The Human Walking Face and The Absurd

The human “walking face” is a true joy to watch. That look as if everyone walking on the street is – at the same point in time – trying to come to grips with Einstein’s theory of relativity, but that, somehow, it won’t really click. All looking serious and angry, as if everyone is walking away from a fight with their spouse. As I said: a true joy to watch. And you know what I enjoy to do at those moments? At those numerous instances at which people look like they’re having an extremely hard time? At those moments I feel a strong urge to laugh.

At those moments I just like to express my happiness with the “walking faces” by bursting into a well-meant, wholehearted laughter. It doesn’t have to be very loud; just loud enough for yourself to realize that you’re laughing. And although this laughing might be feel “forced” or “fake” at the start; it while gradually flow into a sense of true laughter; a true sense of joy. And it is at that point in time that you’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the Absurd.

People are serious. And they should be, right? Live isn’t easy: you have to make money, you have to take care of your children and you have to act “responsibly”. If you don’t do any of these, there must definitely be something wrong with you. The road to survival is paved with puddles of duty and obligations; either socially conditioned or legally enforced. This is “the level of the crowd”. The level in which we live our “auto-pilot lives”; the level in which we move, speak and breathe. The level in which we’re prepared to do anything in order just to stay alive.

But there’s another level, a higher level, called “the level of reflection”. This is the level of relativity, of putting your issues into perspective: the level in which you think to yourself, “The people in Africa don’t even have food and I’m complaining about my goddamn wireless internet…what kind of sad person am I?” The level of reflection is a happy place to be at. It lessens your load, it makes you sorrows evaporate…partially. Because the level of reflection is – although higher than the level of the crowd – still part of the overarching “crowd-like mind”. The mind that is concerned with “living my life” and doing this through the inescapable and suffocating first-person perspective that I call “my personality”. Problems are still problems, only less significant than they were in the level of the crowd. You’re still hungry, but not as hungry as you were before.

But then – Bam! – Walhalla opens and “the level of the Absurd” shines its light on you. You become overwhelmed by feelings of randomness, ignorance and purposelessness. And you know what? You love it. It is in this level that all of your problems disappear, that the vortex to the world of indifference has opened. And when you finally decide to take the step into the Absurd, you feel that all the sense of “it’s all relative” – that you felt in the level of reflection – vanishes. You come to see that nothing is relative, since relativity implies value and value doesn’t exist. Nothing. Nowhere. “But”, a little voice from the level of the crowd might tell you, “people die in Africa every day. And your shitty wireless internet is still broken.” And your Absurd mind knows this, but it sees just right through all of these “issues” and into the truth: the truth that both issues are just as terrible as they are pleasant. People die every day and wireless internet breaks down every day. And you know why it happens? It happens because it happens.

Thank you for your visit in the level of the Absurd. I hope you enjoyed it.

What do you think?

Written by Rob Graumans

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