Turn on thread page Beta

Nihilism: there is literally no point to life watch

    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    not directing this at anyone, but more general,

    if you believe the life is pointless then why are you still living if there is no point to live?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by theBranicAc)
    not directing this at anyone, but more general,

    if you believe the life is pointless then why are you still living if there is no point to live?
    taking active steps to end your life is a bit extreme even for nihilists. believing there is no point to life in a philosophical way is different to believing there's no point in a suicidal way
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    You say that given enough time nothing you have done would matter, which I guess is true if you take it to the extent of the universe ending (if you think it will), but that's being very extreme.

    We are still effected today by people who we will never even know the name of, even by creatures that were extinct long before humans walked the earth. It would be nice to think some action in your life might have such a long lasting effect, even if you don't know it, so you may as well keep on living on the off chance that applies.

    If not, hey ho, you can enjoy the process of trying and in the end you haven't lost anything.
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    I don't think it's easy to say that life is meaningless. It is however easy to say that it can be difficult at times to find meaning.

    The way things seem, after you die, things will become meaningless to you. Things are only meaningful to conscious perspectives, which you can't count on having after you perish. However, while you're alive, there are many things that can be important to you - for example, the welfare of the people you love.

    Now, to me, I can't help but detect a lamentful tone to the way the OP is written. If that's the case, then that betrays a desire for meaning to exist. If that's true, then it's meaningful to OP whether or not meaning exists, and therefore meaningful things do in fact exist (at least to OP).

    I think it's a mistake to look too rashly for objective sources of meaning. Meaning, it seems to me, is a subjective phenomenon, like colour. If the universe were empty, I think OP is right in saying that nothing would matter, since there would be no one for whom it could, in fact, conceivably matter. But, the way things stand now, the world is full of people and animals, and probably there are all sorts of alien civilisations across the universe to boot, all with different concerns and desires and things they find meaningful.

    The objective truths that exist concerning meaning are likely analogous to those about colour. We can say objectively that 'colour exists,' but only by virtue of having subjectively experienced it. In the same way, I think meaning objectively exists - we can feel it.

    But, even acknowledging it to exist, there are at least two problems that crop up. The first is that it's very difficult to see why the things we find meaningful aren't completely arbitrary, and therefore rationally justifiable and sensibly worthy of our attention. There's something instinctive about arbitrarily meaningful things not being 'truly' meaningful at all.

    The second is literally a killer: If meaningful things only exist to you for as long as you exist yourself, then why chase meaning if it's more straightforward to extinguish your need to chase it?

    I thought about these things for a long time, and eventually I came to the conclusion that there are non-arbitrarily meaningful things, and it does matter if you're not around to achieve them, but truthfully I've never had much success in convincing other people about this. It's a very difficult problem, and honestly, it's easy to think yourself into an existential crisis, and much more difficult to think yourself back out of it, so be careful.
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    The only reason we live is to breed. But why? Will we keep mutating until we form the perfect species? The only reason we keep living is due a self created emotion: Happiness.

    Even if you didn't change anything you can still be happy and die knowing you made the most of your short time here
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    It's too early and too hot for thinking about this ****.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Fellow nihilist here. The view I've come to hold is that yeah, nothing is really going to matter to us when we're dead.I mean, say you inadvertently cure world hunger the day after your death. You wouldn't feel proud, or happy, you wouldn't even know. From a purely subjective point of view, as we are purely subjective beings, it is a meaningless event for you. The closest you can get to having an event after your death effect you, is being a little more calm on your deathbed knowing that say, thanks to your unscrupulous efforts as a drug lord, your family will be well looked after

    With that said, I think that the pointlessness of legacy doesn't mean we should all just stop doing stuff. There's this pretty cool nihilist quote, can't remember it exactly but it's like "when nothing in life matters, everything you do is important". That is to say, without a clear cut reason to live, we have to create our purpose of living by what we do. Live not just to worship God and wait until the fun -really- begins in heaven. But live to become the best surfer ever, or put a smile on as many faces as you can before you kick the bucket, or just slob out and watch tv your whole life. Do what makes you happy and gives you a sense of fulfillment. Not for any other reason than you choose that lifestyle (trainspotting quote anyone? ^_^ )

    I think that kind of nihilism is far more empowering than if we were each told at birth some mundane and generationally repetitive reason to live.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    Anyway, is there a better point in being dead?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    It seems that religious misconception about life plus severe depression leads to Nihlism. There is a point to life, it is not about worshiping your frightened of non-existence delusion, but living it.
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    It's funny how saying things like this labels you as depressed, when for the most part, it's the truth.
    You can be content and happy with life and still have views like this.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by viddy9)
    Some things do, objectively, matter,
    That is a very bold statement.

    What are these things pray tell?
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Nightmare Abyss)
    That is a very bold statement.

