You might have already heard of Albert Camus on several occasions, such as seeing „The Plague” ( a novel published in 1947) becoming a best-seller in 2020 because of the obvious reasons or having heard of “The Myth of Sisyphus” or at least knowing he was really liked by ladies in his days.
Anyways, today I’ll make you regret not knowing more about him.
Once you read the short story about Sisyphus, you’ll understand the way Camus wrote. He was deeply affected by the constant worry that defined those years between the two World Wars, usually called „existentialism” when talking about it as a literary/ philosophical current.
You can read more about it here: https://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/sisyphus/summary/
So, as you might now know, we are encouraged to think of Sisyphus as a happy person, a rather fulfilled guy, but how can we do that if what he does is so stupid? How can we imagine Sisyphus and also being emphatic so putting ourselves into his shoes, and wanting to live that life? Is this something you might have asked yourself?
Well, if you didn’t, you’re pretty smart, I wasn’t, hence why I needed to read some stuff about it which I will try to sum up now:
Sisyphus is the absurd hero, which is a bad thing because it is absolutely absurd, beyond all understanding to be happy with this boring life (such as the one he had and that we have) but we are encouraged by Camus to be the revolted hero as revolting is the right path in life.
Don’t get it the wrong way, Camus doesn’t want us to be revolted about anything and everything in the world, but he wants us to be interested in stuff and not take it for granted, therefore we can appreciate everything that comes our way.
Camus also wrote about suicide and the fact that it is the only true and valid philosophical question we can ask ourselves (can you see how melancholic and hopeless people were during these times?. Camus writes this because we are inclined to think about other things, rather than realizing that once we agree that we want to live, the plot changes.
“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.”
This really reminds me of Cioran, who said something between the lines of „the fact that we know we can commit suicide is the reason we don’t do it because if we hadn’t had the option to think about it, we were most likely to do it”.
I think that Camus did have a point and he had nice words to use, but people often mistake subjects such as death or suicide as if someone talks them into doing it. There is nothing wrong with someone contemplating why we should or could kill ourselves if it ends in a continuous circle of us wondering. I believe wondering to be what we need in life and it’s pretty human. There are people who overthinking? Sure, but we all think to some extent and it’s no harm in mindlessly doing some average-level thinking.
If you’re interested in learning about other cool existentialist philosophers, don’t be afraid to check out other articles on our magazine: https://www.pov21.com/why-read-philosophy/