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Absurdism: The Thoughts That Shifted My Perspective

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Absurdism: The Thoughts That Shifted My Perspective

Absurdism

Absurdism is the view that everything in the cosmos is illogical and has no purpose. It claims that humans get into conflicts with the world when they seek significance. There is some debate over the exact definition of the term. 

However, it can refer to a conflict between a logical man and an irrational cosmos, an aim and an outcome, or subjective evaluation and objective worth. In absurdism, the very idea of existence is ridiculed. The less universal idea that certain people, events, or stages of life are ludicrous differs in this respect. The absurd

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Absurdism: Its Origins and Significance

It is unexpected to realize that the Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was its progenitor, considering absurdism’s anti-religious inclinations. Even though he was a Christian, Kierkegaard paid attention to the criticisms levelled against religion. 

But as he listened to their arguments, he grew to believe that God’s existence could not be rationally supported. There was no reasonable foundation for believing in any positive or comforting narrative on the purpose of existence, he reasoned after reading these criticisms, which he found very convincing. In other words, he turned into an absurdist.

  • In fact, Kierkegaard’s faith was strengthened rather than shattered by this discovery. He made the case for taking a leap of faith, stating that the only way to avoid the ridiculous is to ignore logic and think beyond the box. 
  • To him, the alternatives—ignorance, madness, or suicide—suggest that we should put our faith in the supernatural, even though reason alone can never establish God’s existence.
  • There weren’t many people who bought into Kierkegaard’s thought because it was on the edge. But absurdism found a following in Europe following WWI and, more specifically, the Holocaust and WWII. 
  • The idea that their lives would be finally fulfilled via serving their country in the military was a driving force for a generation of young men to enlist in the armed forces of their respective nations during World War I. 
  • Despite the immense suffering and sacrifice endured by individual soldiers, the war turned out to be a bloodbath. 
  • The ultimate result was a lack of accomplishment, as the soldiers watched their comrades die in large numbers for an area that would be reclaimed by the enemy a few months later.

Then, just twenty years after that horrific conflict ended, Europe began to descend once again into the bloody sea. Soldiers on both sides of the conflict could not have imagined the atrocities of Nazism and the death camps during the first war, but this one was just as devastating, if not more so.

As a result, the fact that numerous European philosophers began to view the world as ridiculous should come as no surprise. Because they failed to comprehend God’s justification for his chosen people’s suffering under Nazi Germany, many Jewish intellectuals felt forced to give up their religion. 

  • Not only did non-Jewish civilians in every European nation, as well as the troops, endure such misery, but intellectuals from outside the Jewish community pondered how a supposedly moral God could permit it.
  • After the war, nationalism appeared even more implausible than religion. Nationalism was, in fact, the root cause of these ridiculous conflicts! How, therefore, could it be the answer to ludicrousness?
  • Kierkegaard was correct about the situation, but according to Camus, the French philosopher, there is no way out of this mess—religion is just as bad as nationalism.
  •  Like a terminally sick patient embracing death, he reasoned that we should embrace nonsense. We need to quit trying to understand everything and start living life to the fullest; absurdity be damned.

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Section I. The Meaning

Absurdism

The need for, and the ability to generate, meaning is universal across humans. To make sense of our experiences, we are perpetually inventing tales. On a broader scale, we seek to understand the cosmos.

 Belief in a deity or deities, a spirit realm, an afterlife, a sacred text, and the practice of ritual, prayer, or meditation give many individuals a sense of purpose. There are many other ways people can discover purpose in life other than religion, including nationalism, science, Marxism, art, and many more.

  1. Absurdists believe that all of these endeavours are eventually certain to fail. This is not to say that absurdists see no use in trying; rather, they hold that being human is inherently absurd and that no amount of effort can save you from this fact.
  2.  In absurdism, it’s not the cosmos that’s ridiculous but rather people’s inherent need to find significance in a reality that doesn’t exist. All the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world are merely stories.

And now what? How can we find purpose in this cosmos devoid of meaning? Absurdists attempt to answer that question.

