Reality's absurdity to Existentialists

By Christopher Wink | Apr 15, 2007 | Existentialism

There are likely few more important issues for philosophy than the question of existence, a subject that has been covered in innumerable ways by every successful intellectual. Perhaps one of the more popular means for understanding this world is to see it through the veil of the absurd.

Legendary Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) had something to say on that concept. An avid critic of the structure of religion in Denmark, Kierkegaard wrote often of organized religious dogma, crediting its absurdity and contradiction with keeping its followers distanced from God. A century later Parisian philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) voiced his own thoughts on individual experiences which, he wrote, was absurd because of disconnect from each other.

Countless thinkers have noted absurdity throughout reality, but moreover, the entire notion of life is absurd. To establish existence, emergence must occur. For most of us, our existence began with our birth, our emergence from our parents. Something must precede every beginning, so from where did existence itself emerge? This is the game philosophers play and because there can be no answer, it is, to be sure, absurd. Any form of reality then, must also be absurd.

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Reality’s absurdity to Existentialists

By Christopher Wink | Apr 15, 2007 | Existentialism

There are likely few more important issues for philosophy than the question of existence, a subject that has been covered in innumerable ways by every successful intellectual. Perhaps one of the more popular means for understanding this world is to see it through the veil of the absurd.

Legendary Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) had something to say on that concept. An avid critic of the structure of religion in Denmark, Kierkegaard wrote often of organized religious dogma, crediting its absurdity and contradiction with keeping its followers distanced from God. A century later Parisian philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) voiced his own thoughts on individual experiences which, he wrote, was absurd because of disconnect from each other.

Countless thinkers have noted absurdity throughout reality, but moreover, the entire notion of life is absurd. To establish existence, emergence must occur. For most of us, our existence began with our birth, our emergence from our parents. Something must precede every beginning, so from where did existence itself emerge? This is the game philosophers play and because there can be no answer, it is, to be sure, absurd. Any form of reality then, must also be absurd.

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Existential men of de Beauvoir

By Christopher Wink | Apr 17, 2007 | Existentialism

In 1947 French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) published The Ethics of Ambiguity, arguably the most accessible explanation of a host of existential ideas and themes. A notable member of a notable age in French philosophy, Beauvoir had a close relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and was a contemporary of Albert Camus (1913-1960) and fellow Parisian Simone Weil (1909-1943). In Ethics, one of Beauvoir’s more memorable techniques was to characterize a series of men with certain existential qualities in order to make the themes easier to understand through their personification.

In one way or another, almost all of the personalities form and fall into one or another, but one is particularly interesting in the problems it encounters, the serious man. This man is enraptured in the very spirit of seriousness, considering his values bigger than his personage, certainly an example of Sartre’s concept of bad faith.

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Absurdity in Camus

By Christopher Wink | Apr 17, 2007 | Existentialism

Albert Camus is no small figure in twentieth century philosophy. Born in Algeria to a working-class family, to many, Camus is a central figure who, despite his disapproving, has become the face of existentialism. Because of his importance, his assertion that suicide is the ultimate philosophical question is no small matter.

In the late 1930s Camus (1913-1960) began writing of reality’s absurdity, expounding on the subject in his legendary Myth of Sisyphus and continuing the theme in works like The Stranger and others. Camus’s paradox of the absurd took on the idea that, while we do much to convince ourselves otherwise, with the universe in mind, our lives are unquestionably insignificant.

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