Eisenbiegler, Grace. “Intersubjectivity and Coping with Absurdity”, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108013.
Per Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, existentialism is the profound truth that the world lacks inherent meaning and thus, we are radically free to choose, to live life as we please. While these assertions are both true and liberating and the theoretical level, these axioms leave individuals disoriented. They never answer the question: how does one live within an absurd world? Thus, these authors never give us a way of coping with the harsh repercussions of absurdity. To answer this question, this project turns to intersubjectivity and the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas’s theory of the other demonstrates that we are not merely beings in a vacuum; the world is conditioned by the interpersonal. Relating to the Other allows us to see that we are not alone in our suffering, for the Other and the individual mutually witness one another. Such connections provide a means of coping with absurdity, allowing us both solidarity and insight into the truly absurd nature of the world. Thus, the application of Levinas’s intersubjectivity to existentialism serves to save Camus’s notion of absurdity from its more nihilistic tendencies, allowing us to accept and apprehend absurdity without falling into despair or ignorance.