What is the ultimate meaning/purpose of life, the universe, and everything? Absurdism suggests that there is none. Why name this "Absurdism"? The name "Absurdism" stems from the absurd feeling experienced by humanity when attempting to find meaning in an indifferent, irrational universe. You know that feeling you get when you're in the middle of watching a movie at a movie theater, and suddenly the film breaks, and the lights come on? The Absurd is like that, but instead of watching a movie, you're watching your life. It's the realization of humanity's situation in the universe when looked upon objectively. The human mind seeks unity and the universe offers nothing but cold silence. In this regard, the Absurd is considered to be the conflict between the order sought by the human mind and the chaos of the universe.

Considered as the father of Absurdism, the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, concluded that the lack of objective meaning to be found in the universe can only be resolved by a "leap of faith" in a god or gods. This was based on the belief that a life without meaning has no value and that a life without hope leads to suicide.

While Kierkegaard may be considered the father of Absurdism, Albert Camus can be considered the father of modern Absurdism. Camus (the Algeria-born 20th century French author, philosopher, journalist, and Nobel Prize-winner) came to a different conclusion when faced with the Absurd. He rejected both suicide and the "leap of faith", stating that there was a third option. He believed that just as suicide removes one's self from the conflict of the Absurd by abandoning life, so does a "leap of faith" by abandoning reason, making faith in god "philosophical suicide". To give up our life, or to give up our human instinct to find order and reason, is to admit defeat. It is to admit weakness. Camus believed that there was a third option, the only defensible option, and that is acceptance of the Absurd condition.

What does it mean to live with the Absurd? Camus said that there are three consequences of living the Absurd life; revolt, freedom, and passion. To revolt is to live with a complete absence of hope, rejection of objective meaning, and a conscious dissatisfaction with the end that awaits us. In a universe devoid of any objective meaning or purpose, we are free to create our own subjective meaning or purpose. In a universe devoid of a a god or a "higher power", we are free to create our own values and morals. In a life without hope, where each day brings us one step closer to death, we can live in the present moment with passion. To embrace the Absurd life is to be content with uncertainty being all that we can know for certain, and to enjoy all that this irrational world has to offer us.

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It seems to me that much of philosophy focuses primarily on self. As a perception of self, I believe I may subscribe to absurdism. I perceive, though, that much of the 19th century and earlier writings are so acutely focused on self that they miss the importance of context. Specifically, the context of the individual's place and interaction in a larger society/culture/organization. It seems that funk Q struggles with this as well, though I may read too much into his postings. At an individual level, I believe that revolt, freedom and passion are very accurate but are deliberately blind to influence. We all have thoughts which we entertain, evaluate and then dismiss. Why do we dismiss them? I will posit that we dismiss them because, in the context of the rules, laws, ethics and societal normalities around us, there is a perception that to choose complete freedom will usually lead to negative consequences, and perhaps ultimately a loss of much of that freedom. I think perhaps our pure self, unknowable by anyone else and codified by the thoughts we entertain, is most assuredly subject to the absurd. But to subscribe to that only without evaluation of outcomes and consequences is to be a sociopath. The crux of this, I suppose, is that the meaning we find is likely not free, but bounded by our desire for a certainly place among the others around us.
My thought is that true absurdism can live only in the unknowable self, but that we are constrained by our perception of consequences and desired results.
To tie this back into the overall struggle, when I hear folks ask questions that end in "then how can you have any basis for morals or concept of right and wrong" I think the person misses context and a desire to reach certain outcomes. I think this makes human morals self-organizing in some way.
This may read as non-sensical ramblings, but I hoping to solicit others' perception of the "big picture".
I apologize, I did ramble quite a bit and didn't keep to any central theme. I think what is of greatest interest to me at the moment is a topic "Absurdism in the broader scope of human interactions and societies. Where we develop subjective meaning independently, and where this meaning capitulates to societal norms." And so, I shall start a thread...


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