When you wake up with a jolt, severed suddenly from the comfort of the dream world – which had become so real that for an infinitesimal span of time your external frame of reference comes undone and you find yourself marooned on an alien territory. You are, nevertheless, aware of yourself, and even in that rush, of your internal frame of reference. You know how to turn around your head to make sense of your surroundings. You desperately try to latch on to some instance of familiarity so the consciousness can be traced back to the reality, it is accustomed to. And soon the anxiety subsides and one returns to the oblivion of sleep.
But imagine remaining in that state of suspense. Unbearable and unlivable. Still, this can be considered a basic level metaphor one can use to understand Albert Camus’ explanation of the state of confrontation between metaphysical rebellion and the silence of the universe. Free from the weight of strictures of the past and associations formed through repetitions and communal learning, the rebel insists upon seeing the world as it is. Unexplained and unbundled. He refuses to take the leap of faith, that is, to calm his agitation by falling upon familiarity – here, unlike the dream is not just a way to awaken in the same old identifiable world but rather a conduit between the acknowledgement of existential terror and a world where ideology, mostly elaborate, explains the existence systematically – thus, refusing in perpetuity to put down the flag of rebellion.
But then it is impossible to remain in such a state of heightened arousal. The organism would certainly just burn itself out. Origins of the absurd are to be found here.
In Myth of Sisyphus, Camus presents the metaphor of the Actor who invents his own world and invests so much passion in it that it glows with human blood and throbs with human heart. The Actor, all through his act, is well aware of the set-up, the absurdity of the stage. However, this game of appearances is one of the best ways to stand prepared in a battle field where there is no enemy in sight. The universe is silent, indifferent to human desperation and life is incomplete as it is bound to get by death.
This is hardiness and the only way to celebrate the meaningless life. This, the Absurd, is the joy of Sisyphus as he walks down the hill to lift his curse, his burden one more time. Or as Camus says, “Humiliated rebellion, by its contradictions, its sufferings, its continuous defeats, and its inexhaustible pride, must give its content of hope and suffering to this nature.”
At least, as of now Nature defies closure. Despite, the frenetic search over hundreds of generations the few final pieces remain missing from complete explanation, from much besought unity.
Many a times the final solution even seems to be well within reach but then the proximity turns out to be just a mirage.
Unable to bear this unforgiving lash of frustration, human mind often succumbs to the dark groves of faith and myth-making. Arbitrary assumptions are made to close the argument and reach out to install a conclusion.
Many philosophers too use sophisticated cheat codes to reach to the dry land of certainty and established deified notions. And there are those who feel enraged by their insignificance. The enemy won’t even appear on the frontiers, thus mocking them by being absent. This group of thinkers, according to Camus, often turn against existence itself, prescribing extreme standards of either absolute affirmation or complete denial. “…Then rebellion, in a rage or intoxication, adopts the attitude of ‘all or nothing’ and the negation of all existence and all human nature, it is at this point that it denied itself completely.”