What is the ultimate meaning/purpose of life, the universe, and everything? Absurdism
suggests that there is none. Why name this "Absurdism"? The name "Absurdism" stems from the absurd feeling experienced by humanity when attempting to find meaning in an indifferent, irrational universe. You know that feeling you get when you're in the middle of watching a movie at a movie theater, and suddenly the film breaks, and the lights come on? The Absurd is like that, but instead of watching a movie, you're watching your life. It's the realization of humanity's situation in the universe when looked upon objectively. The human mind seeks unity and the universe offers nothing but cold silence. In this regard, the Absurd is considered to be the conflict between the order sought by the human mind and the chaos of the universe.
Considered as the father of Absurdism, the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
, concluded that the lack of objective meaning to be found in the universe can only be resolved by a "leap of faith" in a god or gods. This was based on the belief that a life without meaning has no value and that a life without hope leads to suicide.
While Kierkegaard may be considered the father of Absurdism, Albert Camus
can be considered the father of modern Absurdism. Camus (the Algeria-born 20th century French author, philosopher, journalist, and Nobel Prize-winner) came to a different conclusion when faced with the Absurd. He rejected both suicide and the "leap of faith", stating that there was a third option. He believed that just as suicide removes one's self from the conflict of the Absurd by abandoning life, so does a "leap of faith" by abandoning reason, making faith in god "philosophical suicide". To give up our life, or to give up our human instinct to find order and reason, is to admit defeat. It is to admit weakness. Camus believed that there was a third option, the only defensible option, and that is acceptance of the Absurd condition.
What does it mean to live with the Absurd? Camus said that there are three consequences of living the Absurd life; revolt, freedom, and passion. To revolt is to live with a complete absence of hope, rejection of objective meaning, and a conscious dissatisfaction with the end that awaits us. In a universe devoid of any objective meaning or purpose, we are free to create our own subjective meaning or purpose. In a universe devoid of a a god or a "higher power", we are free to create our own values and morals. In a life without hope, where each day brings us one step closer to death, we can live in the present moment with passion. To embrace the Absurd life is to be content with uncertainty being all that we can know for certain, and to enjoy all that this irrational world has to offer us.