Recently, we were chatting with a friend about the whole Mark Sanford fiasco. The short version is that Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, had an affair with a woman from Argentina. It gets very weird. And it is very entertaining as far as these things go.
But what prompts this post is the comment my friend made that “Sanford should resign.”
We don’t know whether he should resign or not. It doesn’t matter. What we are interested in is the thinking behind my friend’s comment.
We asked: “If Mark Sanford were a garbage collector, would you still say he had to resign?”
We got the “no you idiot” look, the kind we are used to by now. “Of course not,” our friend replied. “But he’s not a garbage collector. He’s the governor of South Carolina for crying out loud!”
“So it’s much more important than collecting the garbage”
Well… we didn’t say it was more important than collecting the garbage. And we pointed this out to our companion. In reality, neither is more important than the other. We offered this.
“I thought you were going to tell me how important picking up the garbage was…” our friend replied. Then he added, “I think it is pretty obvious that a governor is more important than a garbage collector.”
Nope. The absurd fact is that a doctor, a governor, a garbage collector, a prostitute, a beggar – all of them are equally unimportant. Life is absurd. Nothing here matters at all. If that is true, then you can’t make such distinctions.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make. It doesn’t matter if you save a million lives or not. It doesn’t matter if you have only purest motivations to do whatever. None of it matters, period.
This is the absurd man’s view. And again, we find it very liberating. After all, if no occupation is more important than any other, then we can drop all this baggage people carry around about “doing important work.” We also don’t look down on our fellows who are all equally marooned on this ball of earth.