In “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Albert Camus skillfully dismantles our perception of the world, rendering our quest for a fixed, definitive worldview utterly futile. Our innate yearning for a static, unwavering reality clashes with the inherent dynamism and inscrutability of the universe. We instinctively seek solace and tranquility in steadfast universal truths and absolutes, only to discover that, within the enigmatic tapestry of existence, we ourselves must furnish the meaning we seek. Albert Camus On Meaning says:
Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
I once heard a story about a boy named Lenny. Lenny possessed blonde hair that lay just above his icy blue eyes, accompanied by a smile that would cause his cheeks to redden like a plum. One day, he recounted an incident when he found himself in trouble with his father, resulting in an immediate slap across his face. I could perceive the sorrow in his eyes, and with few words at my disposal, I gently inquired, “How would you have preferred your father to react?”
Lenny responded, “Not as though I were a grown man; he slapped me as if I weren’t his son.” I observed his countenance fall, and silence enveloped the room, as I found myself without words, without any solace to offer, and struggling to fathom the depth of his anguish. Perhaps it made no sense, this pursuit of attributing meaning to our suffering, as if it were a divine purpose—an effort to reconcile life’s persistent brutality and to persist despite the pain.
As I sat there, wordless, this young boy continued to bear the ache, carrying the sting of his father’s wedding ring etched upon his face and in his heart. It brings to mind Albert Camus’ reflections on pain, for in the face of such profound suffering, what solace can words truly provide? Albert Camus says:
There is nothing abstract about pain. It is specific, it is real, and, when it is intense, it is world-destroying. The love of God is a hard love. It demands total self-surrender, disdain of our human personality. And yet it alone can reconcile us to suffering and the deaths of children, it alone can justify them, since we cannot understand them, and we can only make God’s will ours.
We have all endured and continue to endure suffering. I observe spiritualists offering a remedy for suffering through the practice of this style of meditation. I witness corporations promising relief from suffering if you purchase a specific product. I see educators assuring us that master’s degrees and diplomas are the solution. However, in reality, we are wanderers seeking our footing in an absurd world. We strive to discover a purpose for our existence. Yet, when we confront the unanswerable silence of this maddening world, we are presented with two choices:
- Live solely by reason.
- Create meaning and breathe life into the experiences occurring all around you.
You must define your life on your own terms and unearth your “why” for being alive. This essence cannot exist externally but must emanate from a place so profound that it is almost indescribable.
We have been scarred by those who were supposed to love us the most. Nevertheless, there are people waiting to love us. Healing, as a harmonious transformation, is not just a personal duty but also a social responsibility. Yet, we must unearth our raison d’être. Albert Camus On Happiness says:
I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is man, because he is the only creature to insist on having one. You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
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