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January 15, 2015


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Lovely post, Brian. Every word you said there, every logical turn you took as you navigated your way through to your conclusion, resonated with me. (Although I was content to read just what you wrote, without clicking my way to that other article.) That was a great distinction you made : between the absurdity (or otherwise) of life, and any meaning life may have (or not). It’s lovely, what you say : It’s necessary to deal with the absurdity of life ; but there is no assurance that once you cross that (one way or another) you’ll actually see life imbued with meaning. I’ve never thought of this quite that way, and that small distinction makes the whole issue so much clearer. You’ve presented this whole thing lightly and humorously, but that insight is far from trivial.

On a somewhat-related-and-somewhat-at-a-tangent note : That’s the thing with poetry. It’s often beautiful, obviously. But often, it’s also BS. What the poet does (among other things, and at times) is basically pretend to an illusion of depth using words : you sometimes halt wonderstruck at some lovely piece of poetry, seeing meanings within meanings within meanings : but then it’s simply you imputing those meaning yourself. And the best poet-BSers are not those who’re shallow and pretend to be deep : but those who start out from a position of undeniable depth, and then use their poetry to create the illusion of a bottomless depth that is way beyond the actual extent of what they know and could convey had they used simple prose. Much of mystical poetry would, I suppose, fall in this category.

Much like life itself? Life can be great BSer too, in that sense!

For those with some imagination

In poetry you can read amazingly often that
a certain ( even short ) period of feeling Love was worth
all the misery & emptiness of the rest of a life lived.


What if a giant invisible UFO was above our heads
all the time
and you were the ambassador on earth

and all the time you have that signal telling you
how much your service in the mud is appreciated
by the intergalactic council of galaxies

and that signal provided you with an wow*feel energy
all the time and you feel so great each second

Wouldn't that be swell ? ,,,,, Isn't it ?


"The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, `Why is a raven like a writing-desk?'

"`Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.

"`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.

"`Exactly so,' said Alice.

"`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

"`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'

"`Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

"`You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'

"`You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

"`It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much."

The beauty of the English language is the ability of words to shade and shift in meaning, to mean one thing and then another, much like another character Alice met - the Cheshire Cat.

When in doubt, consult your OED. Therein you read that “absurd” begins as inharmonious and then shades off into tasteless and foolish. In our world, lacking as it does any harmony, the word today is associated, as the OED says, “plainly opposed to reason, and hence, ridiculous, silly.”

As for me, I concur with Albert Camus: “The absurd is born out of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

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