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The only reason to continue living is to accept and transcend the absurdity with personal scorn and strength. Camus is overwhelmingly concerned with the impact of his ideas on everyday life -- coping with the severe and confusing realities of everyday existence. Based on all of this, Camus asks, in the face of such defeat can a person be actually be happy? It is possible. It is the only reality that a person has. In this world, an individual must confront the limitations of knowledge.
I don't know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms... I do not want to found anything on the incomprehensible. I want to know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone.
Man is given two choices -- he can kill himself, but then he allows both absurdity and meaningless death to triumph over him. Or he can rebel, continually rejecting death in acceptance that he will one day die. In everyday life, the mechanical and repetitive contains both tragedy and comedy. Seen one way, there is no room for higher meaning than daily survival. In another way, the comic can escape the endless tragic repetitiveness.
A leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He, too, concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
Unlike Camus, I became too disconsolate with life and could not see the reason for pushing the rock up the hill over and over again. As I got older, I became more and more tired and unable to push against life itself. I also did not have the creative outlet that Camus talks about, so did not have anything that could fill the void in my life that was positive. I was lonely, I was alone. Unfortunately, I did find something to erase the pain and fill the void, but it was not positive. I then spent 24 years of my life pushing that rock up that hill over and over again, but going further and further downhill each time. This was the route I had chosen to escape from the daily absurdity, and the route I was taking with the unexpressed hope of forever escaping from the absurdity.
In the book Lay My Burden Down Pouissaint explains how African-Americans are not apt to go for help when they become depressed. That is why their suicide rate is so high; they look for other means of help other than counselling or medication. He explains that African-Americans may not this help only about 2.3% of all psychiatrists in the U.S. are African-American.
Although the numbers of suicide, especially with black males, is extremely high. The suicide is still considered a taboo topic. The stigma is even stronger in the black community, because of the stigma associated with depression itself. Over 60% of black individuals do not see depression as a mental illness, so are unlikely to seek help for it. Poussaint believes this stems back to the days when the blues was created as a way to sing about pain and distress. Depression, for blacks, is just an accepted way of life, as is pushing up that stone. In addition, blacks pride themselves on being strong after so many years of slavery, discrimination and suffering. Depression, then, is seen as a sign of weakness.
When people cannot commit suicide by themselves, then they take another route -- what he calls "slow suicide." This is other self-destructive behavior that can accompany depression, such as drug addiction, alcohol addiction, gang involvement, and other high-risk behaviors. Black men, particularly, and women have high incidences of depression because they no longer have any hope -- if this was the case at any time. On top of this, is the fact that they feel alienated from society and still feel the ramifications of slavery and its aftermath that still plagues the inner-cities and psyches of many individuals who live within them.
Poussaint suggests that this hopelessness, regardless of how intangible or unquantifiable, is at the center of the black crisis. Individuals who no longer have hope are all the more likely to give in to self-destructive behavior. Hopelessness is like a cancer that spreads to the person's family and friends, because they are not able to supply the answers or say that anything will get better.
I was at this stage in life. I felt completely helpless, and not able to kill myself although I thought about it. I would let the drugs do that -- either I would have an overdose or my body would finally rebel. Then, I would be done pushing that damn rock up the mountain. But it was not to be.
Carol Gilligan reports in a Different Voice a different type of stage theory of moral development for women than for men. This is a three-stage theory: preconventional, conventional, and post conventional, with the transitions between the stages urged on by changes by the sense of self rather than in changes in cognitive capability.
Gilligan showed that Kohlberg's and Erickson's developmental systems are based on a male-entered view, which is inadequate. In addition, she eliminated the idea that there is just one dimension of moral reasoning. Images of relationship introduces us to a central claim that Gilligan wants to make: men and women view relationship differently. Gillian showed that women are more apt to care about other's needs before their own. Finally they get to their own needs. This second step…[continue]
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