Do you like circuses? A real circus with clowns, acrobats, elephants, you name it! Just went to your government arena.
In the Ancient Roman Circus, when a gladiator fell, his fate was decided not by a judge and jury, but by the will of the emperor and the crowd. Now President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is doing something similar with Mexico’s justice system.
And how was it with the Trump circus, how is it with Putin’s circus? The show must go on. It’s all about the absurdism, we all are living with on the political arena.
So when we are talking about the Political Absurdisme, maybe we have to find some philosophers to make a perspective on this tema.
When we are going into philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life, and the human inability to find these with any certainty.
The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd; rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.
What is this in the political universe?
Absurdism shares some concepts, and a common theoretical template, with existentialism and nihilism. It has its origins in the work of the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who chose to confront the crisis that humans face with the Absurd by developing his own existentialist philosophy.
Absurdism as a belief system was born of the European existentialist movement that ensued, specifically when Camus rejected certain aspects of that philosophical line of thought and published his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”.
Søren Kierkegaard was a 19th-century Danish philosopher who has been labeled by many as the “Father of Existentialism”, although there are some in the field who express doubt in labeling him an existentialist to begin with. His philosophy also influenced the development of existential psychology.
One of Kierkegaard’s recurrent themes is the importance of subjectivity, which has to do with the way people relate themselves to (objective) truths. In ‘Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments’, he argues that “subjectivity is truth” and “truth is subjectivity.”
Alienation is a term philosophers apply to a wide variety of phenomena, including any feeling of separation from, and discontent with, society; feeling that there is a moral breakdown in society; feelings of powerlessness in the face of the solidity of social institutions; the impersonal, dehumanised nature of large-scale and bureaucratic social organisations.
Humanity has lost meaning because the accepted criterion of reality and truth is ambiguous and subjective thought—that which cannot be proven with logic, historical research, or scientific analysis. Humans cannot think out choices in life, we must live them; and even those choices that we often think about become different once life itself enters into the picture.
Albert Camus wrote about the idea of being a stranger in the world but reversed Kierkegaard’s meaning. A stranger for Camus was someone living in the world who is forced to exist in a Christian way even though the individual does not want to be a Christian.
Let’s also look at the phrase “How is money an abstraction”? Because money rules the facts.
Money gives the illusion that it has a direct relationship to the work that is done. That is, the work one does is worth so much, equals so much money.
In reality, however, the work one does is an expression of who one is as a person; it expresses one’s goals in life and associated meaning. As a person, the work one performs is supposed to be an external realization of one’s relationship to others and to the world.
It is one’s way of making the world a better place for oneself and for others.
What reducing work to a monetary value does is to replace the concrete reality of one’s everyday struggles with the world —to give it shape, form and meaning— with an abstraction.
What does it mean to describe something or someone as absurd? Why did absurd philosophy and literature become so popular amid the violent conflicts and terrors of the mid- to late-twentieth century? Is it possible to understand absurdity not as a feature of events, but as a psychological posture or stance? If so, what are the objectives, dynamics, and repercussions of the absurd stance? And in what ways has the absurd stance continued to shape postmodern thought and contemporary culture?
Absurdism in Post-Modern Art: Examining the Interplay between “Waiting for Godot” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”.
The philosophical concept of existentialism (articulated most famously though the words of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre and Camus) influenced the ways in which Absurdist playwrights literally questioned the nature of existing. Waiting for Godot signified the beginning of a dramatic movement that continues to provide insights about the post-modern world even outside the lexicon of drama.
To understand the absurdism present in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, one must understand the linguistic and culturally constructed origins of the term ‘Absurd.’ The term is used to describe the nonsensical, irrational aspects of life.
As the world saw itself undergo catastrophic internal changes existence began to seem absurd and the plight of the individual futile. The historical context in which ‘Theater of the Absurd’ sprung from drew from the social, political and economic changes and issues of the World War II era.
The rise of fascism, the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust inspired the philosophical concept of existentialism by highlighting the insignificance of an individual’s actions. These events illustrated how the purpose of an individual was to be utilized as a pawn in political schemes for the benefit of a high power; the individual themselves would therefore have no inherent or egoistic purpose in existing.
World War II saw over 52,100,000 deaths by its conclusion (Timeline).
The invention and use of the first atomic bomb by the United States against Japan marked a shift to a further removed attitude towards the enemy and a lesser level of moral investment in war tactics.
Concurrently, the philosophical movement of existentialism, which questioned the meaning attributed to human action in relation to interaction within society, religion and politics became relevant in the discussion of Absurdist Theater in the post- World War II period.
When Freiderich Nietzsche pronounced, “God is Dead,” he meant “the time has come to overcome man (Appignanesi146).” Nietzsche criticized how the modern world, and modern man, no longer held the need for a God.
Together, the ideas of Camus and Nietzsche suggest that the concept of ‘God’ cannot be significant in a world in which the absurd is embraced; a belief in a God requires submission to the idea that there is a way of rationalizing existence.
Absurdism rejects this idea and because the concept of ‘God’ cannot be negotiated with Absurdism religion can no longer have a place in society.
The cultural state of the world at the time Waiting for Godot was first produced dictated its success, “ Europe was caught up in what have come to be political clichés: Iron Curtain, Cold War, Social Unrest, Political Upheaval, The nuclear age. Existentialism held sway in France and had attracted followers throughout the rest of the world. In the simplicity of Waiting for Godot, they found the complexity of the human condition (Bair 389).
The significance of the play lies in how Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot who will never come, even though they seem to know he will not come.
This is the significance figure theme of the Political Absurdisme, we are living in today.
