Few people my age are active nihilists. Some of my acquaintances, especially those at elite universities, have had existential crisis’s, thoughts of “what’s this all for?” …but almost always they come out soft determinists (or moral compatibilists ), rediscover meaning in their life, usually via friendships, goals, or family, and live on (until their next crisis). No one I know, except myself, have not only pondered, but researched, agonized to the point of near suicide, and now live and breathe nihilism. The apps, tools, and resources in society which serve as insurance against nihilism are too abundant to all forsake, and in lieu of realizing a complete rejection of all of them will lead to an end to their livelihood, it thereby renders it impossible for them to adopt complete nihilism. Those who do claim to have adopted nihilism and post memes about it are usually trying to sound edgy, or have forgotten the very act of proclaiming such and meme’ing about it is but usage of a societal tool designed to insure against falling completely into the rabbit hole. Social media by design is known to promoting passive nihilism, and my generation often confuse it for active nihilism. Nonetheless, it’s of interest which amongst us fare closer.
I’m not going to proclaim I have adopted complete nihilism (hard determinism) either, for that would contradict my act of writing this post. I came close, in many regards, throughout a lifetime of traumas.
Since the demonic ex utterly destroyed all that separated me from complete despair, I’ve committed to a level of nihilism I have yet to find in anyone else (aside from the demon herself, and even she who introduced herself to me as a “complete fatalist” turned out to be nothing but a sociopathic nymphomanic with the dignity of a prostitute). We must not confuse hypocrites who put on an edgy facade as nihilists to rationalize their behavior motivated by their base, animalistic biochemistry. To be a nihilist it’s not enough for one to come to a temporary conclusion (a conclusion, in the demonic ex’s case, isn’t even sound); one needs to live and breathe the doctrine of nihilism, which can only be tested on the grounds of their actions being close to motivation-less, and definitely not motivated by the kind of self-serving “truths” that defined the thought process of the demonic ex.
Nonetheless, the destruction caused by her, the inhumane level to which I had to over-extend my own cognition, the emotional, psychological and mental trauma which I had to endure to complete my endeavor of disentangling all the lies, broken promises, and manipulation I suffered from, was enough to plunge me further down the rabbit hole. That’s not to mention one of the very reasons I entered into a relationship with her was of the false empathy she displayed to help me overcome my existential crisis at the time. It’s like clinging with your last strength to the edge of the cliff, seeing a demon disguised as an angel lend you a helping hand, taking it, only to be thrown back down with a force that makes you wish if only death could come sooner.
The sane reader reading this may then ask what my motivation then is, to continue living. To be clear, I came close but am entirely down the rabbit hole. I still have goals and am motivated to go after them. I have a strong code of ethics. In the case of studying, I described in my previous post it is merely to occupy my mind. In the case of strengthening relationships, it is to find others like me. In the case of social media, it is to be unapologetically me and say what I think, and laugh at those who don’t have the courage to do the same. It’s hard to find one word that best captures all these motivations – by definition I shouldn’t be able to, if I consider myself a nihilist, but the word that captures the essence of what I think motivates me is “sarcasm”.
Growing up, I used to be very quiet, observant from afar, and generally avoided socializing as much as I could. There was a period of (middle school) rebellious youth in which I tried very hard to denounce those stereotypes, and become a class clown. This is a story for another day, but what I learned from it that carries on with me to this day is the power of sarcasm, satire and humor. Sarcasm on the subject of nihilism is a unique response we rational homo sapiens have, that directly strikes back at the ridiculousness that is life, at the inherent contradiction that is between our finite body and our infinite minds. It’s not only taking what is given, playing the victim mentality like my demonic ex, repeating false gratitudes to yourself and others to cover your own weakness. Most of my generation choose to run; a few acquaintances I know who suffered from similar tragedies in their life have all opted for anesthesia, for amnesia, and have disappeared into the world of video games (or in my demonic ex’s case, became an administrator of it). They refuse to adopt the courage to continue living as dignified, honest individuals.
Sarcasm is staking a claim against the world, to your name, challenging what the world has given you which doesn’t line up with your own independent judgement, a claim that marks your personhood as separate from the determined world.
Living a life that’s quality sarcastic comedy material is enough for me. It’s a decision I made in my darkest times, and it has served me quite well.