Have you ever felt listless, like a shell of a person, floating through Earth like a ghost?
What about hopeless, like you’re grinding every day without a hint of progress or joy?
Then you might be Camus.
We are all Camus. Because we are all Mersault and we are all Sisyphus.
Why? Because life is meaningless, life is empty, and life can suck.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, these things are true. We are never given an objective purpose in life. Events are absurd. Times can be rough. Days can be downers.
But in the same token, life is funny. Life is happy. Life is not attached to a tangible thing. So why not laugh at life in the face?
Say your boss gives you a difficult assignment. You worry and try your best to do well. It’s frustrating and endless. But zoom out for a second. You are a human being sitting alone in an office room with no sunlight, typing buttons on a piece of plastic while the glow of artificial light shines on your face. Yes, doing well is important in your narrow perspective, but only because you established that meaning. By the same logic, the idea of you slaving away for something so inconsequential is ludicrous. Take it easy. Don’t hang yourself with the same rope that gives you life.
Camus knew these things very clearly. He lived life to the fullest with the knowledge that it didn’t matter. He died in a car accident when he was planning on taking the train, and in a sense, that was his life’s thesis. Throw away your plans every once in a while. Choose love, fun, and leisure when it’s freely available.
Camus enjoyed every moment of life but also thought deeply about its meaning.
“There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy.”
That’s a lot of burden to carry. But Camus detached himself from that thought, and was more human than most of us can aspire to be. He had love affairs, played football, danced in clubs, went to the beach, drank too much, and had a full and robust live in 46 years.
We can be more like Camus, because we are likely not Camus enough.