"I used to go [to the coast] alone to watch the sunset and contemplate suicide. I did not, however, commit suicide, because I wished to know more about mathematics."--Bertrand Russell
Once one recognizes the absurdity of life, the next logical step is to consider why (or whether) one should go on living. Indeed, Camus opened his epic "The Myth of Sisyphus" with a discussion of this very issue. As he put it: "Living, naturally, is never easy. You continue making the gestures commanded by existence for many reasons, the first of which is habit. Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous character of that habit, the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering."
Ultimately, however, Camus came to the conclusion that one should go on living, if only to revel in one's recognition of life's intrinsic absurdity. We have obviously come to a similar answer, but it is worth digging a bit deeper. The issue with suicide is not, as most believe, a moral one. It matters not whether one has family that will be "left behind," or debts to pay, or a solid standing in the community. Rich or poor, sick or well, young or old...all are irrelevant. Instead, the issue to be considered is whether one wants to go on living...or not.
Interestingly, this is a more difficult question to answer than it first appears. Virtually all people would instinctively answer "Yes" if queried as to their desire to continue living. And yet who, other than the devoutly religious, has not at one time or another wished for the serenity of self-inflicted death?
The reason most do not follow through with such thoughts is part societal, part practical, and part inertia. Societal, because most believe it is indeed "wrong" to kill oneself; practical, because despite the fragility of life, there are few "easy" suicide options (many are the potential suicides who wonder whether the jump is high enough to kill...or simply break their back); and inertia, because, well, in the absence of some catalyst it is simply easier to go on living...
We view such reasoning as flawed in the extreme. To quote an old Rush song: "Even if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." To choose to go on living is to choose not to commit suicide, but to us such a decision makes sense only when one is conscious of it. Bertrand Russell chose not to commit suicide because he wanted to know more of mathematics. We choose to go on living primarily because, having recognized the absurdity of life, we find it endlessly fascinating. Further, to recognize the meaninglessness of life is to cleanse yourself, once and for all, of worry and regret--an experience of pure, total, and permanent liberation.
Think of it this way--to recognize the absurdity of life is to free oneself of all pressures, be they societal, family, or spiritual. The absurd man realizes his "role" in life is no more consequential than an actor in a play, and can act accordingly. So perhaps the real question is: once you recognize the absurdity of life, why would you ever want to leave?