Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Existential Nihilism

I feel empty. My life has no meaning, no purpose. I am lost. I have been lost my whole life. I will be lost forever. Nothing fills me me up, makes me feel completely connected to my world for any length of time.

There are moments in my life where I feel connected, even happy, perhaps even joyous. Those times are always short lived, impossible to hold on to. As the moments quickly disappear I slip, once again, into an intense sense of existential nihilism.

I am nothing. I have been nothing. I will be nothing.

When I was a teenager, and as a young adult I used to believe these feelings were part of growing up, part of my immature self trying to discover its own definition. Why then does the emptiness and lack of a self definition continue into midlife? I still feel so lost and undefined. I fear I will always live a life like this.

My life will have woven its way through decades of experiences and I will have known no cohesive "me". I will not have been someone. I will have no one to remember me. My life will have been one long struggle to simply manage to be. My life will have been meaningless. I will disappear as though I had never existed.

The nothingness, emptiness and meaninglessness of life disturbs me


Polar Bear said...

I really struggle with this too.

Sometimes it can seem very bleak when you think about it all.

Harriet said...

I'm sorry you are feeling so empty. It's a horrible feeling. I'm sad that you're sad.

Karl Seddon said...

Luckily Existential Nihilism is a paradoxical theory:

The scientific method is the processof formulating a theory based on an observation.
We have observed cause and effect and thus we have come up with the theory. A theory is an abstract thing i might add.

Now what nihilists do is to use this theory to say that free will can not exist because it violates this theory.
Free will, however, is an empirically 100% successful observation. Infact is is observed much more frequently and with 100% validity than cause and effect.
The fact that people can't put it into words frustrates them. But why WOULD you be able to put it into words. It would mean you were trying to create an analogy using material examples to describe something abstract.
Kind of impossible no?
But what we do know is that it definitely makes sense to us. It definitely is observed by us and therefore it definitely exists. Using a theory like cause and effect to then try and twist and disfigure one of our few 100% consistent observations to fit around is violating the scientific method which was the creation of the cause and effect theory in the first place.

Now i may explain further; The theory that it is an illusion is also paradoxical. Why would our observation of this material world be any more real than our identical observation of meaning and free will? Just because one is abstract and the other is not?

The fact that randomness can exist alongside determinism doesn't seem to tax people in accepting. Even though randomness is itself an abtract thing. ( something people mostly can explain by actually explaining the equivalence of 'determinisim without us ever finding out the cause')

Free will is as real as any observation. And to say that 'well maybe all observations' are false would be to deny you are self-aware. Because you seem to be able to register that you are observing. If that did not mean that it was real then i'm pretty sure that would mean you then were not self-aware and this entire situation could not exist: IN ANY CONCEIVABLE or predictably NON-CONCEIVABLE way.

Hope that makes sense.
It would mean something to me that it does.

-Karl Seddon

Karl said...

I would like to also add that the phrase 'existence precedes essence' could be rephrased as 'observation is proof'... well atleast in my opinion. For all i know the originial intent of the former statement was unconnected to my rephrasal.

What i mean by my version is that all laws can be reduced and reduced.
You can keep asking 'why though?' ...'ah but why?' 'ok... but why is that so?'
and on and on. But in the end it will results in the statement: 'It just is'
Is this acceptable? Well people seem to be able to accept that pi just is 3.14..etc.. and that E is just 2.71.... and you don't see ppl getting suicidally depressed over it. (something that i empathise as concerns ppl learning about the theory of existential nihilism). I mean why is 'cause and effect'? Could you explain that further? Could you reduce that further down? Give me a reason maybe? Or a meaning to it?

NO... it just fucking IS!

Meaning exists because we observe it! That doesn't mean it ONLY exists because we are under the illusion of it.
It means it DOES EXIST. Well atleast as much or more than every single other observation we make! And like i said. If that observation is false then what about the observation of our own observation? (a very abstract thought indeed)
If it were not true then POOF MOFO we would no longer be self-aware.

This latter part is the part where you come to what is known in our language as acceptance but it doesn't differ from proof or reason once you are down to this level.

At least in my opinion.

Btw this takes some thinking. Infact you may only truly understand it if you have understood the nihilistic viewpoint enough that you began to go manically depressed.

'Existence precedes essence' (and does not exclude it)

or my version: '100% consistent Observation over all time of observation is proof'.
Yeah ok it got slightly longer.
Not quite as nice looking. ('nice' being a rather abstract feeling!!)

-Karl Seddon

Anonymous said...

Karl Seddon that was beautifully written!

..yet it means absolutely nothing.
(don't get me wrong; if you wrote a book I would buy and read it)

i will now dumb-it-down & sum-it-up with something equally as pointless yet much easier to understand..

in the words of Trent Reznor:
"I have found - you can find - happiness in slavery"

..interpret as you see fit.

- & to the author of this blog
nice work & well done!

thatonehuman said...

my inertpretation of existential nihlism is recognition of the fact that everything is just a concept, and using it to further your posotive emotions. yes, i have fully realized that its all in my head, even the words im typing are just a figmant of my brain workin hard to pass on a entire existence, along with everyone elses is a farce. realizing this at first made me go manically depressed and anxious about everything., nihlism is the one and only concept that will hold true to existance, however, it is the only thoery that no mind can stand by. its a pessimestic threory that shrouds the observer in the deepest of emotional distress. so were left with two options...kill yourself and become part of nothingness that you are so quick to theorize about the world, or use it to your fucking advantage and use it to change your perceptions and be able to feel joy and hapiness again. i sure as fuck hate feeling depressed about the reality of our conciousness, dont you? so instead of sittin there realizing you know "the truth", realize that the concept of your emotions does impact your "reality" and that feelin good and confident about ur situation is much more enjoyable than feeling like shit. trust me, i know what its like to hate all other humans cauz not many people can even grasp this concept..just think of it as us particular humans as extremely aware of our surroudings and outstanding ability to observe the illusion. see, isnt that pleasing yo your ego? accept it, dont shun it cause if you cant accept yourself and your existance than life sucks dick. hope my findings and thoughts help ya in some way fellow human. i love you

Dal said...

Long before I knew what to call it, this is precisely how I feel about life. Life is fleeting, pointless; over so fast, and with so little ultimate meaning, that it is purposeless no matter what you "accomplish". Does knowing that all in life is mere illusion keep me from spontaneous moments of joy or bliss? No. But these are short-lived. In the end, I am just a lucky chance that will be gone before I can even blink, and it will be as if I never really existed at all....

Alexander said...

Not saying anything theses folks didn't say.

If such is reality, then acceptance is the first step to walking into a world of dreams.

--Suffer for the non existing god of truth.

Anonymous said...

Nihilism has influenced my behavior and personality for more than 20 years before I put a name to it. I have made peace with the fact and now I spend my time enjoying the little things in life and being content before it ends. I am not happy, I don't care about anything or anyone because caring, happiness and all that is irrelevant. Everything ends no matter how good or how bad.

For this reason I have devoted my life to Japanese martial arts where you can excel when you master the state of "no mind" and not care about living or dying but accepting it as part of a never ending cycle where you have no influence and no significance. No happiness and no unhappiness. No emotion and no fear. All I know is I am here therefore I am.