Home > Free Essays > Philosophy > Philosophical Works > Meaningless Existence in Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus”
Rate

Meaningless Existence in Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Apr 13th, 2021

Introduction

Albert Camus is a prominent representative of the existentialist philosophy. The concept shared by the author consists in the statement that human life is irrational: one has to admit that it is senseless and is forced to overcome this knowledge to continue living, working, and creating. I selected the theme “the meaningless of life” to examine how Camus approaches it in his work The Myth of Sisyphus.

Analysis of the Theme

Camus states: “Hope of another life one must “deserve” or trickery of those who live not for life itself but for some great idea that will transcend it, refine it, give it a meaning, and betray it. Thus everything contributes to spreading confusion” (7). In this quote, Camus shows that life is essentially meaningless, but people use their beliefs to give it meaning, although, in reality, it does not have one.

Thus, we use ideas (such as hope) to give life meaning. Camus writes, “but what does life mean in such a universe? Nothing else for the moment but indifference to the future and a desire to use up everything that is given. Belief in the meaning of life always implies a scale of values, a choice, our preferences. Belief in the absurd, according to our definitions, teaches the contrary” (40). In these statements, Camus shows that the meaning of life is nothing more but our own values, choices, beliefs, and preferences that we see as meaningful. But bare life (without out values) has no meaning.

Camus states that “lives… could not persevere without some profound and constant thought to infuse its strength into them” (76). This means that, according to the existentialist concept, life is originally and naturally senseless. To force oneself to continue living, one has to invent a purpose that his or her existence will serve. That is why any declarations of life devotion to something should be viewed as attempts to hide from the understanding that living on earth has no meaning.

To address opinions that point out that life without God and meaning implies that everything is permitted, Camus notes that “the certainty of a God giving a meaning to life far surpasses in attractiveness the ability to behave badly with impunity. The choice would not be hard to make. But there is no choice, and that is where the bitterness comes in. The absurd does not liberate; it binds. It does not authorize all actions” (44). Camus demonstrates that life having no meaning does not give any freedom to the person as absurdity takes any chance of having a choice away. The meaningless is limiting, not liberating.

Further, Camus argues that “as for the others, the “ideal” truths, I have not enough soul to understand them. Not that one must be an animal, but I find no meaning in the happiness of angels. I know simply that this sky will last longer than I. And what shall I call eternity except what will continue after my death?” (94). He points out that life’s lack of meaning is also in the lack of any continuation after death. Happiness in the Kingdom of Heaven is absurd (or impossible) because eternity is everything that happens after one’s death.

Conclusion

To conclude, according to Camus, human life is a kind of Sisyphus’s labor that is “exerted to accomplishing nothing” (97). The philosopher presents the concept that human existence is originally senseless. The understanding of this truth is unbearable; that is why one is forced to invent a life purpose to devote oneself to. Otherwise, one is prone to committing suicide. The life of an artist is a sufficient example of how a human being can explain and justify his or her existence to the merciless inner judge.

Work Cited

Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Vintage Books, 1991.

This essay on Meaningless Existence in Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, April 13). Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/meaningless-existence-in-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/

Work Cited

"Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"." IvyPanda, 13 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/meaningless-existence-in-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/.

1. IvyPanda. "Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"." April 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/meaningless-existence-in-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"." April 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/meaningless-existence-in-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"." April 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/meaningless-existence-in-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Meaningless Existence in Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"'. 13 April.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Hellen
Online
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!