The Notion of Absurdity and Meaning of Life in Albert Camus

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In “An Absurd Reasoning by Albert Camus, his idea of absurdity is connected to the idea that life is meaningless, and the act of suicide is connected to the idea life is not worth living. The adamant question of his understanding then, is whether the idea that life is meaningless basically infers that life is not worth living. Camus proposes, by the fact there are only two likely outcomes, life, or suicide and there are only two possible answers to this question, yes or no. Most of us continue living largely because we have not reached a definitive answer to this question. On top of that, there are plenty of inconsistencies between people's judgments and their actions. Those who commit suicide might be certain life has meaning, and many who feel that life is not worth living continue to live.

Camus proposes suicide sums to an admission that life is not worth living. He associates this acknowledgement to what he calls the 'feeling of absurdity.' (p.3 line 3) Overall, we go through life with a sense of resolve, with a logic that we do things for good and profound reasons. Occasionally, however, we might come to see our daily actions and interactions as dictated primarily by the force of routine. We cease to see ourselves as free agents and come to see ourselves almost as robots. From this perspective, all our actions, desires, and reasons seem absurd and senseless. The feeling of absurdity is closely related to the feeling that life is meaningless.

Camus also associates the emotion of absurdity with the feeling of exile. As balanced members of human society, we instinctively feel that life is missing some sort of meaning or purpose. When we act under this hypothesis, we feel at home. In effect, those who believe life is absurd, feel like strangers in a world stripped of reason. The feeling of absurdity exiles us from the homelike luxuries of a meaningful existence.

To a large degree, Camus suggests that our predisposition for life is much stronger than our reasons for suicide: 'We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.' (p.4, lines 7-8) We instinctively avoid facing the full consequences of the meaningless nature of life, through what Camus calls an 'act of eluding.'(p.4, line 9) This act of eluding most commonly displays itself as hope. By hoping for another life, or hoping to find some meaning in this life, we put off facing the consequences of the absurd, of the meaninglessness of life. Everyday can seem like a repeat or a do over of the day before, because our lives are almost robotic, we tend to do everyday tasks without any thought.

Additionally he states “If I hold to be true that absurdity that determines my relationship with life, if I become thoroughly imbued with that sentiment that seizes me in the face of the world`s scenes, with lucidity imposed on me by the pursuit of science, I must sacrifice everything to these certainties and I must see them squarely to be able to maintain them. Above all, I must adapt to my behavior to them and pursue them in all their consequences.” (p.11 lines 16-21) Camus hopes to face the consequences of the absurd, rather than admit fully the idea that life has no meaning, he wants to take it as a starting point to see what rationally follows from this idea. Instead of running away from the feeling of absurdity, either through suicide or hope, he wants to exist with it and see if one can live with this feeling.

Montaigne said in “The Essays”, “Now, of all the benefits that virtue confers upon us, the contempt of death is one of the greatest, as the means that accommodates human life with a soft and easy tranquility and gives us a pure and pleasant taste of living, without which all other pleasure would be extinct.” (p.2, lines 18-20) Meaning if people can come to terms with the inevitability of death, it grants us the ability to appreciate pleasure where most cannot and reduces our fear and suffering when it comes one day because death is familiar. Camus in the end disagrees with suicide and if a human acquires that sense of a pure and pleasant taste of living then suicide would not be an option.

I completely agree with Camus`s solution of embracing the meaningless. While acknowledging the absurd can be rather depressing, facing it head on makes us better equipped to find moments of happiness in our lives. There is no grand destiny that awaits us, so instead of waiting or searching for some deeper meaning or purpose we can choose to be happy even as we struggle.

I do believe that there is value of living life with hope. In this life, our actions are bound to some desire and these desires are born with hope. It is like a seed, which have the power to create a whole new life when supported with appropriate actions. Whenever we fail in life, we must decide whether to continue and to do that you need hope, in order to believe you will eventually succeed. The moment you stop hoping for something, you will slow down, your excitement in life may be lost, things, people and you to yourself become detestable. When you have hope, you have a chance to bounce back. Hope is a remedy for all sorts of adversities and calamities. Hope enables us to cope with stressful events, such as losing an animal who was more like family rather than just a pet. Hope inspires us to endure when our lives are with stressful life situations or raw events. An unemployed person searching for work may be inspired by the image of a new job to pay the bills and purchase a few of life’s comforts and have money to keep the refrigerator filled with food. Hope assists the sick person in getting well, encouraging them to do what it takes to recover. Hope eases the dying and gives them courage to face the unknown. I believe that without hope we would just accept life for exactly what it gives us, without care or any desire to make it better for ourselves or those around us. By embracing the meaningless you give meaning to your life because we are going to die soon or later so take it easy. Keep on living, make, and share connections with people you appreciate and love, and with things you are passionate about. Keep on living, you may wake up and realize you wish you had “lived” more.

Existence is something I think about often, because once you are gone your being is over forever, it is strange when you really think about it. We live on this planet in the middle of a growing universe, rotating around some big hot star called the sun. The thing that makes me optimistic is hope. I have no idea if I will be here tomorrow, or if I will be here in the next twenty years, but I do hope I am. We should all appreciate the people around us and love our friends and family. I have no idea what’s on the other side. But I do know one thing, we are living, and will only have once chance to live this life. Go outside, look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the stars, take a big deep breath and reflect on what it really means to be standing where you are at this exact point in time, because you’ll never be able to relive those past few seconds. They are gone, they are in the past, look towards the future and use hope to get you where you want to be because sometimes it is all we may have to get us there. There is the saying that tomorrow will be better. Maybe tomorrow does not get better but hope is something you can cling to.

Camus brings up great points within his work, however, I can not see how you could live life without hope. Hope can be fuel for the those who do not have much meaning in life and nothing else to grab hold of. Even though life can be absurd, have hope, and keep pushing forward, it may pay off in the end.

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The Notion of Absurdity and Meaning of Life in Albert Camus. (2021, Dec 28). Retrieved May 21, 2024 , from

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