The absurdity of it all

When I sit down to journal, it’s usually most productive for me to be prospective; to record my observations on my past actions and thinking with the intention of setting out ideas and plans for self-improvement. But sometimes, right in the middle of a large train of thoughts, I’ll veer into this stream-of-consciousness recording of all the things I did in the previous day. It’s usually a mind-boggling list. And it’s usually only a small portion of the stuff I’d hoped to get to that day. Day after week after month after year this appears in my journals. It’s absurd. I’ll never finish even a fraction of what I daily hope to do. And yet, every day I continue to expend tremendous energy just to appear normal.

It would be easy to conclude that an absurdist view of life rules out happiness and leads anyone with any sense to despair at her very existence. And yet in his book, Camus concludes, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” This may seem impossible, but in fact, this unexpected twist in Camus’ philosophy of life and happiness can help you change your perspective and see your daily struggles in a new, more equanimous way.

~ Arthur C. Brooks from,

Fortunately, it’s clear to me that I’m not alone in thinking what I’m doing is absurd. (For example, Jake Gyllenhall touches on it in a great conversation with Sam Jones.)


Albert Camus on the Three Antidotes to the Absurdity of Life

In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity. We must achieve this or perish. To do so, certain conditions must be fulfilled: men must be frank (falsehood confuses things), free (communication is impossible with slaves). Finally, they must feel a certain justice around them.

~ Albert Camus from,



The Myth of Sisyphus

But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

~ Albert Camus