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Re: the absurd

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  • Mary Jo Malo
    The more you think about it the more you come to understand there has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the list is endless. Which,
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 1, 2005
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      "The more you think about it the more you come to understand there
      has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the
      list is endless. Which, of course, doesn't really explain what the
      hell I am doing in here pointing it out over and over again. But then
      I have never understood myself. And I think I cling to existential
      philosophy because it is the closest thing I have ever come to to
      understanding why I probably never will. That's a comfort of sorts.
      If you know what I mean." g.

      Dear g.

      Wouldn't say that I know exactly what you mean, but close enough to
      agree. We understand that not everyone is able to say "it's all right
      Ma," and many do have a 'bitch'. Problem is, with whom? Certainly not
      all our other unfortunate compadres. At least that's what Camus
      thought. I've yet to face the telephone call that renders my
      existentialism irrelevant. Until then, I'll savor the honey and maybe
      share a little. Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      wrote:
      > Living is not about what we know, of course, because there is very
      little we can know [philosophically] regarding our evalutions and
      judgments of human behavior. Instead it is about how we interpret
      what we think we know. And then, in turn, in how others evaluate and
      judge that.
      >
      > The absurd allows you to interpret human behavior in any number of
      ways. And with no final arbiter to be found we have to live with the
      consequences of that.
      >
      > Sometimes [in particular personalities embedded in particular
      circumstances] it makes sense to say, "it's all right Ma, it's life
      and life only". But for other personalities embedded in other sets of
      circumstances that frame of reference seems quite preposterous.
      >
      > The world depicted in Sophie's Choice leaps to mind.
      >
      > I can think of only two reactions that make sense---fighting back
      or clinging all the more to the distractions. Fighting back revolves
      around the relationship between rage and fear. You are enraged at
      what the thugs do in this world but you are fearful that if you do
      fight back they will do the same thing to you. And they have the
      power----the wealth and the armies and the guns and the bombs. And
      you have your moral outrage.
      >
      > So you distract yourself from having to make the committment. And
      then you live with it. Because, you tell yourself, it really is
      ultimately futile no mattter what you do.
      >
      > In many profound ways this is an appallingly shitty world. You
      either come to understand that or you don't.
      >
      > I loved Camus as well. And he chose to fight back, of course.
      Perhaps that was his distraction of choice. But he is gone forever
      and soon you and I will be gone forever too. Is there any reaction to
      that which makes any more sense than any other reaction?
      >
      > The more you think about it the more you come to understand there
      has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the
      list is endless.
      >
      > Which, of course, doesn't really explain what the hell I am doing
      in here pointing it out over and over again. But then I have never
      understood myself. And I think I cling to existential philosophy
      because it is the closest thing I have ever come to to understanding
      why I probably never will.
      >
      > That's a comfort of sorts. If you know what I mean.
      >
      >
      >
      > g.
      >
      >
      > Mary Jo Malo <maryjomalo@y...> wrote:
      > It's all life, George. Either/or and neither/nor. The diversions
      are
      > life. The absurd is life. We really don't need philosophy or
      religion
      > or very many words; we just like them for whatever reason. As you
      > know I enjoy Camus' take on the absurd. He had a disease (TB) for
      > which there was no cure but died an accidental car death. For me
      what
      > he expressed in his writing was that life itself was a hope, that
      > there could be more life. What's more absurd than that? We have to
      > face the fact of death alone and die our death alone. No one can do
      > it for us or reason it away. All the company that we keep can't
      stay
      > that death from us. I recently finished Camus' "Exile and the
      > Kingdom" and especially enjoyed the story, "The Artist at Work" as
      a
      > wonderful expression of the absurd. I found his character Jonas to
      be
      > a more poignant, gentle discoverer of the absurd, not as cowardly
      and
      > calculating as Clamence (The Fall) or as cold and indifferent as
      > Meursault (The Stranger). Mary
      >
      > Darkness at the break of noon
      > Shadows even the silver spoon
      > The handmade blade, the child's balloon
      > Eclipses both the sun and moon
      > To understand you know too soon
      > There is no sense in trying.
      >
      > Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
      > Suicide remarks are torn
      > From the fools gold mouthpiece
      > The hollow horn plays wasted words
      > Proved to warn
      > That he not busy being born
      > Is busy dying.
      >
      > Temptation's page flies out the door
      > You follow, find yourself at war
      > Watch waterfalls of pity roar
      > You feel to moan but unlike before
      > You discover
      > That you'd just be
      > One more person crying.
      >
      > So don't fear if you hear
      > A foreign sound to you ear
      > It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.
      >
      > As some warn victory, some downfall
      > Private reasons great or small
      > Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
      > To make all that should be killed to crawl
      > While others say don't hate nothing at all
      > Except hatred.
      >
      > Disillusioned words like bullets bark
      > As human gods aim for their marks
      > Made everything from toy guns that sparks
