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Zeitgeist

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Absurdity and The Myth of Sisyphus

Few writers articulate existential anxiety as eloquently as Albert Camus, the famed French absurdist philosopher of the twentieth century. In his 1942 essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”, he asserts that life, in all its manifestations, can be nothing but a nonsensical and chaotic experience. The world is incomprehensible to us and fundamentally meaningless, and any effort to understand it through logic, science, or morality is futile. As he proclaims, “That universal reason, practical or ethical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh … A horde of irrationals has sprung up and surrounds [us] until [our] ultimate end.” Our philosophies, our social expectations, and our grand visions are hopeless attempts to avoid, rationalize, or otherwise obfuscate the senselessness and indifference of the universe. Accordingly, absurdity represents the tension between our innate desire for meaning and the unassailable meaninglessness of existence.

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