Is life absurd

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Is life absurd

Post Number:#1  Postby Weight » January 10th, 2014, 12:41 pm

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.
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Is life absurd



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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#2  Postby Theophane » January 10th, 2014, 3:35 pm

Life does contain large swatches of absurdity, but if you are living inside the joke you may not be privy to it.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#3  Postby XavierAlex » January 10th, 2014, 4:56 pm

Please define "absurd"? It's been awhile since I've read The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus. I think if you begin to define it in some way, it would make things clearer. Absurdity, if I recall, is like Sisyphus triumphing over pushing the boulder up the hill. In the brief moments, when Sisyphus is walking down the hill to retrieve the boulder, he happily accepts his fate, because he is doomed for eternity to do so. I'm sure the Absurdist philosophy has many other angles, but that is what I remember most. And that The Stranger has a great beginning: "Maman died today, or was it yesterday..."
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#4  Postby Discards » January 10th, 2014, 11:59 pm

The meaning of life is suffering. Suffer well.
To be is to do. To do is to be. Do-be, do-be, do-be, do. - the philosophical importance of Scoobie-do is to Scoobie-be!
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#5  Postby Dawson » January 11th, 2014, 4:11 am

XavierAlex wrote:Please define "absurd"? It's been awhile since I've read The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus. I think if you begin to define it in some way, it would make things clearer. Absurdity, if I recall, is like Sisyphus triumphing over pushing the boulder up the hill. In the brief moments, when Sisyphus is walking down the hill to retrieve the boulder, he happily accepts his fate, because he is doomed for eternity to do so. I'm sure the Absurdist philosophy has many other angles, but that is what I remember most. And that The Stranger has a great beginning: "Maman died today, or was it yesterday..."


The 'absurd', as Camus conceives it if I understand him correctly, is best exemplified in L'Etranger when Mersault is alone in his cell, awaiting execution after rejecting the priest's remonstrations against his indifference to religion and personal salvation.

Looking at the stars, he feels the "sublime indifference of the universe" (If my memory serves me) and realizes the absurdity of the human condition; that they should ask what are to them the most profoundly important questions of a universe utterly incapable of supplying an answer in any form.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#6  Postby Theboombody » January 11th, 2014, 5:36 pm

Absolutely it's absurd. Absolutely it has meaning. I tend to view the world from Plato's point of view that our senses don't line up with reality, and that makes our lives absurd. I think life has meaning because we want it to, or because meaning is given to it. One or the other.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#7  Postby Msl0012au » January 11th, 2014, 8:01 pm

Life is absurd if you put the ontological cart before the epistemological horse, so to speak. That is, barring religious explanations (which even assuming the existence of God and an afterlife may still have their own ontological issues), it seems true that there is no inherent value in living a human life, at least not one provided independently of our existence in the world. And yet we do exist in the world, and human life is largely believed to have some value. So if instead of starting from a reductive ontological standpoint and finding no indication of the meaning of life, I begin with the knowledge that human life has meaning and search for indications of such in the world, I will find them. I see no reason to put the ontological account above the epistemological certainty.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#8  Postby Hereandnow » January 15th, 2014, 12:25 pm

Agreed, Msl0012au. There are those who would say that the search for ontology can never step beyond the lived experience. As Hubert Dreyfuss (sp?) explaining Hiedegger put it: One can never "get behind" one's dasein. Prgamatists like Rorty would say that 'Being' (and all metaphysics) is simply pragmatics, as all of our language is. The will to 'Truth', if you will, is a pragmatic urgency reaching to the threshold of experience and inventing from the material world at hand, things 'beyond'. ANd ther eare others. For me, once the present moment is delivered from its interpretative morass, the sense of reality becomes more vivid, like Emerson's (a crank philosopher, but so what) transparent eyeball in his "Nature". Not that is can be laid bare in theory, but it is interesting and important.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#9  Postby Etrnge » January 19th, 2014, 3:00 pm

Among most of those researching or reading Camus, his views were quite interesting at the time and still to this day are very relevant. For example we naturally pose questions like "What is life" and "What is a life without reason". The main thing Camus did was not answer those questions directly, but rather address them from his resolutions. In an absurd world, he says in one of his main works 'The Myth of Sisyphus', he looks to the feeling of "absurd" as
"At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face." (Camus)


The term "absurd" can be a bit tricky to exactly pinpoint down in a philosophical context, but the main description he gives is that the feeling of absurdity (Similar to Sartre's 'Nausea' in a way) occurs in all people when they cannot understand something and realize that there is nothing more than the point they themselves give to life. And during this process of thinking, humans give the things that are illogical, reasons because it is by nature that we have 'blindly' accepted aspects of life that we cannot understand.