Second, Existentialism and Absurdism

Because of the strong relationship between absurdism and existentialism, the leading absurdist philosopher, Albert Camus, is sometimes mistaken for an existentialist despite his repeated denials of this label. 

  1. The common ground between the two ideologies is that the universe offers no answers to humans’ profound craving for meaning. 
  2. Because they appear to be founded on wishful thinking and blind faith, they vehemently reject the veracity of religion and other pseudo-religious ideologies like nationalism. 

They all beg the same question: how can we deal with the emptiness that this provides?

But from that point on, the two ideologies diverge significantly. Free will is an existentialist’s escape hatch. Even though everything in the cosmos is pointless, existentialists argue that people can give their lives purpose by making the most of their freedom. 

  • Even while everything in the cosmos has no inherent meaning, it doesn’t stop us from assigning meaning. So, despite its rather gloomy beginning, existentialism arrives at a positive conclusion.

Not everything is simple in absurdism. As absurdists see it, free will is nothing more than a tragic illusion that people make up to save themselves from feeling hopeless. On the other hand, absurdists typically go down one of two paths (more on this in section IV):

  1. The Big Gig: Even though absurdism begins with a total rejection of religion, it does not necessarily conclude with that stance.
  2. The Embracing of the Stupid: If religion continues to appear like an unacceptable choice, we can always choose to accept the universe as it is and seek out ways to be happy apart from the pursuit of meaning. It would be similar to a sick person coming to terms with the reality that they will never fully recover from their sickness.

Section III: Expressions of the Absurd

Absurdism

  • The first quote is: Playing soccer has undoubtedly been the greatest teacher of morality and human duty in my life.” This statement is based on experience gained from playing soccer for many years. According to Camus Camus was one of the most influential absurdists; we’ll learn more about him in the following section.

 The upbeat lifestyle of an athlete doesn’t mesh with absurdism, which seems like a gloomy philosophy. According to Camus, his philosophy was shaped by his time playing goal for a successful collegiate soccer team.

Although Camus was never a believer in a universal code of conduct based on religious or philosophical principles, he did draw on his experiences in athletics to advocate for the importance of compassion, dedication, and loyalty.

  • “Anyone who isn’t confused doesn’t really understand the situation,” the second quote states. Author: Edward R. Murrow

Countless thinkers, beginning with Socrates, have noted that the brightest minds are frequently the ones who are bewildered and self-aware of their lack of knowledge. In contrast, the Dunning-Krueger Syndrome makes less educated people more sure of themselves and their opinions. 

One manifestation of this realization is absurdism, which holds that our efforts to comprehend the universe’s design or find meaning in the disorder of existence only perplex us further.

  • “My life is in utter disarray at the moment.”

A thought that would accompany me every day, both when I woke up and went to sleep. Every day seemed the same, and the once delicious meal began to have an off flavour. Everything that was requested of me has been fulfilled.

Managed to get into a top university, secure an ideal career, and achieve excellent grades.

“Is this the sum total of all that life throws at us?”

I had a carefree attitude when I was a kid. What if I only got 60% on the physics test? I’ll do better on the next one. Who cares if some people cut me off? I’ll just meet new folks and keep making friends. I made time to read books, play, and study.

Now that I’m in my twenties, all those things that used to seem insignificant have become a mental whirlwind. The never-ending circle of existence began to resemble a labyrinth from which there was no way out, no matter how determined one was.

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Absurdism: The Thoughts That Shifted My Perspective

Absurdism

(These are the thoughts, personal observations, and experiences of a famous writer and blogger}

Get out of bed, go to work, return home, and sleep.

As you go through the motions, you ask yourself, “Is this it?”

Here’s something I read that might give you a new perspective on life, even when you’re in a state of mind where nothing matters:

Being so liberated that being alive is a revolt in and of itself is the only way to cope with a world that does not respect individual liberty. As Albert Camus once said

The absurd

You won’t find any complexity in this philosophy.

Things are ridiculous in real life.

From the moment of your birth, the laws of this world have already been established. People will clip your wings before you even learn to fly if you try to spread them. No matter how busy you are, you never seem to find the time to ask yourself: are you happy?

