• john27
    Can you elaborate some? Didn't Plato make a comment like that? Something along the lines of "All of life is just preparation for death."Nicholas Mihaila

    If he did I'm flattered :lol: I mostly just meant that if were all going to die anyway, might as well make your ending something that you are proud of. Although I will be honest, this is just what works for me. It might be better if you try to find out yourself what makes your life worth living, that way no-one can tell you otherwise.
  • Alkis Piskas

    I’ve basically become a nihilist over the yearsNicholas Mihaila
    I don't know in what sense you use the term "nihilist" and why do you need to put a label on you, which I am quite sure cannot define you. "Labels" have this drawback: they cannot define people! They can only give an idea, and in most cases quite vague one, about them.
    For instance, a simple definition of "nihilism" --i.e. w/o referring to a philosophical research-- is "The rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless". This is of course too general and it insufficient to characterize someone in any way. It's just a philosophical position. But even if you expand this definition and make it more specific, we still cannot create a "nihilist" model that fits everyone. Besides, you don't need to use such a label (or any other for that matter), because you are describing how you feel and think quite clearly, I believe. And I also believe that it is only on that base that we can tackle the subject of your topic effectively.

    It’s not a true nihilism in the sense that I believe everything to be completely baseless."Nicholas Mihaila
    This is not what nihilism is, based on the definition I provided above. But I don’t think any other definition will claim that nihilism claims that "everything is baseless". Which, BTW, you nagate by saying later: "I see almost everything as completely pointless".

    Most of the philosophers and people in general, believe that life has no meaning, or at best they cannot find what the meaning of life is. (Exceptions are deeply religious and mystical people who believe that life has a purpose. Different purpose for each one, of course! :grin:)
    Therefore, they should ba all called nihilists! Neither does it make them unhappy. I don't believe that life itself has a purpose of itself, and I am not an unhappy person!

    Life has the purpose that you give to it.

    Now, from life having no purpose in itself to thinking about everything as pointless, there's a huge distance. Anyway, I don't believe that you think that way. For example, you say "I believe in a universal morality" and "evolution has crafted a more-or-less objective moral system where honesty and integrity are praised and dishonesty, etc. are decried." That's huge! There are not many people who believe this/ Most of the people believe that morality is subjective. And this alone can make them unhappy! Believing in universal and objective values, maybe do not give life a meaning but make it stronger, more solid. Such values are based on logic (rational thinking), which is the best tool that Man disposes and which makes them mentally healthy human beings. This must be never underestimated! A rational being cannot be unhappy. Only emotions and lack of rationality make us unhappy. This is too evident, isn't it?
  • baker
    I make good money and can afford to do what I like, but there’s nothing I want.Nicholas Mihaila

    I wish I had your problems!
  • Judaka

    I have gone through a similar thing. I still consider myself a nihilist, by which I mean that I don't think there is any meaning to anything besides what is asserted or experienced by an individual. This lack of significance to my life and actions became the lens through which I evaluated them. It became like a bell that would be sounded whenever I thought about doing something, letting me know what a waste of effort it would be. I stopped caring about what kind of person I was, I felt what happened to me didn't matter and I became depressed. This was not a chemical depression, this was a depression I imposed upon myself, I wouldn't let myself think positively, obsessed with how meaningless everything was. I was 18 at the time and was going through a lot of things with relationships and school, which helped to put me in a negative frame of mind.

    As I worked through these feelings, I came to identify a state of mind that I labelled "interpretative possession". Because I experienced and saw in others, this kind of possession of a person where they force themselves to interpret things through always the same lens or framing, for me, this was the lack of objective meaning to everything. Another label I made was "interpretative relevance" which I felt was pertinent to my problems as I think it is to yours. Interpretative relevance refers to what facets of a thing are being emphasised and put into our formula for how we see something.

    Perhaps you have the same problem as I had, you are not merely a nihilist, you are possessed; obsessed with nihilism. Perspectives like that you play the piano because you appreciate the instrument, or it's fun, or you like how it makes yourself and others feel, get pushed aside and replaced with "playing the piano is pointless and meaningless". I never stopped being a nihilist, but I did escape from how it possessed me.

    I believe there are many ways to escape, ultimately I needed to realise that I was kind of beating myself up, I was torturing myself. Even if I felt life was meaningless, I didn't have to stop that from letting me enjoy the thrill of competition, or appreciating beauty, or being invested in myself and others. I developed my views on nihilism a lot since then but what helped me back then was to realise that I mattered, or maybe I realised I needed to assert that I mattered. My hobbies, my emotions and perspectives, my goals, these things mattered. I stopped worrying about how things I cared about lacked objective meaning and started to put some value in what it meant for something to matter to me.

