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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Does life have a meaning?


No, to put it simply. Or at least that’s my opinion. Humans are simply by-products of evolution. We’re a collection of atoms bumping in and out of each other standing on much larger inter-connected atoms bumping in and out of each other. We’re all in an ever-expanding universe (or ever-collapsing if you believe the Big Crunch theory).


But because humans are sentient beings with a high level of cognition, we are designed to question our existence. Since the beginning of time philosophy, religion and science has tried to come up with reasons for our existence. Most of us fail to accept the fact that maybe there is no reason, and maybe there is no need for a reason. Maybe it just is and that’s the way it is. We are here because we are here.

I know this may sound pessimistic to some, and nihilism sounds like a pessimistic framework for thought. However, I prefer to view it as being realistic. I accept the fact that I’m here because I’m here and that’s all there is to it. Meaning is something that comes from within and varies from person to person. The things that most give my life meaning, besides people, are music and books. I spend most of my time doing things related to the arts; reading, writing blog posts, working on my own fiction, writing songs, practicing guitar/drums, listening to music, watching films. These are the things that give me purpose because I enjoy them.

Humans like to find value in things. We like to attach sentiment to objects, days, countries and the like. In my posts about education, I state that all subjects hold 'intrinisc value.' But most of the ‘value’ we attach is based on nothing more than our own subjective feelings. An example is cursing. Many people view cursing as ‘bad’ or ‘impolite’. But in isolation, words are nothing more than a string of vowels and consonants. There are a gazillion languages out there; what is a curse word in one language is gibberish in another. We decide how we view words and what they mean.


The thing I like about nihilism is it’s practical. It helps me to put my logic first, including using my logic to recognise when I am responding from a place of emotion. One could say we are nearly always responding from a place of emotion, even if that emotion is disinterest. Why we respond in the ways we do are typically due to past events, personal views of things, and the way we’re wired up.

I am not sure if I would describe myself as a nihilist per se, as a nihilist views life as inherently pointless. An existentialist says that meaning can only be created from personal experience, which I lean more towards. Absurdism is a similar philosophical branch, claiming that trying to find meaning is absurd and is something humans will ultimately fail at.

If there is no point to life, there is also no point not to live. My view is to accept the intrinsic lack of meaning, and create your own and enjoy things while you can.

3 comments:

  1. "Because humans are sentient beings with a high level of cognition, we are designed to question our existence."

    Have you ever heard the phrase that "we are the universe looking back at itself"? As you mentioned, we are in a unique position as human beings compared to all other living things on Earth. We have a superior knowledge to question things and gain understanding about the world around us. Personally, I think THAT is our meaning of life. Existing, experiencing life and learning more about it. :) [This is also why I think education/knowledge and the notion of "never stop growing" is so important and should be taught to kids.]

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    1. Yeah, a friend of mine often brings that up of us being the universe looking back at itself. I think that is a really nice way to look at our purpose :)

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    2. Ever since I was given that answer, I've been giving it myself. I think it's the best answer I've heard, logically and emotionally. :)

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