An absurdist worldview delves into the inherent tension between the meaning-seeking human condition and the utterly random and uncaring cosmos.

Your life seems completely illogical and needs a more genuine purpose at times. Because we are so cynical and quick to place blame, we view life as tragic and bitter.

The point of absurdism is not to explain life’s purpose but to assert that such a purpose does not exist.

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What on Earth Makes This a Philosophy, Anyway?

When you’re under pressure to discover your life’s purpose, you’ll do whatever it takes to find it. A lot of the time, you look for it in other people, in your hobbies, and in your monotonous jobs. When you can’t find it, all those bad feelings of nothingness overwhelm you.

You do not need to discover a meaning, so what if I told you that? What if the trip itself is more significant than the lesson it imparts, and the travel itself has no purpose?

I finally embraced myself by the world’s benign indifference as I gazed at the night sky’s constellations and other celestial bodies.

“The Stranger” by Albert Camus”

Fundamentally, absurdism recognizes the illogic and paradoxes of being human. It acknowledges that existence has no inherent worth or significance. You don’t enter this world knowing exactly what you’re here to do; the fun comes from trying to give your life significance along the way.

Rather than giving in to hopelessness or nihilism, absurdism challenges us to face the absurdity of life directly and discover purpose amidst disorder.

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Would You Consider It Too Technical?

Absurdism

This illustration shows how it benefited me. The company I was employed by last year went out of business due to a loss of investments. It was my first job, and I had to fight for my job security while my pals were busy creating banks.

“Why me?” was an unending thought that plagued me. As someone who was hopelessly depressed, I began to isolate myself by spending long periods in bed watching television series.

I reasoned as someone who has recently begun to celebrate the ridiculous.

The company’s loss of business is not my responsibility. I was fortunate to encounter this early in my career, but I imagine it occurs more frequently than I realize.

I will find a better job in a month or two; this is hardly the world’s end.

Things began to make sense once more the second I began to ask, “so what?” in response to these awful emotions.

  • Now I’m making less money.
  • What gives? I still need to start my own business.
  • At the very least, later. If the point of living is to establish one’s purpose, then I shall do just that.
  • I was inspired to create my blog because of this absurdity.
  • “What could possibly go wrong, like nobody reading it?”
  • Yes, I did start living the life I always dreamed of when I said, “So what?” and did the things that terrified me the most.
  • Even after just a year, I have a following of over 50,000 people who read my posts, and am beginning to receive contract offers.
  • Will This Be Useful?
  • Possibly so? The point remains, though. I don’t see any reason not to try those things. The stakes are low.

Welcome Independence

Rules and chains do not bind you. You are not obligated to adhere to any certain written book. Own your decisions and actions instead of passively accepting existence as ludicrous. Accept responsibility for your life’s trajectory and revel in the liberty to design your meaning and purpose.

Avoid letting a lack of meaning prevent you from living your life to the fullest.

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  1. Make Sense of the Anarchy

  • Although life may seem like a simulation at times, absurdism teaches us that we can give it meaning and purpose. Find significance in the little things in life rather than chasing after big questions or broad answers.
  • Embrace the beauty of life’s transient, ephemeral moments and find joy in the absurdity of existence.
  • Finding happiness does not require approval or achieving certain goals; it comes from following one’s heart, making genuine connections with others, and savouring the little things in life.
  1. Develop a Steely Will

Every journey has its ups and downs. There will be days when you feel like tackling the world is your greatest challenge and other days when you can hardly stand to get out of bed. Keep in mind that no one is watching you perform. How you choose to live this life is entirely up to you.

We learn to welcome these difficulties as inevitable parts of being human from absurdism. Suppose we train ourselves to adapt and maintain a positive outlook. In that case, we can overcome challenges and become even more resilient, smarter, and resolute to achieve our dreams.

Finally, there are only two things that matter.

  • Dream big and make your own rules to live the life you desire.
  • Despite your fears and failures, you should follow your wildest aspirations. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you enjoyed it, please consider following me on Medium and LinkedIn and subscribing to my website newsletter for more stories in various categories. Have a great day!

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