• Josh Lee
    52
    The philosopher Albert Camus points out that ,” But one day the “why” arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. “Begins”—this is important. Weariness comes at the end of the acts of a mechanical life, but at the same time it inaugurates the impulse of consciousness. It awakens consciousness and provokes what follows. What follows is the gradual return into the chain or it is the definitive awakening. At the end of the awakening comes, in time, the consequence: suicide or recovery.”

    TLDR, out of the blue, men questions his existence and the meaning of life. What I’m doubting is that once you’ve explored these ideas, you somewhat feel burdened. Sometimes you feel that the past where you do things aimlessly and ignorantly seems to be more fulfilling as now you face with the uncertain absurdity of life. Is this true for most of y’all or am I being somewhat nihilistic?
  • Luke
    973
    The real discovery is the one which enables me to stop doing philosophy when I want to. The one that gives philosophy peace, so that it is no longer tormented by questions which bring itself into question. — Wittgenstein PI § 133
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    The philosopher Albert Camus points out that ”But one day the 'why' arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. “Begins”—this is important.Josh Lee
    Indeed.

    Imagine a happy group of morons who are engaged in work. They are carrying bricks in an open field. As soon as they have stacked all the bricks at one end of the field, they proceed to transport them to the opposite end. This continues without stop and every day of every year they are busy doing the same thing. One day one of the morons stops long enough to ask himself what he is doing. He wonders what purpose there is in carrying the bricks. And from that point on, he is not quite as content with his occupation as he had been before. I AM THE MORON WHO WONDERS WHY HE IS CARRYING THE BRICKS.
    From satisfied swine to 'sad Socrates' at the speed of one stray, recurring, thought ... cursed (fuck'd)!

    :death: :flower:
  • Josh Lee
    52

    Imagine a happy group of morons who are engaged in work. They are carrying bricks in an open field. As soon as they have stacked all the bricks at one end of the field, they proceed to transport them to the opposite end. This continues without stop and every day of every year they are busy doing the same thing. One day one of the morons stops long enough to ask himself what he is doing. He wonders what purpose there is in carrying the bricks. And from that point on, he is not quite as content with his occupation as he had been before. I AM THE MORON WHO WONDERS WHY HE IS CARRYING THE BRICKS.

    A less humorous version of this would be Sisyphus. Great book which explores this concept is Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Not philosophy generally, but the "what is the meaning of life?" question is a curse.

    The analogy I used to make sense of it when I was finally stricken with it last year, over a decade after I finished a degree in philosophy, is that you have been floating along on the surface of an infinitely deep sea, and it suddenly occurs to you that you're not standing on anything and that that is somehow a problem. But the sea is infinitely deep, so if you try to touch the bottom, to reach down until you find something to stand on, you'll just sink forever and drown. Alternatively, you can realize that the alternative to touching the bottom isn't just reaching your hands up and hoping that SuperJesus will whisk you off into the sky; you'll just drown if you do that too. The pragmatic thing to do is just relax and keep floating, and realize that you don't need to touch the bottom, or for there to be a bottom, for you to keep your head above water -- nor does there need to be some flying savior to pull you up either. You can just float, and that is normal and fine and there was never any other alternative to that (besides drowning) to begin with.

    This pragmatic metaphor applies also to more technical philosophical matters like epistemology, where it is analogous to an argument against justificationism, and in favor of critical rationalism. Asking for a chain of justifying reasons "from the ground up" and rejecting anything that can't meet demand leaves you rejecting everything forever, because there is no ground, the water goes all the way down. Instead, just float -- accept whatever seems to be true, for no reason more than it seems so -- and only reject things that would weigh you down -- reject things that have proven themselves false.

    In deontology, it's analogous to liberalism. Everything is by default permissible, except things that can be shown bad.

