The Dismissal Of Absolutes

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The dismissal of absolutes by Camus in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus as an escape from the absurd shows that Camus' commitment to life with joy and passion is another form of escape from the absurd. By embracing religion the cold irrationality of our society may be ignored. Science attempts to make sense of the world but the true irrationality of the universe lies within the human mind. A commitment to anything including life provides an escape from the irrationality that exists in our minds. Commitment to life and all other absolutes provides an escape from the absurd as well as irrational thoughts and actions of humans.

Firstly religion offers believers an escape from the ridiculous. Western religion provides believers a set of rules or "goals" that many followers structure their life around. These goals allow structure for the individual and protect them from the reality of the world around them as well as restricting their individual freedom.

These sets of rules are clearly comprehendable in print. Camus discusses this in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. "One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness." Many religions also offer their followers a "scapegoat" to harbor the blame for the chaos and absurdity of the world. Most monotheist religions offer the comfort that life has direction and an end all orchestrated by a higher being. Jesus was a mortal (if there was a Jesus), and so were his disciples who wrote the Bible, therefore religions based upon the Bible have created societies based on the teachings and social guidelines presented in the Bible that have come from the irrational mind of the disciples and how they perceived the events the Bible speaks of. All minds are irrational because our previous experiences or teachings obscure our perceptions. However uniform our perception becomes it will never be the same as another person's.

Another way people shield themselves from the absurd is science. Scientific theories have been proved and disproved throughout time and, although this has added to our understanding of the universe, few scientists have attempted to study the irrationality and free thought of the human mind. Freud was perhaps the first person to make progress in the study of the human psyche. Although in his time Freud was deemed sexually perverse and many of his ideas and work was shunned, his work on studying the unconsciousness and "blocking out" of memories was revolutionary. Without a strong understanding of the moderator of our perceptions (our mind) a person cannot strive to achieve uniform perceptions, nor can our society understand how a person makes choices and why in our mind exists chaos while the world remains rational and quantitative. People continue to find comfort in the rationality that exists in the universe. By protecting themselves with this knowledge they do not need to face the truth that the world can be measured whereas the human perception of the world and why people make choices cannot.

Also important to comprehend is that by limiting the course of thought true consciousness can never be achieved. Focusing our minds, bodies or souls towards a goal provides the same mind-numbing effects towards the discovery of the irrational mind as religion or science. By committing to life with joy and passion an existentialist will not advance towards consciousness but will retreat into the darkness of unconsciousness because they do not allow the absurd to infiltrate their minds. Camus and other existentialist thinkers have exposed many points about the absurd universe but have not lived the definition of the absurd existence. Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf is perhaps the most core sketch of a man living an absurd lifestyle. Hesse provides an explanation as to the limiting factors of Harry Haller (the steppenwolf). "He (Harry) who has developed far beyond the level possible to the bourgeois, he who knows the bliss of meditation no less than the gloomy joys of self hatred, he who despises law, virtue and common sense, is nevertheless captive to the bourgeoisie and cannot escape it"(Hesse Steppenwolf page 53). This quotation shows the absurdity of being able to live under no guidelines as well as the fact that meditation will get an existentialist no further than self-hatred. A commitment to a course of thought limits our free thought.

Commitment to life and all other absolutes including religion and science provide an escape from the absurd world. By embracing religion followers discover a protection from the absurd. Science allows the discovery of rationality falsely leading the mind to the conclusion that everything is rational. A commitment to life with joy and happiness provides yet another escape from the irrationality of the human psyche. Through these conclusions consciousness cannot be achieve through a commitment to anything but, rather, by a non-commitment to everything.