• Albert Keirkenhaur
    37
    I'm just curious as to the sequence of events or thoughts that made you think the way you currently do
  • Michael
    8.2k
    What kind of nihilist? Metaphysical, moral, existential?
  • zookeeper
    38
    I wouldn't call myself a nihilist, but I'm guessing that most people would consider efilism to necessarily entail nihilism, so maybe I'll qualify.

    I'm not sure if anything in particular originally prompted it, but I just started thinking about ethical questions if not systematically then at least daily, and in the course of what I think was a couple of years, progressively chipping away notions and concepts which were unnecessary or ultimately didn't make sense. It probably helped a lot that I engaged in a lot of online debates, since through that I got to fine-tune my positions as well as better recognize and avoid faulty arguments and lines of thought.

    However, I didn't subscribe to the idea of objective meaning or good even before that, so the process was more about figuring out what my own subjective perspective is exactly, rather than coming to realize the lack of an objective one.

    I might add that contrary to what the common stereotype is about why/how people become nihilists (or something similar), in my case this specifically happened during a particularly stress- and depression-free part of my life.
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    How did you then conclude that life is incapable of being given any subjective meaning by the humans who live it?
  • zookeeper
    38
    life is incapable of being given any subjective meaning by the humans who live it

    That phrase is basically semantic garbage and doesn't make any sense to me, so I don't think it's a conclusion I've made.
  • OglopTo
    121
    I was around 25 years old when I started to inquire deeper into the question of life's purpose. I'm pretty much contented with the necessities of life back then: food, shelter, monthly sustenance, etc. etc.

    I have had a lot of free time and pretty much became bored in the existential sense, that is, everyday tasks seemed repetitive and tedious and when I'm free, I feel bored with lack of activity. I didn't find it especially satisfying to simply engage in 'new' and 'exciting' activities because "why bother?"

    It was quite a depressing state. I might've been frowning most of the time and forcing fake smiles whenever I need to meet people so I minimized going out as much as possible.

    What helped me during those times is having the outlet to freely discuss my thoughts and receive feedback from other people. The threads are in the old forum linked below if you are interested:

    1, 2, 3
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    That phrase is far from being semantic garbage,but since I fear your mental faculties lack the acuity to comprehend its full meaning,here is the gist of it,in simpler words:

    Do you believe that life could be given any subjective value/meaning? If so,why? And if not,then on what grounds are you an elfilist?
  • zookeeper
    38
    Do you believe that life could be given any subjective value/meaning?

    I could say that sure, one can "give subjective value/meaning" to anything whether it's hats, life, carrots or levitation. But as far as I'm concerned, there's no meaningful interpretations of what that could even mean which would have relevance to pretty much anything.
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    But surely,if you agree that life could be attributed with a subjective meaning,then how could you be an efilist in view of the fact that your life could be given some subjective value which would make it worth living instead of terminating?
  • zookeeper
    38
    I'm an efilist because I concluded negative utilitarianism to be true and minimization of suffering to be the only underlying moral imperative.

    The expression "worth living" is meaningless to me because it's based on a premise I don't hold, namely that a mind's desire for continuing existence is a valid utilitarian preference that the death of that mind would violate.
  • Michael
    8.2k
    I'm an efilist because I concluded negative utilitarianism to be truezookeeper

    I'm curious; from what premises have you derived this conclusion?
  • zookeeper
    38
    I'm curious; from what premises have you derived this conclusion?

    Just from dissecting my own mind; I found that reduction of suffering is what all my wants eventually reduce into. Unless it turns out to be a want for which there is no axiomatic foundation at all, in which case it disappears.

    So, I try to be as rational as possible and rationalize away everything that I can. The only irrational axiomatic core that I cannot eliminate by means of reason is "suffering is bad", and thus negative utilitarianism is true for me.
  • Albert Keirkenhaur
    37
    I remember not too many months ago, I went through a sort of anxiety/depression at the face of death. I would think about how there is really nothing but the present moment and that literally each passing second right now is irreplaceable and that writing these words has taken 5/some odd minutes away from my life that i will never be able to get back. I remember feeling like my daily actions had to have depth and meaning, i.e, going on walks on the traintracks by my house was something I considered poetic and meaningful in a way, and If i didn't do anything ''poetic'' or aesthetically rewarding or immersive then i felt lazy and unmotivated because my day didn't have enough signifigance to me.
  • Hoo
    415

    I remember not too many months ago, I went through a sort of anxiety/depression at the face of death. I would think about how there is really nothing but the present moment and that literally each passing second right now is irreplaceable and that writing these words has taken 5/some odd minutes away from my life that i will never be able to get back. I remember feeling like my daily actions had to have depth and meaning, i.e, going on walks on the traintracks by my house was something I considered poetic and meaningful in a way, and If i didn't do anything ''poetic'' or aesthetically rewarding or immersive then i felt lazy and unmotivated because my day didn't have enough signifigance to me.
    [/quote]
    I can relate. What's fascinating is the dominance of the "time is money" metaphor here, thought this "money" (time) is used (hopefully) to purchase the profound and/or beautiful.

    I like states of "creative play" where time disappears. I get absorbed in my math or even in writing posts like this and I forget about time as a shrinking wallet even as I write about "time as a shrinking wallet." We get away from the narrow, anxious self in play (or that's play's definition, maybe).

    As to the meaning of life, I think self-sculpture plays a role. We know that we must die, that the sandcastle self we seek to enrich must go out with the tide. But that knowledge comes and goes, and it's not real when we aren't thinking of it. Our mortality is only a part-time job. More often we think of who we want to be tomorrow, which is a guy (or gal) at least a little bit better and wiser than he or she was the day before.

    You might call me a "nihilist," though I think it's not a term worth using. I don't think there is some universal, grand "meaning" that dominates or gives law or justification to all things. I think it's better to think in terms of desire and fear, pleasure and pain. We know what these things are. The meaning of "meaning" is already obscure. I will say that "everything is empty" (or "all is vanity") hints at a profound perspective that does not, however, exclude care for all the little things. In fact, abandoning the question for the infinitely "big" thing can allow one to enjoy all of the little things, since one accepts that that's all their is and that these little things can but by no means must add up to a beautiful life that one is grateful for, however mysterious its coming and going.
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