Esslin’s idea is that man finds solace in the ability to face and rationalize the irrationality and ambiguity of existence through creating art to depict and comment upon the disingenuous state of existence. The political and social context of the post-modern world lends itself to analysis through inspecting the presence of absurdity.
How does one navigate a world where “alternative facts” abound, evidence and logic can be scorned, and people with immovable opinions live in political echo chambers divorced from reality?
For some time, right-wing trolls have claimed a monopoly on political shitposting. Congregating on niche platforms like 4chan and 8kun as well as the mainstream YouTube and Facebook, they often post racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, and ultimately dangerous memes and viral content under the guise of harmless humor.
The rise of such reactionary content has dangerous impacts on the body politic, as deranged conspiracies and extremism creep into the political mainstream––on and offline.
Arising alongside existentialism in the twentieth century, absurdism is a philosophy that showcases the tension in searching for meaning in a meaningless world.
Political absurdism on the internet first sought to ridicule establishment politics, which later morphed into taking aim at the Right’s online machine.
At the 2015 Republican primary debates, Donald Trump strafed every candidate with unrelenting attacks that seemed pulled out of a Saturday Night Live sketch. The more he insulted, the more the crowd loved it. Try as they might, “low energy” Jeb Bush, “lyin” Ted Cruz, and “little” Marco Rubio had no rebuttals.
After Trump’s victory, the Left faced more pressing issues than harmlessly mocking awkward early GOP front runners. The Right had been building an online apparatus focused not simply on churning out laughs, but on turning young minds toward its tenets. Left-wing political absurdism was forced to counteract growing right-wing alternative media. With the popularity of Turning Point USA, PragerU, and internet personalities like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk who receive funding from right-wing oligarchs, the challenge was massive.
Mike Cernovich is a male supremacist who played a key role in the propagation of some of the far-right’s most insidious narratives. He spread the #HillaryHealth theory—which claimed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign hid a serious illness—Pizzagate, which held that a DC-area pizza shop was being used for a Clinton-run sex-trafficking ring, and other pedophile-related lies that foreshadowed QAnon.
Traditional media, which failed to understand the nature of the conspiracy, bungled its response to Cernovich. By the time the political aim becomes apparent, you’re already sucked in.
This is the fact of Political Absurdisme.
Now with what’s going on in Afghanistan.
When the United States entered into a truce with the Talibans and the Afghan government, hardly anyone was sanguine about the shape of things to come in Afghanistan.
To many, the peace deal read and sounded like a term of surrender from the world’s most powerful military and the most resourceful bureaucracy, close to two decades later. Many commented that the US-Taliban deal was a curtain raiser for the more consequential and complicated intra-Afghan talks to follow.
Well, even before the Taliban representatives were to sit down with the Afghan government representatives, an arrangement to release a massive number of Taliban prisoners was due.
Was the Afghan government in a position to negotiate from a position of strength? The answer is-barely, after yet another fractured electoral outcome.
Is this a theatre of the absurd? No, this is Afghanistan, and fortunately or unfortunately, what happens in Afghanistan does not stay in Afghanistan. The great power tussles in this country and its aftermath, has always led to acute geopolitical implications for the region.
Besides the pitched battles between the Taliban and the Afghan government forces, the Islamic State in Afghanistan has also claimed responsibility for high scale attacks in the country that now faces new challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on’: The absurd line that guides a path towards hope.
Samuel Beckett, and that one play of his in particular, Waiting for Godot, has become not only a kind of touchstone but a living statement about reality, hope and intent.
The play’s most plaintive line seems made for our times.
“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
Beckett, Kafka, Albert Camus — whose prescient work The Plague has found its way into many of our hands these last 17 months — are no formally defined movement.
Their lives and works span the horrors of two wars, tyrannies, revolutions, pandemics and the very limits of modernism. But defined by their times, they share a spirit free of illusion, and sometimes one of complete disillusionment, that represents the enduring battle with faith, and not just that one with a capital F.
Documentaries about the urgency of climate change, musicals about betrayal, meditations on childhood literature and always, always stories about love.
The political reality is that the Taliban had more loyal and consistent backers in Pakistan and the Inter-Services Intelligence, while the Kabul government steadily lost legitimacy because of its own incompetence and disunity, and because its backers in the West eventually lost patience and interest. By end-2021, the US may have ended its longest war, but for Afghanistan, the uncertainties are only increasing.
But what have we seen in all these twenty years of rebuilding?
In the year of 2020, we are facing that of the four million people in the Afghan capital, an estimated 60,000 are street-working children, according to Unicef, with hundreds of thousands of minors labouring throughout the country, many of them compromising their education to substitute their family’s income.
Afghanistan has had four decades of war, and many families are struggling to cope. A 2020 government survey found that more than half of the population lives below the poverty line, with rapid population growth and violence further contributing to the scale.
At least a quarter of Afghans between the ages of five and 14 work to support themselves and their families, Human Rights Watch said, with only half of them attending school.
Even, the western alliance said, that the progress is the best that has happened in Afghanistan for centuries.
The woman getting rights, the Islam has changed their attitudes in more democratic ways. That’s the way for the alliance to solve their own absurdism of the twenty years war in Afghanistan.
Now the Taliban regime is a fact and back as the new government and the democratic process with Afghanistan is gone – or? But will it be forever?
And the next problem is all the refugees that are following the regime change. Where is the alliance to meet this? That is the question of the new absurdism the world is standing with.
This can’t possibly go on. We’ll go on. The Political Absurdisme is going on. The show must go on. Welcome into the political circus and all the absurdism.