Is life absurd

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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#31  Postby Ranvier » March 20th, 2017, 4:19 pm

You definitely peaked my interest with "grand objective". What's the grand objective of science and philosophy? Or was it meant as science "is" an objective approach to our reality?
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#32  Postby Papus79 » March 20th, 2017, 4:51 pm

Sorry, I realize that could be confusing. I meant the aggregate of all possible objective/outward observations and finding - ie. objective vs. subjective, not a grand goal.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#33  Postby Dissimulation » March 23rd, 2017, 4:40 pm

The word Absurd has been employed by various influential thinkers in distinct ways. Regarding Camus I interpreted his proclamation that life is absurd, is used to articulate the individuals desire to express the self through actualization and for the actualization to be infallibly observable and recognized absolutely (recognized in its totality). I grasp Camus' idea more vividly when I state - My life is absurd or individual existence is absurd. Kierkegaard ( who terms 'absurd' in a unrelated way) in Fear & Trembling argues that the individual has no language therefore all expressions and relations are subject to interpretation - what is attempted to be communicated can not be perfectly received by the other. This recognition creates profound anxiety in that the individual seeks absolute recognition but as an individual is subject to miscommunication. Transversely this recognition reveals the individuals uniqueness and liberation. Camus comes to the conclusion that the individual is free as the individual (consciousness) but this freedom is expressed as contention with all that is outside of the individual.


Im not well versed on all of Camus work, Perhaps Camus presented 'Life is absurd' because of narrative format of his work. If life is absurd then individual existence is absurd, if what I stated above is true, then the notion of life is absurd in only recognizable by the individual ruminating or reflecting. My immediate thought is that the absurd presented in The Stranger creates a condition that may possibly allow the individual to recognize itself as an individual. If this holds true, then to engage another in dialogue with the question as stated is troublesome, because to affirm or negate would contradict the subjective relevance. In order to answer the question in a subjectively relevant way (For Camus it is necessary) outside of the individual presupposes that individuality is untruth , therefore the statement life is absurd becomes meaningless because the absurdity is dependent on the freedom ( subjectivity ) of the individual.


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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#34  Postby Success » May 23rd, 2017, 1:27 pm

I think this is a stupid question. Life is not absurd. If your life is absurd then you are not living a happy life. For people who say life = suffering, you are only suffering because you are not following your dreams.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#35  Postby Greta » May 24th, 2017, 2:32 am

Life certainly can be absurd. Then again, it can also be beautiful, poignant, exciting, tragic, bizarre, fascinating, chaotic, brutal, frightening, meaningless, meaningful, joyful or simply a good larf. It's one angle amongst many.

I suppose the bottom line in this question is "Is life worth living?". That depends on one's situation and mindset. Personally, I'm quite keen on life at the moment. Since we're all going to snuff it anyway, it's logical to enjoy the ride as much as we can.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#36  Postby Papus79 » May 24th, 2017, 7:50 am

I think we're challenged to live as if it is, because if we don't we capsize other people's rights to make up their own minds on the matter. I'm particularly thinking of what happens when a society loses it's will to go on, that typically doesn't end well.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#37  Postby Supine » May 24th, 2017, 10:40 pm

Success wrote:I think this is a stupid question. Life is not absurd. If your life is absurd then you are not living a happy life. For people who say life = suffering, you are only suffering because you are not following your dreams.


This is an old thread that started in 2014 from the looks of it. The OP in post #1 stated he or she was currently doing a study on Albert Camus. I had to google that person up as I was not familiar with the name. Camus was a French philosopher.

What is interesting is that before I clicked on this thread tonight I had just the other day saw a short video by Bishop Baron providing some views on New Atheism and I recalled that Bishop Baron had made some reference to old school atheists asserting "Life is absurd!" Or at least one of those atheists. It turns out to have been Albert Camus I believe if I understand Bishop Baron in the video below correctly.

