Theatre of the Absurd

by Jon Sullivan - 2020-02-05 - Jonism

<<<<< previous blog         next blog >>>>>

You might think you know what this post is going to be about. You might see the photo below as symbolic of the Red State vs Blue State political divide. For me it is : Chop wood, carry water.

I love the photo. So simple. So vivid. So ready for all viewers to pour their own meaning into it, as it is perfectly without meaning. I took it on my trip to the Salton Sea last year. For me the photo is a delightful intersection of reality and pure abstraction. I don't think I have a "style" as a photographer. But if I did it might be a search for lack of meaning.

Back when I was a youngster figuring out how the world worked I was very much drawn to the philosophies of Existentialism and Absurdism. I might simplify and personalize those as : a search for purpose, value, and ethical grounding in a world completely without meaning. How fucked up as a child are you if your capital M "Meaning of Life" is a Fankenstien monster of Camus, DT Suzuki, and Kierkegaard?

For me Existentialism meant that life had no true meaning, and that each individual, based on their existence alone, not rules or religion, must determine their own meaning of life (faith), and that the individual should then strive to live a life authentic to that personal faith. And no, it is not lost on me that my interpretation derives religion from solely Existentialism.

For me Absurdism is most wonderfully portrayed in the two recent Deadpool movies. That is, the fundamental disharmony between the individual's search for meaning and the meaninglessness of the universe. (aside : we should dismiss the obviously out of place love story theme in Deadpool 2 as just the fact blockbusters aren't filmed without rich investors needing a comforting love story because they're too shallow to appreciate Camus)

Which brings me to the photo. For me it is a delightful rejection of meaning. I even tossed all accepted proper rules of composition by placing the horizon line where I did. You could easily use it as a metaphor for all sorts of things. It is the Zen Koan of photos.

Buy prints

<<<<< previous blog         next blog >>>>>
Marilee Harrison
2020-02-05 16:14:27 : I absolutely love this picture.
On a different note, as you already know, I am.not an absurdist and put lots of faith in the meaning of life and universe. I realize that our country's government feels rather bleak at this point but I still have faith that there will be a tipping point that will move the pendulum back to balance. Sending you love.

Marilee Harrison
2020-02-05 16:16:44 : Oh and the "chop wood carry water" reference was not lost on me and felt quite appropriate.

Jon Sullivan
2020-02-06 07:45:47 : Existentialism is a young person's game. I've long since worked out my meaning of life. And Absurdism is just too much work.

With Google To Leave a Comment:
<<<<< previous blog         next blog >>>>>
Eugene weather
33.71 degrees F, Snow (light snow)
Min: 32.25 ,Max: 36.36 ,Humidity: 95, Wind: 13.8
Eugene, OR - Best Restaurants
Eugene, OR - Things to do
Eugene, OR - Fish reports
Oregon road conditions
Recent Posts
- Throwdown
    Moving to Oregon = Go all the places, take all the photos, eat all the food. I didn't realize I'd be cooking most of it myself.
- The in-between
    I've been all about chasing joy and living my best life. Have I found it? Somewhere between crazy/joyous and sane/dreary?
- Mustard recipe
    PNW is a block of ice. Leaving the apartment might mean death. So, as one does, I made mustard.
- Jon is gassy
    Day 6 of Covid. All symptoms have been replaced by excessive flatulence. My fart cloud and I will continue to self isolate.
- Jon is bland
    A scary thought : What if I get long term Covid loss of smell/taste? If I can't taste food, then who the hell am I?
- Well f**k....
    I dodged Covid for a long time. But I knew, sooner or later. We'll all get it sooner or later.
- Best photos 2023
    I judge the success of my life by the best photos I take each year. In 2023 life was good.
Food I Cooked
Old School Blogroll
Home of fine hypertext products.
A community weblog.
A Chicken Is Not Pillage
You forgot his exclamation point! It defines him. He put it there for a reason, to show how in! your! face! he is.
abada abada - twenty years of jessamyn
Matt Haughey
A Whole Lotta Nothing
Heater, Mother Of Lance
Anil Dash
A blog about making culture. Since 1999.
Some Bits
Nelson's weblog
Everlasting Blort
proud member of the reality-based community
This machine mocks fascists
Scripting News
It's even worse than it appears.
Short attention spans in a world full of flowers
mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?
Montreal City Weblog
Stupid Evil Bastard
What the fuck is wrong with you people?
Idle Words
brevity is for the weak
Making Light
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.
50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can't Be Wrong
Justin Hall
Growing & breaking down since 1994
Mike the Mad Biologist
Helping idiots who desperately need my assistance by calling them fucking morons since 2004
AKMA’s Random Thoughts
Ruminations about hermeneutics, theology, theory, politics, ecclesiastical life… and exercise.
things magazine
An occasional weblog about objects, collections and discoveries
Miscellaneous Heathen
Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.
where it's always Virgo Season
Recent Trips
Getting it ready for you.