Is Human Life Absurd?

Philosophia 47 (2):429-434 (2019)
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This essay examines whether or not absurdity is intrinsic to human life. It takes Camus’ interpretation of ‘The Absurd’ as its conceptual starting point. It traces such thought back to Schopenhauer, whose work is then critically analysed. This analysis focuses primarily on happiness and meaning. This essay accepts some of Schopenhauer’s premises, but rejects his conclusions. Instead, it considers Nietzsche’s alternatives and the role of suffering in life. It posits that suffering may help people acquire meaning and escape absurdity. It then analyses the role of compassion in absurdity, in reference to Nietzsche’s work and Buddhist teachings. Lastly, it examines absurdity in relation to death, rejecting the notion that death exacerbates absurdity. This paper understands absurdity to be a natural part of the human condition, as characterised by suffering, death and an absence of meaning. It concludes that although human life is absurd by nature, it need not remain so.
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Archival date: 2018-07-09
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