The myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is a philosophical and aesthetic work of all time that emphasizes the theme of the absurd. In this essay, I would love to refute the absurdity of Camus, although I have great reverence and love for his writings. The rebuttal grounds used are literary, metaphysical, ontological, psychological, and materialistic.
What is the myth of Sisyphus in Greek mythology? Sisyphus was a man condemned by the gods to carry a rock up a hill only to find it rolling down again. He then he is forced to repeat the task. Through the myth of Sisyphus, Camus brings out the theme that life is absurd, that it has no purpose or meaning. At the same time, Camus contradicts himself by saying that the absurd man must avoid suicide and live a reckless and libertine life, a life in perpetual rebellion. That makes Camus an aesthetic anarchist.
An etymological definition of the word absurd dates back to the 16th century, where the word is known as “being out of tune”. First of all, I would like to use the literature to refute Camus’s argument. The common of life, that is, everyday life, such as getting up at 6, having breakfast at 7, working at 8, etc., is presented by Camus as monotonous. The rhythm of everyday life can be a pleasurable stimulus experienced within streams of consciousness. For example: I enjoy my life, I wake up, I drink tea, I read, I exercise, I smoke, and then I go to school where I teach. Everyday life for me is a mythopoetic experience tinged with the purple robes of mysticism. I do not understand in what sense my ordinary daily life is absurd. The Sisyphean task itself can be existentially significant. I knew a lady whose husband was a medical missionary in Liberia and he contracted the virus there and died. She didn’t even see the body of her husband. However, she is happy and content. Camus says that God is not there, and yet he contradicts himself by saying that God is absurd. Ordinary humans may have a poetic life as their motto and find satisfaction in the little things in life. To tell the truth, I don’t understand Camus’ denial of life. Even a person going through a depressing phase of life affirms it negatively. Negation is an illogical concept in Existential Philosophy. We have to enact a living narrative of everyday life.
Secondly, I would like to take Metaphysics as the subject of argument against the absurdity of Camus. The emotional content of life, such as need, desire, love, ambition, desire, etc. they are neither rational nor deterministic nor naturalistic. How can they be treated as Absurd? When I am sharing and giving and receiving love, how can it be absurd? The experience of love is metaphysical and transcendental. As a Christian, I find comfort in the gift that my love for God is returned with grace and mercy. For example: my daughter wants to enter a medical school. How can her aspiration be absurd? The metaphysical intimacy of life as a theme is not the absurdity of Camus, but cathartic, as Aristotle advocates. Hate, envy, greed, and lust are despised topics in the Christian worldview. Such feelings are also inherent in catharsis, albeit in a negative sense. We are living a life that has language and means the methodology of presence that the school of deconstruction undressed in the revolt. Camus deals with the theme of death in the Myth of Sisyphus. I should ask Camus, are we sentenced to death? For example, in the Christian weltanschauung, giving holy communion as last rites to a dying person will uplift the person spiritually. I’d like to ask Camus the blunt question if a dying person would rather listen to the AC/DC song Highway to Hell. A metaphysical transcendence is meaningful and cathartic. I am using the word cathartic in the broad sense of the term.
Next I would like to use the ontological argument. Ontology in Philosophy refers to being. The word present in Logos has an inescapable presence of being a meaning. To be so absurd would be incoherent and incongruous. For example, making love is a process of creating the poetry of meaning. How can it be absurd? Orgasm is pleasurable, not absurd. A being in the process of interaction creates meaning. Meaning is a ritual in the process of the sense of being. The meaning is a doing of a becoming. I would also like to argue against Sartre’s being for himself. There is no pure existential self. The meaning is reciprocal and referential. For a Christian worldview, the direct ontological reference of meaning is a being with God, a being for God. If I pray to God, how does it become absurd? The various pretenders to the absurd are taking a hard line stance and participating in the fascism of thought. When we help another person, in Sartre’s terms we are a being for the other. It would be unwise to say that Mother Teresa’s love for the poor, the afflicted and the oppressed is absurd. Ontology is permeated with the meaning of self-referential reciprocity.
To look at Camus’s notion of absurdity from a psychological framework is to recognize its anomaly. ID feelings, such as need and desire, are primary affective feelings and cannot rest on the laurels of absurdity. How can absurdity address the demands for emotional and physical satisfaction? Even Mike Jagger’s song ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ is selfish and was born with the fetish appetite of a philosophical longing for desire. An emotional being is always in a state of being possessed by the notion of making sense. The need of the Ego cannot be neglected in a creative society that adheres to the dialogue of being a democracy. How can an Ego State be absurd? Never!
To look at the absurd materialistically is to see the operation of an economy of need and misery in human actions. I have to work to earn money to carry on my daily life. How can that be absurd? It is a natural human tendency to be lucrative and profitable. Here we find that the only worldview that affected materialism was communism. And communism is a failed God. China and Russia have opened their doors to capitalism. China is a contradiction being governed by hegemonic autocrats but leaving the economy to the free market.
The absurd as a philosophical notion is madness. We do not drive our lives to suicide nor do we live life in anarchy. There is a purpose, meaning and destiny that make life. Life can result in the meaning of being prone to a catharsis of experience.