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Dealing with the fact that life is pointless watch

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    Bit of a cliche but anyway. My main academic focus is maths and I do get grades, but I know I'm nowhere near smart enough to actually make a contribution to the field of mathematics. I mean I used to dream of proving the Riemann hypothesis for example, but now I mean if prodigies like Andrew Wiles or John Conway haven't done it, how am I supposed to? Anyway it's not just about the academic. I know when I die, after some years my existence absolutely won't matter. My life will add up to zero. Year 2100 would be the same as it will even if I never lived. I'm so damn mediocre and I can't stand it. People usually start talking about friends and love and family when something like this comes up, but I'm sure we all know that's just a polite avoidance of answering the eternal question: "What is the point of life?" Yeah, any thoughts on this?

    It sounds like you want there to be a reason external to your own existence. It's completely natural - we all seek parent figures (parents, teachers, mentors, historical figures), because deep down we crave security and we want to impress and to be loved. This makes total sense regarding evolution.

    Unfortunately, this external reason simply does not exist. This is the factual answer to 'what is the point of life' - no avoidance there.

    Why do you want your existence to matter? Because you want to be appreciated by people in the future (parent figure) or because you want to provide for people who will come after you (child figure). There is no other definition of 'matter', because there is nothing external.

    However, there are plenty of other ways to satisfy this craving. Success by itself usually will not work. We've all had dreams of becoming a footballer, or solving the Riemann Hypothesis, as a child, but people who actually do these things rarely meet the happiness they wanted.

    Yet many people in the world are happy. Why? Countless studies have shown that humans deprived of stable relationships rapidly become mentally unhealthy. Likewise, financial security, health, aiming for an impossible goal, (ironically) self-control have all been shown to create a happy, health human being. Religion itself probably works too, because it tricks you into thinking the void is filled.

    Personally, I think the best thing to do is to accept that you are an animal, and that your sense of self worth is an artificial legacy of your evolutionary past. It is mechanical. See it for what it is, and don't let it control you.

    Perhaps try reading some history or philosophy? Marcus Aurelius is good, and manageable. People have been struggling with this for thousands of years, and it's good to know you aren't alone.
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