Nihilism

So it’s no secret that I’ve been stuck on this for years and I haven’t been able to shake it. It’s caused me to spiral deeper and deeper and sap much of my joy in life. I’m at the point where I don’t want to feel this way anymore, where I’m tired of waking up each day an feeling like nothing matters anymore. Tired of living feeling like a chore or slogging through the day waiting to die. Tired of every new thing I want to do ending in “why bother”.

But my own attempts have ended in failure. My attempts to impose meaning on things feels cheap and more like a lie I tell myself to keep living. I have seen a few other folks deal with nihilism. Someone recommended the 12 Rules to Life by Jordan Peterson but I don’t know about him.

I guess to sum it up would be that I’m tired of being tired, and I want it to end.

You really need a purpose. You should investigate how the lack of a purpose can lead to mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, depression and health failures.

With a purpose, one can achieve something and gain a feeling of earning something. Will it matter to anyone else? You probably will never know how your actions will affect others. Do you have to know? No you don’t, but you can know that not everything you do will go unnoticed.

You seem to enjoy esoteric stuff; consider whether the butterfly 3000 miles away from the hurricane knows whether the beats of her wings have any effect on the environment and whether it matters that she knows or doesn’t know. She flaps her wings with a purpose in any case.

National Suicide Hotline

Call 1-800-273-8255

 

Lausten gave you the best advice and I also urge you to call the NSH.

I tried that last time but all they really did was insist life was worth it or had meaning but didn’t really make it believable. It was like listening to my church as a kid.

As for bob and achieving something, it’s something I want to do. But I hear Morris Berman’s book worming into my mind about how our ancestors didn’t need such things

Xain;

I wrenched my back yesterday so I spent today getting caught up on my online Science of Religion class. If it comes around again, check it out. https://www.edx.org/course/the-science-of-religion I know psychology doesn’t always work by understanding it, but I can’t diagnose you, so maybe you will get something from this. Hard to do it justice in just on excerpt, but here it is. It comes after a section on the limits of science. A Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor says human beings are going to try to figure out “why” even if science says there isn’t an answer to that. We make “weak” evaluations, like personal preferences for cute, but we make “strong evaluations” like ‘slavery is bad’, and we’re pretty stuck on those. The lecturer then interjects his secular take on this idea.

So strong evaluations get their justification

from these claims about the nature of the universe

and claims that are, by their very nature, unverifiable.

They’re not subject to empirical verification.

Taylor also argues that making strong valuations,

so making these kinds of evaluations that are tied to metaphysical claims

is part of what he calls "the transcendental condition of being

human."

We can’t be a psychologically normal human and not make these kind of claims

or be committed or drawn to these kind of claims.

And here I would give you a naturalistic spin on Taylor, not necessarily

a transcendental condition of being human in some kind of metaphysical way.

I think it’s just built into human psychology.

It seems to be the case that we make these kind of norm claims,

and we’re drawn to these kind of norm claims.

And they’re just-- because they feel so strong to us–

I would actually spin Taylor’s causality around.

So his claim is that the reason strong evaluations are so strong

is because they come from the metaphysical.

In my view, the strong part comes first.

And here I’m relying on people like Jonathan Haidt,

another moral psychologist, who suggests that our moral claims come

from our emotions.

They come from gut reactions.

And what happens, in my view, is that when these gut reactions are so strong,

we want to impose them on others.

We don’t think they’re a personal preference.

We think they’re universalizable.

And therefore, we are motivated to tell stories

where they are connected to some kind of feature of the universe.

 


Do you see yourself in this? You so want your ideas about no-self to be true. You are motivated to come here and tell us about them. You don’t see them as some individual thoughts you’ve had, you see them as fundamental to the reality of the universe. Thing is, that’s fine, everybody does it. I do it when I say everyone has the right to health care. There’s no reason for that, no ultimate justification, but I believe it with every fiber of my being. There’s nothing wrong with either one of us for having thoughts like that.

I haven’t read this, but look around, he does have some online presence. https://ubcgfcf.com/charles-taylor-and-the-myth-of-the-secular/

As for bob and achieving something, it’s something I want to do. But I hear Morris Berman’s book worming into my mind about how our ancestors didn’t need such things
You are not your ancestors; your world is not your ancestors' world. Your ancestors needed food; they went out and got it. Your ancestors needed protection from wild animals; they sharpened sticks and discovered how to make fire. Their purpose was to stay alive; they did what it took to achieve that purpose. You are here because at least some of them didn't just cop out on life.

 

You misunderstand the point Bob. The idea was that our ancestors didn’t need a purpose, that existing was enough for them. Modernity has created this need for purpose and meaning which is killing us. Our ancestors didn’t need that. That’s the point being made.

As for meaning it’s hard for me to hold on to. Like I said whenever I try to create it the feeling evaporates as soon as I have it. I have come to realize that I am not living because I want to but because out of some kind of obligation to the family. I don’t have the strength to take my life because I hate pain and most attempts End poorly. So I languish like this

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07236LYQ5/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Ive tried books like the one above but I can’t help but stop when they talk about the difference between mind and spirit (especially when it’s just the one, there is no spirit). Also I’m not sure how helpful it is to unlearn everything about me and be born again (their words not mine). Though I guess there is a case for what they said about how growing up we didn’t get to choose our beliefs about the world. Though I wish that stayed with me because then I wouldn’t be struggling with Nihilism.

