'All Sisyphus silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. ... The rock is still rolling.'
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Drew Huff: One of Three Philosophers that I Would Like to Meet
Albert Camus was an Algerian man born during the French rule of his home country. He had a childhood without many material possessions and was educated in philosophy after his university football career was ended by tuberculosis. Camus began as a communist but when he was rejected from the party for disagreeing he became an anarchist and sided with them on many issues after. He had two failed marriages, one with several children, due to his lack of apparent ability to maintain a monogamous relationship. Camus was staunchly anti-German in World War II, having seen what resulted from the occupation in France at the time. He also spoke out against totalitarianism. Camus died in 1960 at the age of 46 in a car crash, which also killed his publisher. The crash was briefly suspected by some to be a soviet plot, but many since have dismissed the idea as implausible.
My interest in Camus began when I first heard ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, one of Camus few nonfiction philosophical writings, read over music. The writing style, in combination with the ideas, interested me immensely. Since then I have done much more research and read more of Albert Camus’ writing, and I have not lost my interest at all. Though I may not agree with much of what Camus says about the practical world, his ideas fascinate me and I would love the opportunity to discuss the m with him if that were at all possible.
Camus is, though he didn’t like to admit it, an absurdist. This means that Camus believe that we are all trying to find a meaning in the universe as human beings, but there is no meaning that we can possibly ever understand or attain, so we are put in a struggle against the universe that is absurd. The word absurd here does not mean silly or ridiculous as it can in everyday speech, but having no rational relationship. Therefore, according to Camus, we are fighting against the universe in a struggle for information about our own existence that we cannot possibly ever win. But Camus, unlike some of his absurdist counterparts, does not believe that we should go looking for meaning in religion, or that we can simply give up our search. He says in ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’:
"Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death, and I refuse suicide."
Camus is saying that he believes we should continue our struggle. Despite the absurdity of our futile attempt to force information from the universe, we should continue this attempt. According to Camus, we should continue our search because we can find happiness in the journey and maybe even meaning in the midst of our struggle.