Monday, November 21, 2005
The Logic of Absurdity
One of my favorite writers, Douglas Adams once said, "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
I sit back and I ponder a brief justification for the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma... I can think of several people in my life that don’t fit into this simplistic mold. The world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can truly be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart. The absurd depends as much on humans as it does on the world. For the moment it is all that links them both together. So long as the mind keeps silent in the motionless world of its hopes, everything is reflected and arranged in the unity of nostalgia. But with its first move this world cracks and tumbles: an infinite number of shimmering fragments is offered to the understanding. We must despair of ever reconstructing the familiar, calm surface which would give us a peace of this heart we seek.
The absurdity isn’t the universe or we humans. It’s this combination that produces the absurd. If anything has been made abundantly clear in the 20th century, it is that the universe is irrational i.e. it doesn’t follow any rules. Reason and rationality are built on the premise of following rules— the rules of logic. The universe does no such thing, hence the "logic" of absurdity.
The universe does what it wants, when it wants. Science, the application of reason upon nature, has been exposed in this century as, not an all-pervading truth, but as a game of prediction. On the surface, contemporary scientific theory can predict what the universe will do to such an extent that science seems like the truth. But make no mistake about it... quantum theory in this past century has shown that the universe does some very unpredictable things when in very small quantities and at very high speeds. This is a very important point and one that I for one don’t deny. The use of "logic" on the universe is absurd.
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