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Si Léon Chestov noong 1927.jpg

Existentialism is a term applied to a range of philosophical thoughts that emphasise on the fundamental nature of existence, exploring the uniqueness of human experience and freedom facing hostile and absurd surroundings. Some existentialists stress on the imperative for individuals to create their own meaning in face of apparent meaninglessness. Prominent thinkers of existentialism include Søren Kierkegaard, Frederich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Lev Shestov (photographed on the right), Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Jaspers, and Martin Buber.

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Sisyphus by Titian, 1549

The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. It comprises about 120 pages and was published originally in 1942 in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe; the English translation by Justin O'Brien followed in 1955.

In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

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Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʀanʦ ˈkafka]) (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Austria-Hungary, presently the Czech Republic. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered by some people to be among the most influential in Western literature.

His stories, such as The Metamorphosis (1915), and novels, including The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926), concern troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world.



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