The OP did not ask a "stupid question" then given the reference point he or she was coming from. As it is it would seem to be a fair philosophical question to ask on a philosophical website.

I'm not atheist myself but if a fair question is being put forth with no attempt to offend anyone then I really don't think the person's question should be called stupid. And I think the question was fair given they were drawing upon Albert Camus.



Short 7 minute video might slightly shine a little light on where the OP's question was coming from ("New Atheist" if one is not familiar with the term is a label denoting a modern, very militant, very evangelical, missionary branch of atheism that people like Richard Dawkins and Dennet fall under--they even irk some atheist).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe5kVw9JsYI




(Bio on Bishop Baron: he holds a master's degree in philosophy and a doctoral degree in theology. He speaks 4 living languages and 1 dead language: Latin.)
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#38  Postby Papus79 » May 24th, 2017, 11:22 pm

Supine - neat video!

His account of our needs is particularly interesting, and if anything I have to think it's our degree of self-conscious awareness and our sense of proximity to the character and nature of something, whether it's a unified field or whatever else.

I do think people can perhaps craft good internal lives as atheists but they need to do it very carefully to avoid the public pitfalls, as do we all. Our whole culture right now - from somewhat religious to spiritual but not religious, to agnostic and so on seems to easily be falling into this obsession of chasing stuff, or chasing likes on Facebook or followers on Youtube or Twitter. Really it seems like an addiction like any other and it's misplaced faith. It seems like, on the other hand, realizing that these are problems that arise from the fiber of your own being and turning inward to see your own inner space as that sort of 'battleground' where these things get resolved is probably our best chance at being happy. I think to this end that nihilism and depression are harder to overcome from, maybe not inherently an atheist perspective but, at least a physicalist perspective. The reason being - this world that we've created does look like a wilderness, still red in tooth and nail in its own ways, and it seems like there's next-to-nothing in the way of solutions to that. An atheist who perhaps believes in non-physical intelligences or energies flowing through themselves has at least some sense that they can built a sort of alchemical value into their overcoming of hardships - a true physicalist just has a lot of chagrin and eventual old age and dissolution to look forward to.

On the topic of pop culture atheism Karen Straughan said something in one of her podcasts that was pretty incisive in this regard. She suggested that in deciding to go political and be a 'big tent' community they brought in droves of people who by all intents and purposes weren't necessarily atheists, they just didn't like what God had to say. By her estimates this set back atheists as a group decades if not more. It seems like any place that gets hot or trendy will start drawing the dross and this seems to have happened with the atheist community for the last couple decades. What I mean by dross is that a lot of the churls who were once making Christianity awful are now off making other things awful.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#39  Postby Supine » May 25th, 2017, 12:22 am

Papus79 wrote:Supine - neat video!

His account of our needs is particularly interesting, and if anything I have to think it's our degree of self-conscious awareness and our sense of proximity to the character and nature of something, whether it's a unified field or whatever else.

I do think people can perhaps craft good internal lives as atheists but they need to do it very carefully to avoid the public pitfalls, as do we all. Our whole culture right now - from somewhat religious to spiritual but not religious, to agnostic and so on seems to easily be falling into this obsession of chasing stuff, or chasing likes on Facebook or followers on Youtube or Twitter. Really it seems like an addiction like any other and it's misplaced faith. It seems like, on the other hand, realizing that these are problems that arise from the fiber of your own being and turning inward to see your own inner space as that sort of 'battleground' where these things get resolved is probably our best chance at being happy. I think to this end that nihilism and depression are harder to overcome from, maybe not inherently an atheist perspective but, at least a physicalist perspective. The reason being - this world that we've created does look like a wilderness, still red in tooth and nail in its own ways, and it seems like there's next-to-nothing in the way of solutions to that. An atheist who perhaps believes in non-physical intelligences or energies flowing through themselves has at least some sense that they can built a sort of alchemical value into their overcoming of hardships - a true physicalist just has a lot of chagrin and eventual old age and dissolution to look forward to.


