In 1901, Jacques Maritain and Raissa Oumansoff made a suicide pact.
Both were students at the Sorbonne, living in a world that was a “spiritual desert,” in the words of the late Michael Novak (Crisis, March 24, 2016).
“In a horrifying pact, they swore together to give themselves one more year to find some meaning in life. If that search failed, they promised to commit suicide together. The Maritains seem to have argued themselves into this decision much as Albert Camus was later to argue in The Myth of Sisyphus. If human life is absurd, then the only way to give it meaning is to give at least one act in it one’s own meaning. One could at least choose the time and the mode by which to exit from it. Suicide would not make life any more meaningless than it already was. But it could put at least one moment of purpose into it.”Read More