The concept of the absurd is born from what Camus sees as a fundamental contradiction in the human condition. On the one hand, we live with an inborn desire to find some sort of unity or reason in the universe. This desire to make sense of the universe makes us believe in a meaningful life or in God. On the other hand, the universe gives us no reason to believe that it contains any kind of reason or unity. Though we generally live with a sense of purpose born from our desire for unity, we may occasionally be struck by how senseless everything seems. We may see people riding up an escalator and imagine them as mindless robots, or we might look at a tree and see simply a "thing" that is not part of an ordered or natural universe. This feeling that strikes us occasionally is the feeling of absurdity, the awareness of the contradictory universe in which we live. The absurd man is someone who lives with the feeling of absurdity, who consciously maintains his awareness of the senselessness of everything around him.

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