Death of the Absurd: A Campaign for Emotional Maturity
Hello people of the world, it's your favorite Chris Barclay here!
I'm starting a campaign project facilitated by my individual work in English class. It's called Death of the Absurd, and it's all about developing oneself individually through the consideration and implementation of basic ideas and philosophies. I've already outlined a great deal of the project. The main topic falls under Emotional Maturity—aka the ability to make effective decisions regarding the development of one's own individual character. The project is split up into 5 sections:
- Study of Curriculum [Philosophy, etc.]
I will post 5 videos—each concerning their respective topic—roughly every week, in addition to a possible written article. Each will be vlog-style, exceptional quality, and intentional in persuading the viewer why they should develop themselves individually.
Expect videos to come out around January 6th
Below is a copy of the campaign pitch I presented to my English class Friday November 17th
As my Op-Ed says: “The study of philosophy serves many practical uses to us individually . . . allowing us to better ourselves intellectually and emotionally, and reveals the beauty of our world through the cultivation of worldview”. The project, Death of the Absurd, started with a simple idea and mission: to construct 5 videos discussing the absurd shortfall of emotional maturity in our society. Specifically goal was to formulate, write, film, edit, and produce a total of six videos—including the introductory video—and shed light on some of the important sections of our personal life that often go overlooked. I divided these sections into self, relationships, work, philosophy, and culture. Each video integrates philosophy and humanistic concepts to help the viewer ask themselves helpful questions about their lives. Death of the Absurd is a striking title, forcing intrigue from the audience and eloquently summing up my ultimate mission: to educate and question oneself and overcome the absurd shackles of conformity and unfulfillment.
This has been one of the most intellectually and emotionally exhausting writing projects I have ever endeavoured. I spent so much time in in class, at home, and in coffee shops conceptualizing my project. My brainstorming went like this: write, rewrite, think for 3 minutes, re-write, repeat. Each sentence in my booklet is eloquently written such as a Sandman novel: raw ideas about the universe and humanity. Looking objectively, I wrote down the concept, followed the concept with a list of woes associated with the lack of emotional maturity on the concept, incorporated a relevant philosophical or mythological analogy, and concluded the concept. Most of the time was spent brainstorming, making script-writing easy yet painstakingly long. After writing all 6 scripts, which took me over 2 weeks, I had asked Declan Greenwald to help me film and edit each script. Declan agreed, and over the span of three 8-hour sessions, we had filmed all of my dream project. We didn’t do much editing over Winter Break, but when we got back we spent around 3-4 hours editing per video: Declan working on editing and me working on finding songs and images for each video.
I’d have to quote Douglas Adams to summarize both the challenges and successes of my project.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” –Douglas Adams
Much like Douglas Adams, I poured in tons of time into a long literary project, with my challenges being time-constraints and logistics. If I were to properly do the project over again, I would most likely start filming a lot earlier, perhaps even without a script. That way, we could start editing sooner to reach deadlines and better-edit each video. Without time constraints, I would designate more time into the filming process, making sure to memorize each sentence of the script instead of going off bullet-points. It’d probably take 2 weeks to memorize, but it’d increase the quality of the videos. Lastly, I would advertize my project more. Frankly, I’m scared to advertize my project at school in fear of being ridiculed or seen as pretentious.
Death of the Absurd not only encouraged me to learn a tremendous amount about my ability to research and write synthesized thoughts about society and emotional-maturity, but also about who I believed I was as a person. I better recognize the impacts of consumerism on society, and took a shallow, yet deeply indulgent, step into philosophy, psychology, and sociology. I was also able to appreciate the beauty of mythological literature and art such as Ovid’s adaption of Narcissus and Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, which was helpful for making analogies about life situations such as over-romanticization or self-pity. I talked with strangers—such as my new friend Frank, who cliff-jumps—about music and food in relation to our worldview and emotional maturity. I thought about the role of certain friendships in my life, how I succumbed to envy and self-pity, and how I achieved confidence and calmness. I started sleeping better, reading more often, talking more positively, and sobering up to important sympathetic and often pessimistic truths about life.
While I cannot give you a number saying “look at how many views or likes or shares or emails I got”, I can assure you that this project was deeply meaningful and impactful. Death of the Absurd was effective in the way it inspired many friends to reach out to me afterwards with thoughts and self-revelations. It was effective in the way that my mother nearly cried laughing watching my first video, and in the way that I was suggested to watch My Dinner with Andre, which I wholeheartedly related to. In the way that people in my community held me up to a high, yet deeply motivational, standard. It feels as though I’ve cultivated ideas and questions that reach a grander audience than I ever could have expected. So yes, I intend to keep at it and read and write and think more about the absurdities of the world in spite of all their complexities.