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post #1 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 20:04 Thread Starter
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Xtratime Philosophy Thread

This is the thread for all philosophical discussion until we can hopefully justify our own subforum. Today I'd like to propose the topic of Camus' Sisyphus. To keep things light I'll copy from the blog Philosophy Bro who tends to write things in as simple a lexicon as possible:

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Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus": A Summary
Look, so, nothing matters, right? Shit's ****ing weird. We all want to know how the universe ultimately works or who's running the show or whatever, and it turns out - TRICK. ****ING. QUESTION. No one's running the show, and the world is unreasonable. Ever had some shit happen to you that made you go, "Why the **** did that happen? There's no reason for that." Turns out, you were right. So our attempts to impose reason on the world will fail. Death and taxes, my friend. Death and mother****ing taxes.
So what do we do? What's the point? Should we just end it if nothing matters? No, says Camus, thats the pussy way out. Instead, we should embrace the fact that nothing makes sense. Don Juan, the ****aholic that started it all, he embraced the absurd. Life has no meaning, so he. ****ed. everything. He didn't try to impose meaning or find meaning or make his own meaning - that shit is useless, and Camus says there's no hope for that, so cut it the **** out.


Sisyphus, same thing. Sisyphus was punished because he chained death up so humans could live forever, he didn't give a **** about what the gods said about fate. He was like, "**** that, I do what I want." When that didn't work, the gods told him he had to roll a boulder up a hill again and again, forever. Sounds like it sucks, right? So why is Sisyphus so goddamned pleased with himself? Because all any of us is doing is rolling boulders up hills, and every time the boulder rolls back down, we're all like "Dude, what the ****?! I spent all goddamn day rolling that boulder. ****." But Sisyphus knows it doesn't matter. He sees it coming. The gods already told him, "What you're doing is meaningless." Once he knew that, he could let go and just be content. Because there's never anything to do except roll boulders. Your options are get pissed when they roll back down, or chill out and not let it bother you. Be content. If you have to do something, you might as well accept it and do it as well as you can. Being pissy just makes you more miserable.
So, to embrace the absurd, you have to acknowledge that life is absurd and live it anyway. Not because you hope you're wrong, but because you know you're right, but living is more fun than not.
Personally I kind of despise Camus' existentialism, but it is the trendy variety of the 60s that mostly carries into the present. Do you agree that life is inherently meaningless?


Someone also please sticky this.

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post #2 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:15
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I am not familiar with Camus, but I read the intro post,
and I conclude from that post my opinion:
I believe it is illogical to equalize LIFE with the FATE OF SISYPHUS,
because life ends somewhen,
but the fate of sisyphus is a neverending cycle judging by the myth.

therefore it is wrong to say that life is meaningless,
based on this myth,
since if life were so meaningless,
people would be able to do suicide easier,
but most people are scared to die, so I believe that life does have a meaning for them, which they define for themselves.
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post #3 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:19 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentpippo! View Post
I am not familiar with Camus, but I read the intro post,
and I conclude from that post my opinion:
I believe it is illogical to equalize LIFE with the FATE OF SISYPHUS,
because life ends somewhen,
but the fate of sisyphus is a neverending cycle judging by the myth.

therefore it is wrong to say that life is meaningless,
based on this myth,
since if life were so meaningless,
people would be able to do suicide easier,
but most people are scared to die, so I believe that life does have a meaning for them, which they define for themselves.
Camus would probably say, because life is meaningless, you are then freed to do whatever the hell you want without any obligation to the "meaning".

Like I said though, I disagree completely with Camus on this, I think life does have a meaning and purpose behind it, but it's something pretty complex and personal to each individual, and not necessarily some kind of universal meaning (though I don't discount that either).

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post #4 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:23
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Don't think life is meaningless just because I don't believe in a higher purpose. Life has meaning because I choose it to be meaningful. I could end it tomorrow, but what would be the point of that? To extend "Cogito ergo sum" here, "I think, therefore my life has meaning".

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post #5 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:28
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Life is pretty meaningless unless you're a famous person.

Will you do Sartre? L'enfer, c'est les autres. Is the truest thing I've ever read.

Without it gravity is just gravy.
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post #6 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:29
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I think I disagree as well,
Camus seems like a scientist who acts like things, which he cannot understand, don't exist, just because he does not understand those things.

I thought philosophy was supposed to try to find out "what is life" etc,
but this approach seems rather negative.

I am much more a fan of Kant and co than of the French people.
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post #7 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:29 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manchesthair View Post
Life is pretty meaningless unless you're a famous person.

Will you do Sartre? L'enfer, c'est les autres. Is the truest thing I've ever read.
Do you mean No Exit?

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”
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post #8 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:30
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No, the line. Not the play. Never read the play.

Without it gravity is just gravy.
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post #9 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:33
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I read the play in my French class.
It wasn't so bad, I liked it.
but I did not detect much "existentialism" in that play...
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post #10 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:36 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentpippo! View Post
I think I disagree as well,
Camus seems like a scientist who acts like things, which he cannot understand, don't exist, just because he does not understand those things.

I thought philosophy was supposed to try to find out "what is life" etc,
but this approach seems rather negative.

I am much more a fan of Kant and co than of the French people.
I also prefer German philosophers, but put it into context. Camus is taking a tale of terrible punishment and trying to flip it on us. Carrying a huge boulder up a mountain, that's really not any punishment at all since all of us do the same mundane tasks everyday and don't even often complain, right? So if Camus is wrong (I still think he is) and life does have meaning, why do most of us choose to waste it pushing our own boulders up the mountain everyday? All of my friends are the same in that they choose the same mundane 9-5 paths and are content with what suburban middle-class society offers. How could they justify life having any meaning if they waste it so? Or is the meaning in the monotony and repetition somehow?

