Dear Intelligent Advice,
I have recently considered quitting my boring data entry job, to pursue my dreams of being a visual artist. I have been working at this same job for 5 years and have always hated it, it doesn’t give me much personal satisfaction. However, I haven’t managed to amass much in the way of savings and my wife doesn’t work, we have 2 children and a third on the way. The savings will last for a year at most, and maybe my career as a visual artist will not have taken off by then? What shall I do? Shall I stay in my boring career, or live a life of personal satisfaction and take the greater risk?
Response: [Adviser logged on AbsurdAlbertCamus]
Dear Confused Breadwinner.
You pick up the phone. It is your job calling. They fire you. Does this make you glad or does it make you upset? Does the freedom to go and live your life as a visual artist fill you with a renewed sense of hope and meaning, or does it fill you with dread as you realise that your true purpose was to provide for your family?
Unfortunately, I have to tell you, dear reader, that alas, it does not matter. None of these things are true, and ultimately, any decision that you take will not make your life meaningful. Why do we humans seek to imbue meaning into the cold, hard universe? It surrounds us, yet it is alone, and silent.
Look at the world around you, what you see is absurdity. You are living an absurd life. The house you live in with your wife, your relationship, your children – these things do not give your life meaning. And as such, neither will having a career as a visual artist.
Now that you fully comprehend the meaning of the absurd, what can you do? Well, there are of course 3 options. The first is suicide, which has it’s obvious upsides: you no longer have to continue your meaningless existence. But equally, this is the cowards options: you are trying to create meaning in your death. The absurd must be lived through; you cannot reject the struggle that is your absurd life.
You could also turn to religion, romance, politics, or one other of the great distractions to throw yourself into. Again this would only provide you with a false escape from the meaninglessness of your own existence. What is the point of that, when you know wholeheartedly that your life is profoundly without meaning.
To conclude then, the third option: One must accept ones absurd place in life, live without escape and revolt against meaning and mortality. Dissolve yourself of the idea that your life has meaning. Accept your life, it’s frustrations, its incongruence, its meaninglessness, and struggle against escape, false idols, and become the master of your fate. You will not resolve this strain against the frustrations of the absurd life – accept your fate in data entry, it is only here that you can find true happiness.