Two concepts that I often reflect upon, but which are under-valued, are the concepts of the Absurd and the Mundane. These two aspects of existence are ever-present, but, like irony, many people seem not to have a healthy appreciation of them. I will explore these two concepts in hopes that more people will begin to reflect upon the importance they play in all of our lives.
From a certain perspective EVERYTHING is absurd. We are steeped in absurdity based on the fact that we are here at all! How odd is it that you exist? How odd is it that this amazingly vast and infinitly complex universe exists? How odd is it that we are flying around a self-sustaining nuclear explosion in the vaccum of space at thousands of mph on a rock balanced by another, smaller rock (the moon)? How odd is it that you are an ape who evolved over millions of years from single-celled organisms? How odd is it that from the billions of individual sperm your father has dumped (into kleenex, boxer-briefs, his hand, women’s mouths and lower backs, condoms, etc.) your little sperm was the one that somehow got to the worship-worthy egg? If the sperm who placed second at your conception wiggled past your sperm and won the race, the person who would be born would look alot like you, but it would not be you “inside the box”, as it were. Your consciousness that you call “me” wouldn’t have existed. It is comparable to winning the lottery a million times in one life. The statistical odds that you are here at all are so fucking small that they would be deemed far too insignificant to pay attention to by anyone who crunched the numbers. Yet you are here. You have a life in this ultra-mysterious universe with no known cause and no known end (although theories are abound!). With that perspective in mind, EVERYTHING else you do is utterly absurd. You shit, fuck, eat, sing, get jealous, feel anger, cry, fight, love, laugh, masturbate, work, buy things, get drunk, feel insecure with yourself, etc. All this is done without even the vaguest sense of awe that it is happening at all! We are born for no reason, and we die for no reason. THIS is the absurd. This is the context in which you exist… HOW ABSURD IT ALL IS!!
The Mundane is the trivial way in which we dwindle down our small time on this planet. We sometimes come across stats about how many hours of life we spend doing such and such. For example, the average person spends 20 years of their life asleep. We spend around 4 years taking a shit on the toilet (absurd, isnt it?). We spend about 14 years of our lives working for someone else (how nice of you!). We spend 9 years of our lives watching television! You have heard similar facts, no doubt. The point I am trying to make is The Mundane makes up the bulk of our existence! We spend most of our allotted life-time doing daily drudgeries and habitual routines. You wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, drive in your car to work, clock in, do boring shit, clock out, go home, go to sleep. When the weekend comes you get drunk as fuck and forget about the shitty week you just wasted, then on Monday you do it all again! If your really lucky you could get a lot of money in your short life, and that means you can buy things!!! Televisions sets (only the biggest and brightest), cool cars, big houses, maybe even a boat! You can buy diamonds that little African children die for, just so you can wear it around to prove your married or rich enough to afford such a rock. Very little of our time is spent in the way we would like: falling in love, having great sex, having creative moments, feeling blissful, having a child, etc. These are the moments we notice and emphasis, and they are few and far between. The rest of our lives we live in the margins of our autobiography. We dwell in the footnotes and citations of the story book of our lives.
This is not meant to be depressing (although I don’t blame you for feeling that emotion) it is actually meant to shine light on these concepts and by shining light on them we can come to have a deeper, healthier appreciation of them. When I have a conscious appreciation of the mundane nature of my existence, I tilt my head back and laugh at the absurdity of it all! In this way we can become intimate friends with these two driving forces of our lives. It helps us to laugh louder, cry harder, and love better. Life is a joke, a tragic joke at times, but ultimately a joke. Instead of ignoring the punch line we should be able to summon a deep belly laugh, tilt our head back, and enjoy the damn thing!