THE MEANING OF LIFE

 

THE MEANING OF LIFE

 

In real life, we as humankind, are the conception of a mystical entity and this supernatural being created us while having an intelligent purpose and this purpose is “the meaning of life". Various major historical icons in philosophy have given a reaction to the question of what makes life important and if anything makes life meaningful. In this text, the focus will be in the book The Meaning of Life by Klemke and Cahn that gives a clear introduction to this philosophy. The book starts with the affirmation and acknowledgment of God where it starts by denoting that without faith in God life has no meaning. It contains the work of many philosophers who are trying to explain what life is. Albert Camus is one of the philosophers with his essay on the Myth of Sisyphus.

 The central concern of The Myth of Sisyphus is what Camus calls "the absurd" (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 80). He claims that life is unreasonable and pointless. Camus claims that there is an important struggle amid what we need from the universe and what we get in the world. He describes Sisyphus as an absurd hero, he was the founder and first ruler of Ephyra, and he was clever but wicked and full of greed and deceit. He violated the sanctified laws of hospitality by killing travelers. He also annoyed all the gods by deceiving them and avoiding death twice. He was lastly taken to the underworld and punished by the gods with a lifetime task to move a rock up the mountain which eventually rolled back down because of its weight. Camus compared this myth with actual life whereas humans we must struggle without hope of success. We will by no means find in life itself the meaning that we need to find. In one or the other, we will notice that meaning through spring of faith, by putting our faiths in a god away from this world, or we will settle our thoughts with a notion that life is meaningless.

Life has a meaning when an individual acquires everything he desires in life, but this is a rare case to most of us as humans since disappointments are more than appreciations. A big percentage in the world are those that toil hard to get just consumption food leave alone the savings and investments. This is the reason people see life as meaningless for they have nothing to show to the world as the fruits of their hard work. They are just busybodies who cannot have anything substantial but life itself. In some instances those who work hard get little compared to those who put less effort in life this comes along with the notion of the difference between working hard and working smart. This theory has led to a lot of people in viewing life as meaningless. We are forced to rely on and have faith in supernatural beings for their provision but unless we work there is nothing that is freely given in this world.

           All humans have fate in life, once a person is born it is obvious that he will one day die. This notion makes life as well as activities that humans engage in more meaningless. People work hard to better their lives and not forgetting that this is our desire (to make our lives better) but we forget that we will lose it someday. This does not mean that we should not live anymore, according to Camus “suicide is of little use to us, as there can be no more meaning in death than in life” (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 165). From the above information, the idea of the meaning of life becomes difficult to expound and hence the urgency to review from this article the meaning of life. We live blindly not knowing what will happen tomorrow as it brings us closer to death.

Camus depicted religion as a way of blinding humans because the religious expectation is founded on the wrong faith that demise, in the sense of the destruction of soul and body, is not unavoidable. He continues to say that religion is even worse because it shows us how we can look to a different side of life to something to that will come later, such spiritual assurance destroys a part of us. Camus is neither a disbeliever nor a relativist in this text his argument rests on the self-confirmation of intense understanding. He supports exactly what he takes Christianity, to avoid living a life of the intellects, passionately, here and in the present-day. This involves, first, forsaking all hope for a life after death, definitely declining thinking about it. He claims that “I do not want to trust that death is the opening to another life. For me, it is a locked door” (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 106). The fact death is real and as humans we must accept it he claims that it does not most extremely commend not only the physical side of life but also the interpersonal side. Contrary to an unprovable faith in God and life after death, he suggests that human should take these into account “To feel one’s ties to a property, one’s love for men, or to know there is always a place where the heart can find rest many certainties for one man’s life”.

Absurd drives Camus's question about suicide, but his way of ensuing arouses a different kind of absurdity, the absurd responsiveness. According to Camus, people commit suicide since they criticize life as not worth living (Klemke & Cahn 2008). Camus also contemplates that it is absurd to try to understand, know or describe the world, for he depicts the effort to gain lucid knowledge as fruitless. For he cannot tell what life is even with the knowledge he has and with it, he cannot even escape death. Here Camus places himself against philosophy and science, discharging the assertions of all systems of lucid study: “That general reason, ethical or practical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh” (Klemke & Cahn 2008     p 111). All these are some of the reasons humans see life as meaningless but he finally asserts that suicide is not the solution to those absurd.

Camus though termed suicide as a bad decision since life has more meaning than death, he uses revolt as an alternative to suicide. “It may be thought that suicide follows revolt – but wrongly. … Revolt gives value to life. … To a man devoid of blinders, there is no finer sight than that of the intelligence at grips with a reality that transcends it” (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 128). He responds to the question of suicide with what an individual should do, these actions are; having full awareness of life, eluding dishonest explanations such as religion, declining to surrender to any belief, and continuing with liveliness and strength. According to him, this is how a life lacking crucial meaning can be turned to a worth living life. As stated in the myth, Sisyphus agrees and holds to living with death shorn of the likelihood of alluring to god. He developed happiness amidst his fate because it belongs to him. “His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing” (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 154). Sisyphus is conscious of his fate and he rephrases it into a situation of “wholly human origin” (Klemke & Cahn 2008 p 81). This may look like an amplification, since in the end, death is unavoidable and dreadful, but by admitting this, Sisyphus intentionally lives out what has been forced on him, thus making it into his end.

The ideas of Camus in the meaning of life show his position in life, in some points he looks strong and in other instances he is weak. The fact that he acknowledges the existence of supreme beings on earth and at the same time he dishonors them and he cannot support his position is a sign of weakness. He then regards life as meaningless and he neither supports suicide is another sign of being uncertain hence a weakness. On the other hand, Camus is a bit principled he is not being controlled by other theories concerning the meaning of life. He indeed has the information about other beliefs but that does not change his opinion in life, he even condemns how Christians are brainwashed by their religion on the aspect of life after death.

From the Myth of Sisyphus one can allude to the conclusion that, regardless of what our situations are, even though they are inflexible if we admit it charitably, happiness can still be found in life?  As humans we should exercise acceptance and try to take our pain and make it our resolution in life, we all have a fate but it should not control us or hinder us from being happy in life. We have to live our lives with passion, strength, embrace freedom, and be rebellious to the consequences of the absurd lest we give in to untrue hope. We have to embrace life with its challenges and prove to the world the meaning of life. Nothing should sway us from our aim in this life, our perceptions about life impacts the meaning in life to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Klemke, E. D., & Cahn, S. M. (2008). The meaning of life: A reader.

1574 Words  5 Pages

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