Have you ever wondered why bad people seem to have it easy and good people are left with hardships? Have you suspected that this meaning that we attribute to life or certain aspects of it should not be taken seriously?
In other words, how does a creation that is meant to go through trials and tribulations meant to survive? Is there a Godly plan? Is there an afterlife and is our time on earth a preparation for it? I’d like to think so but sometimes the random things that happen in life make you think that the Universe/God is indifferent to us and that life is nothing more than a crapshoot.
Philosopher Albert Camus believed that life has no meaning, therefore absurd. Camus stated that a meaningless life is an opportunity to free ourselves from the shackles of hope and experiences so that we may experience our existence more fully. In general the work of Camus show the theme of absurdity in life and the inability for an individual to make sense of his experience.
Sidebar : Albert Camus was driving in the passenger seat with his friend and publisher’s nephew, Gallimard. Gallimard’s wife and children were also int he car. They were returning to Paris after spending the holidays in Provence, France. While driving, Gallimard lost control of the car. Police noticed at the crash site that Gallimard had not been speeding, the road was straight, and the pavement was not icy. The car nonetheless veered into a tree, instantly killing Camus. There were no other casualties. Camus who famously theorized the absurd, died what many considered an “absurd” death.
Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkgarrd longed for a purpose that he could live and die for. He struggled with the fact that a great deal of existence cannot be rationally explained and therefore, we have to find something outside ourselves to hold on to. Something that gives us clarity in the face of the unknown. He found that religion is the answer and we should take a leap of faith by bracing this higher purpose.
I’m not a philosopher but I know that taking life too seriously won’t solve some of our extensional angst. Living in the present moment with the full awareness of the unknown and not wanting anything more from a conceptual future seems more practical. It’s an opportunity for one to create a place of quietness and serenity within oneself.
To imagine what it is to live with your prior condition and not worry about the future reminds me of the Greek mythological Sisyphus. Sisyphus who was the founder and king of Ephyra and also quite a deceitful person made the mistake to challenge the gods. He was punished for that and condemned to push a rock up a hill that rolled down every time it neared the top and repeated this process for eternity. Sisyphus’s existence is so meaningless and hopeless that trying to give his repetitive action meaning is totally absurd. The gods understood that there is nothing more dreadful than endless and futile labor.
But for me this doesn’t quite hit the mark. I could easily imagine Sisyphus happy, running back to the top joyfully.
While the story illustrates that life’s hardships cannot be escaped—we just learn to live with it. It can also be said that life’s burdens neither warrants distress nor discouragement but rather is a manifestation of our advanced qualities. It need not be a matter of agony unless we make it so. Nor should we resent one’s lot in life. Failure to appreciate the cosmic importance of a situation puts you at a disadvantage. Instead, we should approach our lives in irony.
When you think about it, anything we do won’t matter in a million years.
We are small in the eyes of the universe.
Many times, we are consumed by our circumstances, careers, and dreams to cultivate a certain lifestyle. But even in the day-to-day pursuit of happiness, we still cannot find true fulfillment. What if we told ourselves that we could find joy regardless of the goals we set out for ourselves and refuse to bow down at the challenges life throws at us. Indeed, if we are able to perceive our true superior position in the grand scheme of things then what possible reason do we have to resent it or be in distress.