Calming Your Inner Nihilist 🤘
Don't let the end of the world stop you from having the time of your life!
Hope you’ve had a nice two weeks. My last two weeks have been weird, like most weeks. I began to write this the day before the election; fearful, anxious, but also open to whatever the outcome may be. Thank the fucking cosmos Trump didn’t win. I am not necessarily some pro-Biden loving fan girl, but 4 years of not Trump brought me to tears. 4 years of not Trump means 4 years of healing. 4 years of not Trump also means 4 years of standing ground and continuing to deconstruct my views of the world, and to hold the people in power (and around me - and myself) accountable as much as I can. 4 years of not Trump is not a break, but it does give me/us a chance to breathe. 4 years of not Trump means many things for me… what will you make it mean for you?
Which brings me to my next point… meaning, or there being none rather, or really though, that there is an abundance of meaning in this world, it’s just that not all of it is for everyone.
Over the last decade I’ve become quite good at feeding my inner nihilist: “nothing matters, who cares, what’s the point, it doesn’t mean anything anyway, what will be will be and there’s nothing I can do about it” but I’ve come to the conclusion that this way of thinking A. makes me sad. and B. isn’t the whole truth. It’s honestly been holding me back from my best, most authentic, highest self, and that’s a dangerous place to be, especially amidst all this never ending change.
Let’s dig in.
I’ve been visiting the nihilism subreddit lately to learn more about how to be a better nihilist without picking up a copy of Nietzsche (I’m a poser, I know this, he’s on the list mmkay). I’m glad my course directed me here because after some investigating, I realized the nihilism subreddit is actually where souls go to die. There is a lot of great info in there from I’m sure great people, but there’s also a looming sadness that hangs over most of the conversations. As someone who has identified with their pain and sadness for much of their life, this was fun at first, until I decided that getting off on my nihilism is keeping me complacent and uninspired.
It seems to me that part of nihilism warrants a generally cynical outlook towards humanity - and all of life. Everything is ending, the sky is falling, we are doomed, and it doesn’t fucking matter. We are merely animals with wants and desires that harm others for our own gain, and we’ll kill to have them. And maybe this isn’t untrue, but it’s not the whole truth, and there’s never, ever just one way to look at something - we must remember this, and this became crystal clear with a recent perspective I heard in an interview on Youtube.
Noam Chomsky was being interviewed by Wallace Shawn. It begins by Shawn saying something to the effect of, “Aren’t humans just lazy, material comfort needing, selfish sons of bitches?” To which I was thinking, yes, obviously. But then Chomsky replies with something like, “No, not at all. That’s what advertisers over the last hundred years have been trying their hardest to make us believe. Humans are actually resilient af.” He went into more detail, and then the wheels in my head halted. Oh, well, hmmm, I thought. Is my nihilism I resonate so deeply with, the nihilism I find so cute and witty (and probably annoying and overdone), actually just the “media” and “society” and “the man” and “advertisers” winning my views of the world? Have humans been brainwashing other humans into believing things about themselves that aren’t actually entirely true? Am I - someone who claims to be so profoundly aware of themselves - actually falling for the very ploy I think I’m above? Well, yes, more or less.
Maybe everything matters, just not for any reason. Look, I know it looks grim out there. I’m not saying the world isn’t dark and scary and that people harm other people, they do. But it’s often much more complex than just they are evil and they are good. I think what it comes down to is that we are all forces of nature, and we all harbor within us the capacity to use this force for better and worse, depending on our circumstances, and that to live a good life is to actively choose it over and over despite the madness. Don’t focus on the madness, focus on the light as you work beside the madness. What will you make your life force mean for you and the world?
The good person is not the opposite of the evil person; good and evil, rather, are different expressions of the same nature, which bubble to the surface by complex and nuanced currents of potentiality and choice. - Nietzsche
So here’s the thing, I do believe life is inherently meaningless and that nothing matters, not to some grand cosmic jury. But I mean “meaningless” as in empty, or a void, not to be confused with no value or worthlessness. So life having no meaning is really just the beginning. This is exactly where you start, my friends! This means if there is no inherent meaning (or none that we can perfectly detect or agree upon), each and every single one of us gets to create our own meaning - we get to fill our lives with meaning - and we do, whether we are aware of it or not. Our minds are geared to make meaning, to connect dots, to know, so once we become aware of this, we must take the extra time to carefully input what we want our minds to be made of, because there is no blocking everything out that you don’t want in. Unless of course you live totally off the grid, but that too has it’s consequences (like all things). It’s a lot of responsibility to define one’s own meaning, it is the task of a lifetime, and it is what we must do or we will forever be bobbed around by what others want of us.
Maybe nothing matters, except the things that do, and we get to decide those things.
No matter how long or hard we search, define, dissect, contemplate, and long to know the truth of the Universe one thing remains objectively true: You are. I am. We are. And that’s that. We are here for an unknown time in a vast and chaotic Universe, and we are meant to be here because we are here. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter why, we just are.
Click here and watch this funny and cool Youtube video to learn more about life and meaning, if you want, you don’t have to, it doesn’t really matter. 😃