A Buddhist Response to Albert Camus and the Absurdity of Life

Metta Refuge

“I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.  Albert Camus”

The opening quote comes  from Albert Camus’s philosophic essay The Myth of Sisyphus.  While I was familiar with some of Camus’s ideas, I had never read this famous essay itself until recently.

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus introduces his “philosophy of the absurd.”  The “absurdity” is man’s futile search for meaning in an unintelligible world devoid of God, eternal truths, or values. Does the realization of the utter absurdity and futility of life mean we might as well just kill ourselves? “No!” Camus heroically answers. …

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