The solution Camus gives, is to pave your way through society with the freedom we are born with. So, in a sense, anything that happens to us, whether it be death or living, we can ultimately choose the way we die and the way we live.

In conclusion, one could infer from his works and others such as Kirkegaard, Sartre and Nietzsche, that life indeed is absurd.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#10  Postby Wilson » January 22nd, 2014, 6:07 pm

If "absurd" means "inconsistent with logic", then life isn't absurd.

If "absurd" means "ridiculous" or "ludicrous" or "laughable", it's tied in with how people view it, and obviously some people think of life as absurd. Me, I don't think of life as ridiculous, even though it's ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things, so for me it isn't absurd.

If "absurd" means "the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world" - as some dictionaries give as an alternate meaning - presumably because Camus and existentialists stated as such - then it by that definition is absurd.

So like so many other issues, it all depends on your definition, boring as that answer may be.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#11  Postby Hereandnow » January 22nd, 2014, 8:16 pm

I don't buy existential absurdity's Camuian defense, i.e., the absurd hero. It works if you are as detached as, say, Mearsault in The Stranger, but that weird disorientation just does not work for those in the real world. In the case of profound suffering, who is going to play happy Sisyphus?
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#12  Postby Thumos11 » January 23rd, 2014, 1:12 am

When I was a kid I watched a lot of Westerns and cop shows like Barretta. And I thought to myself--man those guys (sometimes gals) are the heroes. They went up against the bad guys in a gun fight, or a fist fight, (or in the case of Columbo for example) a mental fight, and they beat the bad guy, and they saved innocent people in distress. And now that I'm an adult who writes action/adventure stories where the hero, or in my case the heroine, has to spring into action to beat the bad guys, and generally save the day, I see things from a different perspective. I see the tragedy in it. In order for the hero to emerge as the victor in a gun fight, they have to be in the tragic circumstance of being in a gun fight with a destructive human being who has killed innocent people, and might prevail in killing them. In order for Columbo to emerge victorious in solving a crime, there is the tragedy that some usually innocent person has been murdered which prompts the investigation in the first place.

Of course in real life if someone were constantly trying to kill us no matter how many times we prevailed, and survived, and killed or vanquished the bad guy, we would think what a tragic, and absurd existence. You got all these bad, life threatening events constantly happening to you and possibly your loved ones, how horrible for you. But if it happens in a movie to John McClane, or Indiana Jones, or any number of nameless heroes played by Clint Eastwood in his younger days, we are made happy by the entertainment. In fact if there isn't enough action going on we start tuning out don't we? We're like man there's nothing happening, how boring is that? I want my money back. I thought this was an action movie. You see how that works? In one moment we root for the absurd and the tragic, and in another moment we are driven into existential crises because of the absurd and the tragic.

Now that I see the tragic side of all the action I took for granted as a kid, I feel drawn to create heroes who are going through some kind of existential crises, who are not mentally well, who are not in good, stable relationships, and are suffering with the same kinds of conditions that have caused some to hang themselves, or jump off a bridge. When the action happens, even though they kick ass and prevail (hey I gotta pay bills and give people what they are paying to see) you see them being rattled by the tragedy of the action. You feel and see the emotional toll it takes on them. Part of the reason why I do this is to answer the question for myself of how a hero deals with the absurdity of life. So far I like what I see.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#13  Postby Mysterio448 » January 23rd, 2014, 9:49 pm

Is life absurd...compared to what? Besides life, what is there? From what frame of reference are you asking the question?
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#14  Postby Rubenjameshg » January 24th, 2014, 4:32 pm

Absurdity is a subjective judgement that a rational observer can make. I have concluded life is absurd.
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Re: Is life absurd

Post Number:#15  Postby Whythislife » January 24th, 2014, 11:04 pm

At the relatively young age of 28 and a new comer to philosophy, I can only attempt to answer this question.

It has been absurd for me up to this point. I am almost 29 years old and have known intense suffering. Perhaps as I embark on my career and begin to positively impact others it will seem less absurd. I do not desire many material goods. I just want to live simply and ethically. Life seems to me like some type of intense trial. Sometimes I entertain the thought that our environment is a simulation. I have enjoyed learning more about the Simulation Theory proposed by professor Nick Bostrom of Oxford on a youtube video.

Mostly I am left with an empty feeling. I am left longing for something more out of this life. I have learned to embrace suffering because it has been so much a part of my life. The more I live the more I realize the absurdity of this existence.
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