At age 20 I have confirmed that there is no meaning inherent to, or to be found in, existence. I have confirmed this through observations and my own experience in the metaphysical realm of drunkenness.
Rather, there is a purpose to life. Purpose does not equate to meaning. The purpose of life is In and Out. All existence, functions, states of affairs, etc. can be broken down into this fundamental relationship. In and out, in and out. Like tides and belly buttons, the cycle is endless. In and out. Put in alcohol, get out happiness.
This hypothesis originated one afternoon when my father read me an article in the newspaper about industrial pig farming. Accompanying the article was a picture of a sad looking pig in a little pen.
My father exclaimed, “Isn’t this sad? These pigs live in these tiny pens where they hardly move and all they do is eat and poop.”
I thought about this for a moment then replied, “Sounds like us.”
Eat and poop…eat and poop. This is the fact of human existence. Of course we do other things occasionally; eat and skeet for example… but regardless of what we do second, eating always comes first.
To quote Banksy, “You don’t go to a restaurant and order food so you can have a shit afterwards.” Human existence is nothing more than things coming (inputs) and going out of holes (outputs).
Eating, pooping, sex, and birth; hearing, seeing, smelling, breathing; our existence is inseparably linked to rounded orifices. There is no escaping this truth.
There is no higher meaning to our lives than to put things into and take things out of the various holes. Some of these things give us pleasure, some don’t.
We tend to do the former.
Because no one likes to feel pain. That is what we strive for in life, to not feel pain.
I took this observation and applied it to the greater realm of life and noticed the pattern of In and Out persists for all things.
Life is a series of unconnected and meaningless actions that we are the agents of. There is no free will, we are only agents of the outputs; we cannot control the inputs. The search for meaning in life is the search to find control over the inputs.
Because everything is meaningless in and of its self, we, like the critic of a painting, must criticize the art that is our lives rather than the products of our living in order to create and endow it with meaning.
Like Kant describes, we project our minds onto reality. This applies to our projection of meaning on to our own lives. There is no meaning other than the meaning we construct for ourselves.
We usually act first without thinking about why we act, it is after we have committed the deed that we try to fit it in to our meaning system that we have been constructing for ourselves.
If there is no meaning to life, what then is the role of art? This, I believe, is where surrealism triumphs.
It is consciously begging meaning from the meaningless. Asking us to question the possibility of the impossible. Forcing us to accept that all we hold true is indeed false.
For, when one surveys the constant Ins and Outs that make up life, like me, they will conclude that it is absurd and there could therefore be no possibility of finding truth or logic.
Surrealism can aid the viewer in locating himself spacio-temporally. It can help him recognize the void of meaningless.
And it can combat the fetid world-view of religion. Surrealism is the plausible possibility we create with our minds.
Our minds create reality. Therefore the surreal is possible. Dreams are just as valid as wakeful visions.