Camus Essays Online

Camus Essays Online-17
For Camus, Sisyphus is a perfect exemplar of the absurd: he defies the gods and is punished for this defiance.

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Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him?

The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd.

We gain a follower on Twitter and we lose one; we measure our achievements in vain against a constant campaign of life updates from our “friends” on Facebook.

But like Sisyphus, it is only when we achieve something—Klout score rising, a post or tweet gains traction, buzz occurs—that we become so very aware of the futility and absurdity of the entire exercise.

Camus goes on to explain “this incalculable tumble before the image of what we are, this ‘nausea’”—a vision of the inherently absurd. We walk around in invisible, digital booths of our own making, hidden to others in plain sight, performing our communications with the rest of the world: standing at the streetcorner, staring down at a phone; walking down the street, staring down at a phone; talking to someone nearby while fumbling, staring down at a phone. The now-typical and ubiquitous technological innovations of the 21 century have simultaneously transformed and amplified the most basic principles of the absurd.

We have all become Sisyphus, pushing our rocks up a hill littered with hyperlinks and tweets, perpetually, futilely, refreshing the page of existence.No matter how exhaustively we post, tweet, comment, and curate our feeds, it isn’t until we reach a plateau, a full-stop, that we realize how bound we are to the routine maintenance of our online identities.If Albert Camus were alive today, he’d write “The Myth of Sisyphus” about our massive, shared, ubiquitous digital brain—social media rendered as yet another component of the absurd.It blurs the lines, numbs the senses, shelters us from loneliness. As made quite clear in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” it depends on the individual.Camus believes that in rejecting hope, rather than despair, the individual becomes that much closer to being free.If Camus were to exist online now, he might see our individual search for meaning expressed through the precise ways in which we curate our digital identities.That is how we search for a self, through it into something tangible, routinely possessive.Our revolt is to reject the call to simplify, our activity of consciousness occurs online.So we remain, posting, scrolling the newsfeed, curating the timeline—our “freedom” inheres in the Internet’s absence of moral proscription, it’s rejection of codes.It is likely he would explore and exploit social media as a leading example of the duality of the human condition: on its surface, the pursuit of happiness and meaningful connection; underneath, a void without meaning, lurking behind the mirror of self-perception.Like anything else, it’s harmless until it isn’t, until we wake and realize we can no longer live without its conditions, its effects, its functionalities.

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