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In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible”.

Absurdism on the surface seems similar to Nihilism.  The distinction being that Nihilism says there isn’t meaning, while Absurdism says that there may be meaning, but it is humanly impossible to know meaning.  Man can search for meaning.  He may find it on a personal level, but meaning at the universal level is unknowable.  The death of the physical body represents a transcendence beyond which us inhabiting a physical body cannot know.  Anything that anyone says about transcendence of the physical while on the plane of the physical may be true, but there is no proof that you can hand to someone and say “this is it”.  So essentially, it is just hearsay and possibly fabrications of the mind.  This is my interpretation, not necessarily Camus‘.

They cut the rug that ties the room together

I temper that with it may just be our understanding of the physical that is limiting.  Do our preconceived notions of how the physical world behaves limit what we can accept?  If there was a breakthrough in quantum physics that changed the overall understanding of the universe, what would it mean?  If science shows that the physical world is interconnected in a provable way, then does that change the search for meaning?  I think that this goes to the point of absurdism that the quest can and probably must continue.

Tim Schreder

It all ends up just being labels of one thing or another.  And as long as there are labels, there is identification and separation.  I sometimes wonder if the ultimate teaching is no teaching.  I am agnostic in many of my viewpoints.  Not necessarily meaning that I don’t know or don’t want to know, but that it doesn’t really matter.  Even the quest for enlightenment is subject to question, and I can say that it does not necessarily need to occur.  Enlightenment can just happen.  Even saying that it can happen or is happening is applying a label.  Beneath the currents of perception lies a reality that just is without action or state.

The cogitations of one individual human are no more or less important than the sentience of an ocean, or the arc of a comet, or the afternoon dream of a sleeping Himalayan house cat. The quality and character may be different, but can the ideas of a man really be more essential than the blazing light of a sun? Our doings are exercises in conduct and growth. Specifics are irrelevant. It’s all yard work in the end.

I listened to this Avett Brothers song this morning.  It seems quite appropriate for this post.  Meanings are jumbled as always, but does the singer determine intent or the listener?

If you finally stop caring
Just don’t go and tell someone that does
Cause even though I know there’s hope in
Every morning song
I have to find that melody alone

4 thoughts on “Absurd!

    Rana said:
    October 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I’m usually not one to be interested in labels, but I really appreciate this article of yours. This is exactly how I see things, that there is possibility, that each person’s personal interpretation of that possibility is equally valid in that the individual can believe it so adamantly, but in the end it is impossible to universally prove anything in the realm of belief and faith, and so no one knows the truth. I’m glad to know my way of thinking isn’t completely self-contained. Funny, even when discussing philosophical points, people always want to gravitate toward those who agree with their ideas.🙂

      bg responded:
      October 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      Interesting observation. I guess we see a certain kinship and trust in people that agree with our ideas. And if everything is essentially on the same footing, on the same level of knowing, then that kinship is universal. We live and then we die. Our bodies are smashed and burned and we turn into dust and rocks and stars and everything else. And if everyone is everything else, then there is no one else. There is just one.

        Rana said:
        October 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        Very deep concept. I’d contend that, although I agree we all end up as each other, there is also still an aspect of individuality within that oneness. Just as we are made up of organs, which are made of tissue, made of microbes, and they of molecules and they of atoms, there is always a smaller piece to the bigger one. I suppose that could just be me wanting to hold onto an aspect of my individuality, but I’ve always had a problem with groups.😄

    Steve Morris said:
    October 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

    We have preconceived notions of what reality is, but the role of science is to test this. For example, Einstein showed that much of what we perceive is an approximation of what is real. Similarly with quantum physics. The Scientist is on a quest, not necessarily for meaning (that is a human attribute), but for the rules that the universe follows. We are getting closer to understanding the rules.

    We shouldn’t make the mistake of Aristotle, sitting around and just thinking about how the world is. As science has showed, much of what Aristotle believed was wrong. We have to test our theories and find out if they match reality.

    We should be agnostic in cases where we don’t know the answer, provided being agnostic means that we are open to possibilities. One day we may find meaning after all. There might actually be a set of rules that govern the universe, and then Nihilism and Absurdism and many other -isms may turn out to be incorrect theories, just as the geocentric model of the universe has been shown to be incorrect.

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