Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Quarrelsome Questions

Albert Camus argued that life has only one fundamental question: “Is life worth living?”

All other questions—whether there’s a God, whether the world is made out of subatomic lumps, or if we are alone in the universe—are secondary.

Albert argues suicide is the most urgent issue because he’s never seen anyone die to defend a metaphysical truth.

And he uses Galileo as his prime example.

Galileo was the first to confirm Giordano Bruno’s theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. A theory for which Bruno, ten years prior to Galileo’s discovery, had paid for with his life.

When Galileo announced his observations to the world, the church urged him to withdraw his views. Having seen what happened to Bruno, Galileo was quick to comply—even if that meant he could never set foot outside his house again.

In other words: Galileo prefered to turn his back on the greatest scientific truth of his time and stay locked up inside a comfortable but solitary box, than die.

But what about Bruno’s death? Did Bruno not die to protect his theory and thereby refute Albert’s argument?

To which Albert would reply, if he were still alive, “Non.”

And he would continue, with a French accent, “Bruno died for an idea that gave him a reason for living and, thus, an excellent reason for dying.”

Whether you agree with Albert or not, he makes a good point.

I’m sure you’ve recognised, albeit instinctively, that going on living without a thorough reason is a bit ridiculous. What exactly is worth the trouble of everyday living?

I don’t believe there’s a catch-all solution to that question; it is far too personal. I doubt everyone would be willing to spend their adult years under house arrest.

So I ask you what Galileo asked himself: what makes life worth living?

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach