Thursday, March 18, 2010

Modern Man’s Dilemma and His Importance of Being Earnest

“….. in a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger. His is an irremediable exile….. This divorce between man and is life…… truly constitutes the feeling of Absurdity”.

~ Albert Camus(“ The Myth of Sisyphus”)

Modern man is greatly caught up within the intrigues of social living- more in love with an idea than the real self. Pretense is the price he pays for freedom
from the pretense of convention. Although the life here seems to be replete with joy, yet life beyond hypocrisy is one threatened by the dangerous climate of moral anarchy. The attempt to free oneself from the stereotypes and the recognition of the ‘Self ‘ forms the hub of the modern man’s dilemma. The idea of self-assertion is lost or else relegated to the backdrop and so in a roundabout fashion the society heralds the idea of escapism. An utter disbelief in the age-old convictions, especially in the existence of God and a deeper self-questioning which was the spirit of the age led to the acceptance of the fact that escapades are inevitable and the most desirable for modern man. Not only the Romantics who are accused of escapism even Duke Senior in “As You Like It” and Prospero in “The Tempest” had both retired from the world when they found it impossible to cope with its evils. Even neither could Velutha or Amu of “The God of Small Things” or Meursault ( “The Outsider”) – an outcast from society, who chose his own inner exile- successfully manage to lead a life of seclusion from the evils of the society making us realize that all escape routes are closed and that Arcadia does not exist in real life. At the same time it is not possible to eliminate the undesirable aspects of social life altogether. Life entails the collapse of the values and conventions that have sustained the Western thought- the belief in God, in the unity of the world, in the comprehension of experience, the communicability of experience through language and the concept of Being. Man here exists in a state of “emotional exile” emotionally questing for the ‘Holy Grail’ of happiness and satisfaction. The realists of the 21st century know that for a new order, they will have to cater to the continued existence of the norms and conform to the idea of “Be Thyself”. The visionaries and philosophers of life suggest us to scour the realm of our “Infernal Arcadia” like a benevolent maenad, dismembering these various literary aliases. Ultimately, in this redemptive comedy of LIFE, Man is confronted with their alter egos only to dissolve hilariously into their actual selves, thereby heralding the “Importance of Being Earnest”.

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