Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Philosophy Behind "Welcome to Nightvale" by Kaitlyn Hardy (#8)

“Welcome to Nightvale” is a podcast created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. In the episodes, you are listening to a man Cecil Gershwin Palmer as he talks on the town’s local radio station. But Nightvale is anything but normal. Here’s a quote from episode one for you to see the town’s uniqueness: “A great howling was heard from the Night Vale Post Office yesterday. Postal workers claim no knowledge, although passersby described the sound as being a little like a human soul being destroyed through black magic.”

Philosophy Tube: WTNV

Speaking philosophically, this podcast has a lot in common with the views of Albert Camus. This man proposed the paradox that life is completely absurd and meaningless, but that does not mean suicide is the answer. Instead he says it is recognizing the coldness of the universe and simply accepting it; much like Cecil and the citizens of Nightvale have done. They have accepted the weird happenings and now call it their norm.

It is because of this that Camus is usually grouped with Existentialists, because he talks about finding a meaning to life amongst all the nonsense. He writes about The Myth of Sisyphus, which is about a man who has to roll a boulder up a hill every day, only to watch it roll back down to do it all again tomorrow. Despite this meaningless act, Sisyphus acts this as his norm and finds happiness in that. Camus makes the philosophical statement:

Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death, and I refuse suicide….”Revolt” here refers to the refusal of suicide and search for meaning despite the revelation of the Absurd; “Freedom” refers to the lack of imprisonment by religious devotion or others' moral codes; “Passion” refers to the most wholehearted experiencing of life, since hope has been rejected, and so he concludes that every moment must be lived fully.

This is exactly what Cecil has done in “Welcome to Nightvale.” He accepts the absurdities that go on in the town and in fact is very whimsical and optimistic towards the whole ordeal. He even finds love throughout the entire mess. 

Welcome to Nightvale EP 1

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