Sisyphus, the symbol of the absurdity of existence, painting by Franz Stuck (1920)
“In philosophy, ‘the Absurd’ refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life, and the human inability to find these with any certainty. The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd; rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously. The absurdist philosopher Albert Camus stated that individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence. Absurdism shares some concepts, and a common theoretical template, with existentialism and nihilism. It has its origins in the work of the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who chose to confront the crisis that humans face with the Absurd by developing his own existentialist philosophy. Absurdism as a belief system was born of the European existentialist movement that ensued, specifically when Camus rejected certain aspects of that philosophical line of thought and published his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. … Kierkegaard and Camus describe the solutions in their works, The Sickness Unto Death (1849) and The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), respectively: Suicide (or, ‘escaping existence’): a solution in which a person ends one’s own life. Both Kierkegaard and Camus dismiss the viability of this option. … Religious, spiritual, or abstract belief in a transcendent realm, being, or idea: a solution in which one believes in the existence of a reality that is beyond the Absurd, and, as such, has meaning. Kierkegaard stated that a belief in anything beyond the Absurd requires an irrational but perhaps necessary religious ‘leap’ into the intangible and empirically unprovable (now commonly referred to as a ‘leap of faith‘). … Acceptance of the Absurd: a solution in which one accepts the Absurd and continues to live in spite of it. Camus endorsed this solution, believing that by accepting the Absurd, one can achieve the greatest extent of one’s freedom. By recognizing no religious or other moral constraints, and by rebelling against the Absurd (through meaning-making) while simultaneously accepting it as unstoppable, one could find contentment through the transient personal meaning constructed in the process. … Absurdists following Camus also devalue or outright reject free will, encouraging merely that the individual live defiantly and authentically in spite of the psychological tension of the Absurd. Camus himself passionately worked to counter nihilism, as he explained in his essay ‘The Rebel’, while he also categorically rejected the label of ‘existentialist’ in his essay ‘Enigma’ and in the compilation The Lyrical and Critical Essays of Albert Camus, though he was, and still is, often broadly characterized by others as an existentialist. …”
W – The Rebel, W – The Myth of Sisyphus
YouTube: Lovecraftian Cosmicism | Existentialism, Absurdism and Nihilism 14:10
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