    What are these things pray tell?
    We have reasons to act in certain ways. For instance, there's no logical justification for putting one's preferences above the preferences of others, so if we are to aim to maximize our preference-satisfaction, which it is impossible not to do, then it follows that we ought to maximize the preference-satisfaction of every sentient being. To do otherwise would be to privilege our preferences, which is illogical. In other words, this leads to preference utilitarianism.

    Though this would suffice to refute Nihilism, I would now go further: preference-satisfaction leads to a conscious state that can be apprehended as intrinsically desirable. This is what Sidgwick called pleasure. The intrinsic nature of pleasure, I would argue, gives us reasons to want to gain more pleasure; the intrinsic nature of agony, meanwhile, gives us reasons to want to avoid agony. These reasons are object-given and normative, and these statements are irreducibly normative truths. Given that pleasure is pleasure and agony is agony, we ought to maximise the pleasure and minimize the pain of every sentient being. In other words, classical utilitarianism.

    Thus, on this view, we should go beyond the maximization of preference-satisfaction, and try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. One could ask: why should we do what is reasonable in the first place? But, this question answers itself, because asking such a question asks for reasons. In essence, that question is "why is it reasonable to act reasonably?".

    For a much more detailed defence of this meta-ethical view (Non-Metaphysical, Non-Naturalist Cognitivism), and a refutation of competing views about what else can be regarded as intrinsically good or bad, I would recommend reading the two (or rather three, given that On What Matters is two volumes long) books I mentioned earlier: On What Matters Parts One and Six should be read first, followed by The Point of View of the Universe.

    Though Nihilism seems like a popular view on the internet and in particular for angsty teens, it's also worth noting that philosophers who believe in objective morality outnumber philosophers who do not by more than two to one, many of whom certainly aren't religious.
    Offline

    20
    (Original post by wwait)
    I mean seriously we're just born then we live then we die

    given enough time, everything I have done and ever will do will cease to matter.

    whether I win a nobel prize or spend the rest of my life in jail it doesn't matter

    ****

    nothing matters

    I guess you're just going to leave sarcastic comments but I'm so bummed out right now. life has no point.

    so what's the point in living it
    Might as well enjoy the time you've got here, though. Otherwise you might as well do things which I can't suggest here.

    I love the irony, however, of saying everything's pointless - yet you were moved to post about it.

    (Original post by h333)
    I am sorry to hear you feel this way. So don't you believe in an afterlife?
    This sounds like the religious equivalent of a bloke being being "nice" to a girl who's upset, with the hope of getting some.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by wwait)
    I mean seriously we're just born then we live then we die

    given enough time, everything I have done and ever will do will cease to matter.

    whether I win a nobel prize or spend the rest of my life in jail it doesn't matter

    ****

    nothing matters

    I guess you're just going to leave sarcastic comments but I'm so bummed out right now. life has no point.

    so what's the point in living it

    You know I mentioned this before earlier on a another discussion but I guess it has more relevance here.

    If someone gave you a blank canvas with some paint and a paint brush - would you ask what the purpose of the blank canvas is?
    • Community Assistant
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    (Original post by viddy9)
    Some things do, objectively, matter, and there are reasons to act in certain ways. I'd highly recommend reading Parts One and Six of Derek Parfit's On What Matters.

    And, I always find it highly bizarre that many people claim that they're nihilists, and then go on to claim that people should "try to better themselves" or "enjoy life". If there was no meaning to life, then people should not even do these things either. These claims are more in line with the Subjectivist view that there is no objective meaning in life, but that we can create our own meaning. I suppose one could, if one were a nihilist, argue that enjoying oneself is just as unreasonable as dwelling on the idea that life has no meaning, so why not choose to enjoy life.

    It reminds me of this comic:

    Attachment 562310
    Found the relevant xkcd post
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    If nothing matters in the very long term, you should be courageous and do whatever brings you joy.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Tootles)
    Might as well enjoy the time you've got here, though. Otherwise you might as well do things which I can't suggest here.

    I love the irony, however, of saying everything's pointless - yet you were moved to post about it.

    This sounds like the religious equivalent of a bloke being being "nice" to a girl who's upset, with the hope of getting some.
    Are you ok? It was just a question
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    Yes, you are right but I find this liberating.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    Has anyone ever heard of the half-empty or full glass? We could say it is a tragic waste of precious time to spend our lives wondering about 'the point of it' and get on with making the most of this gift, there's a whole eternity ahead to worry about it. Or until the next cycle is completed, if you're a Buddhist.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    This is true and I feel like this a lot, but I realised it's what matters to me that counts. If I drew an amazing picture, that matters to me! That means a lot to me, I will be proud of it. Who cares if it doesn't end up hanging on any famous walls to be remembered for the rest of eternity?At least it matters to me today!

    You should savour the moment for yourself, it's you that matters to you.
 
 
 

3,650

students online now

800,000+

Exam discussions

Find your exam discussion here

Poll
Should predicted grades be removed from the uni application process
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.