David's Reviews > The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus
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Jul 07, 09

Read in January, 2007

This thesis on existentialism is written in a form that I found hard to assimilate. Camus wades through his philosophy with colloquial writing style and anecdotal reasoning, rather that a structured analysis with proofs and objectivity. In spite of these shortcomings, his use and interpretation of Sisyphus, not as a tragic character but a hero, is profound. Analogously, Camus says we should find satisfaction and heart in executing whatever meaningless struggle lies before us. It represents a form of revolt and defiance, an expression of freedom, and is majestic and noble. It invokes true consciousness and real living as it welcomes and fully embraces the unfettered human condition. In contrast, though, one might say that imbuing meaning into what is essentially meaningless or absurd, such as in the belief of popular dogmas, is an expression of weakness, self-deception, and servitude. As an example, he identifies Kafka as an existentialist and saliently notes how in Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa is seemingly less concerned with his being turned into an insect as he is concerned that his employer will be angry with his absence from work. And isn’t it true and utterly pathetic that we are unconcerned with or unaware of how our life and circumstances may have turned us into the functional equivalent of an insect, while we obliviously act out our prescribed role in our own diluted world?
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