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.

Albert Camus

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:

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Building Your Personal Monopoly

In a genuinely developed society, work is an essential dimension of social life, for it is not only a means of earning one’s daily bread, but also of personal growth, the building of healthy relationships, self-expression and the exchange of gifts. Work gives us a sense of shared responsibility for the development of the world, and ultimately, for our life as a people.

Pope Francis

With the exception of a select few, everyone must work. It is the bedrock of our civilization — through working we are able to obtain and sustain the lifestyles that we wish for ourselves and our future kin. We spend so much of our life working that it inevitably becomes part of who we are and who we become. For this reason, we must look deeper into our relationship with work, past the superficial premise of the exchange of time for money, to find the meaningful work that we all need.

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Book Review: The Alchemist

“To realize one’s own destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

~ Paulo Coelho


My choice for book club this month, The Alchemist, is a story about a young shepherd who goes on a journey in search of treasure buried near the Pyramids of Egypt. This classic book uses his journey to articulate the need to follow one’s inner voice, to pursue your dreams, and have faith along the journey of life.

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The Waiting Game

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will — either by having nothing happen at all, or by having everything happen at once.”

~ Paulo Coelho


I have looked for some time now — in history and literature, on the internet, in the stories of those around me — and have concluded that there is no right path in life. Life simply is. In the end, we all become dust and bones; whichever path you take, that is uniquely yours, is the path you are meant to be on. The journey is your own, the luggage yours to hold. That being said, a lack of tangible evidence to confirm one’s actions are moving them towards the intended goal is disheartening. I would like to believe that you get out what you put into life, but sometimes the race seems to go on and the finish line evermore obscure.

I recently stumbled across a poem by a First Nations chief that I wish to share; I hope it has the same effect on you that it had on me.

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Book Review: A Man’s Search for Meaning

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

~ Viktor E. Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning


I recently joined a book club, and the book for my first session was A Man’s Search for Meaning, a book I had purchased many months ago and never got around to. It is one that I knew I would enjoy given its psychological and existential themes, and it did not disappoint. I learned much from this short yet powerful book, and its relevance is everlasting.

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The Ballot or the Bullet

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t really matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Certain moments in history are so profoundly prophetic in nature that one struggles to refute the intervention of the divine. Such moments — like MLK Jr’s last speech, given only one day before his assassination — are almost undeniable evidence that God does his work through certain individuals, sent by Him to teach us and correct the course of humanity. Such individuals are heroes of faith, putting aside selfish desires and conquering the natural human tendencies toward fear and satisfaction of base urges. These figures dominate religious literature: see Moses and Jesus Christ for example.

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Libertas

“I am bound to the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. God help me. Amen.”

~ Martin Luther

These were the infamous words uttered by Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, at which he defied the church, which at the time believed itself to be on par with God Himself.

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Taking the Plunge

“They lead, each Brother plummeting from the tower and landing safely below in a bale of hay. They are like eagles. Truly free. I do not hesitate. The fall feels like a flight. Exhilarating!”

~ Perotto Calderon

Stepping back from social media is no easy endeavour — to maintain social dexterity, particularly in youth (I reckon it is not as important in later years), it requires a recalibration of one’s social behaviour.  One must acknowledge that liberation from the gravity of social media comes at the cost of a heightened responsibility to reach out to those who matter most. The beauty is that it is your choice who matters.

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Finitus

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

~ Matthew 6:34

Do you ever think about how little time we have left, how everything, everyone, in our life could be gone tomorrow? I wonder if it’s healthy to think about the finitude of life with such pessimism. There is surely a way to see the beauty in such finitude, to see the beauty in the limited time we all have on this planet. It can be intimidating to look forward to the future, given the hardships and pain one has endured to reach the present, with optimism. In an instant, we could be facing someone or something that we had never imagined would come so soon.

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The Quintessential Man

“The individual has always had to struggle from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

~ Rudyard Kipling

When one is young, creative abilities are at an all time high. It is in our youth where our greatest ideas and motivations plant their roots. It should therefore be the ultimate goal of human nature to fertilize this; to not let it wither away with time. Societal structure promotes obedience, and in doing so promotes the death of creativity.

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