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The Absurdity of Human Existence, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1202

Essay

Nagel relates the sense of absurdity as individuals living and taking as well as treating their very existence seriously.  He believes that absurdity occurs in everyday life what there is a significant mismatch between aspiration and pretension.  Aspiration being what is really happening, and pretension is what we thing should be happening.  Nagel focuses less on the answer to the meaning of life but, rather, that the unquestionable void is present in most humans, yet, they continue conducting their daily lives with serious motives.  Camus addresses the his views on absurd by addressing the conflicts of what we desire from the universe, and what we can personally find within that same universe.  Essentially from this belief is where Camus states that living and devoting ones existence without giving much thought as to the reasoning behind it is absurd.  Nevertheless, if humans were able to suddenly entertain a subjective view of their existence and realize that the motives which drive them forward in life were now insignificant, then our seriousness would be “laced with irony.” (Nagel 183)  In essence, Nagel focuses not on the question of meaning itself, rather, instead, on the constant cloud of seriousness in which the majority of society conducts their lives under.

Camus on the other hand considers the notion of absurdity as a “divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting.” (Camus 95) In effect, enduring the pain and hardship of life while, at the same time, refusing to allow the question of meaning, or lack thereof, to enter into mindfulness. Although, the majority is indeed, awake of ever-present void.  He asserts that the majority of humans live in a state of almost oblivion; however; it is when they become conscious of their existence that they are no longer able to elude the unknown point in which drives them forward in life.  Moreover, Camus asserts that from the oblivious existence of absurdity he becomes enlightened to the notion that “there is no future.  Henceforth, this is the reason for [his] inner freedom…” (Camus 96)  Camus does not downright discount the possibility of meaning in life; however, he admits that if there was meaning, he is unaware of its existence.  He believes that the only things that are for sure are the things in which he can either feel or touch.  Thus nothing is definable, “but this at least is a certainty.” (Camus 99) Better yet, he declares that other than professional “rationalist” i.e. mathematician etc. today people shy away from true knowledge.  I believe this is part of Camus’s notion of absurdity that many humans’ beings are conscious of a ravenous void, yet steadfastly resist any thought of confronting it deep down, by living their existences in such grim manners, as to elude any awareness of it.  But, the fact that they are aware of such void, they persistently try to remain unconscious of that void and continue to live their life as if it were undeniably a significant purpose.

When finally mindful and aware of their absurd reality, Nagel recommends deep, as well as, constant self-reflection and awareness of our beings.  In Nagel’s opinion these two traits remain ultimately paramount and essential to existing as a human being.  He recommends and offers encouraging insight into the act of “stepping back” and examining oneself, rather, than living in a state of extreme denial. As asserted, Nagel circumvents the idea of meaning entirely, and continues to focus on the act of repetitive self-denial in which many human beings use in order to successfully repeat the same mundane, monotonous routines day in and day out.  In this regard, I see a slight correlation between the monotonous daily routines of humans and that of almost zombie-like creatures.  In essence, what I am trying to convey is to simply exist without any type of desire, is to go through life like a horse with blinders on.

Camus’s rebuttal regarding the absurd view is that humans should live in the present and, essentially, not waste thought on what is to come of the future.  Furthermore, Camus believes that regardless of the validity, or, lack of, human beings, indeed, possess the power to alter their current view and perception of the universe around them.  This paradigm is the value or meaning of life has no relevance on the present.  In his opinion, the paradigm could and would produce more fruitful endeavors throughout communities.

Personally I agree with Camus’s in their particular area. Whether or not life holds meaning, has no bearing on the present. Additionally, it indeed, life turns out to be pointless in the end, than this adopted paradigm would be more significant.  If in conclusion, life was pointless and society had lived in the present opposed to the future, human existence would have enjoyed a fruitful, peaceful and pleasant existence all the way up to its conclusion. In the event that life does, indeed end up holding valuable meaning individuals should live each day to the fullest.  If one finds out that God does truly exist and as a result the existence of heaven or hell follows, they would have chosen to live in a manner that prepared them for their eternal fate, not the present one.  This would have dictated their lives to be immoral or fruitful, either way, that individual would have enjoyed the time on earth they had been given.

On one the one hand, Nagel both suggests and contends that, when faced with the recognition of a perceived state of absurdity, individuals should take a step back and truly analyze the said reality.  He stresses that, regardless of whether there is a meaning of life, or lack of, it would be absurd to be meanwhile conscious of the possibilities, while choosing to repress it and pursue the same monotonous routines day in and day out.  On the other hand, Camus is of the opinion and philosophy that, instead of focusing on a question that is improvable and a lifetime away, we should, instead, focus on the present tense and living fruitful, pleasant and rewarding experiences while utilizing what limited time there truly is.

In the end, both men’s interpretation relating to absurdity rests solely on how they live and view their life in the present tense.  For Nagel, to rid humanity of absurdity, and while living in the present, it is imperative for human beings  to reflect deeply on the true meaning of life, and derive reasoning for their chosen life’s dedication, to the answer they discover.  However, in Camus’s opinion, human beings should worry and focus not on any perceived philosophy regarding the meaning of life or its absurdity, but, instead, should simply dwell in the present tense and focus on living fruitful and rewarding lives while on alive and existing.  In either scenario, although, it is not difficult to sense their lack of spiritual belief, neither individual, actually go as far as denying the existence of a higher power or Supreme Being.  Instead, the two men focus on the present tense of human existence and how they should perceive and or justify, their time spent, until death.

Bibliography

Camus, Albert, “The Absurdity of Human Existence,” 1995. 95.

Nagel. “The Meaning of life and the Absurd,” Nagel. The Meaning of Life. n.d. 183.

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