Friday, August 14, 2009

The Enormous Absurdity of Nature

A reader and frequent commentator on this blog, Jack Sparrow, who has an eye for absurd things himself, sends us the following. It is an excerpt from “The Enormous Absurdity of Nature” by Paul Allen Carter:

“However, Griffen continues, if we took time to consider nature, we could understand more fully the raw beauty of the life cycle, that without the rot on the forest floor there would be no iridescent hints of new life." That cycle includes us as much as the falling sparrow or the vanished dinosaur. And we fight it: "In the natural rhythm of life, things are born, grow up, grow old, die, and rejoin the Creator. But we have become nature's misers, hoarding our youth."

"The culture," adds adventure-fiction writer (and, at times, social philosopher) John D. MacDonald, "has labeled death unthinkable and unspeakable. One is forbidden even to think about it. That repression generates a deep cultural sickness: "Unable to turn inward, all fear turns outward," manifested in the "pinched, bitter, ugly, suspicious faces in Florida, California, Arizona--wherever the old ones gather for dying." But this particular anxiety neurosis long precedes old age. Egged on by profitable cosmetic and medicinal industries "our horror of the aging process," Lauren Griffen asserts, keeps us chained to the myth that we can be forever young, sexually attractive and virile. We cannot avoid aging, but think that we can delay it by becoming slaves to products that promise to tinker with nature."”

Full text, if you are interested, is here:

We like the excerpt because we think it is true. Society harbors an unhealthy denial of aging and of death. The absurd perspective would be to appreciate our part in the life cycle of the universe and to put no special brackets around humanity. We are defecating animals like the rest.

Accepting that condition, though, is part of the absurd man’s freedom. He finds peace with that and lives his life to the fullest without anxieties over his eventual death.

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