When I first started reading absurd plays and playwrights I felt great freedom in their denial of cause and effect. Falsely the Social Media are often assumed to be built on exactly that concept of interactiveness and related action. The opposite is true (as well). The Social Media vividly trangress into the absurd. The absurd provides a world in which the boundaries of pure reason were blurring away and great significance would be replaced by restorative nothingness. After having worked my way through an exhausting literary canon of meaningful dramas and plays, the absurd (e.g. Slawomir Mrożek) provide a welcome anodyne place of futile babbling in contrast to purposeful conversation (this strongly reminds me of communication in social networks – textfragments, lack of context etc.). The Theatre of the Absurd’s lack of coherence, the fragmented episodes of life and the nonsensical dialogues, which are not just hilarious and outrageous, but due to their paucity of morality and meaning are also of a rather bewildering quality.
The Theatre of the Absurd is a beastly swindle. Esslin reveals the contemporary social notion behind his term: He asserts the absurd to be an attitude expressing that once imperturbable dogmas and certainties are no longer valid (the same holds true for Social Networks). The Theatre of the Absurd mirrors the confusion of the era we live in: Shifting paradigms, the rise of (religious) spirituality interfering with western rationalism, political changes, terrorism etc., and all these different influences are leaking into our cultural and social spheres, creating more confusion with every solution or suggestion that brings the individual to another scratch. This is very much the state in which we experience the social networks to be – a space that is utterly dependent on add ons and links and connection, thus due to its diverse contents it lacks coherence in itself.
Nevertheless, my use of the term absurd (in accordance to The Theatre of the Absurd) does not allude to the irrationality of social, political and cultural developments, but is to be found in the confrontation between our desire for clarity and our realizing of the world’s irrationality. Neither the world nor the human minds are in themselves absurd. Rather, absurdity finds itself in the confrontation between the two. Albert Camus came to acknowledge a fact he apllied to the absurd, but which is nowadays equally apllicable to the world of Social Media: “The absurd / Social Media depends as much on man as on the world. It binds them one to the other as only hatred can weld two creatures together… The absurd/Social Media is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”