When recognizing the confines of our human rationality, our automatic and mechanized daily routines, as well as our sometimes empty internal thought processes, it can be easy to enter into a dark pit of nihilism.
Yet, as Camus maintains in The Myth of Sisyphus, a recognition of the absurdity of the modern human condition, can also manifest in laughter and a genuine happiness.
“Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable” – Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, p. 122
A lucid understanding of the absurd can be indicated through laughter – whether it’s theatre, stand-up comedy, or jovial enlightened conversation. Humour is one of the most effective forms of pleasure and comfort in life. A mechanism that can quell societal or existential uncertainties.
“It is the unease caused by the presence of illusions that are obviously out of tune with reality that is dissolved and discharged through liberating laughter at the recognition of the fundamental absurdity of the universe” – Martin Esslin’s The Theatre of the Absurd, p. 350
Some of the most intelligent members of society are comedians that can express the hypocrisy or paradoxes associated with the ‘normal’. One of my favorite comedians, who recently passed away, was George Carlin (1937 – 2008). I will end this post with a clip of George Carlin brilliantly deconstructing the euphemisms associated with the trauma of war: