Albert Camus On The Absurd


During a conversation with a 17-year-old embarking on her college journey, she shared her aspirations of finding her life partner during this phase and achieving full career stability by the age of 25, along with all the other idealistic dreams typical of youth. As she expressed her ambitions, I couldn't help but reflect on my own 18-year-old self, blissfully unaware of how the world could sometimes aggressively and persistently thwart one's aspirations. Albert Camus On The Absurd breaks down how our allusions slowly fade and randomly take us over.

You can never truly anticipate the numerous setbacks, disappointments, unanswered prayers, and the profound truth hidden behind the saying, "If you want to make God laugh, make a plan." Now, my friends find themselves locked in a race against time, torn between their current status and the ideals they've set for themselves. It's a battle waged between ideals and reality. However, Albert Camus astutely reminds us of the importance of taking responsibility for the present moment, cautioning against being carried away by the relentless march of time saying:

Likewise and during every day of an unillustrious life, time carries us. But a moment always comes when we have to carry it. We live on the future: “tomorrow,” “later on,” “when you have made your way,” “you will understand when you are old enough.” Such irrelevan-cies are wonderful, for, after all, it’s a matter of dying. Yet a day comes when a man notices or says that he is thirty.

I gazed at the young girl and imparted these words: "Don't fret over love; instead, focus on embracing change and savoring moments with the people you encounter." I also warned her that if she entered college with the sole intent of finding a husband, she might end up with a string of divorces, twelve times over.

When Camus delved into the concept of the absurd, he referred to shedding our preconceived notions of a rigidly structured existence. In our youth, we often yearn for life to offer a clear, predictable framework, believing that the trees will stand steadfast each morning. Yet, one day, we stumble upon a lightning-struck tree, its remnants strewn across the unforgiving concrete. With great reluctance, we come to realize that embracing the inherent absurdity of reality is what ultimately liberates us from the tumultuous pendulum of hope and despair. Albert Camus eloquently articulates this notion about the absurd.

A step lower and strangeness creeps in: perceiving that the world is “dense,” sensing to what degree a stone is foreign and irreducible to us, with what intensity nature or a landscape can negate us. At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of these trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we had clothed them, henceforth more remote than a lost paradise. The primitive hostility of the world rises up to face us across millennia, for a second we cease to understand it because for centuries we have understood in it solely the images and designs that we had at- tributed to it beforehand, because henceforth we lack the power to make use of that artifice. The world evades us because it becomes itself again.

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