Monday, October 07, 2013

Slacker Prompt Blog 6

           I have just finished reading The Stranger by Albert Camus. It is the first existentialist work I have fully finished reading. It is a great book, and I hope to read much more of Albert Camus’ work. The Stranger has a number of interesting social critiques as well as its major existentialist overtones. It is a beautiful work of the philosophy, and it is one of my favorite pieces thus far.

           The book has left me wondering about a number of things. I notice that the existentialists seem to formulate some sort of response to the main problem which they encounter. And, for me, each response always seem insufficient, like some desperate attempt to justify living after realizing its hollow core.

            For Albert Camus, I suppose it is the recognition of the absurd, the existentialist problem, and then the response which is the first step to becoming an absurdist. With the recognition, one must sufficiently acknowledge and respond to the problem of absurdity. It would seem that one must do so with authenticity and sincerity.

            But, why does this make someone a hero? How does this make someone superior to any other?

            With Nietzsche, in a summarized version, the superman responds to the world by saying yes to life. The superman lives for the aesthetic experience and for the prosperity of man. The superman pushes culture forward, rejects morality, and triumphs over the rest of man.

            But, here we are assuming evolution has a direction. We are assuming that there are some measurements by which we can compare a man to another man. Sure, we can suppose these, and we can look at the world within the scope of some particular value or virtue, but the process can only quickly unfold itself. The goals of most existentialists are to break down systems and show their worthlessness, but afterwards, they all tend to proceed to try and rebuild a new system.

            I wonder if there are any philosophers who push the existentialist implications to their end. From there, there is no point to proceed; no point to continue living but no point to end life either. A true nihilist feeling and an apathetic loneliness. Perhaps there is nowhere to go. Maybe it is required of social animals to return to society, to begin justifying life another time. To desperately try to create meaning.

            For anyone who has come to the existentialist conclusion, it would see that this is the only option. The only option is to create meaning. Because we aren’t The Stranger; we aren’t indifferent to our death. The indifference of the universe only pears on us for brief moments and not for our entire existence. We have relationships which we care about; we feel them to be more than superficial. We feel that happiness is worth something. And eventually we reach the end of our thought; we do this time and time again. Pondering the universe until our mind cannot comprehend until we comprehend just enough to know that there will be no end. Until contradictions and paradoxes start caving in on themselves. And it all returns back to Socrates who we see to begin our tradition of thought.


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