Books & Musings

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Absurdity, Man and Religion

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There is a certain absurdity in the way fate operates. One can never know why one was born into a certain place. Why did a man rest at a particular place while travelling and why not at another?
You mix this general absurdity of fate with man’s irrational behaviour (including religious behaviour) and one doesn’t know what will become of it. The consequences are extrapolated into unimaginable dimensions. Unfortunately, I am not the best of writers and will have to resort to an example to make my case.
This is an Indian set up, say in the interiors where the religious strife is high, coupled with ill informed villagers and gullible townsmen; who would believe anything. A Muslim boy decides to rest for the night in a temple. He loves temples and is researching on them. But the reason he rests there is because he is unable to get a grip on the fact that he was the cause of the death of the girl most dear to him. She committed suicide because the non-Muslim boy she loved was murdered by her relatives (who were informed by our hero of their elopement). When the Muslim boy is seen inside the temple, he is immediately assumed to be a terrorist and the police is waiting to gun him down and people from all over the state are gathered to lynch him. He walks out of the temple after two days. He is shot dead.
Notice the absurdity of the whole situation. Starting from their birth, all the three – the muslim girl, muslim boy and non-muslim boy had no reason to be born as such. The lover need not have been killed, the boy need not have been found at a temple…
The force that acted on these seemingly unconnected absurd events, was man and his irrational behaviour. Thus it is not good enough to say that life is absurd and we can do nothing about it. The absurdity has at all times to be balanced out by rationality. Man’s rational behaviour – conscious and thinking behaviour can cancel out or rather balance all absurdity in the world.
Where does religion fit into whatever I have said so far? Religion does the very opposite of rationality consequently extrapolating absurdity. The boy got killed because he did not belong to the same religion as the girl. There is no rational in that. It has, if at all, magnified absurdity. The same goes for all religious feud, whether it is the Hindus (banning Valentine’s Day) or Christians with their forced conversions or any other religion with its respective idiosyncrasies. Bach has said – that when spiritual knowledge becomes public and is taught it becomes a religion and then the knowledge is lost. Therefore, any knowledge has to passed on to individuals and not the masses. This is what is happening today. Absurdity is getting magnified to be all consuming and to fight this unknown, uncomprehensible absurdity man resorts to God. Man must if at all, resort to his reason.
(Please note that whole concept of absurdity being balanced out by rationality was something I discovered during an argument with a friend, all due credit for this thought process of mine is to go to him.)

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Author: booksandmusings

A lawyer who wishes to write.

3 thoughts on “Absurdity, Man and Religion

  1. “Man’s rational behaviour – conscious and thinking behaviour can cancel out or rather balance all absurdity in the world.”
    This is not true. Absurdity contains in itself man’s rationality. The world, events, fate etc. are illogical and random, but it’s not absurd by itself. It’s the interaction, inevitable and imminent for any life, between this random world and human logic and it’s need for order that produces a result that is absurd – that result is the ecosystem (not in the environmental sense) we live in, which includes in itself us and the world.
    Secondly, you seem to suggest that it’s only when man acts irrationaly that absurdity magnifies. It’s not true. Man’s acting irrationaly produces bizzare results. Absurdity is most prominent when man actually acts logically, carefully, etc. but still the result remains bizzare. The easiest example of it is a very carefully driven vehicle in it’s own lane being hit by a falling tree. Camus himself said dying in a road accident is the most absurd end for a man. He, unfortunately, died so.

  2. Forgot to mention the solution that Camus seems to suggest. He says that the solution for man lies in duing two things simultaneously – first, being conscious of the absurd as of day and night. Second, to maintain the absurd.
    This means, on an individual’s level one keeps the rationality, love for order, and need to be happy intact without letting the random events bother him, because he knows it’s nature. This kills almost all misplaced expectations one tends to have in life. Gradually, it may lead to the ability to scorn fate.

  3. Pingback: Caligula by Camus - Absurdity's Illogical End « Book Crazy

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