Absurd Games

Thumbnail Image
Biezenski, Maximilian
Absurdism , Eastern Philosophy
This paper presents an attempt to synthesize two philosophical points of view, that of the absurd, primarily interpreted from the works of Albert Camus, and that of “The Joker,” given to us by Alan Watts. That life is absurd is commonly felt. The world, despite our desires and efforts to understand it, never presents us with any inherent meaning or purpose. The world remains silent. The Joker is a character who looks at the world as game-playing, and he does not take it seriously. Across these two points of view we find an abundance of parallels. The world seems to have an impenetrably weird character to it. There is no meaning to be found from our human perspective. The world is simply there. Our actions, nor those of others, need not be taken seriously. There is no absolute morality. Value judgments therefore feel inappropriate beyond only aesthetic judgments. One may act in accordance with ethical systems, but they are not justified a priori. We can, however, find passion, or fun, in our endless arbitrary efforts. While suffering is indeed a reality, and a pointless one, this does not mean we ought to commit suicide. The choice, whether to go on or not, however, is something we must face. Both philosophies present a point of view on all of these existential problems that is greatly resonant with the other. This thesis argues that we may take both points of view without contradiction. The result is a new point of view, that of Absurd Games. No meaning is unlocked from this synthesis, but rather a rich new philosophical point of view is established. Though, faced with meaninglessness, there is no need to argue for any practical value beyond interest, this new view does present a lens through which we may analyze the behaviour of ourselves and others. We may, without concern for moral judgment—thus seeing more clearly—ask: what games we or others are playing, what rules do they follow, and what do we want?
External DOI