Is it worth the trouble?

Ralph Ammer
Mar 23, 2017 · 5 min read

Reason + Unreasonable World = Absurd Life

This absurd sensitivity is the result of a conflict. On the one hand we make reasonable plans for our lives, and on the other hand we are confronted with an unpredictable world which does not comply with our ideas.

Denying the unreasonable world

One way is to ignore the senselessness of our existence. Contrary to obvious evidence we could pretend that things are stable and live our lives according to distant goals (retirement, the big breakthrough, an afterlife, the progress of mankind, etc.). Camus says, if we do so, we can’t act freely, since our actions are tied to those eternal plans — which more often than not are doomed to shatter in the cliffs of the unreasonable world.

Abandoning reason

A second strategy to avoid the absurd is to let go of reasoning. Camus mentions different variations of this strategy. He hints at philosophers who either declare reasoning as a useless tool (Schestow, Jaspers) or say that this world follows a godly reasoning which humans simply can’t understand (Kierkegaard).

Rebellion, Freedom, and Passion

So if “philosophical suicide” is not an option, how about real suicide? Camus can’t justify suicide philosophically. Suicide would be an extreme gesture of acceptance — we would accept the contradiction between our human reason and the unreasonable world. And killing yourself to uphold reason is not really reasonable.

Absurd Art — Creation without tomorrow

Albert Camus dedicates the third part to the artist who is fully aware of the absurd. Such an artist would never try to explain or solidify eternal ideas or carefully try to build a legacy that shall stand the test of time. Doing so would deny the unreasonable character of the world.

Why Sisyphus is a happy man

We all know the ancient greek story of Sisyphus who revolted against the gods and was punished as a consequence. He was sentenced to push a boulder up a hill, just to see it roll down again, and keep doing so forever and ever and ever. Camus concludes his book with a surprising, bold statement:

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.“

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

Ralph Ammer

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I love to draw and write about art, design, and the rest. | Munich, Germany

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.