On Free Will

If man is stripped of all that he has, one thing that is almost always certain to remain with him is his free will. From the day man was created, he has been gifted–or condemned–to think freely for himself. Man can choose to live his life however he wants to, and in doing so, he will have to reap its rewards–or face its consequences–whether he wants to or not. Individual freedom of consciousness is humanity’s gift–as well as its curse, since with it comes the responsibility to shape one’s own life. With the power to determine what to do with one’s life, surely one’s freedom can never be constrained, right? The belief that freedom is just an illusion may be overstated, yet it cannot be denied that constantly, man is restrained by his environment, by his society’s expectations and rules, and at times, even by his own self. That man has free will and a limited freedom may be a paradox, but it is a reality.

The mere fact that man has to be responsible for his own life shows how this is so.


On Absurdity

Who am I? Why do I exist? What is the meaning of life? These questions man has asked himself so many times, pondering his existence and the purpose behind it. Ask society and it will tell you: become successful, get married, have kids, grow old, and die happy. Yet there are many odd ones, individuals who believe that the answer must be more complicated than that; that surely happiness is not attainable merely through conformity. The answer that seems to be so unreasonable, so unacceptable, is one that makes the most sense for them all: life is absurd. No matter how man lives his life, even if he remains oblivious, even if he chooses to rebel, the fact still remains—humans are uninvited guests in an indifferent universe.

Poem based on Camus’ The Stranger

This poem I wrote is a summary of the events in Albert Camus’ absurdist fiction novel, The Stranger, written in the point of view of the main character, Meursault.

So today my Maman died
But cry, I did not even try
Because it did not really matter
We all die, one way or another

So today my boss had asked
”Work in Paris?” I answered fast
“No, it does not really matter”
One life is as good as another

So today Marie proposed
To marry her, I did not oppose
I think it would not really matter
Even though I do not love her

So today I killed a man
To shoot or not shoot, I know I can
I did not think that it would matter
If the day’s harmony, I shatter

So today I am in trial
”Odd behavior makes him hostile
For he did not mourn his mother—
He’s a murderer. He’s a monster!”

So today I will be dead
Grant this wish I have unsaid:
A crowd of viewers, I’ll await
Have them greet me with cries of hate