Saturday, March 14, 2015

Living with Nihilism

It has been well over a year since I last posted, and while I have not spent a lot of time pondering the depths of nihilistic thought, I have lived it. I've had to try to reconcile my practiced values with what I feel is the cold reality of an ultimately meaningless existence. In those terms it sounds depressing, even to me, but I haven't let this affect me. In some respects it has even been helpful. When something in life irritates me, the lack of ultimate meaning helps to deal with this by being a kind of reality-check. I make a conscious choice to not apply this same reality-check to any personal goals and accomplishments, although the thought is always in the back of my mind.

Yesterday I had a brief exchange with a friend that I wish I had elaborated more on at the time. The context was a brief conversation about limiting our own environmental impacts through conserving power usage. I simply said "meh", and they asked me if I didn't care about the environment. My response was simply that I do and I don't care. Truly, I do care, I would much prefer that we look after this planet that we live on to a much greater extent than we currently do collectively. My apathetic response was driven by two main thoughts, the first being that at some point our sun will explode and wipe out any trace of human civilization, if anything is left of it by that stage. The second thought being that our problem with consumption and environmental degradation is that it is systemic, and I have little faith that personal change, unless it comes on a grand scale will have any effect on the course we're collectively traveling on.

These kinds of thoughts are what I mean when I talk about living with nihilism. The constant need to reconcile lived values with a meaningless existence. I'm certain that people who don't subscribe to a nihilistic worldview also struggle with these exact same kinds thoughts though, so perhaps we are not so different after all


  1. But here's what gives me a hard-on:
    I am a tiny, insignificant, ignorant lump of carbon.
    I have one life, and it is short
    And unimportant…
    But thanks to recent scientific advances
    I get to live twice as long
    As my great great great great uncleses and auntses.
    Twice as long to live this life of mine