    Honestly, I went quite crazy with this idea of my own perspective and feelings mattering the most and did a near-complete 180 as I went into my 20s. I was quite unconcerned about what mattered to anyone but me and became selfish and arrogant. I felt like I was the centre of the universe, I mattered and created meaning in a world otherwise devoid of meaning. I don't think you need to go as I did but I wonder if your path to overcoming this problem might resemble mine. People say "create your own meaning" but how exactly can that be done? For me, it started with valuing myself and thinking that I mattered, and later, I expanded those feelings beyond myself. Now I feel as though, lots of things matter, they're deeply important to me. Let things mattering to you mean something, allow yourself to be invested, allow yourself to care and your life can be rich in meaning and purpose.
  • baker
    We are all like flowers, doomed to wither and be forgotten, but this does not make life meaningless - it would be meaningless if it lasted forever - but it is precious and meaningful because it is unique and fleeting.unenlightened

    You haven't actually done an actual analysis as to whether our life is unique, have you?

    And fleeting -- a rabies infection or a tsunami devastating the country you live in, for example, are fleeting too, but you wouldn't say that they make life worth living.
  • baker
    The problem is that it's just not enough. Any fulfillment I experience is dwarfed by suffering.Nicholas Mihaila

    Such is the nature of seeking pleasure.
  • unenlightened
    You haven't actually done an actual analysis as to whether our life is unique, have you?baker

    I'm not actually trying to actually do actual analysis. I'm handwaving to a chap who seems to be drowning. And try to keep breathing yourself through the beautiful tsunami.
  • baker
    Do explain why ephemerality makes life worth living.

    Rare and fleeting doesn't automatically make something worthwhile. There are many horrible rare diseases, many rare destructive cosmic events, etc. and you wouldn't say that they make life worth living. They just don't.

    So whence the idea that rare and fleeting makes life worth living?
  • 180 Proof
    So whence the idea that rare and fleeting makes life worth living?baker
    One's own lived time is (a) good in itself, no? And we value scarce goods (re: high stakes loss) more highly than abundant goods (re: low stakes loss), no?

    (Yeah, "worth" and "value" are not extact synonyms, the latter more intersubjective (transactional) and the former more subjective (experiential); I think in this context, however, their meanings are convergent.)
  • Nothing
    If you dance, do you want get from one place to another ? Or are you enjoying a movement
    If you listen a good music, do you want music to get to the end fast ? Or you enjoying it in process ?
  • Nothing
    Not depessed people get, at least 50 - 100 burst of feeling "i am good" per day. It is very Simple, accesible feeling. Try to maintain, push button, 10h per day, it is a good start. ;-)
  • Nothing
    I am good is meant I AM OK
  • Caldwell
    That's what I'm trying to do. I'm currently in a cafe enjoying some coffee. The existential dread is like background noise, and the coffee tastes good. :)Nicholas Mihaila
    Awesome! Moments of bliss!
  • unenlightened
    you wouldn't say that they make life worth living. They just don't.baker

    I do say something rather like it. The terrible is also meaningful. Death is part of life and inseparable from it. So if life is worth living, it's worth the dying too. There can be no up without down, and no value without cost.
  • I like sushi
    Try Camus. Absurdism is probably the best path out of nihilism :)
  • Nothing
    If you have a choice to feel better would you choose ? If yes, then this mean if you know how, you will feel better, so Question is, who doesnt understand ? Me, car, job, your paciences, doctors, parents, traffics jams, salary, wealth, girlfriend who ? answer should be abviously you dont understand, so my question is, who is more complicated car, computer, rocket or mind ? if you said mind, please tell me show me more sofisticated thing that mind,.. human mechanism ? So tell me how much and how you are learnign to understand it, 5, 10, 20 minutes per day ? No go.
  • 180 Proof
    "We don't really want what we think we desire." — Slavoj Žižek
  • Caldwell
    ↪Nicholas Mihaila
    Try Camus. Absurdism is probably the best path out of nihilism :)
    I like sushi
    I'd say be eccentric!
  • TheMadFool
    We don't really want what we think we desire." — Slavoj Žižek

    :up: You too like a paradox every now and then, don't you? :grin:
  • Tzeentch
    In my experience, depression is a symptom of dissonant (that is to say false) views of the self and the world at large.

    There are many intellectual paths one could take in life, however your subconscious is now telling you that yours has led you to a dead end and it's telling you through depression.

    A nihilistic philosophy is almost certain to be dissonant with the human experience. Humans simply experience things as having value, whether we're able to objectively confirm that or not.

    Perhaps an interesting thought could be, why you prefer to take a nihilistic outlook on life, which is just as uncertain of a supposition as an outlook that claims things do have value. The logical stance would be an agnostic one; maybe things have value, maybe they don't. Why do you prefer to pick the belief that rejects value? Why pick a belief at all? That in itself implies a preference for things not having value, which is a contradiction in itself.