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”
― Julius Evola

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post #11 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:44
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Having a resigned, cynical view of life in general helps longevity, according to a study I read of the population in Sardinia, which have a fairer share of the >100-year-old population than most. At first they tried tying to the Mediterranean diet, but that on its own couldn't be it because the Mediterranean diet isn't theirs alone. So they found that the real difference was this prevailing attitude that everything sucks and there isn't much you can do about it so just complain but accept it.

So, if you have a desire to live long, live in resigned misery and whine about it.

Some of you are well on your way to that century mark.

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post #12 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remi van Hotspur View Post
I also prefer German philosophers, but put it into context. Camus is taking a tale of terrible punishment and trying to flip it on us. Carrying a huge boulder up a mountain, that's really not any punishment at all since all of us do the same mundane tasks everyday and don't even often complain, right? So if Camus is wrong (I still think he is) and life does have meaning, why do most of us choose to waste it pushing our own boulders up the mountain everyday? All of my friends are the same in that they choose the same mundane 9-5 paths and are content with what suburban middle-class society offers. How could they justify life having any meaning if they waste it so? Or is the meaning in the monotony and repetition somehow?
People choose to waste their time with mundane tasks because essentially there is not really another choice,
or that other choice is TOO radical/risky to choose it.
Also why complain, when you are in a safe place?
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post #13 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 21:55 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentpippo! View Post
People choose to waste their time with mundane tasks because essentially there is not really another choice,
or that other choice is TOO radical/risky to choose it.
Also why complain, when you are in a safe place?
That's my point though, if we derive meaning out of mediocrity and repetition and safe choices, then why bother deriving meaning at all? To sleep better at night I suppose.

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”
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post #14 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:00
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I revise my statement,
I think many people like to complain about their 'boring' lives,
but since they never actually do anything to break out of this circle
they are partly scared of the unknown stuff and also they actually like to be boring and safe.

I suppose people have to figure out "the unknown", simply because they are curious and/or are bored,
I believe the UFO theories all are based on this.
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post #15 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:15
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"You are born, you live and than you die" So of course life is an absurdity. Nothing is important before you are born, most probably nothing important will be remembered about you after you die. And you will be forgotten in generations that will pass after your death.

But strangely I find that the most comforting thing in this world.

As I see things if "hell is other people" than no one should be in hell because there's a 99,99% chance that he is just as irrelevant as you are and therefore his words and actions are meaningless.

That what brings meaning to ones life is completely up to ones decision and choice. And the meaning of life question should be interpreted like that. But that doesn't change the fact that...

...in the end everybody will be forgotten (even Newton and Einstein), because everything has its birth, its life and its death, and that also includes humankind and the universe. It is comforting to know that even "Newton" isn't more special than me when you look at the whole picture.

PS: Agree on sticky this thread!

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post #16 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:17
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That dreary post-war existentialism has somewhat been out of favour for a while I think. Sartre even dismissed as a Stalinist childmolester.

Nietzschean nihilism (via Foucault and others) has arguably, for better or worse, been more influential during the last decades.

I like Camus as a writer though and you can't say he didn't catch "the spirit of the times".

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post #17 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:17
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It's the easy option, people choose the so called mundane security of the 9-5 suburban life because it's a nice comfort zone. Gives them some financial security, they can live somewhat comfortably and afford a few things they like.

Self-science is where it's at...

Danish existentialist philosopher Kierkegaard with a slightly more religious slant to it but an existentialist philosopher nonetheless.
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The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.

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post #18 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:17 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marksman View Post
"You are born, you live and than you die" So of course life is an absurdity. Nothing is important before you are born, most probably nothing important will be remembered about you after you die. And you will be forgotten in generations that will pass after your death.

But strangely I find that the most comforting thing in this world.

As I see things if "hell is other people" than no one should be in hell because there's a 99,99% chance that he is just as irrelevant as you are and therefore his words and actions are meaningless.

In the end everybody will be forgotten (even Newton and Einstein), because everything has its birth, its life and its death, and that also includes humankind and the universe. It is comforting to know that even "Newton" isn't more special than me when you look at the whole picture.

PS: Agree on sticky this thread!
Do you find comfort in pushing your own boulder everyday?

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”
― Julius Evola

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post #19 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:24 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by El Lobo View Post
It's the easy option, people choose the so called mundane security of the 9-5 suburban life because it's a nice comfort zone. Gives them some financial security, they can live somewhat comfortably and afford a few things they like.

Self-science is where it's at...

Danish existentialist philosopher Kierkegaard with a slightly more religious slant to it but an existentialist philosopher nonetheless.
You've read the Sickness unto Death haven't you?

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.”
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post #20 of 255 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2011, 22:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remi van Hotspur View Post
That's my point though, if we derive meaning out of mediocrity and repetition and safe choices, then why bother deriving meaning at all? To sleep better at night I suppose.
Well, it's a means to an end (i.e. surviving, "succeeding", enjoying yourself, etc) for most people, I suppose. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you say a job is mundane, that presupposes there is little or no meaning within the job itself.

And when I say that, it implies that a job can be meaningful in that the subjective ends I referred to can be found in jobs themselves.

And once anyone takes that sort of view, then they disagree with Camus' Sisyphus.

But I've always wondered if the "freedom" that Camus' Sisyphus finds from the realization that there's no meaning to his life is in fact his own chosen meaning, paradoxically.

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