[This post is part of a series introducing kirism, a contemporary philosophy of life. You can learn more about kirism in Lighting the Way: How Kirism Answers Life’s Toughest Questions.]
Kirism sees absurd rebellion as a major, enduring human task. Absurdly enough, we must rebel against the universe’s basic indifference to our aims and very existence. Yes, it is quite absurd to imagine rebelling against that. And that is exactly what we must do.
Which rebellions, then, are the absurd rebellions that are the hallmark and cornerstone of kirism? They are your absurd rebellions on the side of the good. They are your rebellions for the benefit of all humankind, played out in tiny installments.
You might rebel by singing. It’s absurd to suppose that your protest song can stop the tidal wave of history. But you sing it anyway. You sing it on street corners and from rooftops. You sing out for justice, a rebel songbird, not caring if you look ridiculous.
You might rebel by breaking the silence. Can your few kind words, offered in passing, do much good? You sigh, put aside your distaste for your species, and stop and chat anyway. You say a nice thing to this person who needs some comforting.
You might rebel by putting the world on your shoulders. It’s absurd to suppose that it’s your job to save the world. What could be more ridiculous? And still anything less is too little. Everyone tells you, “Do less,” and you say, “No, I don’t think so.”
You might rebel against your own programming. How absurd to arm-wrestle yourself! But you know about your shadow side, your trickster nature, your callous impulses, your venalities, and, absurdly enough, you valiantly rebel against your own nature.
You might rebel against the very idea that you do not matter. Yes, you are puny. Yes, you are a lone creature among billions and billions of others. Yes, you are miniscule. But do not let your insignificance stop you from aiming for grandeur.
What are you rebelling against? The universe deeming you trivial. Yes, it has done that to you. But you say, “I am something, in my human way, and when it comes to speaking up, pointing a finger, and of all that, I will make my presence known.”
What are you rebelling against? The hypnotic trance that afflicts all of us, causing us to sit there, watching yet another episode of a beautifully crafted television show about nothing. We rebel by snapping our fingers and waking up.
What are you rebelling against? The mountains of humbug piled in every corner of the kingdom, where deodorant is sold to make poverty smell good and holes in the ozone layer are called windows on the universe. We rebel against liars.
What are you rebelling against? You rebel against the inertia produced by living, the inertia that makes sitting on the couch seem like your next best option. You heroically create your own momentum to fight the terrible weight of inertia.
What are you rebelling against? You rebel against meanness, even if you are feeling mean yourself, because you know that meanness wounds and that you are not here to do harm or let others do harm. You take a stand against meanness.
What are you rebelling against? You rebel against your own modesty and your own meekness, qualities drilled into you by your family and your society. You roar like a lion even if you have been trained to squeak like a mouse.
What are you rebelling against? You rebel against your own disinclination to rebel. How comical that you are in mortal combat with yourself about rebelling! Imagine a squirrel fighting with itself about whether or not to crack open a nut.
Isn’t it time you rebelled? Welcome to our precious, absurd, invaluable rebellion.
Eric Maisel is the author of 50+ books. Read Lighting the Way and join the meaning revolution!