There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.
I think Camus was asking the wrong question.
Life is neither meaningful nor meaningless, if we take “meaningless” to be the opposite of “meaningful.”
If we instead, talk about “without meaning” or “meaning-less” (sic) we can hopefully understand this not as an opposition to “meaningful” but simply that the issue of “meaning” is, if not a category mistake, one of those issues about which we should be silent, or even more, per logical positivism, a question that is itself … without meaning!
It’s true that, as part of our attempts to control our surroundings, we probably have “meaning seekers” as well as “pattern detectors” and “agency imputers” halfway hardwired into our brains.
But, per Hume’s is ≠ ought, that doesn’t mean that we have to follow them in falsely looking for agency — or falsely imputing meaning where it doesn’t exist, or falsely looking for it when it’s not part of the issue.
As his starting point, Camus takes up the question of whether, on the one hand, we are free agents with souls and values, or if, on the other hand, we are just matter that moves about with mindless regularity.
Camus is interested in finding a third alternative. Can we acknowledge that life is meaningless without committing suicide? Do we have to at least hope that life has a meaning in order to live? Can we have values if we acknowledge that values are meaningless? Essentially, Camus is asking if the second of the two worldviews sketched above is livable.
|Comic by URL link from Existential Comics|
So, how do we break free?
"Revolt" might be one way of achieving this. But, I think it needs to be somewhat more comprehensive, maybe even somewhat more Cynical, as I discuss in calling for a neo-Cynicism, than Camus realized. The revolt has to include a revolt against teleology.
At the same time (heads up, Black Bloc!) it means questioning the idea of "revolt for revolt's sake" (sorry, any hyper-Camuseans) or any other "X for X's sake."
So, what is "authenticity"?
In other words, it's about "congruence."