Recently I met a conspiracy addict, a die-hard Christian and we discussed many things. I, though knowing, asked him causally about the symbolism of the 1 $ Bill –the all Seeing Eye and the unfinished pyramid which I regard as a great work of art. The emblem is surreal and juxtaposes fiction and reality to a credible tangibility. He abruptly told me it’s demonic and signifies the New World Order. Unlike him, I paid Indian currency and bought a 1 $ Bill which I carry in my purse. I am so mesmerized by its enigma. Again he told me that the Vatican is a Cult and devotion to the idol Virgin Mary is idolatry. I think in a way its true as there’s no Biblical reference to worship Mary. And again Mary was not a Virgin. I am pondering over the question is Catholicism blaspheming Christianity? I don’t know the answer and I do not care. I become amused when people light candles for the idol Mary. Again our thoughts drifted on to the internet. He said WWW is 666, the mark of the beast. Yes, in a way he is true as it represents the Hebrew letter Vav. It is humorous to see what people post on face book. Many souls post their airline ticket, Arrival and departure and Selfies. Facebook is an ego booster to people with low self esteem. For my friend Facebook, WordPress and all social media sites are controlled by the Illuminati. People using Facebook suffer from Egosis a strange disease of the EGO. There are eccentric people who change their profile picture every now and then. Worse are the ones who proclaim sickness and want to get likes and shares. There are some who use Christ and plead: share and like and get your wishes satisfied. My friend believes that this is a plot of the Illuminati to gratify the ego of people. Again my friend said why should a phone be called I—phone? I stands for the Illuminati. He told me that 13 (13 again a strange occult number) families in the World control the Illuminati and want to control the whole world. For him the Bombing of the twin towers was a plan of the Illuminati to start a war in the Middle East and to get a footing of America to dabble in the affairs of the Middle East. The Illuminati’s interest is OIL and Iraq is richly blessed with it. It’s a frank to probe what was wrong with Iraq during the regime of Saddam. Again our conversation drifted on to Robin Williams. My friend claims that he was murdered by the Illuminati. Even the death of Michael Jackson was not normal but an Illuminati sponsored death. I am not sure whether I can believe all of this but I also carry my doubts and I am also addicted to conspiracy. I turn to my purse and smile wickedly at the 1$ bill. For all I can say is that the Illuminati can go to hell. I care two hoots.
Albert Camus’: Myth of the Sisyphus is an all time philosophical and aesthetic work which emphasizes the theme of the absurd. In this essay, I would love to refute Camus’ absurd though I have great reverence and love for his writing. The grounds of refutation used are literary, metaphysical, ontological, psychological, and materialistic.
What is the myth of Sisyphus in Greek Mythology? Sisyphus was man condemned by the Gods to take a boulder all the way uphill only to find it roll down again. Then he is forced to repeat the task. Through the myth of the Sisyphus, Camus’ brings up the theme that life is absurd, having no purpose or meaning. At the same time Camus’ contradicts himself by saying that the absurd man must avoid suicide and live a reckless and profligate life, a life in perpetual revolt. That makes Camus an aesthetic anarchist.
An etymological definition of the word absurd can be traced to the 16th century where the word is referred to as ‘being out of tune’. Firstly I would like to use literature to refute Camus’ argument. The commonality of life, that is everyday life such as wake up 6, breakfast 7, work 8 and so on Camus presents as drudgery. The rhythm of daily life can be pleasant stimulus lived in the interior of streams of consciousness. For example: I relish my life, wake up drink tea, read, workout, smoke and then I go to school where I teach. Everyday life for me is a mytho-poetic experience tinged with the purple robes of mysticism. I don’t understand in what sense is my ordinary day to day life absurd. The very chore of Sisyphus can be an existentially meaningful one. I met a lady whose husband was a missionary doctor in Liberia and caught the virus there and died. She did not even see her husband’s body. Yet she is happy and contented. Camus says God is not there and yet he contradicts himself by saying that God is absurd. Ordinary humans can devise a life that is poetic and find fulfillment in the small things of life. Truly speaking, I don’t understand Camus’ negation of life. Even a person going through a depressing phase of life affirms it negatively. Negation is an illogical concept in Existential Philosophy. We have to enact a living narrative of everyday life.