    And so on.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    A less humorous version of this would be Sisyphus. Great book which explores this concept is Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus.Josh Lee
    No. Sisyphus is happy in the end (Camus), ennobled, perhaps, by sacrilegious - absurdist - spite. That absurd 'grace' has yet to be achieved by (my) socratic moron.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    Imagine a happy group of morons who are engaged in work. They are carrying bricks in an open field. As soon as they have stacked all the bricks at one end of the field, they proceed to transport them to the opposite end. This continues without stop and every day of every year they are busy doing the same thing. One day one of the morons stops long enough to ask himself what he is doing. He wonders what purpose there is in carrying the bricks. And from that point on, he is not quite as content with his occupation as he had been before. I AM THE MORON WHO WONDERS WHY HE IS CARRYING THE BRICKS.
    From satisfied swine to 'sad Socrates' at the speed of one stray, recurring, thought ... cursed (fuck'd)!
    180 Proof
    Strange. I would have thought carrying the bricks would be the curse and finally questioning why you're doing it would be breaking free of that curse. Learning that you have options is the essence of freedom. It seems that you're saying freedom is a curse, not philosophy.

    Just replace "moving bricks" with "picking cotton" and I think you'll see what I'm getting at.
  • Josh Lee
    52
    No. Sisyphus is happy in the end (Camus),ennobled, perhaps, by sacrilegious - absurdist - spite. That absurd 'grace' has yet to be achieved by (my) socratic moron.180 Proof

    Haha yes I agree that there’s a somewhat happy ending but the idea of it seems somewhat gloomy.
  • Josh Lee
    52


    that’s an amazing analogy, I’m unable to contribute anymore with that, it gives an encompassing answer to the question. Aut tace aut loquere meliora silencio. Guess I have nothing to add on.
  • fdrake
    4k
    :strong:

    If you're at your momma's funeral and you're not crying 'cos you're committed to the Socratic ideal of self mastery... you better put down the crack pipe — Cornel West
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Just replace "moving bricks" with "picking cotton" and I think you'll see what I'm getting at.Harry Hindu
    "Trolling"in your case for sure. I got what you're "getting at" - take all the rope you need.
  • Nils Loc
    663
    But the sea is infinitely deep, so if you try to touch the bottom, to reach down until you find something to stand on, you'll just sink forever and drown.Pfhorrest

    Then your tablet beeps and you continue chasing down items in an Amazon warehouse.

    Being is cursed if being is cursed.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    So questioning whether freedom is a curse or not qualifies as trolling? I find that most "philosophers" can't seem to be consistent from one branch of philosophy to the next. Their ethics/politics often contradicts their metaphysics or vice versa.
  • praxis
    2.5k
    I would have thought carrying the bricks would be the curse and finally questioning why you're doing it would be breaking free of that curse.Harry Hindu

    Every day you breathe in and out, over and over again, but eventually you’ll stop and that will be the end of breathing. Is realizing the ultimate futility of it, or the option to not breathe, liberating? Or maybe you feel free in realizing that you can breathe, when you know that others are not so fortunate.
  • Gnomon
    814
    The pragmatic thing to do is just relax and keep floating,Pfhorrest
    Great analogy! This is essentially the Buddha's (and the Stoic's advice) to those who are treading water in depressing absurdity and existential angst : Pragmatic Acceptance (as opposed to Fatalistic Resignation --- just give up and drown). Unfortunately, most philosophers can't resist trying to touch the bottom, or to understand ultimates. That's why they quite often get in over their heads. :joke:

    Acceptance vs Resignation : https://secularbuddhism.com/acceptance-vs-resignation/
  • thewonder
    473

    Yeah, but the boulder rolls back down the mountain. I feel like Albert Camus was suggesting that Sisyphus was right to rebel against the Absurd, as, at the very least, even if things are so, why not? He's also kind of pessimistic in his choice of an example as it suggests that all that we have are brief respites from it.

    Sometimes you feel that the past where you do things aimlessly and ignorantly seems to be more fulfilling as now you face with the uncertain absurdity of life. Is this true for most of y’all or am I being somewhat nihilistic?Josh Lee

    Quoting Camus is kind of nihilistic, as Camus, though not really a Nihilist, was kind of nihilistic. He thought that existence just simply was absurd. Like that the Absurd was conditional upon the human experience. You could say that he ascribed to a kind of philosophical pessimism in that he felt that the human experience was ultimately negative in spite of that he thought that people should rebel against this.

