Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, December 1, 2014

Camus' Absurdity 4/4

“As if that blind rage has washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, I that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much life myself – so like a brother, really – I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate” (Camus 122-3).
This last passage is no longer passive. After Meursault’s enlightening transformation, he fully accepts the irrationality and meaninglessness of life rather than just being indifferent about life. From Meursault’s perspective these absurd events have enriched his understanding that life lacks meaning. Instead of blindly subscribing to his belief before his transformation, now he lives and breathes the absurdist philosophy.  I can relate the same to religion because many people blindly subscribe to a religion. When Meursault mentions feeling alone, it reminds me that he remains a stranger in life and to others. The sentiment of absurdity, and the senselessness of life, animates Camus’ other work The Myth of Sisyphus: we have nothing to expect from life, therefore we must accept the insistent struggle of absurdity in order to be at peace with it. 

"Camus argues that the temptation is always there to make something into an absolute source of meaning. But when seeking refuge in a more temperate climate of thought, we part ways with reason and again negate one of the terms that give rise to the absurd. We should not be so eager to destroy what cannot be destroyed. We must remain faithful to what lucid consciousness and reason have aroused – the path must remain true to its terms. We must learn how to live with it."

On a much lighter note: here's another take on absurdity. 
"If the world were clear, art would not exist." - The Myth of Sisyphus

A brief side note regarding my original report topic... As a dancer, it is difficult to understand how the mind and body can be so independent of one another. Dance is both immensely physical and cognitive, and their relationship is crucial. Here is an interesting article that illustrates my perspective of the mind/body relationship as a dancer. 
"Because classical ballet relies on certain discrete movements that a dancer must repeat thousands of times throughout a career, the brains of dancers, it turns out, are exquisitely sensitive to seeing movements they've rehearsed. If they see someone performing an arabesque, for example, certain motor areas of their brains respond as if they were themselves performing the step."

1 comment:

  1. The "shared experience of absurdity" seems to be our fate, we might as well appreciate the humor implicit in our condition. But I would say to Camus what the late Christopher Hitchens said, about meaning:

    "A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so."

    Dancers have finely developed mirror neurons, whose mimicry would be hard to explain in strictly dualistic terms. I'll bet dancing dualists are relatively rare.