The Myth of Sisyphus

“Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” — Albert Camus

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Happy weekend and happy holiday folks, finally we can laying our body nicely and breath after a long routine in this q1, aye? Where will you spend your holiday? What are you gonna do? Gathering with families, take a travel, reading a book, climbing a mountain or doing a side hustle seems a good idea. I think this article will be my last one in March 2022. Yup, this is the second part of my interpretation about Albert Camus. You can read the first part in my profile or simply take this shortcut. Okay, The Myth of Sisyphus.

Camus described human life through Greek mythology. Sisyphus was the son of king Aeolus, he was a naughty child, committed many crimes which were then punished by the Gods by being sent to hell. Even in hell, he still likes to bargain, “Can I visit Earth sometime? Aren’t you tired of torturing me? Just a moment and I will return to hell myself.” Long story short, Sisyphus was sent down to earth in a short time. However, once he returned to earth, enjoying the water and the sun, the warm rocks and the ocean, he was reluctant to return to hell. In the eyes of the Gods, that was Sisyphus’ worst crime: “his contempt for the gods, his hatred of death and his passion for life.”

After that, The Gods did not want to be deceived a second time. Sisyphus was mercilessly punished: pushed a rock to the top of the mountain and upon arriving at the top, the stone then rolled down again. And so on and Sisyphus kept repeating it. There is no more terrible punishment than a futile and hopeless endeavor. That is the price to be paid for this passion of life. Camus closed Sisyphus’ story with a smile.

“The struggle for the summit itself, is enough to fill the human heart; one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

That’s human life. We are tired of pushing a rock to the top, but it rolls down again. Keep repeating. Nonsense about progress, human life is actually just a cycle. The problems of the past are now born again with different packaging but the same content. Ten years ago we demonstrated about increasing fuel prices, but now we are demonstrating the same thing again. Indeed, human life is absurd, should we kill ourselves or just drink coffee and smoke? Camus argues that even though our lives are exhausting and absurd, just enjoy them. Don’t be stress and committed suicide. Camus said that, Indeed, when dealing with absurdity, we will find 3 things.

First, people who are desperate then commit suicide. They run away from their existence. Second, leap of faith. Those looking for a backup. Those who make religion and belief becomes savior. For Camus, they were philosophical suicides. They don’t responsible about their life and give everything to God. They kill their mind and intelligence. Denies the individual’s ability to seek rationally meaning. They are scapegoating God. Third, just admit that life is absurd. Accept that life is absurd that is unpredictable and out of our control. Face the absurd and don’t run from it.

After we accept that life is absurd and we are not looking for any support, then just interpret our life according to our version without having to pretend that this is the best meaning, the best life and so on. Humans throughout history have tried to find the meaning of life and finally they fall between 2 things, namely life is meaningless or has meaning but comes from a higher reality and we are only driven.

Camus argues that, neither of these are conducive to our lives. Both position us as an objects, not subjects. Be your own subject and create your own meaning in your life. Maybe it’s not objective, but the meaning that we create by ourselves will make our lives more valuable. We will not feel empty because of the abuse. If life is indeed absurd, then we should create our version of meaning. Without having to feel this meaning is final and peak. This is where Camus’ existential smell comes into play. Exist according to yourself with the meaning that you create by yourself.

Humans can create meaning in their own lives, although it is not objective (if there is an objective meaning) but can make our lives more valuable and worth fighting for. Today, many humans feel tired of living a life where for Camus this fatigue comes from the principles we make ourselves. Just accept this absurd life, if someone criticizes us for being inconsistent with the principle, just say that this life is indeed absurd. Do not be too shackled to a truth that is not coherent with our reality.

“I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is human, because he is the only creature to insist on having one.” — Albert Camus

The ultimate meaning does not exist, unless the meaning is in humans because it is humans who create meaning. Going to the office is important or not, college is important or not, scrolling TikTok is important or not, these are meanings. It is humans who have meanings, where events are just events which are then attached into meanings by humans. The meaning exists only within humans, not outside. All meaning in reality does not exist. They are just neutral variables which are then attached to meaning by humans. Humans always play with symbols. Colors, hairstyles, dress styles, vehicles are all given meaning. Life is indeed absurd, accept this but let life be meaningful by interpreting your own version of life.

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