      > To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
      > It's easy to see without looking too far
      > That not much
      > Is really sacred.
      >
      > While preachers preach of evil fates
      > Teachers teach that knowledge waits
      > Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
      > Goodness hides behind its gates
      > But even the President of the United States
      > Sometimes must have
      > To stand naked.
      >
      > An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
      > It's only people's games that you got to dodge
      > And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.
      >
      > Advertising signs that con you
      > Into thinking you're the one
      > That can do what's never been done
      > That can win what's never been won
      > Meantime life outside goes on
      > All around you.
      >
      > You loose yourself, you reappear
      > You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
      > Alone you stand without nobody near
      > When a trembling distant voice, unclear
      > Startles your sleeping ears to hear
      > That somebody thinks
      > They really found you.
      >
      > A question in your nerves is lit
      > Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
      > Insure you not to quit
      > To keep it in your mind and not forget
      > That it is not he or she or them or it
      > That you belong to.
      >
      > Although the masters make the rules
      > For the wise men and the fools
      > I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.
      >
      > For them that must obey authority
      > That they do not respect in any degree
      > Who despite their jobs, their destinies
      > Speak jealously of them that are free
      > Cultivate their flowers to be
      > Nothing more than something
      > They invest in.
      >
      > While some on principles baptized
      > To strict party platforms ties
      > Social clubs in drag disguise
      > Outsiders they can freely criticize
      > Tell nothing except who to idolize
      > And then say God Bless him.
      >
      > While one who sings with his tongue on fire
      > Gargles in the rat race choir
      > Bent out of shape from society's pliers
      > Cares not to come up any higher
      > But rather get you down in the hole
      > That he's in.
      >
      > But I mean no harm nor put fault
      > On anyone that lives in a vault
      > But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.
      >
      > Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
      > Limited in sex, they dare
      > To push fake morals, insult and stare
      > While money doesn't talk, it swears
      > Obscenity, who really cares
      > Propaganda, all is phony.
      >
      > While them that defend what they cannot see
      > With a killer's pride, security
      > It blows the minds most bitterly
      > For them that think death's honesty
      > Won't fall upon them naturally
      > Life sometimes
      > Must get lonely.
      >
      > My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
      > False gods, I scuff
      > At pettiness which plays so rough
      > Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
      > Kick my legs to crash it off
      > Say okay, I have had enough
      > What else can you show me ?
      >
      > And if my thought-dreams could been seen
      > They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
      > But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.
      >
      > Bob Dylan
      > It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > Emile Cioran from The Heights of Despair:
      > >
      > > "When all the current reasons---moral, aesthetic, religious,
      > social, and so on---no longer guide one's life, how can one sustain
      > life without succumbing to nothingness? Only by a connection with
      the
      > absurd, by love of absolute uselessness, loving something which
      does
      > not have substance but which simulates an illusion of life."
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > The irony of course is how a passion for philosophy can take some
      > through circuitous close encounters with all manner of received
      > wisdom and in the end deposit them instead into an intellectual
      > wasteland that engenders a feeling of being profoundly disconnected
      > from all the great thoughts of all the great minds.
      > >
      > > What happens is this: you try to connect the dots between the
      great
      > ideas floating amidst the clouds of abstraction and the gritty
      world
      > you actually live in and it finally begins to dawn on you the aim
      was
      > quite the opposite. The aim was by and large to take you out of the
      > cave altogether...out into the blinding light of Truth.
      > >
      > > The blinding light of....The Word.
      > >
      > > The absurd shreds that to bits, of course, but if you're lucky it
      > will rescue you from the philosophical straitjacket that is
      > either/or. Ambiguity is the ticket. It discards either/or and
      instead
      > suggests another way: neither/nor.
      > >
      > > Among other things, this increases your options by leaps and
      > bounds. And that is because the logocentric truth-tellers always
      feel
      > compelled to follow the stright and narrow path of self-
      > righteousness. They are slaves to The Word.
      > >
      > > And when the absurd turns on you in moments of existential
      despair
      > there are always distractions to divert you---love and sex and
      sports
      > and entertainment and careers and family. The list is practically
      > endless. The illusion becomes real because you are able to trick
      > yourself psychologically by falling into them.
      > >
      > > Only death is insurmountable. But then you may reach the point
      > where you want to die.
      > >
      > > Or maybe not. Oblivion admittedly is the toughest nut to crack.
      > There are few distractions that work when the doc tells you the
      tumor
      > is inoperable. Not even the absurd helps if you love your life and
      > its about to end. Then you have to trick yourself like Plato and
      Kant
      > [and so many others] with philosophy or religion.
      > >
      > > I wonder how they do that.
      > >
      > > george
      > >
      > >
      > >
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