The world is absurd.
Let me break that down for you. Basically, what that means is that nothing makes sense. Nothing exists anywhere for a reason. All of your thoughts and emotions are arbitrary and meaningless. We try to make sense of it in our own ways but we will never truly be able to. I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like nihilism, right? Who wants to be a stuffy nihilist?
Well, the above is true. Life is absolutely senseless and meaningless. The words “sense” and “meaning” are literally just soundwaves us humans can make with our actual mouths.
But like I said: who wants to be a stuffy nihilist?
I’d say most humans on some level recognize the intense meaningless of out existence, but almost nobody will delve into the extreme of nihilism because nihilism is boring as hell. Oh, so you think nothing matters? Okay, cool, let me talk to this guy who cares about something.
What I’m trying to say is this–tell yourself something. Put something in the void. It will be fake, yeah, but you need to lie to yourself. Everybody does it. Some lies are big, some lies are small, but you need to lie to yourself.
That’s a bad way of putting it, especially if you’re trying to convince yourself of the things you tell yourself. It’s also the truth, but we’re not concerned with the truth. Screw the truth. The truth is a pansy and I want nothing to do with it. We’re humans. All we can do is try to make the best out of our absurdity, and we’ve been doing it since our conception. What I should be saying, though, is construct a reality that changes all the absurdities of the world into something you can understand.
Early humans likely didn’t have nihilism–either because their shamans would pressure them into worshiping I don’t know, lightning, or because they were too busy doing stuff (and getting mauled by tigers) to actually think about why they were doing anything. But then we developed tools to help us not get mauled by tigers and we began to think. And then we were like, shit, nothing matters.
But again, nihilism is the emo teen at the party nobody wants to talk to because he doesn’t look like he enjoys being there. Doesn’t matter that it’s right. Screw being right. We’re trying to develop a philosophy that doesn’t make us want to kill ourselves. So we tell ourselves something.
The hideously rich man making big bucks tells himself that exploiting third world countries is morally okay because the system allows him to do it. That’s what he tells himself to sleep at night, and that’s fine. He has a system of belief that prevents his world from falling apart and maximizes his happiness. Good for him. It doesn’t matter if his philosophy is right–at the end of the day, he has money and a conscious.
“But he’s actively harming other human beings!” you say, outraged, because you have empathy. Yes, he is. Obviously that’s bad, not going to argue with that. But I don’t want to get into geopolitical problems so let’s use a less extreme example.
The rich man who goes to work hates his job. The poor man who goes to work loves his job. The rich man tells himself that he’s better than the poor man because he has more money than the poor man. The poor man tells himself that he’s better than the rich man because he has more fulfillment than the rich man. Doesn’t matter which philosophy is “right”–again, “right” is a human word that doesn’t mean anything except for maintaining order (yes, edgy nihilism talk I know, stop rolling your eyes. This is true, even if it’s inconvenient).
Both rich and poor man think they’re winning at life. The reality might be that they’re both middilingly happy, but who cares about what “reality” thinks, that fake ho. Reality is subjective and non-linear.
The broad strokes of what I’m describing is existentialism–adding human meaning to an inherently meaningless universe. But I’m not really all about that existentialism–too mainstream. This is actively deceiving to yourself, and it’s necessary to exist. The first thing you need to do is pretend that you’re not deceiving yourself. Make up some crap and then eat it. Devour it. Commit to it. That’s all you can really do to squeeze some meaning out of this insanity.
If you’re a farmer but you want to be a baker, tell yourself the narrative that works best for you. Maybe you’ll say that you never wanted to be a baker. If so, good. Find all the facts you can about how terrible being a baker is. Maybe you’ll say that you’re going to be a baker because you believe in following your dreams. Great, construct a narrative
It doesn’t matter if your narrative is right. The narrative will calm the roaring emptiness and get you off your butt. Humans need meaning. We need purpose. It doesn’t have to be religion, but religion helps. Nihilists don’t stay nihilists long. We have fragile minds, easily shaped and shattered. Hardened minds can break in an instant. Flexible minds that adapt to anything often find that their picture of reality is non-existent. We’re all just specks on a ball, spinning too quick to stop, to think, to breath, so we tell ourselves that we’re good people, or we tell ourselves that we’re getting somewhere important, and maybe we are, or maybe we aren’t, but no matter what you tell yourself, tell yourself something.
Or maybe this is just what I tell myself. Hard to say.
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