WORLD VIEW REVIEW (CONT.)
Naturalism was inclined to agree with Romanticismâ€™s criticism of Theism and Deism, but did not believe in a benevolent Nature.Â In fact, Nature, to the Naturalist, was malevolent, mischievous, and unpredictable.Â Mankind, as it were, lost control of the universe and the person who had control did not really care much for his creation.Â Â Theism of course was absurd.Â How could any sane person who experienced World War I believe in a loving, living God?Â Deism was equally wrong.Â God was not absentâ€“he was present in an unpredictable, at times evil way.Â Romanticism was on the right track but terribly naive.Â Â God and His creation were certainly not â€œgoodâ€ in any sense of the word.Â Nature was evil.Â Naturalism embraced a concept of fate not dissimilar to that held by the Greeks.Â In Homerâ€™s Iliad, for instance, the characters were subject to uncontrolled fate and pernicious gods and goddesses who inflicted terrible and good things on mankind with no apparent design or reason.Â Â No, to the Naturalist, God was at best absent orÂ wimpish; at worst, he was malevolent.
Realism was philosophically akin to Naturalism.Â In a sense, Naturalism was a natural companion to Realism.Â Realism was different from Naturalism in degree, not in substance.Â Realism argued that it people were honest they would admit that God was not present at all.Â It there was anything worth embracing, it was reality.Â Realism advanced an in-your-face view of life. Realists prided themselves in â€œtelling it like it is.â€Â They entered the cosmic arena and let the chips fall where they may.Â They shared the same criticisms ofÂ views that the Naturalists held.
Absurdism certainly believed that Realism was on track.Â Where Realism erred, however, was its propensity to see meaning in life.Â Mind you, the meaning was tied to things one could see and feelâ€“not in things that were abstract or immutableâ€“but the Realist still sought some meaning in this life.Â The Absurdist abandoned all hope of finding meaning in life and embraced a sort of nihilism.Â The Absurdist was convinced that everything was meaningless andÂ absurd.Â The subjectivity of a Romantic was appealing to the Absurd.Â However, even that implied that something was transcendentâ€“a desireâ€“and the Absurdist would have nothing to do with that.Â Billy Pilgrim, a protagonist in one of the AbsurdistÂ Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.â€™s novels, became â€œunhinged from timeâ€ and â€œwandered around in the cosmos.Â Things without meaning happen to him whose life had no meaning.Â Everything was absurd.
Existentialism stepped outside the debate of meaning altogether. Existentialists argued that the quest was futile.Â The only thing that matters was subjective feeling.Â Â â€œExperienceâ€ was a God at whose feet the Existentialist worshiped.Â Â Romanticism was on the right track in that it invited mankind to explore subjectivity.Â Where it erred was when it refused to give up the deity.Â Naturalism was an anomaly.Â It was too busy arguing with the cosmos to see that reality was in human desire not in providence.Â The degree to which mankind was to discover and experience these desires determined the degree to which people participated in the divine.