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Absurdism. “The Absurd” The conflict between the human tendency to seek value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. Absurd does not.

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Presentation on theme: "Absurdism. “The Absurd” The conflict between the human tendency to seek value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. Absurd does not."— Presentation transcript:

1 Absurdism

2 “The Absurd” The conflict between the human tendency to seek value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. Absurd does not mean “logically impossible,” but rather “humanly impossible.” A philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd.)

3 Closely related to existentialism and nihilism Has its origins in the 19 th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who chose to confront the crisis humans faced with the Absurd by developing existential philosophy Absurdism was born of the European existentialist movement, when Albert Camus rejected certain aspects of existentialism in his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”

4 Aftermath of World War II provided the social environment that stimulated absurdist views, especially in the devastated country of France The absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual’s search for meaning and the apparent meaninglessness of the universe.

5 As beings looking for meaning in a meaningless world, humans have three ways of resolving the dilemma: Suicide Religious, spiritual, or abstract belief in a transcendent realm, being, or idea Acceptance of the Absurd

6 Suicide “escaping existence” Both Kierkegaard and Camus dismiss the viability of this option Camus states that it does not counter the Absurd, but only becomes more absurd, to end one’s own existence

7 Religious, spiritual, or abstract belief in a transcendent realm, being, or idea A solution in which one believes in the existence of a reality that is beyond the Absurd, one that has meaning Kierkegaard stated that a belief in anything beyond the Absurd requires a non-rational but perhaps necessary religious acceptance in such an intangible and empirically unprovable thing (“a leap of faith” Camus regarded this solution as “philosophical suicide”

8 Acceptance of the Absurd A solution in which one accepts the Absurd and continues to live in spite of it Camus endorsed this solution, believing that by accepting the Absurd, one can achieve absolute freedom Kierkegaard regarded this solution as “demoniac madness”

9 Camus Considers absurdity as a confrontation, an opposition, a conflict or a “divorce” between two ideals. He defines the human condition as absurd – The confrontation between: man’s desire for significance, meaning and clarity and the silent, cold universe

10 Camus Continued One’s freedom - and the opportunity to give life meaning – lies in the recognition of absurdity If the absurd experience is truly the realization that the universe is fundamentally devoid of absolutes, then we as individuals are truly free.

11 Freedom through the Absurd Freedom is established in a human’s natural ability and opportunity to create his own meaning and purpose To decide (or think) for him- or herself Individual becomes the most precious unit of existence, as he or she represents a set of unique ideals which can be characterized as an entire universe in its own right In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing his or her own meaning from the search alone

12 The Meaning of Life According to absurdism, humans historically attempt to find meaning in their lives. This search result in one or two conclusions: – either that life is meaningless OR – Life contains within it a purpose set forth by a higher power

13 Elusion Camus perceives filling the void with some invented belief or meaning as a mere “act of elusion” – avoiding or escaping rather than acknowledging and embracing the Absurd To Camus, elusion is a fundamental flaw in religion, existentialism, and various other schools of thought (Atheist existentialism, however, does not include “Elusion” If the individual eludes the Absurd, he or she can never confront it

14 God Even with a spiritual power as the answer to meaning, another question arises: What is the purpose of God? Kierkegaard believed that there is no human- comprehensible purpose of God, making faith in God itself absurd Camus states that to believe in God is to “deny one of the terms of the contradiction” between humanity and the universe Both suggest that while absurdity does not lead to belief in God, neither does it lead to the denial of God

15 Personal Meaning For Camus, it is the beauty which people encounter in life that makes it worth living People may create meaning in their own lives, which may not be the objective meaning of life (if there is one), but can still provide something for which to strive He insisted that one must always maintain an ironic distance between the invented meaning and the knowledge of the absurd, lest the fictitious meaning take the place of the absurd

16 Freedom The closest one can come to being absolutely free is through acceptance of the Absurd Camus introduced the idea of “acceptance without resignation” as a way of dealing with the recognition of absurdity In a world devoid of higher meaning or judicial afterlife, the human being becomes as close to absolutely free as is humanly possible

17 Hope The rejection of hope, in absurdism, denotes the refusal to believe in anything more than what this absurd life provides Hope, Camus emphasizes, has nothing to do with despair (they are not opposites) One can still live fully while rejecting hope, and can only do so without hope Hope is perceived by the absurdist as another fraudulent method of evading the Absurd By not having hope, one will be motivated to live every fleeting moment to the fullest

18 Integrity The absurdist is not guided by morality, but by his or her own integrity The absurdist is amoral, though not necessarily immoral Morality implies an unwavering sense of definite right and wrong at all times Integrity implies honesty with one’s self and consistency in the motivations of one’s actions and decisions


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