International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Irony and the Authenticity of Existence in the Works of Lucian of Samosata
Vefa Taşdelen

Irony and the Authenticity of Existence in the works of Lucian of Samosata: Besides all other aspects, irony has also a power that puts forth authenticity by ironising and rasping the weak, artificial and imperfect sides of life. In Lucian, irony, in addition to being a way of discourse, is also a method of eliminating and sorting. By the method of ironic denial, he examines the true values of time, daily passions, ambitions of men, and types of living, thinking and believing men have. However, as soon as we set sail towards nihilism, we start denying everything. Lucian’s works also display nihilistic tendencies in patches. At this level, his ironic denial is at a turnout; while it can be evaluated as a method to sort existence from its features that artificialize it, it is also possible to consider it as a beginning for the road to nihilism. Unfortunately, taking one of these routes will require dismissing the other. Carrying Lucian’s method of ironic denial forward in one of these routes rests with our own interpretation. In this study, we will take Lucian’s ironic denial not as a nihilising attitude but as a sorting method and will try to develop this approach towards the authenticity of existence. We can infer the authentic values of existence from the texts of Lucian. In this respect, the value to be put-forth first is freedom. Freedom is not being enslaved to the wealth of the world, not being shackled by one’s ambitions and passions, and not leaving the courage to live against the fear of death. In order for one to be able to get close to the authentic phase of life, one should discover transience and mortality in ones being. Wisdom, not as a babbling or fallacy but as a type of living and thinking that maturates the person and gives the authentic values of his own existence to himself, involves in the authentic phase of existence. Justice, austerity, gaiety, candidness, outspokenness and the like attitudes are also within the group of values that constitute the authentic phase of existence. Opposite the authentic values, there are attitudes that artificialize existence. Unauthenticity of existence is brought out by putting wealth, pleasure, babbling, and fallacy as the objective of life. In order to turn towards the authentic phase of existence, human beings tend to artificialize and ward it off from its base. Reality of death is usually ignored in this circle of artificialised existence. They would not shy away from enslaving others for their own concerns, pleasures and entertainment and turning them into means from individuals. During their journey in the world, they roam with the dream of a brilliant future, huge wealth, great happiness and gigantic entertainment within the possibilities that they might meet. By aiming his ironic arrows at people living such an unauthentic life, Lucian puts forth judgements and expressions about this worldly life not only from the point of living creatures but also from the point of the dead and superhuman beings; he gives an opportunity for us to think over the meaning and value of life against death.

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