Existentialism is a philosophical belief that stresses the individual’s freedom and choice. According to Albert Camus, a French philosopher, existentialism is the act of accepting the absurdity of life and finding meaning through individual freedom and choice. In this article, we will explore what Camus meant by existentialism.
The Absurdity of Life
Camus believed that life is meaningless and absurd. He argued that there is no inherent meaning to our existence and that the universe is indifferent to our existence. In other words, life has no ultimate purpose or destination.
Camus said: “The absurd is born out of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
Camus believed that humans have a natural desire to find meaning in their lives, but this desire cannot be satisfied by any external source. Instead, we must create our own meaning in life through our actions and choices.
For Camus, individual freedom was essential to existentialism. He believed that individuals should take responsibility for their own lives and create their own destiny.
Camus said: “Man is condemned to be free.”
In other words, individuals have complete freedom to choose their own path in life, but with this freedom comes responsibility for one’s actions.
The Myth of Sisyphus
In his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Camus uses the Greek myth to illustrate his philosophy of existentialism. Sisyphus was a king who was punished by the gods for his arrogance. His punishment was to push a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down again, forcing him to repeat the task for eternity.
Camus saw Sisyphus as an example of the absurdity of human existence. Like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a hill, humans are constantly struggling to find meaning in life, only to have their efforts undone by the absurdity of life.
The Importance of Rebellion
Camus believed that rebellion was necessary for individuals to create meaning in their lives. He saw rebellion as a way of asserting one’s freedom and creating one’s own destiny.
Camus said: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
Rebellion can take many forms, from political activism to artistic expression. For Camus, any act of rebellion that asserted an individual’s freedom was a step towards finding meaning in life.
In conclusion, Albert Camus believed that existentialism is the act of accepting the absurdity of life and finding meaning through individual freedom and choice. He saw the myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for the struggle humans face in finding meaning in life.
Camus believed that rebellion was necessary for individuals to assert their freedom and create their own destiny. By embracing the philosophy of existentialism, individuals can find purpose and meaning in their lives despite the inherent absurdity of existence.