Taylor and Camus Meaning of Life

People often ask many questions about the origin and meaning of life, all in an attempt to identify the meaning of life. Writers of literature and philosophers seek the meaning of life many ways. It so seems that the meaning of life is such a complex subject that answers are sought in thought provoking literature.

James Taylor refers to Camus’ work The Myth of Sisyphus. The two philosophers, Camus and Taylor, express their thoughts differently. While Camus writes expressively and descriptively about life on the literature grounds, Taylor’s analyses his work, thinking critically to understand the meaning of life. The two however, agree on the core meaning of life.

Taylor argues that our lives are a reflection of Sisyphus. We are subject to useless and endless toil as seen in the way Sisyphus is “ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, where the stone would fall back of its own weight” (Camus, 1955, p. 580). This meaningless that leads one to wonder are seen everywhere in the world. (Lecture notes). According to Taylor, thinking that life is meaningless is not only a worthless exercise but also biasness.

On the other hand, Taylor suggests that the meaning of life is contained in oneself to biased people. Taylor’s argues further that it is the responsibility that gives life meaning and not the success. These words are contrary to what most people think that success determines happiness. Sisyphus is happy even though was not successful in preventing the rock from falling from the mountain. His happiness comes from the duty, which he gladly carries out even though it may be considered by many as a futile duty.

Taylor suggests that if an activity has purpose, results or direction, it should result in a long lasting product. If Sysphus was arranging the boulders as he rolled one on top of another, he could build something beautiful like a temple for example. According to Taylor, this temple could still not make life meaningful. He argues that actions of mankind are transitory ‘like bubbles’.

All acts of mankind are like those of Sysphius in that they cannot produce anything permanent. Sisyphus has an irrational desire that makes him work endlessly in order to achieve what cannot be achieved. Meaning is viewed objectively by the gods making it meaningless. Since nothing done lasts, doing is what is to be accomplished and not what is to be achieved. This doing is what makes life meaningful as we have desire to do what we do. (Lecture notes).

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