Metaphysical Revolts Against The Absurd

Postman Bass Museum
Christy Gast, ‘Self Portrait as the Barefoot Mailman’ (2013)

METAPHYSICAL REVOLTS by David Arthur Walters

Metaphysical revolts attempt to overthrow the Absurd with rational systems. The relationships between people are absurd. Individuals are inherently aliens to one another. Although as social persons they communicate, they may not perfectly commune. They may never exist as they truly desire, for they would endure forever without resistance if only they could, yet they may not so persist, for individuality depends on resistance. The external world is surd or deaf to the individual’s will to immortality.

The relationship between man and world is absurd. The original sin is individuality, and praying to gods for absolution is as absurd as praying to stones at the gross mechanical level. Sisyphus was sentenced by the gods to roll the Stone or Sun to the peak, from whence it would inevitably roll back down again. He could not successfully will the Stone to the top of the hill at a distance. He laughed at the gods as he ran to the bottom of the hill to set his legs against the earth and his shoulder against the stone to heave it with all his might once again. He laughed at the absurdity of his Task in terms of his will. Everything shall end in the final analysis, and nothing can be done about it. We live to die hence life is absurd—that is not to say life may not be lived in good humor.

Every seemingly logical justification of the incongruous relationship between man and world, the Absurd, is necessarily ambiguous hence logically defeasible or absurd in itself. Metaphysical revolts are inherently irrational attempts to rationally deny every rational system except one’s own rationalizations, in order to set oneself up as Arche and Archon, the Origin and Ruler of the universe. The self-styled Monarch or singular Arche of the Absurd is not really the Head of the Universe. He is a clownish messenger who stands on his head, in the sand. His every argument, no matter how extended his legal briefs might be, exposes his genitive foolishness.

In other words, any attempt to fully reconcile man and world is theoretically absurd, for theoretical reconciliation is partial hence denies the whole. Sophisticated theoretical arguments are ambiguous hence defeasible by counter-argument. Nonetheless, intellectual calisthenics may be harmless and even useful providing that the dynamic dialectic is always ongoing beyond the propositional pauses for reflection. Yet an attempt to impose a particular ideology or logical system of ideas on the world, in an attempt to remake that world, is destructive in practice, especially where the social world is involved, for the thorough reconciliation of the irreconcilable, of the generally absurd relation between man and world, would annihilate the individual, in self murder, or, parts of the race or the race itself, in mass murder. A metaphysical revolt, then, is the rebellion of a part against the whole, or, if you will, a demonic or partial rebellion of an individual or group against the whole person, or society projected as the Supreme Being or God.

When applied to the natural world, the metaphysical revolt is destructive; when applied to the social world, it is revolutionary. Since the individual, despite its socialization into a person, is categorically an anarchist that would persist forever unimpeded if only it could, persons are naturally bound to disagree over into just what image the world should be remade. The whole, or Good, or God, really is their innate, unmitigated freedom, the portion of the Power each individual naturally worships for its own good.

Only unconditional terror and rampant organized violence can enslave people for very long in a particular static order. The objective of such a Totalitaria is the death of life: total annihilation. Although metaphysical revolts often proceed with an ethical profession of the Whole, or Man or Love, or Go, ultimately there is no contrasting evil that might not in practice be done to obtain the supposed Ideal. Obedient subjects are wanted but their submission can never be absolute. Since individuals are not really predisposed to total obedience, they must be terminated if they threaten the wanted order. Then the pretext, say, of loving unity, is soon exposed for what it is: a hateful unity or hate-others-based love; a screen for self-hatred; an indication of the “death instinct,” if you please; the will to destroy the human race and thus prematurely achieve the reconciliation of alienated man with “his” world in nothingness.

Kansas City, Missouri May 2004

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