ARLT3 - Patricia Lee ARLT 100g: Existentialism, Death, and...

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Patricia Lee ARLT 100g: Existentialism, Death, and Meaningless Professor McCann Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30 pm - 2 pm Thursday, April 27, 2006 Third Essay: Camus and Nagel on the Absurdity of Human Life In the recent Ask.com commercial campaign, the slogan is “Use tools, feel human.” The only flaw is humans are not the only specie to use tools. Science instead have claim the separation lies in humans having opposable thumbs and a highly developed brain. Humans are characterized by curiosity and a desire to understand to understand the world around them. As children, we place objects in our mouths wondering what they taste like. Children place their hands on hot stove even after being told not to. Finding satisfaction to our curiosity, we have reached out feeling around. Gaining knowledge of speech, children slips in to a questioning phrase. Constantly asking why to gain knowledge and to satisfied the desires of curiosity. Questions left unanswer were given explanation made up by our imagination. From a simple imaginary being of a friend gave way to creations of not only purely magical beings of fairies but of gods. For a long time, it told us why it rained, why people became sick and most importantly why we lived and died. Humans were explained to be servants of gods. It gave us a purpose. Science took away the imaginative and replaced it with facts. The water cycle explained rain. Viruses, germs, and bacteria gave us diseases and illnesses all leading to death. Without believing in the existence of gods, humans purpose is no longer to serve a higher being. Humans are just another part of the Earth’s ecosystem. Like all animals, humans are part of a food chain- we live, we reproduce and then we die. But to what end? Aside from being a part of something bigger, there is little separating Earth from Mars. Human life is absurd. Humans only live to avoid death.
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Eventually all of us will die and to accept that fate as it comes. Camus will agree in human life being absurd. He seems to express the meaningless of human actions in daily life through his character, Meursault, from The Stranger. Meursault is a emotionally detached and amoral man. He gives in to physical needs making him almost animal-like. He does not cry at his mother’s funeral because he is fatigue. He enjoys the company of a lady almost immediately after. Nothing seems to matter. He does not believe in God. He becomes under attack by the Arab simply because he was moving away from the sun’s rays. As by coincidence, he was left with Raaymond’s gun and did not think twice before shooting the attacking man. Deemed a threat to society and sentence to death, the second half of the novel is dedicated to his time in jail and the theatrics of court. Meursault simply accept his fate and find peace with himself as well as the society which prosecuted him. Nagel describes Camus ideology to not be suicidal despite the absurdity but rather respond to it with defiance and a scorn. “We can salvage our dignity, he
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ARLT3 - Patricia Lee ARLT 100g: Existentialism, Death, and...

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