September 16, 2023

Nihilism Makes No Sense To Me

Nihilism Makes No Sense To Me

Have you ever wondered what happens after we die?

I sure have.

I've also wondered that none of this matters.

Chances are, in 3 generations nobody will remember you existed.

"If we all die, what's the point?"

This is where two responses arise.

1. Pure Motivation

If none of it matters, then I don't care what others think. I don't care about failing.

I don't care about feeling bad for myself.

I'm going to live the exact life I want. I'm going to forge it into something meaningful and purposeful.

Absolute accountability.

After all, might as well make it worth it in the meantime.

2. Nihilism

If none of it matters then why should I continue struggling?

Instead, I should avoid any form of it.

  • Consume entertainment all day
  • Let my body go
  • Ignore any other form of hardship

After all, it doesn't matter, right?


I've thought about these 2 paths a lot, and I've always leaned towards the first.

But I didn't know why.

I haven't been able to come up with a rational argument against nihilism.

Until now.

I've made a realization.

The basic premise is the following...

As long as I continue living, life is going to suck. In one way or another, it's inevitable.

Acceptance of this has made things a little easier for me.

I used to pretend that ignoring short term struggle would result in a better life. If I kept ignoring it forever, I'd never have to deal with it.

I was plain wrong.

I'd:

  • Skip the gym.
  • Procrastinate on my work.
  • Dodge conflict with my friend.

Ignoring short term discomfort.

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To me, anxiety is largely the weight of unmade decisions. Once you make the decision and get the thing over with, relief replaces it.

But the thing is, ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

Keep skipping the gym and your body slips.

Continue procrastinating on your work and you get fired.

Repeatedly allow your friend to keep disrespecting you.

The longer you go avoiding struggle, the more it builds.

Think of conflict and struggle as a revolving sushi bar.

Think of the individual sushi as instances of struggle or conflict.

Think of removing each sushi as facing that struggle.

If you never face the struggle, it doesn't just go away. It might be out of sight for the moment, but it'll come back around.

On top of that, the chef's never stop working.

They continue to put sushi on the conveyer belt no matter what.

Eventually, the conveyer belt breaks because it has too much sushi on it.

Life is like the chefs. It never stops producing struggle. You can avoid it in the short term, but it'll come back in another form.

If you agree with this statement, we've successfully disproved nihilism as a logical answer.

The argument was to ignore struggle, but we just finished proving that you can't avoid it.

If that's the case, assuming we continue to live, that only leaves one path...

Life sucks. Struggle is infinite and indefinite. The only thing we can do is learn how to embrace it and even enjoy it.

We're built to endure struggle. Everything about us is some kind of survival mechanism.

We are here to overcome problems. It creates fulfillment.

I've never felt more personally fulfilled than when I overcame something that was difficult.

That sounds a lot better than ignoring the sushi to me.

Everything You Do Matters

Let's rework the belief.

I learned this from Jordan Peterson.

Instead of "Nothing you do matters", let's rephrase it as "Everything you do matters".

That's a hell of a lot less comfortable than the first one.

It requires massive accountability.

It comes with a lot of weight.

But it's true. Everything you do matters.

If it didn't, how did the world end up the way it is today?

It's the summation of all the decisions made by those living in it prior.

It's the same logic as stealing from a big corporation, or parking in a disabled bay.

"I'm only one person, it makes no difference if I do it".

Well what if everybody acted the way you act? What would happen to the world?

You don't control anybody else's actions, but you do control your own.

Take accountability. Do your part.

Everything you do.

Every decision you make.

It matters.

Conclusion

I was never a nihilistic person, but I never understood why.

I could never rationalize why it was wrong.

But now I can.

Two realizations helped me.

1. Struggle is inevitable, and it doesn't go away when you ignore it.

This means that struggle is unavoidable, so why try?
and...

2. Everything you do matters.

Understanding that you can only control your own actions has been huge for me.

I can't stop others from literring, but I'll do my part.

I can't stop children from having a poor upbringing, but I can make my children have a better one.

Point is, every decision you make matters.

And this is tough to accept. It's hard to bear. It's a heavy burden. And that's okay.

As long as you continue living, you might as well make the most of it.

Trying to avoid struggle will only make things worse.

And acting like nothing matters is an irrational cop out for you to make things easier for yourself.

Another example of avoiding struggle.

Sorry I've been MIA the past few weeks.

Thank you to all who stuck around.

- Jason