Gratified absurdity and secrets of mysterious overestimation
There was a time when absurdity was a failure in interpreting what is said
There was a time when absurdity was a failure in interpreting what is said; this was either due to weakness in entailment, ignorance of its proper meaning or a pure desire to turn serious things into absurdity.
Since the emergence of smartphones and tablets, some authors and writers have delightfully decided to stop being intellects as they considered that they have shined and have now their own platform as popular journalists or writers who believe that technology has given a medium for everyone.
However, the problem of social absurdity is that it is a stale copy of a thoughtful text, similarly to what happened in France when Sartre was turned into mere fashion and was limited to clothes, hair style and wicked behavior.
The sidewalks became runways for young men and women obsessed with trivial and worthless fashion that had nothing to do with existential philosophy, for Kierkegaard and Gabriel Marcel, or atheism, Heidegger and Sartre. It was a juvenile rebellion, where some existential ideas were abused, but on the intellectual level, they were trivial and can only be actualized through absurdity.
This social technology phenomenon triumphed over everyone. It was a sweeping deluge and denouncing it would not weaken it. The hardest task was to try to consolidate the root of absurdity or search for its cause and condition.
Talking about this phenomenon and the breakdown of centers and references getting everyone back to their corner, gives the circumstances more depth than they deserve. However, we can tackle this problematic on two levels: first, the technical rise and its technological vogue.
This began ever since the world was amazed by the atomic bomb. A philosopher like Heidegger looked into the manufacturing technique, and called it ‘the era of metaphysics’. He wrote an essay in 1953 titled ‘The Question of Technology’, where he wrote: “I am trying to understand what is technology”, and in the answer, he saw that “Technology is the first emergence of a much deeper mystery” that he calls ‘event’.
“You should understand that you cannot talk about technology resistance or condemnation, but rather about the nature of technology and the technological world,” he explained.
We must raise awareness in order to limit gossiping because its invasion and turning everything into absurdity will make everything superficialFahad Suleiman Shoqiran
‘The postmodern condition’
Another idea was put forward by François Léotard in a book that was published in the 30s of the 20th Century. It was an extension of Heidegger’s idea about ‘undermining’. The book titled ‘The Postmodern Condition’ has made this snowball bigger and it initiated debates on how to ‘overtake’ modernity at the level of art, architecture, philosophy, literature and others. It has also initiated a debate about technology, its rise and its connections with capitalism, borders, cultures and centers.
Habermas, who was against Léotard’s ideas, elaborated this concept in his book ‘Science and Technology as Ideology’. Despite the criticism that was based on socialist grounds, Terry Eagleton was not wrong when he considered that the emerging modernity and its goals go against the depth, centers, roots and foundations.
It is a “reflexive, self-meditated, etymological, eclectic and pluralistic art, that destroys the boundaries between fine and popular cultures, and between art and the daily experiences.” That was the first level, and technology is surely a phenomenon that is manifested through explosions and revolutions in industry, medicine and humanities.
As for the second level, it is based on diagnosis and practice. Technology has resulted in people who mastered education and lectures. They have scientific careers sometimes, which may be useful. I will only criticize the ‘absurd stars’ who rise on platforms and impose themselves as role models for current and future generations.
They emerge like fungus, without root or basis. They talk about trivial issues and get overwhelmed by the shallow mass surrounding them. This social phenomenon has engendered a lack of manners, propagation of insults and tampering of social morals. Unfortunately, these names are presented on platforms as valuable, but in fact, they are a state of organized ignorance.
Indulging in absurdity
Students ditched their books and got addicted to social platforms. Technology proliferated into self-doping and unreal overestimation. This phenomenon can only be diagnosed as ‘absurd’ and here, absurdity is not an insult but a neutral, decent description for people who interfere in things that they do not know.
Etymologically, absurdity is derived from the act of being dull or tasteless. In the Hadith, the absurd person was “the one who speaks about trivial issues” and was part of Anas bin Malek story that was narrated by Ahmad in his musnad and later on corrected by Albani.
This social phenomenon is not linked to a certain meaning and does not achieve a goal. We must raise awareness in order to limit gossiping, because its invasion and turning everything into absurdity will make everything superficial.
Beauty in artistic, literary and linguistic levels can only be seen in depth. Giving everyone the opportunity to talk about findings, facts and dogmatism while labeling themselves as inspirational, conversant and experts, is a major catastrophe that destroys all beauty. It is a decline, collapse and madness. I do condemn this phenomenon.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on February 09, 2017.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.