I think wealthy, married, celebrity Kanye West would fit into your points about chasing stuff. I don't mean that as a snide way to put him down. I mean it in terms of an observation that his riches, sexual life, and great fame has not protected him from depression. In this case I would easily see how someone in his shoes would view life as totally absurd (if he does view it that way, not that I know he does).

The issue of absurdity, from a philosophical point, might revolve around the the central question of Why? Why any of this existence? Frankly, I struggle with that why question myself. As you have kind of touched on, a greater non-physical truth, that imposes upon us a moral purpose to being, or at least asks us to seek other things than just our own satisfactions from this world, reduces our anxiety about the old question of "why?" Or at least potentially it does. But perhaps this does not adequately address the OP's question, not sufficiently enough at least. I'll admit I would have a tough time making non-emotional, philosophical arguments that this life isn't absurd.

On the topic of pop culture atheism Karen Straughan said something in one of her podcasts that was pretty incisive in this regard. She suggested that in deciding to go political and be a 'big tent' community they brought in droves of people who by all intents and purposes weren't necessarily atheists, they just didn't like what God had to say. By her estimates this set back atheists as a group decades if not more. It seems like any place that gets hot or trendy will start drawing the dross and this seems to have happened with the atheist community for the last couple decades. What I mean by dross is that a lot of the churls who were once making Christianity awful are now off making other things awful.


At bold highlight:

Well, that would be ironic :lol: rather than absurd.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#40  Postby Greta » May 25th, 2017, 2:01 am

Dawkins and the so-called "new atheists" (a term they themselves disavow and despite) took a simplistic and sometimes childish approach because they were not trying to deflate the God of the philosophers, they are trying to deflate the simplistic and sometimes childish notions of an anthropomorphic God who mostly cares what people do in bed or teach in science class.

Also, Dawkins, Harris and co wanted to discredit the notion of a fiery pit of Hell that has traumatised many children (a la Angela's Ashes) and no doubt disturbed many sensitive adults. I support their efforts to reduce religious dominance over society while not agreeing with with all they say. By the same token, I supported what Germaine Greer tried to do in exposing unfair male dominance in the 70s while finding her extremely inconsistent - very much rocks and diamonds.

Some mystics would say that Richard's and Germaine's provocative advocacy work is a manifestation of "the lion phase" - where extreme action is initially needed to overcome inertia when attempting to effect change. So, later on, feminism became more subtle, compromising and sophisticated. One cannot maintain such intensity. Atheism will follow the same path, becoming more nuanced and sophisticated.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#41  Postby Judaka » May 25th, 2017, 3:59 am

If I am not mistaken then Absurdism is just interpretation of Nihilism that counters earlier interpretations, more depressing interpretations of Nihilism. So in order to consider yourself an Absurdist you need to be a nihilist and then interpret our nihilistic reality without falling into despair and embrace as Greta mentioned before, the vast majority of life which is still beautiful and exciting and very much worth living for regardless of whether or not it is devoid of meaning. I think that requiring meaning is an ego thing, what our lives actually consist of; food, people, activities, work, knowledge, sex, our relationships and such are not corrupted by a lack of meaning - but perhaps that yearning for progress and achievement is dampened by believing that in the end none of it "matters", although I do question this line of thinking for reasons beyond Atheism - Nihilism says nothing of the physical world or reality, it does not require you to be an Atheist at all. You can still believe in heaven and God or any other kind of afterlife. People misunderstand what Nihilism is and Absurdism is the result, ultimately I view it as being a theoretically redundant interpretation necessary only because of this misunderstanding.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#42  Postby Papus79 » May 25th, 2017, 7:45 am

