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In 1992, one year after Vilém Flusser’s death, Bodenlos. Eine philosophische Autobiographie [No Firm Ground: A Philosophical Autobiography] was published in Germany. The book describes various stages of the Jewish philosopher’s life in the Czech capital Prague. He emigrated from Prague to São Paulo, where he lived most of his adult life. In his autobiography, by using three metaphors taken from the worlds of botany, astronomy, and logic, Flusser claims that the word “absurd” originally means bodenlos, “no firm ground,” in the sense of something that “has no roots.”This is the drama experienced by flowers ripped out of their beds and put in a vase. Flowers in a vase are his example of absurd life forms.

The word “absurd” also expresses bodenlos, “no firm ground,” meaning “senseless.” Our planetary system, with its planets orbiting around the sun, with the abyss and the infinite as its setting, is an example of absurd functioning – after all, why does it actually work like that?

The word “absurd” also means bodenlos, “no firm ground” in the sense of something “without a reasonable or sensible basis.” “For instance, a sentence that says two times two makes four at seven o’clock in the evening in São Paulo is bodenlos. This is an example of absurd thinking.” (Bodenlos, 1992, p. 9; translated from the German) Here the notions of “true” and “false” do not work. Further, “absurd” can be understood as a variation of the word “utopia” (u-topos) – “a place that is not there,” or not a place suited to our fundaments. In this sense, bodenlos could also be translated as “exile.”

Original article by Mario Ramiro in Flusseriana

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absurdity.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 by