In Search of the Meaning of Life: An Ethical Evaluation of Albert Camus’ Philosophy of Revolt
This contemporary age has been described as one characterized by a wave of revolts. Every part of the world, every segment of society is dotted with one form of revolt or another. The resultant turbulence and anomie have caused thinkers to raise fundamental questions concerning the meaning of life. What sense does it make for man to exist in a world as turbulent as this? If this seeming irrational life of revolt is what human existence is all about, wouldn’t it have been better not to be born at all? Though, philosophically, these questions form part of the perennial inquiry about existence, today’s global social order makes those questions most pertinent. It is in response to these fundamental questions of the meaning of human life that this paper proposes to examine Albert Camus’s philosophy of revolt. Life for Camus is absurd without meaning. In order to restore meaning, dignity and value to human life, three optionspresent themselves to Camus for consideration. The first is suicide; the second is to take the leap of faith in God and the third is revolt. Camus rejects the first two options as not constituting the appropriate solutions. The first option he calls literal suicide and the second option he calls philosophical suicide. The third option which he calls revolt implies a rebellion against the monstrous absurdity and meaninglessness that have characterized human existence. This for Camus is the most authentic response to the absurdity of human life.
Keywords: Revolt; Human Life; Absurd; Suicide; Rebellion.