A Casual Guide To Absurdism
Absurdism? That's Absurd!
Ever thought that nothing really matters? Well, according to absurdism, nothing really does matter! Isn't that fun?
Absurdism is a philosophy that takes two things from human nature and expands on it. The two basics of Absurdism are:
1. The human nature of trying to find meaning in our existence, through religion, philosophy, love whatever, and ...
2. The human inability to find any meaning after all...
Now before you click out of this article and pass me off as some strange guy on the internet with some radical ideas, the philosophy of Absurdism isn't Nihilism, the fact that nothing in the world matters and that life itself is meaningless. Absurdism, is, I like to think a bit brighter than that. And the best part is, it doesn't matter if you are religious or not, since Absurdism takes everything*doesn't actually into account.
Absurdism and You
Looking for Answers
What is the Meaning of Life?
We've all experienced this before, what is the meaning of life? Well Absurdism serves to answer this question with "well it is whatever you want to make of it". The only answers that we should follow in our lives are the ones that we can think of ourselves. Absurdism also deduces that any human attempt to find a universal, inherent meaning of life or existence will ultimately fail, because after all... we're only human!
The fact that the world and life have no inherent meaning is something that Absurdism takes as fact, as all philosophies do. The real question for you is, what should you do now that we know that the world is in fact absurd? If you were to ask a Nihilist, you know Nietzsche or Rick from Rick and Morty, they would tell to destroy anything or anyone who tries to create any meaning or anything new. But Absurdism isn't that bleak, in fact I think Absurdism has one of the most uplifting messages in all of philosophy.
The Absurdist Albert Camus' answer to the absurdity of the world is to face the world as a clean slate, to be a meaningless human at first, but try to find your own meaning. I would agree with him. I would think we have a human spirit, a spirit of defiance and a human spirit of struggle and revolution. After all, as humans we forever seek something better, whether a fairer society or the new shiny gadget.
But what if I believe in god?
Absurdists believe that life's meaning is what you make of it, and that the world that created us gave us so much freedom in order to find that meaning in morals or religion. We reject the whole Nihilist idea of destruction and rejection of all meaning and worth, since although life might not have any inherent meaning, our lives are our only lives and serve as the only thing we have, and we should treasure that.
In fact Absurdism fits with a theist view of life, just as much as it fits with an atheist view of life. If there is a god, that just means that creating meaning in the universe and our lives just isn't in his job description. Which is pretty much to say that God gave us life and nothing else, with that we are able to do pretty much whatever the hell we want to. It's up to us to determine what is good and what is bad for ourselves in the form of morals. And that I, believe is beautiful, a view that I can come to respect even as an atheist.
There is a story presented by Jean Paul Sartre that is a great example of this. A student of his is torn by a momentous decision in his life. He can either go to war and fight for his country with thousands of other countrymen, yet have a very little individual impact on the war itself, while still standing by his morals of his country. Or he could stay behind and take care of his old mother, making a huge difference in one life very close to his.
So what was Sartre's answer to the question? Well he said that the point of the question was to say that no one besides himself could give him the answer, and in answering the man would be creating more of his personal moral code. Which we can all do for ourselves. That is why I think Absurdism is one of the most uplifting, agreeable and accessible philosophies to study and to follow.
© 2016 Michael Tu