Nihilism – The Philosophy in a Meaningless Life

Feb 23, 2023 | Philosophy | 0 comments

Life is pointless. It simply is. But that’s what makes it fun.

Nihilism is believing that everything has no meaning and everything is pointless. There is no purpose in existence. There is no reason to live; there is no reason to die.

It’s ironic to look for meaning in a philosophy that rejects meaning. But Nihilism embraces irony — the irony of existence without a point, of a joke without a punchline, of life without meaning. So to look for a meaning, you have to accept that there is none. There is no true meaning behind Nihilism, just like nihilists believe there’s no meaning behind life.

Nihilism believes that there’s nothing we can do except accept something as it is — without a broader message or deeper meaning. Lack of meaning, however, does not mean a loss of heart or emotion; on the contrary, it results in feeling those things even more intensely since there is nothing else to feel. Because if there is no reason for our pain, we don’t have to suffer for it anymore.

Types of Nihilism 

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Now Nihilism is like ice cream, and it comes in a few different flavors. They are roughly epistemological, metaphysical, existential, mereological, political, and moral.

Existential Nihilism, in my opinion, is a fun one, even though most would probably say it’s the most depressing of all. It basically means that life doesn’t have any purpose or meaning and that we are born to live and eventually die. The life we have is a meaningless existence.

Mereological Nihilism describes what we perceive as solid material objects are just an illusion of the mind. Basically, all it says is that things don’t really exist in the way we think they do.

For example, you see that chair over there. Yeah, that one. It’s not really there in the way you think it is. You see, It’s actually made up of tiny particles called atoms and molecules that combine to make the shape of a chair. Similarly, when you touch it, you’re not really touching it. Your nerves feel a sense of resistance from the atoms in the chair, which sends a message to your brain telling you that you’re touching something solid. In reality, the chair is mostly empty space.

Moral Nihilism says that moral values and ethical principles do not exist objectively or are without any inherent meaning or worth. Life Isn’t Good or Bad; It Just Is.

From the moral nihilist point of view, statements about what is morally right or wrong, good or bad, are simply expressions of personal or cultural preferences rather than being based on any objective truth or reality.

Now as for epistemological Nihilism, it does go a bit in hand with the metaphysical, but nonetheless, it is still a separate issue. What this one is about is how knowledge itself is actually unobtainable as well as unverifiable/unfalsifiable. It claims that knowledge is fundamentally flawed and that all claims to knowledge are arbitrary and unreliable.

One of the key arguments for epistemological Nihilism is the problem of justification. This argument asserts that there is no way to justify any claim to knowledge without first appealing to another claim of knowledge. This creates an infinite regress, where each claim to knowledge is justified by another claim, leading to an infinite chain of justification. Epistemological nihilists argue that this makes knowledge fundamentally unreliable and arbitrary.

Overall, epistemological Nihilism is a challenging and thought-provoking philosophical position that forces us to confront the limitations of human knowledge and the reliability of our beliefs. It challenges us to question our assumptions about what we can know and how we can know it and to consider the limitations of our own understanding of the world.

Now for the biggest, scariest, confusing, and most complex of all nihilistic concepts; metaphysical Nihilism.

Metaphysical Nihilism is a philosophical belief that asserts that there is no ultimate reality or divine power. It posits that all metaphysical claims are ultimately arbitrary and without any objective basis. Metaphysical Nihilism denies the existence of any supernatural or metaphysical entities or forces and asserts that there is no meaning or purpose to the universe.

Religion vs Nihilism

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Nihilism and religion are two fundamentally different worldviews that offer contrasting views on the meaning and purpose of life. Nihilism asserts that life has no inherent meaning or purpose, while religion states that life is infused with meaning and purpose by a higher power or divine plan.

Religion offers a structured and systematic belief system that provides a framework for understanding the world and our place in it. It offers answers to questions such as the origin and purpose of life, the nature of reality, and the afterlife. For many people, religion provides a sense of comfort, community, and moral guidance. It offers a sense of hope and a belief that there is a greater purpose to our existence.

Nihilism, on the other hand, challenges the very foundations of religious beliefs. It argues that there is no inherent purpose or meaning to life and that values and morality are subjective and arbitrary. Nihilism rejects the idea of a higher power or divine plan and asserts that individuals must create their own meaning and purpose in life.

Religion and Nihilism also differ in their views on morality. Religion often provides a set of moral codes or commandments that are considered to be divine and unchanging. In contrast, Nihilism asserts that morality is subjective and dependent on the individual’s beliefs and values.

Despite their fundamental differences, religion and Nihilism can both offer comfort and guidance to individuals in different ways. Religion provides a sense of structure and community, while Nihilism offers a sense of freedom and autonomy. Ultimately, the choice between religion and Nihilism depends on an individual’s personal beliefs and values.

Eternal Nothingness

Blaise Pascal once said, “If I believe in God and life after death and you do not, and if there is no God, we both lose when we die. However, if there is a God, you still lose, and I gain everything.”

This makes sense. But If only eternal nothingness awaits after death, then I would die happily knowing that I used every minute to make my life what I wanted it to be.

But after death, if I were to find myself standing in front of the gates of heaven, or whatever you might expect, I would ask this God how he could allow his truth to be abused for all of human existence for control, power, and personal gain. And I will endure whatever comes, knowing that I acted upon my beliefs and conviction instead of letting others control my life.

I will suffer in exchange for a life lived according to my wishes. And nobody can convince me that living on this earth and having to follow one of the thousands of beliefs isn’t already a hell I live in for the sins of my former self, living a full life in a previous life.

Rather than gambling on choosing the right religion out of all the religions that exist, I prefer to choose the most probable option – eternal nothingness.

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