 

Then I get to the rest of the stuff about the self and all that and having to get rid of it and I’m just left deeper where I started. I know my parents mean well but they need to not give me books like that.

The book also mentions how changing negative beliefs into positive ones doesn’t work and that doesn’t help me much either. I mean I can say why because telling yourself the opposite feels like a fraud and that when it does work it you get caught up in that belief and don’t want to let it go.

Sigh, after what Buddhism did to me I wish my parents would stop sending me such things, especially since now all I have in my head on repeat is how changing negative beliefs to positives won’t work thus furthering my depression. Well, sorry for that aside. I know that doesn’t get me closer to climbing out of this.

You misunderstand the point Bob. The idea was that our ancestors didn’t need a purpose,
Which is a horrible idea, it has very little basis in anything else I know. You need to go back and first figure how to make a case for something, then try to defend the case of this "don't need a purpose" thing. It will fail. Your feelings of living just for your family are exactly what I would imagine those ancient ancestors felt. We haven't changed that much in 100,000 years. We live in a time when 3,000 year old myths are being stripped away, and that's good. You even say it's good. Then you experience this feeling of just being a human on this earth who cares about people around him, and somehow that's bad. You aren't making sense.
growing up we didn’t get to choose our beliefs about the world. Though I wish that stayed with me because then I wouldn’t be struggling with Nihilism.
You wish you didn't grow up? That's what it seems like you are saying.

This will get it’s own thread later. I wish I could remember who pointed me to this, so I could thank them.

https://youtu.be/r6w2M50_Xdk

“The same facts that make you feel so insignificant; also tell you how you got here.” You don’t have to bow down, just remember to keep breathing.

The idea was that our ancestors didn’t need a purpose, that existing was enough for them.
Do you really think that existing, staying alive, wasn't/isn't a purpose? Try it in the same way your ancestors did it. Go into the wild (to the extent you can find any) and get naked. Then make a fire, make something to wear and feed yourself. If you make it three weeks give yourself a medal.

If you would rather not jump into the deep end of the pool right away, just give up everything you haven’t earned for yourself, everything others - including you family - have given to you. I mean everything including housing, clothing, TV and internet access, CDs and DVDs and the machines to play them, books and money. Then go into the world and stay alive. If you can make it three months, without crawling back to the safety and security of your present comforts, look in the mirror and contemplate the new you. It won’t be the old you looking back at you.

 

I’ve been too busy to be on here lately, but I see things are moving along at a slow but reasonable pace.

Xain, nihilism is neither right nor wrong unless you apply it 100%. It’s a way of looking at things, but it isn’t how things are, kinda like how you can look at a cubist painting and see things a certain way, but both you and the artist know the objects painted don’t actually look like that.

Similarly, you can put on your ‘nihilism’ glasses to look at the world for a while, but since they block out the light that ‘purpose’ emits, make sure you take them off when you’re done or you’ll end up walking off a cliff that ‘purpose’ illuminates.


Purpose is neither concrete nor universal.

Each person is free to choose whatever purpose they want and that purpose can change as often as they want. I floated for years without a purpose, and it felt horrible- like I was wasting my life. I wanted to do good things and be active and feel alive, but I had a dull job and seemed to sit around and mope all the time.

Being lucky enough to meet my wife and have kids gave me purpose, but now that the kids are older and more independent, I find my main purpose is gone. So now I volunteer at a few places around town, exercise/work-out, and am planning what I can do to reinvigorate my life (think travel, study, new hobbies, etc.)

I’m not a professional, or even experienced, in psychology, but I can say with some confidence that you need to look into yourself and find some passion for you to pursue. There are no limits to what it can be- animal rights, climate change, equality for LGBTQ, cleaning up your neighborhood, art (painting/writing/drawing/design/etc, fixing an old car, improving your physical health, cleaning your house, getting your finances in order, learning math, cooking, go to school to get an education that allows you to do your passion as a career, get involved in politics, join a club (book/chess/badminton/art/non-profit/etc.), or any of a bazillion other things.

It’s surprisingly very difficult to choose, so you’ll have to narrow it down more and more and more. It’s possible to have more than one ‘purpose’, so don’t worry if you narrow your list down to: crusading against President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, learning to cook authentic Inuit food, playing the digeridoo, and collecting money for the local animal shelter. All those are possible to do while still working, eating and sleeping.

Im Unhappy, here's gradual change through work, no I want dramatic escape

Yeah I want this to be over with already.

Someone recommended 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson but couldn’t really take it seriously. Referring to Order as masculine and Chaos as feminine?

Jordan Peterson

So, you can read something, evaluate it, and see that it has flaws. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

 

 

Jordan Peterson is a pseudo-intellectual.

He simply says what many average folks think, but speaks with cringe-worthy arrogance using words and sentence structure found in text books. So he mostly sounds smart to those who aren’t.

If you are trying to figure out life and how best to live it, I wouldn’t spend any time on his stuff.

I find it odd that someone who dislikes Postmodernism and Nihilism as much as he does frequently redefines words in his arguments just so they can work.

Xain: "I find it odd that someone who dislikes Postmodernism and Nihilism as much as he does frequently redefines words in his arguments just so they can work."
Like I said, he's not a great thinker.

He has no new or positive or progressive ideas. Everything he says could be said by a red-neck who never made it past grade 4, the only difference is that he somehow went to school and says it in ways that sound smart.

Ignore him.