He was a key proponent thinker of Existentialism.
His most famous novel The Outsider is about a detached and ironic hero called Meursault - a man who can’t see the point of love, or work, or friendship, and who one day shoots dead an Arab man by mistake, without knowing his motives. He ends up not being put to death because he doesn’t show any remorse, nor does he really care for his fate.
The opening of this book is one of the most legendary 20th-century openers in literature.
“Today mother died. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.”
The Myth of Sisyphus, another one of his books published in 1942 also has a bold beginning.
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living, that is the fundamental question of philosophy.”
Camus was famed for being one of the most famous philosophers of the existentialism movement, which this quote embodies.
He believed that as soon as we start to think seriously, we will realize that life has no meaning - and therefore be inclined to ponder on the thought of whether or not we should be done with it all.
This may sound all dark and depressing, but Albert Camus doesn’t come to the conclusion that our lives are utter hopelessness as the Nihilists believe.
He believes that we have to bear the knowledge that our lives will be small, we will be forgotten, and that we belong to a corruptible and violent species, but that we should endure nonetheless.
Because it’s worth it in the end.
However, do not be fooled into thinking this was a depressing man…
His Exciting Life
Albert Camus was:
- An extremely handsome man: for the last ten years of his life he always had at least three girlfriends at one time, as well as a few wives.
- He was also one of the most stylish men of the time, he was even asked to pose for the front cover of American Vogue
Camus grew to love the pleasures of life, despite being the pioneer in such a depressing philosophy. He said he saw his philosophy as “a lucid invitation to live and to create, in the very midst of the desert.”