2002/08/12

For the record, I still think Camus’ solution to the absurd is a cop-out.

[The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus (trans. Justin O'Brien)]

So if any of you were waiting breathlessly to see how Camus would affirm life when one lives in the condition of the absurd, expect to be disappointed. Basically, he says, we would not confront the absurd if we were unaware or unconscious. Awareness is what perpetuates the absurd, this paradox between our need for unity and the chaotic uncertainty of the world. So if we are to cling to what we know, which is that we do not know, then we must keep on living to preserve the absurd, “through a constant awareness.” Suicide is not a legitimate course of action, because it eliminates our awareness and renounces the absurd.

A bit of a cop-out isn’t it?

He’s now talking about how this state of living with the absurd is a state of freedom, because one recognizes that one is not free and then is liberated from the burdens of bearing responsibility for one’s free will. Urgh. More paradoxes. This is actually not that much of a headache, however, because it’s been said before by many others, and all you need is an appropriate analogy to figure it out. Interestingly, Camus refers to those analogies. I’m growing incoherent, yes, but I doubt anyone’s following this anyway. He is trying to explore whether living with the absurd is a feasible act, right now, which I think he should have dealt with before coming to his cop-out solution.