I would proclaim that I have been an existentialist. But in fact, I may not be – not in the Sarte way, not in the Camus way or the Nietzsche way. So maybe I am just an existentialist in the Vib kind of way. Essentially, I make use of their arguments, their notions of reality and tools to argue my advice and ideas on life. But the recent studies on climate change and global warming started changing my ideas about cycles and the meaningless-ness of life itself and other natural processes. This discourse would concentrate on tackling Camus’ ideas of Absurdism more than other things and would eventually present something that would sound deterministic. I hope I don’t sound that I have betrayed existentialism because I still feel strongly about one’s ability to change his circumstances and the need to define oneself – but I also believe this ability is part of the entire general direction everything is heading towards anyway.
Scientist studying climate change always looked at the past for patterns of our weather conditions and attempt to use them to predict the future. And all these relies on this fundamental assumption that whatever happens at present and in the future, is governed by exactly the same laws and affected by the same variables as in the past – something that has to be reconsidered given our magnitude of rapid changes. This infectious intuition that things goes in cycles arise not only in Geography (Climate, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Weathering) but also other social sciences such as Economics (Trade Cycles), Sociology (Societies) and more importantly, Philosophy dealing with existence and sentience. In the aspect of philosophy, Absurdist ideas draws upon most of its conclusions of the meaningless-ness of life from illustration of how everything runs in cycles.
My concern here is that cycles that we speak of, are not full circles and we are never on the same path as the past. It is all a spiral that tends to somewhere. We may well be on a contracted spring, with cycles in that we are going round and round so we find things familiar but we are effectively progressing up the spring. That’s to say that all that we have been through is not wasted. Things proceeds with meaning, or at least a macro purpose such that everything that may seem meaningless would converge to something meaningful. Thus, all the climate changes, plunging into Ice Ages can well be processes that drives the entire climate system into maturity, into more stable weather systems. The same applies for Absurdism – every cycle brings us closer to the end. And to answer to Beckett, I think Vladimir and Estragon will meet Godot one day because the time dimension still exists, which is to say that the similar stuff that goes on signifies there’s some end.
Trade cycles as well. There are ups and downs but I guess we can safely assume that economists have been clever enough to identify that we are heading towards upward spiraling purchasing power and ability to satisfy our needs. In this intellectual discourse then, we would still say Economics have been heading in the right direction of analysis at least. All the other disciplines are simply too pessimistic.
We do go through cycles, but it’s a spiral to maturity.