Life is Absurd, Revel In It

Opinion Editor Khalil Gordon takes a break from the doom and gloom of the world by reminding us that we are ultimately free to do whatever we want to.

You could walk down the staircase thinking there’s something at the bottom, or you could realize there’s nothing there and have fun with the descent.

If you ever get to know me, you’ll come to realize that when it comes to the world at large I am quite cynical and pessimistic. In casual conversation or everyday life I like to keep things calm and laid back, but when it comes to big picture stuff: politics, globalism, prejudice, capitalism, I am quite the negative Nancy. When you shape your world view around the premise that everything can and will, given enough time, go wrong and you set your expectations accordingly it becomes hard not to drown in a sea of apathy; you become aware of how deeply flawed the world is and it no longer phases you. But if you swim down into it deep enough, you actually emerge in a fantastic place: the absurd.

While I do not consider myself an absurdist, I am envious of those who do. Their ability to see the world for what it is and then gleefully keep going. Absurdists accept that there is no intrinsic meaning to anything in life and that it is futile to search for one, but nonetheless try to live their lives in defiance of that truth and find their own meaning. I suppose my point is that the world is a funny place where bad things and good things seemingly happen at random and we barely have control over it. It’s easy to stop trying when you become aware of that. But you also begin to realize that that means you are free to do anything you want because it doesn’t really matter in the long run whether you did or didn’t. It doesn’t matter in the cosmic sense anyway, you’ll still get arrested for murder. 

It’s freeing to know that you can really just do anything, and I’ve been putting that into practice this semester following the slum of last year. Even amidst the pandemic I’ve found a number of new hobbies that I’ve grown to love. 

Little Theatre was something I had always wanted to get involved in, but never really did. Not until the semester at least when I auditioned for and got cast in a play. Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” premiers on Facebook on Friday, please watch it. I’m really glad I did this because I’ve managed to build a great rapport with the cast and crew in a very short amount of time.

By and large I’ve moved out of my mom’s house to an apartment near campus. Living on my own has always been a fantasy of mine and it still is. But my roommates are fun and I’m glad that I’m not alone in this endeavor. Because that’s what moving out is, it’s an endeavor, it takes a lot of courage to confidently or not so confidently venture out into the world. But you’re free to do it, and at any age. You can move out when you’re 14, or when you’re 63, in the grand scheme of things who cares?

I hate to do this but I feel it important to clarify that you shouldn’t justify everything with the fact that whether you do or don’t won’t matter in 100 years. There are still a lot of temporal factors that should play a factor in how you interact with the world. Even though it won’t matter you shouldn’t steal anything, or hurt anyone. Humans still thrive best in a community, so you’re really only hurting yourself if you get kicked out of your’s. 

I’ve spoken to people to whom this way of thinking does not bring them comfort. So I am not trying to champion any facet of existentialism, or nihilism, or absurdism, I’m just talking about how I think. Because maybe there is the odd ball out there who will take comfort in the fact that in ninety years no one will care whether or not they were a finance major or a communications major.

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