    I've yet to meet a person whose professed views entirely contradict their lived experience in which it does not lead to them becoming miserable.
  • Kenosha Kid
    You could work your entire life only to make a scratch on the edifice, but you’ll surely be forgotten afterwards.Nicholas Mihaila

    Ego seems to be root of the problem. You want a legacy but are guaranteed none. The best I can think of is: you're more likely to be remembered if you strive for it. But it's a crappy raison d'etre in the first place imo. The universe is an interesting place. Since we each exist in it only briefly, makes sense to know a thing or two about it before we die.
  • baker
    There can be no up without down, and no value without cost.unenlightened

    We can surmise you beat your spouse, so that they can appreciate your tendernesses.
  • Janus
    You could work your entire life only to make a scratch on the edifice, but you’ll surely be forgotten afterwards.Nicholas Mihaila

    Why is it important to be remembered?
  • unenlightened
    We can surmise you beat your spouse, so that they can appreciate your tendernesses.baker

    We can surmise you're just jealous. :scream:
  • SatmBopd
    It would be like arguing that if a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody around to hear it, it wouldn't make a soundNicholas Mihaila
    Just for the record, if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, it absolutely does not make a sound. Rather, it makes a series of vibrations in the air. IF and ONLY IF someone is there to hear it, the vibrations become what we understand as sound.

    In regards to your main point, I have never seen things the way do you so there is only so much I can understand- do not want to come off as insensitive - but I have always found innumerable ways to either be happy, or better yet, not even need to be happy to be fulfilled and content.

    I consider heroism a powerful solution.

    It does not matter how all encompassing or inevitable a source of suffering is, if I can situate myself in opposition to it, and muster the strength to even try to confront it, then I have something engaging to do. All myths and stories indulge in this, and I have always found their consumption and reflection immensely fulfilling. The Christian story in particular, (though I am not a Christian) is one I might investigate very deeply if you haven't. Here, even death is destroyed by the willingness to confront it, and there is a great human dignity in the story that does not appear to me to be at all naive. The power and courage of a knight in the face of darkness is just really cool if nothing else, and such boldness is something that is obviously very possible to muster as a human. There is a song in the musical "Big Fish" called "Be the Hero". Gives me goosebumps every time.

    Stoicism is another option, although I don't think it is quite as cool as heroism.
    Sincere love, although it's a little corny, can also be a powerful force in the right context.

    I also sort of have the sentiment like, if there is nothing good or purposeful in the world... fine, but then I'll just be the first good and purposeful thing, relying on my creativity and strength of heart.

    "Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune" - Walt Whitman

    Even if such a sentiment is naive, and I can never be "good fortune" manifested, the sheer rebelliousness and fun to be had with the mindset is continuously fulfilling for me.

    I mean even if you're searching for happiness or something like it at all, there is obviously some part of you that has a will towards it, and that "will to purpose" or happiness or whatever, is also irrefutably a part of this apparently dreary and transient universe. I suppose I am suspicious as to where such a hopeful sentiment came from and what it's for. No point discarding it just because... what it seems unique?

    Even the study of history gives me hope. That there came before me an entire pantheon of brothers and sisters facing the same kinds of problems and making the same kinds of mistakes. Now I carry on the banner of consciousness in their name. Whatever hopes were shattered at their death are rekindled with the beat of every waking heart and in the eyes of little children. If they only knew that the sun still rises, as beautiful as it did for the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Tang.

    (structurally incoherent digression but) I'll also just refute nihilism really quick. If you really think nothing matters, there is a very VERY VERY small chance that you would tell me that nothing mattered. If its all just the same, why not tell me that everything matters? Or the scores to the latest basketball games? As soon as you articulate a statement, you give IT value, unless you've articulated it completely randomly. You value nihilism as long as you want to uphold it, which is not nihilism. And if you don't want to uphold nihilism then you're already in the same boat as me. I am not a nihilist. I see a great adventure in the human soul. And the adventure doesn't disappear just because there is death.

    In the words of one of the very philosophers who helped establish the current volatile state of human values that even allows nihilism to be popular in the first place:

    "Cast not away the hero in thy soul, maintain holy thy highest hope" - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Under the wrong context that could all sound judgy, but I am trying to aim for compassion. I want there to be respect for human dignity. And again, I might not understand how you see things. Hope some of it was relevant. Cheers
  • baker
    You're just detracting from the logical consequences of your idea.
  • baker
    So whence the idea that rare and fleeting makes life worth living?
    — baker
    One's own lived time is (a) good in itself, no?
    180 Proof

    What is the basis of your claim?

    (It is at least inconsistent to praise rugged individualism to other people.)
  • 180 Proof
    It's a supposition, not a claim. Do you agree with it? If not, tell me why.
  • baker

    So failure to find satisfaction in things which, by their very nature, cannot provide satisfaction, is evidence of mental illness?
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.