Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humanity to find meaning in the universe ultimately fail, and therefore are absurd because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to humanity. The word absurd in this context does not mean logically impossible but rather humanly impossible.

According to Absurdism, humans historically attempt to find meaning in their lives. For some, traditionally, this search follows one of two paths, either concluding that life is meaningless and that what we have is the here and now, or filling the void with a purpose set forth by a higher power, often a belief in God or adherence to a religion. However, even with a spiritual power as the answer to meaning, another question is posed. What is the purpose of God?

Kierkegaard, the 19th century Danish philosopher, believed that there is no human comprehensible purpose of God, making faith in God absurd. He argued that doubt is an element of faith and that it is impossible to gain any objective certainty about the existence of God. The most one could hope for would be the conclusion that it is probable that the doctrines are true, but if a person were to believe such doctrines only to the degree they seemed likely to be true, he or she would not be genuinely religious at all. Faith consists in a subjective relation of absolute commitment.

For some, suicide is a solution when confronted with the futility of living a life devoid of all purpose, as it is only a means to quicken the resolution of one’s ultimate fate. For Albert Camus, in The Myth of Sisyphus, suicide is not a worthwhile solution because if life is veritably absurd, then it is even more absurd to counteract it. Instead, we should engage in living and reconcile the fact that we live in a world without purpose.

The beauty that people encounter in life makes it worth living. People may create meaning in their own lives, which may not be the objective meaning of life but still provides something for which to strive. However, Camus insisted that one must always maintain an ironic distance between this invented meaning and the knowledge of the absurd lest the fictitious meaning take the place of the absurd.

Camus introduced the idea of acceptance without resignation and asked if man can live without incentive, defining a conscious revolt against the avoidance of absurdity of the world. In a world devoid of higher meaning man becomes absolutely free. It is through this freedom that man can act either as a mystic, through incentive to some supernatural force, or an absurd hero through a revolt against such hope. Henceforth, the absurd hero’s refusal to hope becomes his singular ability to live in the present with passion.


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