Time Capsule #7
Why is life so absurd? A Frenchman's solution.
I am going to experiment with a new format for the history section, consisting of a single essay on a specific idea, event, or historical figure. The time-period based layout was a good starting point, but the essay format allows me to use my creativity and writing skills to more value to each newsletter. It also allows me to repurpose ideas and content for my blog, which I think is a necessary tool for consistent content generation across all my platforms.
That being said, let’s get started.
🔗 to the Past
Albert Camus and Accepting the Absurdity of Life
He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.
The tragedies of life — a plane crash, a baby born with a terminal condition — can make one cry out, “Why, God?”. It is safe to assume one cannot expect any answer back from the heavens. The almost brutal indifference the world can show to our dreams and our prayers leads one to think that life is absurd. The French existentialist Albert Camus (1913-1960) likens the human condition to that of Sisyphus in Greek mythology:
Sisyphus, the founding king of Corinth, was known for his trickery and evil deeds. As punishment for his sins, he was condemned to the neverending task of rolling a boulder up to the top of a steep hill, only for it to roll back down and be repeated.
This might seem an extreme comparison, but if you ask the wife of a fallen soldier or mother of a stillborn, she may find the parallels between the absurdity of Sisyphus’ punishment and human life. Camus offers us a sort of solution to the Sisyphean task of life: instead of despairing in the struggle and stress of an incomprehensible world, one should ride confidently into the eye of the storm; one should find enjoyment in rolling the boulder up the hill.
The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
With the right attitude, accepting the meaninglessness and absurdity of this world is not the end, but the beginning. It allows for the acknowledgement that not only you but all your fellow kin share in this struggle.
To live for life’s sake is to live passionately and without restraint. It is admirable to willingly accept your fate, to start again at the foot of the mountain and roll your boulder back up once more.
📸 Photo of the Week
It is beautiful how football can divide us and bring us together at the same time.
📖 Book of the Week — Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
One of my friends got me this book for Christmas and it is a banger. It is [what I think to be] a complete walkthrough of economics, covering everything from the basics of supply/demand and prices to international trade and disparity. What makes this book so good is it is written in an easy to understand way — it contains 0 equations and very little jargon, and utilizes real-world examples to demonstrate economic principles instead of abstract theoretical propositions. I am only just starting this book but have already found it to vastly grow my knowledge of the economic machinery that power the economies of the world.
💭 Quote of the Week
Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
I hope you enjoyed the new format of this week’s Time Capsule. We go again next week.
Free conversation starter: Is Phil Foden in this year’s POTY conversation?