Absurdism and overthinking
Overthinking is a problem that seems to plague so many people.
Thinking thinking of you, too many thoughts in my head I'm confused, overthinking is all I can do, overthinking is making me blue – (Over)thinking, Nia Archives
Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera...
Despite trying to be self-aware about it, I still often let my mind wander and fall into the trap too. A belief in absurdism and that the present state of the world is the world, can be some of the best ways to combat these thought processes.
One of my favourite quotes, despite not being intended for this purpose at all, is
If your aunt had balls she'd be your uncle, but she doesn't so she's not.
Albert Camus, one of the most important writers in the philosophy of absurdism, argues that people have a constant urge to understand the world. People crave information, despite there being so many questions that we can't answer. For instance, we don't understand the reason of the world. People have tried and failed for all of history to understand the meaning of life, however there are also much more simple questions that people experience in their lives that also seem incomprehensible.
Sisyphus is the perfect example of an absurd person. He is entirely self-aware about the futile state he finds himself in, for him, there will never be a better or a worse day, he holds no dream of a greater afterlife, as he is cursed to roll the boulder up the hill every day. Yet his certainty about the ills of his fate give him absolute freedom, his entire existence has become the present. He accepts the absurd and finds happiness in his futility.
We are all aware that death, loss and failure are an inevitability in life. To live absurdly is to revolt against this truth. To be the person you are, in the place you are, in the circumstances you have, is a culmination of every historical event happening the way it did since the beginning of the universe, and that fact is absurd.
Freedom through absurdism is acknowledging that many parts of the world are entirely unreasonable but living happily in the present anyway, because you are free from needing to achieve a certain meaning.
Every time you overthink, you probably only consider >0.00001% of the actual possibilities that could be occurring. In every scenario that you conjure up, weirder things have happened.
The butterfly effect is an all-encompassing phenomenon. The chance of your aunt having balls and being your uncle, was a coin flip, as biological gender assignment is. How would that change affect your life ? The exact same coin flip happened to you. What would be the impact on your life if you were biologically the opposite gender ? This is just one of millions of chance events that has occurred throughout your life that create the present. Overthinking is pointless because we can never know, and there will always be an event that had a greater impact on determining your present than the whims of your personal relationships.
The world is absurd and seeking complete meaning and understanding is a task that is either impossible, or incomprehensible. And by extension, spending an hour trying to find meaning in a .e.g cryptic text message isn't a worthwhile task.
For Camus, freedom is rebelling against meaninglessness by enjoying our lives with the full knowledge that they have no meaning whatsoever.