It is confessing that life is too much for you or that you do not understand. Let's not go too far in such analogies, however, but rather return to everyday words. It is merely confessing that that "is not worth the trouble." living, naturally, is never easy. You continue making the gestures commanded by existence, for many reasons, the first of which is habit. Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous character of that habit, the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering. What, then, is that incalculable feeling that deprives the mind of the sleep necessary to life? A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger.
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One must follow and million understand this fatal game that the leads from lucidity in the face of existence to flight from light. There are many causes for a suicide, and generally the most obvious ones were not the most powerful. Rarely is suicide committed (yet the hypothesis is not excluded) through reflection. What sets off the crisis is almost always unverifiable. Newspapers often speak of "personal sorrows" or of "incurable illness." These explanations are plausible. But one would have to know whether a friend of the desperate man had not that very day addressed him indifferently. He is the guilty one. For that is enough to precipitate all the rancors and all the boredom still in suspension. 2 But if it is hard to fix the precise instant, the subtle step when the mind opted for death, it is easier to deduce from the act itself the consequences it implies. In a sense, and as in melodrama, killing yourself amounts to confessing.
An act like this is prepared within the silence of the heart, as is a great work of art. The man himself is ignorant. One evening he pulls the trigger or jumps. Of an apartment-building friendship manager who had killed himself I was told that he had lost his daughter five years before, that he had changed greatly since, and that that experience had "undermined" him. A more exact word cannot be imagined. Beginning to think is beginning to be undermined. Society has but little connection with such beginnings. The worm is in man's heart. That is where it must be sought.
I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions. How to answer it? On all essential problems (I mean thereby those that run the risk of leading to death or those that intensify the passion of living) there are probably but two methods of thought: the method of la palisse and the method of Don quixote. Solely the balance between evidence and lyricism can allow us to achieve simultaneously emotion and lucidity. In a subject at once so humble and so heavy with emotion, the learned and classical dialectic must yield, one can see, to a more modest attitude of mind deriving at one and the same time from common sense and understanding. Suicide has never been dealt with except as a social phenomenon. On the contrary, we are concerned here, at the outset, with the relationship between individual thought and suicide.
I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. Galileo, who held a scientific truth of great importance, abjured it with the greatest ease as soon as it endangered his life. In a certain sense, he did right. 1 That truth was not worth the stake. Whether the earth or the sun revolves around the other is a matter ofprofound indifference. To tell the truth, it is a futile question. On the other hand, i see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying).
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There will be found here merely the description, in the pure state, of an intellectual malady. No metaphysic, no belief is involved in it for the moment. These are the limits and the only bias of this book. Certain personal experiences urge me to make this clear. An absurd reasoning absurdity and suicide There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.
Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts writing the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect. If i ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, i reply that one judges by the actions it entails.
In a more lyrical form, they all illustrate that essential fluctuation from assent to refusal which, in my view, defines the artist and his difficult calling. The unity of this hook, that I should like to he apparent to American readers as it is to me, resides in the reflection, alternately cold and impassioned, in which an artist may indulge as to his reasons for living and for creating. After fifteen years I have progressed beyond several of the positions which are set down here; hut I have remained faithful, it seems to me, to the exigency which prompted them. That is why this hook is in a certain sense the most personal of those i have published in America. More than the others, therefore, it has need of the indulgence and understanding of its readers.
Albert camus paris march 1955 O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, lout exhaust the limits of the possible. —pindar, pythian iii the pages that follow deal with an absurd sensitivity that can be found widespread in the age—and not with an absurd philosophy which our time, properly speaking, has not known. It is therefore simply fair to point out, at the outset, what these pages owe to certain contemporary thinkers. It is so far from my intention to hide this that they will be found cited and commented upon throughout this work. But it is useful to note at the same time that the absurd, hitherto taken as a conclusion, is considered in this essay as a starting-point. In this sense it may be said that there is something provisional in my commentary: one cannot prejudge the position it entails.
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The fundamental subject of "The myth. Sisyphus" is this: it is legitimate reviews and necessary to retrolisthesis wonder whether life has a meaning; therefore it is legitimate to meet the problem of suicide face to face. The answer, underlying and appearing through the paradoxes which cover it, is this: even if one does not believe in God, suicide is not legitimate. Written fifteen years ago, in 1940, amid the French and. European disaster, this book declares that even within the limits of nihilism it is possible to find the means to proceed beyond nihilism. In all the books I have written since, i have attempted to pursue this direction. Although "The myth of Sisyphus" poses mortal problems, it sums itself up for me as a lucid invitation to live and to create, in the very midst of the desert. It has hence been thought possible to append to this philosophical argument a series of essays, of a kind 1 have never ceased writing, which are somewhat marginal to my other books.
attempt to capture what cannot be held in hand or thought-the elusive riddle of human creativity as we find it in our writing. Here we look at various forms and genres (books, dramas and plays, poetry, essays, film-writ). An, absurd reasoning by, albert, camus from, the myth of Sisyphus, and other essays ; translated by justin o'brien contents. Preface to 1955 American Edition, epigram and Introduction, absurdity and suicide. Absurd Walls 2nd Section 3rd Section 4th Section, philosophical suicide 2nd Section 3rd Section 4th Section, absurd Freedom 2nd Section 3rd Section 4th Section 5th Section, notes. Preface for me "The, myth of Sisyphus" marks the beginning of an idea which I was to pursue. It at tempts to resolve the problem of suicide, as, the rebel attempts to resolve that of murder, in both cases without the aid of eternal values which, temporarily perhaps, are absent or distorted in contemporary europe.
It is about questioning meanings. We even argue about whether real meanings exist. Plato believed we could find the real meaning to the concepts contained in words by using our reason. Hobbes thought that the meaning of words has to be imposed on us by authorities. Sometimes a dictionary paper will show you that competing meanings exist - see the note at the end of entry for idea. However, a dictionary's meanings may not be the same as the ones your essay should relate. To avoid this problem, use dictionaries as an aid, for your own benefit, but discuss, in the essay, the meanings that you find in the books that the essay relates. Usually your imagination and explanatory skills will be needed to discover and explain (interpret) what you think the book/s are saying about the topic.
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Dictionary and other definitions: When writing an essay, you may think it a good idea to start with an explanation (or definition ) of the terms used in the title. If you do this, i suggest you look for the explanations (or definitions) in the books that the essay relates. Sometimes we think that there must be "real" meanings to words, or meanings that everyone agrees on, and that by starting from there, writing the essay will be simpler. One way students try to do this is by giving definitions universities from dictionaries. It is common sense to use dictionaries to understand words. But, do not treat their definitions as a secular form of dogma. Dictionaries try to give agreed meanings to words, but academic life is about competing meanings.