In his book-length essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus presents a philosophy that contests philosophy itself. This essay belongs squarely in the philosophical tradition of existentialism but Camus denied being an existentialist. Both The Myth of Sisyphus and his other philosophical work, The Rebel, are systematically skeptical of conclusions about the meaning of life, yet both works assert objectively valid answers to key questions about how to live. Though Camus seemed modest when describing his intellectual ambitions, he was confident enough as a philosopher to articulate not only his own philosophy but also a critique of religion and a fundamental critique of modernity.
Ancient Greeks[ edit ] In Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the GreeksFriedrich Nietzsche argued that the pre-Socratic philosophers such as AnaximanderHeraclitus called "the Weeping Philosopher" and Parmenides represented a classical form of pessimism.
Nietzsche saw Anaximander's philosophy as the "enigmatic proclamation of a true pessimist". Similarly, of Heraclitus' philosophy of flux and strife he wrote: Heraclitus denied the duality of totally diverse worlds—a position which Anaximander had been compelled to assume.
He no longer distinguished a physical world from a metaphysical one, a realm of definite qualities from an undefinable "indefinite. For this one world which he retained [ Louder than Anaximander, Heraclitus proclaimed: It is the fault of your short-sightedness, not of the essence of things, if you believe you see land somewhere in the ocean of becoming and passing-away.
You use names for things as though they rigidly, persistently endured; yet even the stream into which you step a second time is not the one you stepped into before.
Like later pessimists, Hegesias argued that lasting happiness is impossible to achieve and that all we can do is to try to avoid pain as much as possible.
Complete happiness cannot possibly exist; for that the body is full of many sensations, and that the mind sympathizes with the body, and is troubled when that is troubled, and also that fortune prevents many things which we cherished in anticipation; so that for all these reasons, perfect happiness eludes our grasp.
The Critic paints a bleak and desolate picture of the human condition. His Pocket Oracle was a book of aphorisms on how to live in what he saw as a world filled with deception, duplicity and disillusionment.
Though himself a DeistVoltaire argued against the existence of a compassionate personal God through his interpretation of the problem of evil. The contemporary relevance of albert camus essay Rousseau[ edit ] The major themes of philosophical pessimism were first presented by Rousseau and he has been called "the patriarch of pessimism".
Rousseau saw the movement out of the state of nature as the origin of inequality and mankind's lack of freedom. The wholesome qualities of man in his natural state, a non-destructive love of self and compassion are gradually replaced by amour propre, a self-love driven by pride and jealousy of his fellow man.
Because of this, modern man lives "always outside himself", concerned with other men, the future and external objects. Rousseau also blames the human faculty of "perfectibility" and human language for tearing us away from our natural state by allowing us to imagine a future in which we are different than what we are now and therefore making us appear inadequate to ourselves and thus 'perfectible'.
Thus The Social Contract opens with the famous phrase "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Giacomo Leopardi[ edit ] Though a lesser known figure outside Italy, Giacomo Leopardi was highly influential in the 19th century, especially for Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.
According to Leopardi, because of our conscious sense of time and our endless search for truth, the human desire for happiness can never be truly satiated and joy cannot last.
Leopardi claims that "Therefore they greatly deceive themselves, [those] who declare and preach that the perfection of man consists in knowledge of the truth and that all his woes proceed from false opinions and ignorance, and that the human race will at last be happy, when all or most people come to know the truth, and solely on the grounds of that arrange and govern their lives.
This uncertainty makes life valuable and exciting but does not free us from suffering, it is rather an abandonment of the futile pursuit of happiness. He uses the example of Christopher Columbus who went on a dangerous and uncertain voyage and because of this grew to appreciate life more fully.
The Will is the ultimate metaphysical animating noumenon and it is futile, illogical and directionless striving. Schopenhauer sees reason as weak and insignificant compared to Will; in one metaphorSchopenhauer compares the human intellect to a lame man who can see, but who rides on the shoulder of the blind giant of Will.
He pointed to motivators such as hunger, thirst and sexuality as the fundamental features of the Will in action, which are always by nature unsatisfactory.
All satisfaction, or what is commonly called happiness, is really and essentially always negative only, and never positive. It is not a gratification which comes to us originally and of itself, but it must always be the satisfaction of a wish. For desire, that is to say, want [or will], is the precedent condition of every pleasure; but with the satisfaction, the desire and therefore the pleasure cease; and so the satisfaction or gratification can never be more than deliverance from a pain, from a want.
Even the moments of satisfaction, when repeated often enough, only lead to boredom and thus human existence is constantly swinging "like a pendulum to and fro between pain and boredom, and these two are in fact its ultimate constituents".
There is also the constant dread of death on the horizon to consider, which makes human life worse than animals. Reason only compounds our suffering by allowing us to realize that biology's agenda is not something we would have chosen had we been given a choice, but it is ultimately helpless to prevent us from serving it.
He believed that through "losing yourself" in art one could sublimate the Will. However, he believed that only a resignation from the pointless striving of the will to life through a form of asceticism as those practiced by eastern monastics and by "saintly persons" could free oneself from the Will altogether.
Schopenhauer never used the term pessimism to describe his philosophy but he also didn't object when others called it that. History of metaphysical realism During the endtimes of Schopenhauer's life and subsequent years after his death, post-Schopenhauerian pessimism became a rather popular "trend" in 19th century Germany.
In an age of upcoming revolutions and exciting new discoveries in sciencethe resigned and a-progressive nature of the typical pessimist was seen as detriment to social development. To respond to this growing criticism, a group of philosophers greatly influenced by Schopenhauer indeed, some even being his personal acquaintances developed their own brand of pessimism, each in their own unique way.
Beiser calls transcendental realism. The certainty of pessimism being, that non-existence is preferable to existence. That, along with the metaphysical reality of the will, were the premises which the "Post-Schopenhauerian" thinkers inherited from the Frankfurt sage 's teachings.
After this common starting point, each philosopher developed his own negative view of being in their respective philosophies.Ready Reference Center: Web and Library Resources by Topic; Ready Reference Center: Research; Ready Reference Center: Search Engines & Web Resources. - The Contemporary Relevance of Albert Camus ABSTRACT: After years of continual social transformations under the push of industrialization, capitalism, world-wide social revolutions, and the development of modern science, what reasonably remains of the traditional faith in divine transcendence and providential design except a deep-felt, almost 'ontological' yearning for transcendence.
In a article, Albert Camus wrote "the idea that a pessimistic philosophy is necessarily one of discouragement is a puerile idea." Camus helped popularize the idea of "the absurd", a key term in his famous essay The Myth of lausannecongress2018.com previous philosophical pessimists, Camus sees human consciousness and reason as that which "sets me in opposition to all creation".
Albert Camus (–) was a journalist, editor and editorialist, playwright and director, novelist and author of short stories, political essayist and activist—and, although he more than once denied it, a philosopher.
These are some of the many databases available to you as a member of Middletown Thrall Library: Artemis (now Gale Literary Sources) Searches the following databases (described below): Literature Criticism Online, Literature for Students, Literature Resource Center, and Something about the Author.
- Liberation, Rebellion and Relevance In “The Rebel an essay on man in revolt,” Albert Camus () muses on the absurd origins of rebellion and art and their significance to the individual and society.