fellow writers, such as Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard to further his value-driven thinking.
Camus examines the absurd man through the lens of Don Juan, an actor and warrior. And who is the absurd creator? The artist… as he notes, "If the world were clear, art would not exist." And then it all comes back to Sisyphus. The endless madness that we face, rather rolling a stone up the hill to see it fall, or the human condition of failure and rejection, yet Sisyphus keeps rolling that stone up the hill…. Shouldn’t we? Camus is a brilliant writer, from drama, novels, essays and short stories, he captures human life, simple yet complicated. This essay gives reason to contemplate the importance of life, one person at a time.