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Is Suicide Justifiable? Essay

1636 words - 7 pages

Is Suicide Justifiable?
According to Albert Camus, suicide was considered the fundamental issue for moral philosophy. Unlike other philosophers who had written on the subject and tried to find sufficient reasons behind it to put off facing the consequences of the absurd, Camus was interested in not only accepting, but also embracing absurdity while renouncing suicide. His philosophy is profoundly evident in one of his non-fiction works, The Myth of Sisyphus, which illuminates the ethics of suicide. Through Camus’ thoughts and writings, the concept of absurdity has influenced authors around the world and has left a great impression on their writings, such as Henrik Ibsen’s play, ...view middle of the document...

Camus introduces us to the two possible human responses to a meaningless world. They are suicide, and hope. In his essays and non-fiction works, Camus tries to find an alternate option to running away from the absurd, which so many people do to relieve themselves of that hopeless, empty feeling whether it be through suicide or hope. By committing "physical suicide," as Camus refers to it, we are proving that life is not worth living since it holds no meaning, and by finding hope in a meaningless world, also known as "philosophical suicide," is we are using blind faith to deny that fact that this world lacks meaning. Camus rejects both of these responses to the predicament of absurdity. He feels that physical suicide is an act of cowardliness and an "unfruitful truth." By giving up your life, you are giving in to the absurdity; he encourages us to not succumb to the meaninglessness. Camus also feels that philosophical suicide is just as bad as the previous. He believes that by finding faith and fake purpose and in a meaningless world, you you are completely destroying reason. Camus comes to the conclusion and verdict that suicide is not an option. He feels that suicide is a repudiation, and that it is necessary to die unreconciled and not of one's own free will, and that by dying, we are doing nothing but eluding the problem (Camus, 494). He believes that rather than surrendering to the absurd, we should learn to live with it, embrace it, and accept it fully.
With suicide being it's central theme, The Myth of Sisyphus manifests this courageous response of living in union with absurdity. This fictional story is about Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology, who defied the gods and was condemned to a life of meaninglessness by having to repeat forever the task of pushing a boulder up a mountain. The catch is that every time he rolls the boulder to the top, it rolls back down again. In this myth, Camus presents Sisyphus as the absurd hero, he is a metaphor for all those lives spent working at long, hard, pointless jobs in factories and offices. Camus makes a point that this story is not tragic because Sisyphus has to do the same meaningless task over again, but because he is conscious of it. This is where the torture lies. Camus explains that like Sisyphus, "The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious" (Camus). Camus makes it a point to express his admiration of the hero's hour of consciousness. For it is at this point during his task that he becomes superior to his fate. It is when absurd man stops to contemplate his life and realizes that he has created his fate, that he become "the master of his days" (Camus, 494). When Sisyphus, or the absurd man realizes what his life has come to and the control he has over it and has realized the meaninglessness of it, he has successfully accepted absurdity and...

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