This I Believe

E. T. - Flagstaff, Arizona
Entered on June 8, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: question

I am an Absurdist, a follower of Absurdism which is the philosophic idea that the world is without meaning or rationale.

Absurdism has been creeping up on me for many years. Perhaps like Sherlock Holmes, I have finally eliminated all those other absurd beliefs until what remains, however improbable my dear Watson, is the truth, which is Absurdism. All the fairy tales, myths, hallucinations, prejudices, fears and desires — that pass for the foundations of our numerous “naked emperor” belief systems — have faded from my view and I am left with the Absurd.

It’s different in the Absurd. I’ve had to learn to let go, to ease up and to un-think a lot of ingrained nonsense. I’ve developed considerable humility because I’ve had to admit that, like everything and everybody else, I, too, am absurd. My sense of humor has proved invaluable to my conversion. And now, there’s nothing more for me to believe or worry about. My thinking and information processing have been greatly simplified. Absurdism has yet to embarrass or disappoint me.

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I’m still a regular guy. I’m happily married and a pretty good father. I’m moderately successful in my profession. I vote. I cry while watching certain movies or reading certain passages. I expect too much fairness, logic and justice. Politics, natural and un-natural disasters, man’s inhumanity to man — these all exercise me a bit from time to time. But I’m working on it.

As an Absurdist, I don’t go beyond what we really know, which is an awful lot but, alas, for many of us, not nearly enough. I understand that we still haven’t solved the big mysteries, that we still haven’t answered the big questions. But, that’s okay. I feel no need to believe the unbelievable, no need to see the unseeable, no need to make believe or to fake believe. Imagination is marvelous but not miraculous.

Absurdism isn’t much, but it’s all we’ve got. And, hey, that’s okay. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote of “the privilege of absurdity, to which no living creature is subject, but man only.” And from the writer Douglas Adams: “The chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.”

So, it’s all absurd, including Absurdism. You can believe me because I am an Absurdist.