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Existentialism

as a set of ideas to categorize human existence, beyond the traditional ancient philosophies and scientific method. Existentialist thinkers focus on the question of concrete human existence and the conditions of this existence rather than hypothesizing a human essence, stressing that the human essence is determined through life choices. However, even though the concrete individual existence must have priority in existentialism, certain conditions are commonly held to be "endemic" to human existence. Humans exist in a state of distance from the world that they nonetheless remain in the midst of. This distance is what enables humans to project meaning into the disinterested world of in-itselfs. This projected meaning remains fragile, constantly facing breakdown for any reason from a tragedy to a particularly insightful moment. In such a breakdown, humans are put face to face with the naked meaninglessness of the world, and the results can be devastating. Albert Camusclaimed that "there is only one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide" It has been said that the possibility of suicide makes all humans existentialists. Thus, the human being through their own consciousness creates their own values and determines a meaning to their life. It is often claimed in this context that a person defines him or herself, which is often perceived as stating that they can "wish" to be something anything, a bird, for instance and then be it. According to most existentialist philosophers, however, this would constitute an inauthentic existence. Instead, the phrase should be taken to say that the person is (1) defined only insofar as he or she acts and (2) that he or she is responsible for his or her actions. For example, someone who acts cruelly towards other people is, by that act, defined as a cruel person. Furthermore, by this action of cruelty such persons are themselves responsible for their new identity (a cruel person). This is as opposed to their genes, or 'human nature', bearing the blame. The notion of the Absurd contains the idea that there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond what meaning we give to it. This meaninglessness also encompasses the amorality or "unfairness" of the world. This contrasts with

"karmic" ways of thinking in which "bad things don't happen to good people"; to the world, metaphorically speaking, there is no such thing as a good person or a bad thing; what happens happens, and it may just as well happen to a "good" person as to a "bad" person. In philosophy, "The Absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek value andmeaning in life and the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean "logically impossible," but rather "humanly impossible."[1] The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously. Absurdism, therefore, is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information, including the vast unknown, makes certainty impossible. As a philosophy, absurdism also explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should react to it. In absurdist philosophy, the Absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual's search for meaning and the apparent meaninglessness of the universe. As beings looking for meaning in a meaningless world, humans have three ways of resolving the dilemma. Suicide (or, "escaping existence"): a solution in which a person simply ends one's own life. Both Kierkegaard and Camus dismiss the viability of this option. Camus states that it does not counter the Absurd, but only becomes more absurd, to end one's own existence. Acceptance of the Absurd: a solution in which one accepts the Absurd and continues to live in spite of it. Camus endorsed this solution, believing that by accepting the Absurd, one can achieve absolute freedom, and that by recognizing no religious or other moral constraints and by revolting against the Absurd while simultaneously accepting it as unstoppable, one could possibly be content from the personal meaning constructed in the process. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, regarded this solution as "demoniac madness": "He rages most of all at the thought that eternity might get it into its head to take his misery from him!"

Albert Camus
Although the notion of the 'absurd' is pervasive in all of the literature of Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus is his chief work on the subject. In it, Camus considers absurdity as a confrontation, an opposition, a conflict or a "divorce" between two ideals. Specifically, he defines the human condition as absurd, as the confrontation between man's desire for significance, meaning and clarity on the one hand and the silent, cold universe on the other. He continues that there are specific human experiences evoking notions of absurdity. Such a realization or encounter with the absurd leaves the individual with a choice: suicide, a leap of faith or recognition. He concludes that recognition is the only defensible option.[10] For Camus, suicide is a "confession" that life is not worth living; it is a choice implicitly declaring that life is "too much." Suicide offers the most basic "way out" of absurdity: the immediate termination of the self and its place in the universe. The absurd encounter can also arouse a "leap of faith," a term derived from one of Kierkegaard's early pseudonyms, Johannes de Silentio (although the term was not used by Kierkegaard himself),[11] where one believes that there is more than the rational life (aesthetic or ethical). To take a "leap of faith," one must act with the "virtue of the absurd" (as Johannes de Silentio put it), where a suspension of the ethical may need to exist. This faith has no expectations, but is a flexible power initiated by a recognition of the absurd. (Although one, at some point, recognizes or encounters the existence of the Absurd, in response, one actively ignores it.) However, Camus states that because the leap of faith escapes rationality and defers to abstraction over personal experience, the leap of faith is not absurd. Camus considers the leap of faith as "philosophical suicide," rejecting both this and physical suicide.[11][12] Lastly, a person can choose to embrace his or her own absurd condition. According to Camus, one's freedom and the opportunity to give life meaning lies in the recognition of absurdity. If the absurd experience is truly the realization that the universe is fundamentally devoid of absolutes, then we as individuals are truly free. "To live without appeal,"[13]as he puts it, is a philosophical move to define absolutes and universals subjectively, rather than objectively. The freedom of humans is thus established in a human's natural ability and opportunity to create his own meaning and purpose; to decide (or think) for him- or herself. The individual becomes the most precious unit of existence, as he or she represents a set of unique ideals which can be characterized as an entire universe in its own right. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search

regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing his or her own meaning from the search alone. Camus states in The Myth of Sisyphus: "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."[14] "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 it is concluded that every moment be lived fully. For Camus, it is the beauty which people encounter in life that makes it worth living. People may create meaning in their own lives, which may not be theobjective meaning of life (if there is one), but can still provide something for which to strive. However, he insisted that one must always maintain an ironicdistance between this invented meaning and the knowledge of the absurd, lest the fictitious meaning take the place of the absurd. For Camus, it is the beauty which people encounter in life that makes it worth living. People may create meaning in their own lives, which may not be theobjective meaning of life (if there is one), but can still provide something for which to strive. However, he insisted that one must always maintain an ironicdistance between this invented meaning and the knowledge of the absurd, lest the fictitious meaning take the place of the absurd.

Hope
The rejection of hope, in absurdism, denotes the refusal to believe in anything more than what this absurd life provides. Hope, Camus emphasizes, however, has nothing to do with despair (meaning that the two terms are not antonymous). One can still live fully while rejecting hope, and, in fact, can only do so without hope. Hope is perceived by the absurdist as another fraudulent method of evading the Absurd, and by not having hope, one will be motivated to live every fleeting moment to the fullest.
Absurd art does not try to explain experience, but simply describes it. It presents a certain worldview that deals with particularmatters rather than aiming for universal themes.