Speaking to Harris I think he's already shown in a lot of ways that his physicalism is on balance of evidence but that he wasn't holding onto it dogmatically. That particularly shined through with a section of a particular podcast (not 100% sure which one - it was a 5 minute cut) when he discussed something about psy and paranormal research, that people shouldn't have to respect the woo but they should never denigrate the people who are attempting scientific research on all horizons to clarify issues. He also brought up the issue of the number generators, Dean Radin's Ganzfeld experiments, and the way he put it was something to the effect that while these has no relationship whatsoever to Uri Geller claiming to bend spoons the consistent numbers showing something low-level in the way of psy were something that reasonably sober people could find persuasive.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#43  Postby Supine » May 25th, 2017, 12:29 pm

Greta wrote:Dawkins and the so-called "new atheists" (a term they themselves disavow and despite) took a simplistic and sometimes childish approach because they were not trying to deflate the God of the philosophers, they are trying to deflate the simplistic and sometimes childish notions of an anthropomorphic God who mostly cares what people do in bed or teach in science class.


Anthropomorphic God? I suppose Jesus yes. Other than that out of all animals species on earth the book of Genesis would theologically suggest humans are the ones in the image of God, not that God is in our image. For precisely the bedroom issue. I've watched my past dogs commit what in human terms would be forcible rape, and even one forcible mount a pet cat (an animal of a different species) and dry hump it. Basically, commit sexual assault against the cat. And as I've mentioned before bonobos have incestuous pedophilia relations between mother and son.

The image of God argument comes from the notion that the universes is ordered, can be grasped intellectually, that humans have the intellect (image of God) to do this (carry out science, philosophy, etc.) and that there does exist a moral order. Of course, the religious view from Genesis is that the choices and actions of Adam and Eve caused the whole of nature on earth to fall into a certain disorder, where a greater harmony once existed.

(That is another Christian perspective, one I've never heard atheist address or attack assuming they even recognized it, that human choices and actions have consequences for all life on earth and even thew universe itself.)

Also, Dawkins, Harris and co wanted to discredit the notion of a fiery pit of Hell that has traumatised many children (a la Angela's Ashes) and no doubt disturbed many sensitive adults. I support their efforts to reduce religious dominance over society while not agreeing with with all they say. By the same token, I supported what Germaine Greer tried to do in exposing unfair male dominance in the 70s while finding her extremely inconsistent - very much rocks and diamonds.


I was not traumatized by the warning of hell. I have been in jail and was once brought in court and tried on a felony with prison hanging over my head. Was that traumatizing? There is a constant threat of imprisonment and even enslavement* in the United States is that traumatizing?

Really, I see no evidence that the vast majority of Americans, or humans on earth in general, live in such a way that they are traumatized of hell. What, are they afraid to take meth, heroin, have premarital sex, afraid to lie, afraid to cheat on Wall Street, afraid to vote for Hillary as she orchestrates mass murder and the extra judicial lynching of an African leader in North Africa?

Or maybe what concerns some is that Christians in particular are traumatized by a notion that suicide bombing themselves and murdering kids in a Manchester concert as an intended consequence might send them eternally to hell rather than eternally to heaven with Allah?

Some mystics would say that Richard's and Germaine's provocative advocacy work is a manifestation of "the lion phase" - where extreme action is initially needed to overcome inertia when attempting to effect change. So, later on, feminism became more subtle, compromising and sophisticated. One cannot maintain such intensity. Atheism will follow the same path, becoming more nuanced and sophisticated.


Atheism had greater intensity in Cambodia during the genocide known as the "Cambodian Killing Fields" and atheism had greater intensity during Soviet Communism, where atheist Russian soldiers hung Orthodox monks from trees by hooks in their jaws. And atheism has had more intensity during the 20th century in Communist China and communist Vietnam.

Feminism never acquired the political, economic, and especially the military might various countries to exert its will the way atheism did or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or even capitalism itself.