    I think that such pessimism is pathological. Camus, understandably, probably felt that way because of his experience in the French resistance. It seems as if a person who believes that the human experience is ultimately negative is vindicated in such a belief because it tends to become true via an odd kind of self-fulfilling prophecy or something. It is only because of our circumstances that the human experience is any sort of way or another. In a world without subjugation, poverty, or violence, The Absurd would probably be abolished. I am not so optimistic to believe that such a world will necessarily be created, but not so pessimistic to believe that it is impossible for it to either.

    It seems like you can engage in and experience the world better before you have to think too much about what it is that you're doing, but, when I think about myself in the past, I find that the freedom I expressed was only allowed for by an odd kind of reckless suicidal abandon. I have no desire to return to my life before Philosophy, so to speak, though do find that there are a lot of things that I used to appreciate better. I used to really care about and love listening to and playing music. I've let kind of a lot of things vitiate that experience to some extent. You should grow and, at least, alter the course of the mad revolt to some extent, but you've also kind of got to be careful about what you give up on. To suggest that Philosophy ends in disillusion would be to give up on the original wonder that leads people to become interested in it in the first place, which I don't think that people should do. I don't know. Life is kind of absurd, but I don't think that people should think that it should have to be so. It can be difficult to rally yourself out of despair, but what really is the point of expecting nothing good out of life? Why, when, in good faith, even the feint glimmer of hope is likely to let you appreciate life more?
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I am not so optimistic to believe that such a world will necessarily be created, but not so pessimistic to believe that it is impossible for it to either.thewonder

    This is the attitude that I place at the foundation of my entire philosophy, always rejecting both such optimism as makes our efforts seem unnecessary (because success is guaranteed) and such pessimistic as makes our efforts seem pointless (because success is impossible). Rejecting anything that leads to the conclusion “don’t bother trying”.

    I think Camus himself was aiming for something like this, as he rejected both the optimism of traditional meanings of life, but also rejects the pessimism of nihilism, and basically says “fuck it, I’m gonna live anyway, even if it might be useless and hopeless.”
  • thewonder
    473

    I agree with what you suggest about your own philosophy, by my interpretation of Camus is that he was saying that life was "useless and hopeless", but that you should rebel, kind of for its own sake, against this. To me, he seemed to have thought that the Absurd could only be coped with and not overcome.
  • EnPassant
    382
    the past where you do things aimlessly and ignorantly seems to be more fulfilling as now you face with the uncertain absurdity of life. Is this true for most of y’all or am I being somewhat nihilistic?Josh Lee

    If living intuitively - "aimlessly and ignorantly" - is more fulfilling than framing one's existence within the box of philosophy then philosophy might be to blame.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Of course you're entitled to your misreading of me and of Camus.

    I think Camus himself was aiming for something like this, as he rejected both the optimism of traditional meanings of life, but also rejects the pessimism of nihilism, and basically says “fuck it, I’m gonna live anyway, even if it might be useless and hopeless.”Pfhorrest
    :up:
  • thewonder
    473

    Oh, I understand what you and @Pfhorrest were saying, but, I really think that Camus ascribed a kind of philosophical pessimism that was almost akin to Nihilism. The choice in myth, I do think, is somewhat indicative of that. Anyone can interpret anything however, though. I've only really read The Myth of Sisyphus and Exile and the Kingdom, and, so, I'm no expert on Camus.
  • Philosophim
    60
    Funny point. The human species has a massive variety in how and what we like to think about. For those of us who like thinking about philosophical questions, its a blessing. For some, I'm sure its pure torture and would advise them to use their time and talents elsewhere in life.

    Its good that we have philosophical people too. To me, philosophy is the attempt to construct new words and concepts that describe what can currently not be put into words or concepts. Morality, for instance, is still considered undefined, and so people debate about it constantly. The end goal is to find words and concepts that allow one to use morality in one's life in a applicable way that can exist without contradiction by reality. It can then evolve into science, be tested, and examined as something measurable and real.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Philosophy (in the "as a way of life" sense ~Hadot) is, in my understanding and practice, much like addiction recovery - it's not the using addict but the recovering (i.e. self-reflective) addict who is "cursed" ... with an endless task.
  • Pinprick
    335
    The result of being cursed is the occurrence of a negative experience. Philosophy doesn’t necessarily lead to something negative.
  • batsushi7
    25
    Philosophy is in general interesting thing, by it definition it is to "love knowledge" least it aims to (every philosopher has different definition). Philosophy for me is to improve your argumentation skills, and find and discover different ways of thinking.

