Peculiar. Enigmatic. Cosmic. A cult?
Founded in 2019, the Moon Appreciation Club has garnered attention from media, the student body and has even inspired counterpart chapters at other universities such as Cornell and Columbia.What was once a small and fairly unknown group back when I was a freshman has grown into a space for hundreds of students to dance, chant, party and prance under the full moon in which their monthly meetings serve to worship. Surrounded by cookies and costumes, I spent my time at the most recent meeting jarred by the sheer number of students who choose to spend their Saturday nights basking in the moonlight.
Leave it to the philosophy major to take the fun out of a good thing and analyze a seemingly casual occasion such as Moon Club. But some careful reflection and some brief skimming of a few novels exposes Moon Club for what it truly is: A vehicle for existential revolt against the universe and its lack of meaning.
In thinking about absurdism – the belief that life lacks any inherent meaning from the external universe – and the movements that have attempted to overcome such a gloomy truth, the works of Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Franz Kafka come to mind. Though notable contributors to the literary discourse surrounding existentialist thought, for the sake of time and brevity I’ll be centralizing on just one of Camus’ most famous works: The Myth of Sisyphus.
In short, Camus tells the story of Sisyphus, the former king who was sentenced to pushing a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down again once it’s reached the top, for eternity. However, rather than giving up and sulking at the base of the hill, Sisyphus resists his sentence, and chooses to push the boulder up the hill again – an act of revolt, Camus argues.
The primary takeaway from this is as follows: Much like Sisyphus’ meaningless task, life too can oftentimes feel meaningless. Yet, rather than giving in to this truth, we must also revolt against the universe, and insert our own values into an otherwise meaningless life.
Which brings us to Moon Club. What may on the surface present itself as a silly gathering in celebration of our celestial companion is in fact so much more. The act of assembling once a month to voice one’s admiration of the moon and partake in socializing and, well, other revelries, quintessentially represents exactly what Camus once advocated for (bear with me here).
Centuries of history and numerous cultures have proven humanity’s value of the full moon. From lunar calendars to harvest cycles, the phases of the moon – primarily in its fullest form – have proven vital to our survival and advancement. Practicality, however, isn’t necessarily required to enjoy oneself.
Purely enjoying the moon classifies as revolt. Nothing is required of any Moon Club goer in matters of takeaways; Nobody is asked to ‘learn’ or ‘engage’ in cosmology, for example. Rather, members of Moon Club attend simply because they can, and want, to have fun. Cliches aside, the wholesome experience of meeting up with friends and strangers under the guiding light of the moon and all there is to appreciate about her would make Camus smile, as University of Connecticut students have finally found their boulder, and much like Sisyphus, have decided to push it up the hill again every month. One must imagine Moon Club members happy.
Be honest, how obvious is it that I was listening to Pink Floyd while writing this?