Can You Be A Happy Nihilist?

So I’ve been stuck in a youtube vortex for the past 48 hours and a part of it is this channel that discusses the philosophy of various pop culture items and as I was watching the guy talk about how existential Rick and Morty was and he started citing Camus, I was suddenly kind of paralyzed by this question.

Obviously, Camus would say of course it’s possible. He says that once you accept how insignificant humans’ existence is you have three options: ignore it, kill yourself, or embrace what he calls “the absurd.” He proceeds to explain that he really only supports the last option and you shouldn’t kill yourself and you can only distract yourself for so long before it catches up to you and yadda yadda yadda (sorry Camus)

But will embracing the absurd ever actually be enough to achieve any semblance of happiness or will it just breed this sense of ironic detachment where everything is funny because nothing matters? Am I supposed to believe Sisyphus was ever actually happy or anything close to it while pushing a boulder up a hill every day?

Now it’s 2 am and I am not a philosophy major, but I do think about existence to an obsessive degree. I am also extremely unhappy as you know if you’ve read any previous post. I’ve never really looked at those two facts as inherently interconnected because I’ve always convinced myself that if I fix the chemical imbalance that is the root cause of my mental illness, I’ll have a shot at being “happy” (the fact that I think the word happy should be put in quotes doesn’t bode well).

I’ve always told myself that there are plenty of nihilists in the world. It doesn’t even have to be nihilism. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a nihilist. I think if I truly was a nihilist I wouldn’t feel the need to write a fucking blog post about it because the act of writing and publishing this kind of implies some level of meaning. Let’s just look at atheism, or existentialism in general. There are plenty of people who question the meaning of life and can’t turn to religion for the answer so there must be a way to be self-aware and happy. (I do say can’t and not won’t. I can’t choose to believe in a higher power. If I did it would end up in more of a Pascal way because I can’t give myself faith in something I don’t believe to be true).

But what if that’s not the case? What if the only way to cope with the inherent meaningless of life is to ignore it until you can’t anymore? If that’s the case, I’ve reached my ignorance threshold at the ripe age of 21 so I had a good run, I guess.

Sometimes I think that humor is the best way to cope. After all, we need to embrace the absurd, but I find that any humor to be found has an extremely dark and almost manic edge. I would know. That’s my sense of humor. I had my first appointment with a new therapist today and I found myself telling him about how I spent my 21st birthday in the psych ward and they gave me a little individual cake, but no candle because I might hurt myself and the day after I got out I find out the only therapist I ever liked was leaving. I was laughing as I told him this because it’s just so melodramatic that if you wrote it in a YA novel people would say it was trite and unrealistic. I was laughing because it was so depressing that the more it compounded the more absurd it became and the funnier it was. Even though I was laughing, that experience truly fucked me up. I still get nightmares about it.

But isn’t that what Camus was asking us to do? Look at the absurd. The depressing fact that humans innately search for meaning in a universe that doesn’t give a shit, and laugh at it. Even if you laugh, that laughter, that acceptance that nothing matters is really just another form of ignoring it and Camus will tell you that ignorance doesn’t work. You’ll still get nightmares about it.

People can say that you create your own meaning through family, or friends, or charity work, or fucking Rick and Morty, but aren’t these just distractions? We know that distractions don’t work.

I’ve started to really question if I need religion to ever truly find any form of contentment and that’s a problem because, as I stated, I can’t make myself believe in a higher power.

This has been a rambling mess of probably inaccurate philosophy so I’m just going to quit while I’m behind. Maybe I’m just making it more complicated than it needs to be, though I can’t imagine how that could possibly be true. Fuck, I need to go find a distraction.

 

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