by Devina Gunawan
There is an idea that happiness is found in absurdity, which is the thin line of realization that a man is apart from and together with the world. It is the understanding that we are in the world, but at the same time, different from and not of the world.
I am a big fan of Albert Camus, and love reflecting upon his writings. And in the search of definition of happiness, I stumble upon absurd and begin questioning.
The big question is, how can one find absurdity? How does one get to absurd?
Before finding a way to absurd, one will realize that he has let the world take control of him. Life has become a routine, a faithful habit, and a deadly cycle with no exit. He is controlled by a society in which he has built beautiful relationships that define his existence and importance in the world.
Who wouldn’t want to feel important? Who wouldn’t want to be accepted?
But to find complete happiness, absurd, a man needs to separate himself from the world. To acknowledge that he is separated from his vision of the world, and yet he is in it. He has to see what existence and importance mean to him, and how they are defined by personal relationships.
Relationships give people the acknowledgement they need towards their own existences. The glances people give them, the tangible touches, the recognition and mentions, all given to people will confirm that they do exist. As people rely on their basic senses, the signs are more than enough to reinforce their understanding that they indeed are real.
At the same time, relationships show people how they matter and determine how much they are worth. Would you be happy if you didn’t matter? Or that you mean a lot to the rest of the world?
Relationships open up doors to judgment, in which people are severely punished or highly praised. Either way, people see how their actions, their innermost thoughts, and their choices affect others greatly, for people react to news of those close to them. In witnessing this reaction, people build the beliefs that they matter to others, and that they have to stick to rules and definitions given to them in order to keep their relationships intact.
Other people give a man his values and determine how much he is worth in society. This creates dependency towards images, reputation, judgment, and how one relates to others. Goals and dreams are also built around relationships. People plan their weddings, their married lives, children, and many more. People plan trips and gatherings, and all of them need necessities that only society, or the world can offer.
But people rotate themselves around this, around the bundle of relationships they carry on throughout their lives. The relationships that prove to them that they are a part of the world, and that the world accepts them as its own.
It is like a spell that bounds every man in the social institutions. It builds nations. And it ties the connection between men and the world through the mere illusion of provision the relationships display. It reminds them of home, physical home, and it is hope that we all mean something.
However, the true happiness comes at the price of a divorce. A divorce between a man and the world. It is the realization that a man’s existence has no relevance to others; that if you take a man out of the world, the world still rotates and everyone moves forward. That a man is on his own, if only he is willing to open his eyes and accept it.
This acceptance, this knowledge, that despite being in the world, one is separate from the world, is what one calls absurd. And it is the little moments out of the routine, the few seconds of knowing that everyone walks alone, and the appreciation towards the beauty of how the world functions, how its system works, and how one has no direct role in its rotation.
That is what is thought of, to be the ideal happiness.
Or I guess, what I believe to be the knowledge that we mean nothing and everything at the same time.