    Philosophy will reform and change your thinking constantly, when you find out that there is other/or better ways of thinking about things. It might change your thinking/life completely. It can change your fundamental thinking. If you focus too long into one view, what might happen is you might change your worldviews and "radicalize", and turn into extremist.

    It can be dangerous for varieties of philosophical thougs, like "democracy", "human rights", "values", that might change completely after reading works, like there is high chance you will turn into communist after reading lot of Marx works, or to Christian after reading christian philosophy.
  • David Mo
    726
    Quoting Camus is kind of nihilistic, as Camus, though not really a Nihilist, was kind of nihilistic.thewonder

    Oh, boy! This would raise Camus from his grave. He wrote a whole book to combat nihilism because he considered it to be the essence of humanity's ills. I'm talking about L'Homme révolté (The Rebel).


    One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness. "What!---by such narrow ways--?" There is but one world, however. Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. It would be a mistake to say that happiness necessarily springs from the absurd. discovery. It happens as well that the felling of the absurd springs from happiness. "I conclude that all is well," says Edipus, and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted. It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile suffering. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men. — Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus, Chapter 4

    I think Sisyphus' happiness with his absurd rock (life) was more a kind of camouflaged stoicism. Textually Camus says that he is happy because he knows what his destiny is. To be honest, I think Camus was not satisfied with this paradox and all his ulterior work was a kind of auto-refutation.

    To return to the subject of this thread: Within this revision of his first book is included the condemnation of philosophy (which was his denied destiny). "If you want to do philosophy, write novels," he said. This sums up his destruction of philosophy which he accused of being abstract and of abandoning authentic life. According to him, life is composed of emotions and individual pleasures and all conceptualization destroys that vital element. Even the existentialist and phenomenological philosophies that seek to return to the lived world are guilty of this crime. That is why he turned to Dostoevsky and his obsessive condemnation of human reason. A bad fellow traveller in my opinion.


    Note: Chapter four of The Myth of Sisyphus is a literary jewel. The best Camus' prose in my opinion.
  • khaled
    1.3k
    Not philosophy generally, but the "what is the meaning of life?" question is a curse.Pfhorrest

    I think any question in philosophy can cause the same reaction as that one. That one is just the most common affliction. I have a case of "Is morality objective or subjective" yearly with all its accompanying questions such as "If there was an objective answer to that question how can I know I have reached it", "If the answer doesn't produce a change in behaviour is it a meaningful answer at all?" and so on. I think the problem is not the questions themselves but the questions you have to answer to get to your questions. And the questions you get as a result of the answer.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Yeah, I suppose you have a point. Questions about free will seem to cause the same existential angst in people, too. But those, at least, are questions that (I think) can have answers, and it's only some answers (morality is subjective, nobody has free will, etc) that are existentially distressing. The "what is the meaning of life?" question is, IMO, malformed to begin with, and no supposed answer to it could possibly suffice to satisfy the angst.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.1k
    Not a curse. Accursed, perhaps.
  • Roxyn
    6
    I can see how philosophy can be a curse. Your life is now permeated with questions and epiphanies. To you, these inquires into existence are of vital importance, possibly. A relationship with philosophy may change you completely. The person denounces their gods,or aquires them. Cultural normalities may start to seem silly,unnecessary or violent. You may no longer have anything in common with those you once cared for. Also simply the dedication to understanding may take fervor away from more social activities, which may lead to issues in the social arena. Problems can arise as a philosopher. Example: I do not believe in morality. This statement is simply one acquired in my philosophical journey, it is susceptible to change as further inquiries lead to new beliefs. This statement can cause an uproar in people who may find it easier to attack, than try to understand. Morality is a subject so heavily ingrained in the minds of people in western culture that questioning it could easily be met with attack. Yet, a philosophers job is to question.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment