A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning | Melting Asphalt

This is a terrific dissection of meaning. I like the way this guy’s mind works…

 

A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning

I’ve never been plagued by the big existential questions. You know, like What’s my purpose? or What does it all mean?

Growing up I was a very science-minded kid — still am — and from an early age I learned to accept the basic meaninglessness of the universe. Science taught me that it’s all just atoms and the void, so there can’t be any deeper point or purpose to the whole thing; the kind of meaning most people yearn for — Ultimate Meaning — simply doesn’t exist.

Nor was I satisfied with the obligatory secular follow-up, that you have to “make your own meaning.” I knew what that was: a consolation prize. And since I wasn’t a sore loser, I decided I didn’t need meaning of either variety, Ultimate or man-made.

In lieu of meaning, I mostly adopted the attitude of Alan Watts. Existence, he says, is fundamentally playful. It’s less like a journey, and more like a piece of music or a dance. And the point of dancing isn’t to arrive at a particular spot on the floor; the point of dancing is simply to dance. Vonnegut expresses a similar sentiment when he says, “We are here on Earth to fart around.”

This may be nihilism, but at least it’s good-humored.

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