Albert Camus's and Friedrich Nietzsche's Views on the Meaning of Life

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The ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ and Nietzche’s concept of “the camel, lion, and child” discuss the meaning of life. Their topics debate whether life is meaningful and if it is, how does an individual find it. Both authors share their belief of existentialism. While Nietzsche explores the possibility of life having meaning, Camus proposes a new idea of accepting and living a life devoid of meaning.

Both philosopher's philosophies reject Christianity as a means of discovering value in the universe. However, each philosopher's conclusion differs from the other. Camus believes that individuals should embrace the meaninglessness of life. Instead of pursuing one’s meaning, humans should acknowledge that there is no higher metaphysical order. On the other hand, Nietzsche argues that there is a metaphysical presence in the world. However, according to him, human beings need to earn it through curiosity and facing challenges on a daily basis. Through this, a being evolves into Nietzsche's ubermensch (superman). In simple words, whilew Camus proposes that life is meaningless, Nietzsche puts forth the idea of life having a purpose but losing its value.

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Camus and Nietzche share similar views as well. They both have a connection to existentialism and support freedom of choice and thought. For instance, in ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, Camus tells his audience that committing suicide is a choice made by an individual. He further explains the thoughts that influence the individual to make such a choice, while also discussing the the liberty associated with suicide. Furthermore, he speaks to his readers about the immense guilt and consequences suicide attempts bring to a person. Camus’s idea ofregarding the freedom to commit suicide ties in with existentialism, which connects him with Nietzche.

Through existentialism, Nietzsche attempts to portray metamorphosis, in which a person has the liberty to decide if he/she wants to be a camel, then a lion, and then morph into a child. Each stage involves specific characteristics an individual needs to possess and certain traits needed to proceed to the next stage. Each respective stage has different expectations that an individual has to meet through free will, similar to Camus's idea of being suicidal by one's own choice. Nietzche and Camus both base their concepts of life's meaning on existentialism.

Nietzche and Camus describe the concept of purposefulness in an individual's life. Although both authors believe in individuality and base their work on existentialism, each author feels a different way about life. Nietzsche believes that life has meaning, but an individual has to meet challenges and thrive to find purpose. However, Camus introduces a new concept of accepting and living a meaningless life to the fullest. ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ and Nietzsche's unique view of “the camel, the lion, and the child” have many differences but at one point shared the same beliefs.

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Albert Camus’s and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Views on the Meaning of Life. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
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