Nihilism — The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless
Everyone seems to think nihilism is some sort of super emo atheist that thinks we are all going to die and doesn’t see the point in living. However, for most this isn’t always true.
Nihilism is moreover a way of viewing ones existence and seeing whether or not there is something more to it. Maybe there isn’t anything more to it and this is it. That doesn’t mean there’s a bad element to that. If all of this is it, that’s still pretty cool. Life is cool, even if it’s meaningless.
If you see that as maybe more existentialist, they still align quite a lot. While nihilists see that there is no point, existentialists would agree but will try and see the fun side of it. The optimistic nihilist is the existentialist.
Differentiating, existentialists are practically the comfort that sometime in the future, our existence will end. Yea that sounds scary, but not as scary as living forever.
If you lived forever, you would live to see in 10,000 years the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt. In 300,000 years you would see Wolf-Rayet WR 104 explode into a supernova that would produce gamma rays capable of killing all life on Earth.
In 10 to the 65th power years, long after Earth, you would see the universe as just body’s of matter behaving like a liquid in space. In 10 to the 10th to the 10th to the 56th years, you would see another big bang.
And then it all starts over again.
And you’re not even 1% done with your life, you’re 0% done.
All of this will happen. Maybe we are off by a few trillion years, but by then it doesn’t matter, the universe keeps going long after we are gone.
So what does this have to do with Nihilism and Existentialism?
My view is slightly more toward existentialism, but having explained both, I am now going to shift to using existentialists views as I think their view is quite interesting.
Existentialist see that they are nothing but an entity created living a life that may feel long for their time, but is practically short and can be quite enjoyable. Existentialists see what we are going through and think “Cool! I’m a part of that!”
Existentialists see that even though they’re life may be meaningless, there time here can be enjoyed because why not make it enjoyable? We’re all doing the same thing, floating in space with possibly no real purpose.
Thinking something is meaningless doesn’t mean you don’t like it or don’t see the possibilities of what else it might be if “pointless” is just another quality to it.
We have dopamine and serotonin receptors that literally are enjoyment and in today’s world, they’re pretty easy to farm, so why not try and accumulate that for a happy life?
But you may then be asking, “So are all Nihilists and Existentialists atheists?” Which may make sense considering what is talked about and how there’s no real aspect of religion to both, but I can show you otherwise.
Religion in Nihilism
Let’s say there is a god. Let’s say we do go to heaven and live there forever. If that’s possible and you believe that, why would what is expected to happen in the universe not continue to happen after you are gone?
The definition I have at the beginning of this article is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless so you might say “right there you said they are atheists.” But does rejection of religion imply atheism?
Sure probably most nihilists and existentialists are atheist, but rejecting the idea and practice of religion doesn’t necessary mean her or she doesn’t believe there could be an afterlife.
Maybe it’s so obscure to what we think it is that they don’t see the point in pondering it on Earth and want to see for themselves whether it’s true or not when the time comes. (However they lean much more toward there being nothing in the end)
But now let’s look at it if there isn’t a god. The existentialist believes disregarding action of religion while alive saves time, or just avoids a pointless task and belief.
How Existentialists see the world
I would partially consider myself an existentialist, as you can probably tell by my explanations, but I am not too involved in the definition and am putting my own perspective on it.
But I can tell you how most existentialists see the world and how it’s not what most people think.
Existentialists see the scientific part of life, how all of it doesn’t matter, but in a way that allows you to make your own meaning. You can do whatever you want and if society prevents you from being able to accomplish that, that’s societies fault, “but oh well, it doesn’t matter in the end.”
If we die anyway and we try and do something extreme for our whole lives like make more money than Bill Gates, we’re basically looking around at the world, saying “Oh I see, it’s like a game” and playing it however we like.
In the end there are no true winners unless one would consider themselves a winner. We all have the same end fate, but why not make fun of that?
We are our own purpose to keep going and that’s good enough for us.
Nihilists and Existentialists see the pointlessness in the world where one view sees it as pointless to try and the other sees it as pointless to not try.