With the pieces this week there was a sense of existential dread. Not the conclusion that life is not worth living but the question of why, why is life worth living if it is at all. Reading Camus sounded like reading parts of my own thoughts and ideas. Life is absurd. Life is just routine habit. Life is just driven by existential means. I sit a lot and sometimes do think absolutely nothing. Other times I think of the void, of life’s absurdities. When I ponder these thoughts, I assume it’s because it’s what I’ve done for a long time, it’s what I know and what I love to do, and why I’m a philosophy major. Sometimes these points cross over, and I wonder if it’s worth even carrying on or even bother fighting through. This feeling of carrying on is what Camus calls the revolt.
This revolt is what keeps me carrying on, I say “true there’s a void, and emptiness, a meaninglessness, to the world” but I keep on keeping on. Somedays I wonder if I shouldn’t keep going and just give up and wonder what would happen if I did. Camus would think this okay, and healthy.
“All healthy men having thought of their own suicide, it can be seen, without further explanation, that there is a direct connection between this feeling and longing for death”
We have this longing for death, especially it seems in young adults with high pressures from society and family. To be a student, pay bills, get a job, maintain our health, fitness, student debt etc. etc. etc. We are told to keep going, to strive, and to persevere. The slogan “keep on keeping on” is usually what pops into my head when someone says this. When we wear it on t-shirts, use it on memes, or even apply to those who need a word of encouragement. The slogan is tied to perseverance and to just keep going whether you feel there is a point or not. This is a revolt.
When we see this type of hopelessness or despair we tie it so quickly to depression, whether clinical or grieving. We feel a sense of emptiness when clinical depression is strong or on a bad day, and as Camus would probably ask us, yes, we feel nothingness, so we must know the void and absurdities of our life.
“In certain situations, replying “nothing” when asked what one is thinking about may be pretense in a man. Those who are loved are well aware of this. But if that reply is sincere, if it symbolizes that odd state of soul in which the void becomes eloquent, in which the chain of daily gestures is broken, in which the heart vainly seeks the link that will connect it again, that it is as it were the first sign of absurdity.”
Depression can make you fall out of routine, you sleep more, you have no interest in what you do, no passion, and feel physically weak. We sit and ponder, sometimes over nothing. Our life is an absurdity. But we cannot cave to this absurdity we must revolt. Those who treat patience with depression, many counselors in my own experience have used the same idea of perseverance, just keep going, keep on keeping on.