I learned about absurdism when I was in college, when I was nineteen years old. In a way, I was too young or inexperienced to understand why absurdist questions troubled some men – literary men. I was studying so that I could become educated and get myself a well paying job once I finished my education. There was meaning in what I was doing or hoping for my future. And so I understood absurdism in a very narrow-minded way. I concluded that since we are all going to die eventually, achievement is a fruitless exercise. I considered absurdism as a preoccupation with death.
But I never believed that there was no purpose to my life. After all there was a purpose why I was learning literature. But for a young adult who has been well provided for and who comprehends the privilege of a college education, the concept of existentialism is hardly going to make sense. And once I completed my graduation, and started making my mark on the world, I realized that the world is a ripe place waiting for me to savour its delights. Everywhere I looked there were objects and people who gratified my senses. Fascinated with what I saw, felt and devoured, I was convinced that life not only had a purpose but much more to offer generously to anybody who stood before it with open arms.
But then, all of a sudden, a shattering experience left an eternal emptiness in my heart which no amount of love or care could refill. And that is when I became so preoccupied with my suffering, so much, that the world became a dismal place. No amount of optimistic advice was capable of bringing me out of my despair and wretchedness. And as I deliberated upon this preoccupation with suffering, I realized that I was also unhappy about the fact that I cannot allow the world to make me happy – the same world which just a while ago stood before me with a beatific smile. No matter how much I tried, I could not fill the vacuum that was left by that experience. When I thought I’d reconciled myself to that pain, I realized it was nothing but an attempt to fill the ditch with loose earth, which gave in the moment the lightest memory of that incident stepped on it.
What was I going to do, but live with it!
This effort to struggle with the pain and anguish gradually led me to believe that there was indeed no meaning to my life. The meaninglessness stemmed from the fact that I was unable to reconcile with my pain. Had I never experienced such anguish, I’d have continued existing blissfully without a thought to absurdism.
There were limited options I could try, to continue to exist and try to rekindle the love and delight for the wide world once again. The most appealing one was to commit ‘philosophical suicide’ that is, to seek God and find a lofty purpose in the anguish I suffered. And as I started healing myself by reworking on my brain center, a new thought occurred to me. What if I encounter such pain all over again? How will I adjust to a world or this nature who grants happiness and suffering at brief intervals? I’d lost my naiveté, a belief in a utopian world, because it could not safeguard me from despair. The only comfort I could derive for myself was from an idea called God which existed outside the material world.
When I further deliberated upon the metaphysical codes, I realized that a belief in the idea of a God invalidates existence in human form. The material world is mere illusion, or we experience an illusion of matter as the scientists now call it. Then, this corroborates the absurdist claim that the attempt to find meaning in life is futile.
And this meaningless scramble will not come to light unless one experiences suffering.
Therefore, the whole purpose of our life is to learn scientifically as well as metaphysically, through extreme suffering, that this existence is non-existent!
The question is once again: Why?