“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus, “The Outsider”
Camus was an Absurdist. This quote is indeed a powerfully provocative one, but requires a bit more context I think to fully understand it.
He embraced the perspective that the relationship between human life and the rest of the universe was absurd; a contradiction of sorts. Once I realized just how absurd everything is, I was sort of “stuck” in a limbo state. The idea that there is no universal meaning to life, or rather more specifically that we will spend our existence searching for meaning but never find it because it is unobtainable from the human perspective; now therein lies the absurdity of life.
With that being said, I’d like to take another look at the quote. I think what he’s trying to say is that once you see the absurdity in everything it’s difficult to find any reason to it all. You are, in a way, trapped in this “unfree” state in which you cannot move forward because you can’t find any reason TO move forward. Camus stated that the only way to truly live with this understanding in life is to “embrace” the absurdity. Basically, he is saying to live life in SPITE of the fact that there is no reason to live it. In this, the only way to “absolutely free yourself” is to exist in rebellion to the absurdity.
In essence, we are forced to find meaning in life every day. The philosophy states that you can follow one of three paths. The first being that you can embrace spirituality and take a “leap of faith” that God (or whatever you fancy) provides meaning. Your next option is to not continue living (suicide). If life holds no meaning, then there’s no reason to live. Camus argued that this approach was even more absurd than living to begin with, and furthermore argued the first option was committing “philosophical suicide”. The third option, recommended by Camus, is to simply live life in spite of the absurdity.
By all means, if this quote means something different to you, then use that to develop your own “truth” to live by. I not only respect that, but encourage it.