Accidentally bumped into Camus the other day, a dangerous thing to do on a balmy summer night. But he was sitting there with nothing else to do but open up to me.
Egad. Camus. Nope, can’t say the conversation went well. He began by telling me that all life springs from the absurd – a brilliant idea conceived in the movement through a revolving door. Can’t say I was compelled to throw myself into any revolving doors, but he wasn’t there to listen to me. In fact, he reminded me that he was sitting there minding his own business when I came along and I should listen to him.
He told me the root of all philosophy was based on the question of whether or not one should commit suicide. That was the determining factor as to whether life is worth living. My head began to spin, but he took no notice and carried on.
Those who do commit suicide do it for the most mundane of reasons, he stated, seldom for the major tragedies that are later attached to them. I shook my head and he explained further. It goes something like this.
You experience a tragedy, depression, whatever, but you cope. You go on, even though you are hanging on by your fingernails. But then, it is the small thing, a perceived rudeness or dismissal by a friend, even casually is what does it. That’s the small slight which tells us that life is not worth living. We know we will get over the big things. We know we will go on, no matter how tragic the circumstances. But the small things, the day to day minutiae of our lives, that we can not cope with.
So, what does that mean to me? He’s right – life is absurd. Everywhere I turn I am confounded by a revolving blur of absurdity. I suspect the reality of the rational world around me ended the moment I reached adulthood. It defined that moment – a rational world had only existed because I was told it did.
Sincethe fifteen minutes of rage over being lied to ended, it’s been a non-stop process of managing the absurd. I’m quite good at it now. Doesn’t bother me at all.
We manage the absurdity. We manage the tragedy. So I go back to the minutiae that ultimately does us in. And I’ve got it! I’ve known it all along and maybe Camus deserves the credit. But it seems to me (dare I whisper it??? so low Camus can’t hear??) the small stuff can’t do you in – if you don’t sweat the small stuff. Doh!