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Nihilism or not? Thursday December 5, 2019


Here's a question most of us have probably grappled with. Not just us Moodscopers, but people in general.

What's the point?

What does it mean? Whats my purpose? What's the purpose of anything?

It's tantalising; if we can figure out 'why' then it should be a quick hop to the other, less abstract, answers. Armed with a purpose surely it's just clean logic to figure out 'what' would achieve the goal, 'how' you can bring it about, 'when': now! 'Who'? You! Get to it!

When I was at my lowest, a common question from concerned parties was if I'd 'figured anything out'. It's a valid question: I'd put my life on hold because I didn't want to do anything (or couldn't do anything, a fine line and not one I'm confident with yet), and my issue was seemingly mental: so motivation! Figure out what's meaningful and then do that thing. Fixed and back on track!

This sounded like a good outcome, so I heeded the advice and searched for meaning.

I saw psychologists, brushed up on my philosophy knowledge, made lists, identified values, practised "noticing" my thoughts and feelings and responses in the moment. Yet the more I explored, and read, and delved, the more I became convinced that nothing mattered. This wasn't full-scale nihilism, I believe things can be meaningful on an individual level; beliefs, experiences, sensations, emotions are all real, and it fully makes sense to pursue some, avoid others, and try to cultivate a life for yourself accordingly.

But a purpose? An objective meaning that I should spend my life pursuing, that is somehow true and relevant beyond me, my family, my culture, my world? It just doesn't make sense to me.

As you can imagine, the "concerned parties" from earlier weren't exactly thrilled. Some were worried. Despite trying to assure them that my view was more absurdist then nihilist, "nothing matters and that's okay" is apparently not an okay view.

I have tried to explain; how the world is chaotic, and from a universe-wide scale a lot of very important things just happen. No rhyme, reason or intent except the labels we slap on. Religion aside, most people agree on a chaotic universe to some extent, but that nothing really, inherently matters? An extended bout of depression is just the simpler explanation.

One final point: I don't view this ultimate meaninglessness as bad, or hopeless, - there's enough immediate value and meaning in the everyday course of life and living. In fact, untethering yourself from a story with universal purpose leaves you free to just... be.

So, I throw it to you. What matters? Do you feel as if you have a purpose - personal, or otherwise? Any odd ducks like me who have gone to 'the dark side'?

Of course, I don't know you, or what is meaningful to you, what you're struggling for or against, but you're doing it. You're here. And that means a lot to me.

Audie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.


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