Camus posited that human beings inherently seek meaning and purpose in their lives, yet they encounter a universe that is indifferent to their desires and lacks inherent meaning. This clash between human longing for meaning and the absurdity of existence creates what Camus termed "the absurd condition."
Camus used the Greek myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for the human condition. In the myth, Sisyphus is condemned by the gods to roll a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down each time he nears the top. Despite the apparent futility of his task, Camus argues that Sisyphus must imagine himself happy, as he finds meaning and purpose in his defiance of the absurdity of his situation.