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Absurdism is a philosophical concept that explains the conflict that arises from human tendency to find inherent values in life and human limitations to finding it. The contradictory nature of the human mind and universe causes absurd. It arises due to disharmony in searching for the meaning of life and the purposeless universe. Absurdism refers to the struggles individuals face in trying to understand their purpose in life which is made difficult due to the constraint and limitations they face. It is certainly impossible to find inherent value and meaning of life. Absurdism shows what is humanly possible and what is logically impossible (Seachris). Absurdism simply believe that the universe is meaningless and people should live and accept it rather than rebel against it.

Absurdism should not be confused with the concept of existentialism, though they share some concepts.  Existentialism explores the existence of human beings as free and responsible agents. It explains what it means to exist from a human perspective. This concept maintains that people can create a meaning to their life. It opposes any beliefs that human beings are a manifestation of an absolute or infinite substance. There is no force to explain existence. People exist because they exist. It is as simple as that according to existentialism.

The two concepts agree that the universe is meaningless and purposeless. Existentialism states that human beings must strive to find their purpose and meaning in life. That is, people must exist first to find their essence for existence. Absurdity arises when people try to find their meaning in life from the meaningless universe. Every individual is immersed in this tension to find their purpose and value in life.

People have different ways to find their meaning in life. In order to understand the concept of absurdity, it is important to consider the works of Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus). Kierkegaard considers absurdity as something that do not have any rational explanation. It is anything or action that cannot be justified. According to him, there is absurdity in the conflict between ethical and religion. This leaves an individual with an inability to meditate the contradicting forces leaving that parsons in a paradoxical state. For instance, Abraham in the Bible has a faithful intention of sacrificing his own son, Isaac, and also believe that God can save him and keep him alive. According to Kierkegaard, this is clear manifestation of absurd faith.

Albert Camus uses Sisyphus, an ancient Greek myth to explain absurdity. After upsetting the gods, Sisyphus is condemned to push a boulder up a mountain. On reaching the top, the boulder rolls all the way down and Sisyphus has to do the work all again (Camus). According to Camus, this is how human life is. Every day, we are faced with the same tasks; wake up, work, and sleep. There is no progress made, just like Sisyphus. To this extent, people are faced with few options; kill ourselves or suicide, deny absurdity and believe in other things or embrace absurdity. These are the three main concepts of absurdism according to Camus.

Suicide means that people consider life as meaningless and not worth living. It is a confession that implies life is too difficult to live. This option offers an individual to escape absurdity by terminating own life from this universe. According to Camus, people live in absurdity and cannot understand the nature of existence. The only way out of this absurdity is by killing ourselves(Arinze, and Onwuatuegwu).

The other solution to absurdity is to adopt other believes or frameworks and deny any existence of absurdity(Arinze, and Onwuatuegwu). People believe in religion to save them from the absurdity of life. Each passing day, people try to find their meaning in life and believe religion or faith offers a more rational explanation to life. There are no expectations on their faith, but it is enhanced by the recognition that things and situations are absurd. People recognize the existence of absurdity but simply ignore it. The leap of faith offers an escape to rationality and thus not absurd to them. According to Camus, this is philosophical suicide.

Finally, Camus proposes people to embrace absurdity(Arinze, and Onwuatuegwu). Recognition of absurdity will give individuals freedom and an opportunity to identify their meaning in life. In accepting that the universe is meaningless, then people become free to live their own life. The myth of Sisyphus demonstrates that people can live with absurdity. On reaching the top, the boulder rolls down and Sisyphus has to march down and start work all over again. Sisyphus joy is contained in pushing the rock up the hill. Thus, individuals’ ability to create their own meaning and purpose in life is achieved. People can be happy by acknowledging absurdity of seeking inherent meaning to life. there is no need to submit to any religious, moral or supernatural belief to explain life or to live. Accepting absurdity allows people to live in their own freedom.



Works Cited

Arinze, Ambrose Tochukwu, and Ignatius NnaemekaOnwuatuegwu. “The Notion Of Absurdity        And Meaning Of Life In Albert Camus Existentialism”. Open Journal Of Philosophy, vol      10, no. 04, 2020, pp. 528-538. Scientific Research Publishing, Inc.,     doi:10.4236/ojpp.2020.104037.

Camus, Albert. Myth Of Sisyphus. Random House US, 2012.

Seachris, Joshua W. Exploring The Meaning Of Life. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.