The Ridiculous Man as Existential Hero

Book Report/Review
Pages 8 (2008 words)
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One of the keystones of existential thought is the utter absurdity, the ridiculousness, of existence. Albert Camus captured this essence of life perfectly when he compared humanity to the struggle of Sisyphus to push a rock to the top of hill despite his certain knowledge that the rock will always, unceasingly, roll back before he can put it over.


While hope certainly exists and is a primary motivation for doing good in the world, the fact remains that any action taken that is not in one's best interest is ultimately ridiculous and absurd. With no guarantee of a later reward, why is the world not in even a bigger mess than it is Why is the crime rate as low as it is Why do people care about others In short, why do people behave in such ridiculous and absurd ways when the only certainty that exists in the world is that each and every one of us will die In his short story "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" Fyodor Dostoevsky poses an existential answer to this dilemma by suggesting that choosing to do good is ultimately more important that doing good itself, and that this choice must be based on existence and not on the possibility of life after existence.
Existentialism is a word that almost everyone has heard of and most think they know what it means, but few actually understand. The existential philosophy revolves mainly around the concept of the freedom of man to choose. Unlike animals and plants, human beings aren't born with a particular essence. In other words, a horse is a horse, of course. A horse, so far as we know, cannot choose to do good or evil. ...
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