*newsweek.com/slavery-still-legal-united ... tes-365547

Opinion
Slavery Is Still Legal in the United States
By Randal John Meyer On 8/25/15 at 6:33 AM


The 13th Amendment, as enacted, reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


As an extra note on the use of fear, we occasionally use "scared straight programs in the USA" for kids doing crime, pertaining to jails and prison. (But commercials trying to instill fear over drug use are a sort of "scare straight" tactic too.)



Can't recall I was ever treated with fear like this in Catholic school, particularly with the traumatized girl at 7:06 minute mark :



-- Updated May 25th, 2017, 10:56 am to add the following --

Now, compare the method of teaching of Bishop Barron to the method employed by the secular American correctional system joined in venture with profit and rating television.

Which is more traumatizing to a child? Actually which is more absurd? Of course, the two are probably appealing to different types of people.

But what is more interesting, particularly related to the question if life is absurd, is Bishop Barron's analogy of the party. One person having fun, another person at the party is not having fun. To be fair, this is really much more of an Eastern Orthodox perception of heaven and hell. The Orthodox have always claimed that hell is merely the sinner that experiences God's love as fire. In other words the Orthodox--unlike Catholics--have always claimed that hell is not the absence of God's love but rather a much different way the soul experiences that same love.

Right or wrong it is an interesting perspective. Particularly at a notion that two people can experience the one, same thing, differently. If a girl likes two boys, and one of the boys likes her too, but the other stand her, does that boy that dislikes her experience her liking of him as a sort of discomfort, a sort of torture?

But maybe this is side tracking from the OP's original question too much.

But "life" does involve love, fear, hunger, desires and a bunch of other things. How and where fear fits in and if its is an attribute of absurdity in life is probably something the topic of the "absurdity of life" would have to tackle at some point. (It is true Irish Catholicism really tried to frighten children about hell, and Barron's commentary in my mind is less Catholic and more Eastern Orthodox.)

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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#44  Postby Greta » May 26th, 2017, 3:19 am

Supine wrote:The image of God argument comes from the notion that the universes is ordered, can be grasped intellectually, that humans have the intellect (image of God) to do this (carry out science, philosophy, etc.) and that there does exist a moral order. Of course, the religious view from Genesis is that the choices and actions of Adam and Eve caused the whole of nature on earth to fall into a certain disorder, where a greater harmony once existed.

(That is another Christian perspective, one I've never heard atheist address or attack assuming they even recognized it, that human choices and actions have consequences for all life on earth and even thew universe itself.)


I seriously doubt that, say, the gay singer in my last band sleeping with his gay boyfriend is going to have consequences for life on Earth or the universe.

Whatever, while wanting to correct some earlier misrepresentations about the much-maligned Dawkins, I would prefer to consider reality's order at a deeper level than just social norms - norms that have long been based on commonality and fear of the unknown. I also find bickering about "atheists" trivial. Social. Political. Not philosophical.

If you believe that we have fallen from a greater harmony (Eden) of the past, a paradise lost, then you take for granted the brave efforts, often flying blind and at great personal risk, of our ancestors - going back a million years or more. Each generation over that time was trying to make a better world for themselves and their families. (Even the gay ones, no doubt).

Today's generations, the recipients of so much accumulated love and effort, appear to be ungrateful. They now deem their poor ancestors' sacrifices, efforts and creativity to be retrograde, to have just taken us backwards from some purported better time. That dynamic is an absurdity of life.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#45  Postby Grotto19 » May 26th, 2017, 3:49 am

Weight wrote:Is life absurd? Why or why not? Is there meaning to life? How can we create meaning if there is none to begin with? I am doing a study on Albert Camus and would like to hear your views on the subject and know if life is absurd or not. Thanks.



I have posted on this recently as it is a growing problem in my life. I posted under "The most difficult question...why should one live?" in general philosophy. I still rise each day and do what I should according to society, but I cannot provide a single reason why. And from that lack of reason I grow tired. Like digging a hole and then filling it in again. Over and over. Pointless yet I do it each day.

Is life absurd, my heart says no, but my mind thinks yes, though aches to think no.
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