Secondly I would like to take Metaphysics as theme of argument against Camus’ absurd. The emotional content of life, like need, want, love, ambition, desire etc. are neither rational, nor deterministic nor naturalistic. How can they be treated as Absurd? When I am sharing and giving and receiving love how can it be an absurdity? The experience of love is metaphysical and transcendental. As a Christian, I find solace in the gift that my love for God is reciprocated with grace and mercy. For example: my daughter wants to join a medical school. How can her aspiration be absurd? The metaphysical intimacy of life as a theme is not the absurd of Camus but a cathartic one as espoused by Aristotle. Hatred, envy, covetousness and lust are themes that looked down upon in a Christian World View. Such feelings are also inherent with Catharsis though in a negative sense. We are living a life that has language and it signifies the methodology of presence which the deconstruction school lay bare in revolt. Camus’ deals with the theme of death in the Myth of the Sisyphus. I should ask Camus, are we condemned for death? For example in the Christian weltanschauung giving the holy communion as last rites to a dying person will uplift the person spiritually. I would like to ask Camus the blunt question would a dying person prefer to listen the AC DC song Highway to Hell. A metaphysical transcendence is meaningful and cathartic. I am using the word Cathartic in the broad sense of the term.
Next I would like to use the Ontological argument. Ontology in Philosophy refers to being. The word present in Logos has an unavoidable presence of being a meaning. Being as absurd would be incoherent and incongruous. For example making love is a process of creating the poetry of meaning. How can it be absurd? Orgasm is pleasurable not absurd. A being in the process of interaction creates meaning. The meaning is a ritual in the process of the meaning of being. Meaning is a making of a becoming. I would also like argue against Sartre’s being for itself. There is no pure existential self. Meaning is reciprocal and referential. For a Christian world view the direct ontological reference of meaning is a being with God, a being for God. If I pray to God, how does it become absurd? The vary claimants of absurdity are taking a hardliner stance and engaging in the fascism of thought. When we help another person, we in Sartre’s term are a being for the other. It would be unwise to say that Mother Teresa’s love for the poor, the afflicted and the downtrodden is absurd. Ontology is permeated with the meaning of self referential reciprocity.
Looking at Camus’ notion of absurdity from a psychological framework is to recognize its anomaly. The feelings of the ID, like want and desire are primary affective feelings and they cannot rest on the laurel of the absurd. How can absurdity address the claims of emotional and physical satisfaction? Even the song of Mike Jagger, ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ is egoistic and born with fetish appetite of a philosophical craving of desire. An emotional being is always in a state of being possessed by the notion to make meaning. The necessity of the Ego cannot be neglected in a creative society that adheres the dialogue of being a democracy. How can an Ego State be absurd? Never!
Looking at absurdity materialistically is to see the working of an economy of need and want in human actions. I have to work to earn money to lead my daily life. How can that be absurd? It’s natural human tendency to be lucrative and profitable. Here we find the only worldview that affected materialism was Communism. And Communism is a failed God. China and Russia have opened their doors to Capitalism. China is contradiction being ruled by hegemonic autocrats yet leaving the economy to the free market.
The absurdity as a philosophical notion is crazy. We do not propel our lives to suicide or live life in anarchy. There is a purpose, meaning and destiny that make life. Life can result in the meaning of being prone to a catharsis of experience.
Recently I took water baptism according to Pentecostal rites. I became fond of the meanings metaphorically as being buried as Christ, being dead as Christ and then becoming resurrected. I felt the whole process to be an enactment of a metaphor. As a Christian I am not perfect and I am always in the process of asking forgiveness and being repentant. I have become fond of Christ, the gentle lamb who died for our sins and resurrected to become the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God.