Camus

Albert Camus gave us the Existential version of Sisyphus, and the “fundamental question of philosophy”:

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.”

OK, got it. My answer is yes, of course life is worth living. Living’s not always easy, but there’s usually something to show for your hard work. It can be a source of happiness. (And what does Sisyphus do after hours?)

The next question, having consented to live, is how. Politics is supposed to help with that. But in this political season, there have been moments when many of us have wondered if it’s all worth it. Camus felt the same.

“Every time I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed; that they gamble – yes, gamble – with a whole part of their life and their so called ‘vital interests.”

In less than two weeks, bets are down. Then we’ll all get to decide, again, how much more rock-pushing we can stand. They said on NPR last night that it’s not so easy to move to Canada. We’d better find a way to stay. We must imagine ourselves, on Nov. 7, happy.

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