“I look at young beautiful girls and I think, if I were them, knowing that I would get older in just a few years, I would be unable to bear it. I’d rather die”
“There are just a few pages of the book, I don’t wanna finish it.
Knowing that that talented person will die, that life is meaningless”
Those are just a few expressions from a young and talented person I interact recently, and since that person is highly smart whose knowledge surpassing many people I know, I am highly attracted to him. Having a wise soul to talk with is a a bliss (well, still).
Yet, deep down inside, I ask myself “What is wrong? What is REALLY going on?”
Whatever you choose to believe in, you are right
One of the question I asked him is
“Do you read to expand your mind or do you read to solidify your worldview?”
And to me, this is highly important. When we have a certain set of believes and values, we have the habit, momentum and tendency to solidify those. Encountering other sets of values will create cognitive dissonance. The social circle we surround ourselves with are often people who share the same beliefs. Obvious right? Birds of the same feather flock together.
We are also living in information era in which whatever we want to believe in, there is evidence to support it, then after gathering evidence, we choose groups that are like us to belong. Security and comfort are there.
What if we live forever and the dilemma of morality
Some people facing quarter-life crisis often take those images as examples
Kurt Cobain, somehow, happens to be taken as inspiration by a lot of people I know. He possesses that sad and unique look which makes him different from others. When we face identity crisis, we seek solution by “being different”, and the talented people with tragedy or sad endings are perfect examples to console us
“See, even people like him have to die anyway”
“Kurt Cobain also thinks so”
Or the ones with motto “life is meaningless” may take the picture of Steve Jobs when he was dealing with illness to immerse in
They look at the picture and think “Well, a lifetime, no he is going to dust anyway. A significant like that will end up dying. What is there for me?”
But don’t forget that the question of morality and death stick with those people even more than us. The one who are enjoying the achievement right now feel the fear of death more acutely than us since they have so much to lose.
“Life is short so we should maximize it”, not “Life is pointless so why live?”. Using the same premise of morality but do you see the difference? Take your stance because your thoughts and actions will revolve around the belief you choose.
A lifetime of human being is not long but not short either. If we are suddenly given the magic to live forever, maybe more people will commit suicide for experience saturation. 365 days multiplies an average of 60 years contain in it millions of moment of drinking coffee, talking with people we love, bliss of creativity, bliss of exploration. That lifetime also contains millions of moments of sadness and contemplation such as what I am feeling right now so I can sit down and reflect on it, hence afterwards I can enjoy my life in a much clearer and deeper way.
I am 25, and yes, I will just get older over time, to the point I can barely walk. But I don’t want to live every moment immersed in that thought to a degree that nothing around me matters. Mortality should be a motivation to live better, not the other way around.
We are not special?
Another premise that existential nihilists often use is that “No one is special”, and “even people who are, die and will be forgotten”. But we forget we are living based on foundation and legacy of generations preceding us. The laptop we are typing on, coffee, electrecity, the bread we use, kitchen utensils. There are hardly nothing around us that are not results of labour of millions of people like that, the special and non-special, the ones that already died whose legacy still affects us.
You are special because you inspired me to reflect on this topic which may change my worldview forever, and to my turn, I will affect people around me with that worldview. Do not deny the ripple effects we have on each other as human beings.
Scary huh? Deal with it.
P/S: Some reactions I get from expressing this
After expressing this in social networks, an American friend of mine sent me this article
Who is Hunter Thompson and what does he have to say about this? Is he himself a nihilist? Let’s find out together.