Albert Camus – The Myth of Sisyphus
There is value in engaging worldviews very different from one’s own. It is an exercise in empathy, and can also sharpen one’s own arguments and views. As for Camus, I am not sure I successfully engaged with his views in this book. Even after reading and thinking it over, I genuinely wonder if he was more interested in fashion than he was in sincerity, wearing his ideas as though they were a costume in order to draw attention. It could also just be that I simply don’t understand him, or that he didn’t want to be understood.
In Greek myth, Sisyphus’ punishment for his hubris against the gods was to push a boulder up a mountain, only for it to fall back down at the end of the day. He was to repeat this punishment every day for eternity. For Camus, the goal of each day of life is a Sisyphean task of not committing suicide. Much of the rest of the book is as overly dramatic as it sounds. Maybe Camus was going through a hard time and needed to talk himself out of suicide, or maybe he just wanted to impress women at the local café by playing the brooding countercultural type. Maybe he was just a drama queen. It’s hard to tell. Camus does offer some commentary on Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Kafka, and others, but I still can’t say I got more out of this book than the $1.95 I paid for it besides some insight into his boutique definition of the word “absurd.”