Camus Asked the Wrong Question About Sisyphus
In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus asks whether the meaninglessness of life requires that a rational person commit suicide.
“No,” he answers. “It requires revolt.”
He is wrong, because the question is wrong. It shows the essential flaw of all human-centered, therefore self-centered, philosophy.
Revolt by whom, against what?
Life is only futile or not futile, absurd or not absurd, depending on the self-centered story being told about it. So, Sisyphus’ eternal pushing of the boulder can be seen as absurd or heroic. Camus declares that “The struggle itself… is enough to fill a man’s heart,” and therefore, he thinks, Sisyphus can be happy.
But what if it’s not about Sisyphus at all?
When we ask whether life has “meaning,” we are usually asking whether our personal story, or, as it is often termed, “journey,” has meaning. When thinking about our lives, we ask questions centered around “Why?” and we want answers centered around “Because.”
We usually do not ask who is asking. When considering meaning, we usually do not ask, “Meaning for whom? Meaning to whom?” And we certainly are not often inclined to look past thoughts of “I,” “me,” “mine,” “self” and “other.”
Instead of choosing what our life means, instead of choosing whether or not it has meaning, instead of choosing whether it is a struggle and whether the struggle is absurd or heroic, what if we do not choose? And if our choice is not to choose, what if we do not even hold on to that choice, but rather see life without a story? Then there is just a man pushing a boulder. Life exactly as it is, every world, every universe, this.