Why Shouldn’t We Commit Suicide?
Camus + Donkey Kong

Press Start for “Why Shouldn’t We Commit Suicide?” by 8-Bit Philosophy, where classic video games introduce famous thinkers, problems, and concepts with quotes, teachings, and more.

Episode 11: Why Shouldn’t We Commit Suicide? | (Camus + Donkey Kong)

Written & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Narrator: Nathan Lowe
Animation Producer: MB X. McClain
Original Music & Sound by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Academic Consultant: Mia Wood
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon

Why Shouldn’t We Commit Suicide?
(Camus + Donkey Kong)

In his Essay the Myth of Sisyphus, the French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus asks us to contemplate just this sort of question. Deciding whether or not to commit suicide, Camus thinks, is ‘the only serious philosophical question.’ But why DO people commit suicide?

According to Camus life is absurd, which is to say, it’s meaningless. Humanity exists in a constant struggle between expectations and reality—between our ideals—and how things really are. And sometimes we realize this absurdity—all too clearly.

No one particular event triggers this realization. Any mundane or shocking event may disrupt our everyday ways of thinking.

The instance where the universe reveals its indifference to your particular goals—the tear in the fabric of our constructed lives—this, for Camus, is the absurd.

To illustrate this point Camus recreates a famous myth.

Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of rolling a rock up a mountain for his belief that he was more cunning than the gods. As punishment, the rock would magically fall every time Sisyphus neared the summit.

Camus claims that like Sisyphus, we’re cut off from a purpose. All we can know is what we can feel and touch and all that is certain is that our deaths are inevitable. In the face of these obstacles, all questions, all goals, all hope are ultimately meaningless.

Mario may jump over a thousand barrels and collect all of the umbrellas—but none of that matters if he never saves Pauline.

There are a few options when confronted with absurdity. Like Kierkegaard we can interpret absurdity as part of God’s, larger plan, but for Camus, thinking like this only distracts us from the world that we actually live in.

Suicide is NEVER the answer. For killing yourself only negates the problem rather than solving it.

So, the answer resides, rather, in chaining ourselves to absurdity—to making conscious choices to revel in it. Instead of finding solace in hope of another world—we ought to revolt against our condemnation and create art that reflects our human condition.

Now as bleak as this may seem, Camus, however proposes an alternate ending to the myth. As the rock rolls down the mountain, Camus asks that we imagine Sisyphus happy, in this act Sisyphus revolts and thereby creates meaning in his absurd punishment.

After all it’s the act of creating itself that ought to matter, right?

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