Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Theater of the Absurd

They talk about the Theater of the Absurd. The stuff of Camus, Albee and Samuel Beckett. Meaningless plots. Nonsensical dialogue. Dramatic non-sequitors. The sort of anti-theater that drives the closed-minded to demand a refund.

They say that the philosophy of the absurd is rooted in myth. The Myth of Sisyphus to be exact. He’s the one that was condemned to push a rock up a mountain peak every day only to have it roll back down to the valley every night.

The futility of life, as the philosophy presents, directly opposes the idea of faith. Then what, if anything, would stop a man from suicide. They say that the periodic consciousness during the long walk down the mountain forms a basis for perception… essentially inspiring pride in a man and directly contradicting the notion of suicide.

But you’re a young man. You can understand Kevorkian euthanasia. Suffering has never sounded very good to you. When your human capacities extinguish, when the body goes before the mind, you’d consider it. You’d rather be of sound mind and go out on your own terms. But that’s just you, and you’re a young man.

You think about those with AIDS and bone cancer. The terminally ill. It makes sense.

Then you think that we’re all terminally ill.

The absurdity of life.

You think about this on your drive to work. On the I-5. Next to the pretty girls in Mustangs, and the middle-aged women in Range Rovers.

You look over at their faces. The pretty girl smiles. The middle-aged woman is talking on her cell phone. The thirty-something man is stone-faced. Like Sisyphus pushing that rock.

You wonder what you’ll do today. Will it be different from yesterday? Will it be different than the factory workers in Duluth and Donora? Will it be different than the office workers in Singapore and Santiago?

The periodic consciousness depresses and empowers. And it goes on and on like this. Day after day.