2002/08/21

Not sure if this interpretation of Camus is correct. Sartre, in any case, would not have approved.

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

But when I realized this, that I’d be liberated if I knew that I had to die in the next few weeks, I suddenly understood what the heck Camus was talking about with his whole “Absurd Freedom” chapter. Now, I understood most of it before, but only in an intellectual sense. The absurd has a lot to do with facing the inevitability of your own death, an aspect that I usually ignored because it was a little bit confusing. But now it makes sense. By living with the absurd, by living with the knowledge that you will die and your life will not matter, you are liberated from the burden of living your life! You are freed from making plans for the future, freed from the desire to seek happiness, freed from the social expectations that tell you to move forward and onward and ahead with living. Instead, you are forced to remain in the present, anguished and uncertain, but freed nevertheless. Once you realize that you are not truly free, you are liberated from the burdens of exercising that freedom. Once you realize that you must die, you are liberated from the burdens of living life.

It’s awfully depressing and I don’t agree with Camus at all, but I finally realized what he was trying to say. So in a paradox worthy of Camus himself, I’m really happy about this depressing epiphany. Go figure.