Philosophical Spotlight: 5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Existentialist Thinker Albert Camus

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Albert Camus was a 20th Century French existentialist thinker. He reshaped philosophical thought by attributing to the absurdism in living.

as an ambassador for the individuals’ freedom of choice, Albert Camus underlined the concept of personal empowerment. In doing so his philosophical thinking painted a bleak, but optimistic outlook into coping with the absurdity of life.

In this modern and maddening world,

Here are 5 elements to walk with from the revolving life and philosophy of Albert Camus:

1. LIFE IS MEANINGLESS, BUT NOT MISERABLE

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  • Like most existentialists, Albert Camus would agree that life is utterly meaningless. To further on this quote he epically defined meaning as:
    • “The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself.” — Camus
  • As bleak as it seems, Camus was actually a very upbeat, and optimistic individual:
    • Ironically, he acquired a taste for the finer things in life, as he rather enjoyed maintaining his image, dress, and style.
    • He was also a very sociable person, and it would probably be an understatement to simply state that he was quite popular with the ladies.

2. WE MUST CREATE OUR OWN MEANING

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  • Although there is an absurd meaninglessness of life, he firmly believed it a necessity for us to continually search for meaning.
    • In this regard, Camus was a firm believer in creating subjective meaning within your own life, regardless of meaninglessness.
  • Camus largely attributed his own happiness to this personal philosophy.
    • Though he FIRMLY believed in meaninglessness OUT THERE– He created a life that was ultimately meaningful to him, DOWN HERE.

3. PLAY SPORTS AND ENGAGE IN COMPETITION

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  • The very basic foundation of his moral code was derived from sport, sportsmanship, and team spirit:
    • At a young age, he was a goal keeper for the Racing Universitaire d’Alger (R.U.A). — A former multi-sport team of Algeria.
    • Their football team competed for the North African Cup — a small territorial football competition bordering few select European, and African countries.
  • Though brief, organized sport largely shaped his personal life. He personally attributed a large amount of weight to the importance of socialization through organized sport.
    • “Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.” — Camus
  • He was very appreciative of camaraderie in the pursuit of a common goal. Not to mention the sense of determination, and communal bravery that was met in overcoming adversary and challenges.

4. PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

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  • Given the nature of existentialism, it really paints a very negative outlook on what we are faced with in living. But in the bleakness, Camus is able to maintain a flicker of light through the sense of hope.
    • Though ridiculously grim, we can choose to overcome these daunting concepts in order to live happy, and fulfilling lives.
  • In this regard, he finds great positivity, by embracing the negative aspects in living. A perfect, and harmonious balance of the natural.
    • He also founded the Revolutionary Union Movement and Europe, which aimed to literally shed light on the lighter side of surrealist/existential thinking.

5. ACCEPTANCE IS KEY

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  • In addressing the possibilities of coping with the nature of absurdity, Camus builds on three main strategies.
    • Suicide:
      • He viewed this as an irrational physical escape from living the madness. Camus firmly dismissed this as a feasible solution. He stated that this would only add to the absurdity of experience.
    • Finding faith:
      • Through typical, or other unorthodox means of transcendental belief. Camus identified such beliefs as philosophical suicide a metaphysical escape from dealing with the absurdity.
    • Acceptance:
      • By actively falling into the physical and mental trials of living and absurdity, you cultivate the most freedom for yourself as an individual. Bound by no moral judgments in this life, you can be personally selective in cultivating meaning. You create yourself, and your living experience. The comfort of control in the uncontrollable event of things. This was Albert Camus’ core belief in how to live life.

“When life gives me lemons, I make beef stew” — Andy Milonakis

BONUS

6. HIS DEATH WAS INTERESTING

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  • At 46, he died in an automobile accident on January 4, 1960.
    • He was a passenger driving with his publisher– Michel Gallimard. Camus was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while Gallimard passed away 5 days afterwards.
    • Though there is really nothing to say regarding the tragedy of a car accident, The contents of his lined pocket illustrate an interesting concept:
      • His pocket contained an unused train ticket that he deferred in using at the very last-minute. He opted to hitch this “deadly” ride with his publisher instead.

It can be ascertained that Camus was supportive in the sense of control brought on by the ability to make choices within our lifetime. But in this regard, what can be said about fate, free will, and determinism. Is it coincidentally an interesting story to tell, or something fated/fundamentally orchestrated?

In any case,

Albert Camus had a profound impact on 20th century philosophy, as the concepts of his words continue to shape thinkers of today.

In hoping to take something from his ideas, feel free to share or build on this list by commenting below.

Happy Thinking,

Littermature.

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