Nihilism: The Teenager's Escape from Reality

3.27.18  - 5004 Cody Street ~ 9:10 AM MT

            I’m starting to write at 9 today, which is a step in the right direction.  Once I spend a few minutes or hours sucking at the teat of mindless information it’s difficult for my mind to focus and get back on track.  When I first wake up my mind may be groggy but it’s the most clear that it will be all day. 

            Yesterday I helped a friend, let’s call him Mark, paint a room and we talked about everything from nostalgic video games (Link’s Awakening for Gameboy) to what animal we’d want to be reincarnated as (some type of bird).  He talked about that he doesn’t have much time to do anything and the time that he does have he enjoys being by himself and gaming, proclaiming that he has “no responsibilities to anyone but himself.”  At the time it seemed very appealing, carrying an air of total freedom, but I can’t help but think that it’s ironically one of the reasons he’s depressed.  He often uses it as a rationalization for sleeping in until noon and he never applies himself.

            I remember when I used to sleep in that late and I’d feel crummy.  It was tough to feel good about myself when I wasn’t leaving the stamp of my uniqueness on anything on any given day.  Floating through life is fine and all, but at some point I thought, “this is how you wake up middle aged never really doing anything.”  Pleasure and leisure can only get you so far but fulfillment lies in a putting in a concerted effort at something that you don’t mind doing over and over again, improving upon it every time.  When you sleep through the morning and coast through the afternoon, the only thing you get in exchange is whatever you’re dreaming about. 

            Heather helps me by pulling my productivity towards her end of the spectrum because that’s her default.  It’s also why we’re good together: because we bring each other towards a happy equilibrium.  Too much of anything is detrimental, just take either Mark or Heather by themselves—unhappy and caught in a cyclical pattern of what they know and what they feel comfortable doing.  I could definitely use some work getting pulled to the side of productivity but I tend to think I hover more around the center than either of them. 

            Mark also lets his cynicism paralyze his action in the form of anti-capitalistic nihilism.  He’s not wrong—it’s just too much for a human mind to carry with it, especially if you’re going to exist within the capitalistic structure and enjoy some of the luxuries it provides.  Perhaps I’m too cut and dry or I’ve bought into the system as well, but when you hold beliefs as strong as him I think that you have to either separate entirely, removing yourself from participation in the system as much as possible; or you come to grips with the futility of overthrowing it, accept the benefits it awards you, and you try to combat it in the most productive way that you can as an unique individual.  I don’t think he believes in some widespread Marxist revolution to overthrow the owners of the means of production (I used to) but I don’t see any value in nihilism.  It’s like a teenagers way out of the existential crisis of capitalism.


            My argument against nihilism is also the same one why I don’t harbor negative feelings towards people most of the time—because they don’t provide anything useful to me.  When you do things in life that have no positive purpose you are essentially keeping your needle close to neutral, perhaps even tilting towards the negative side of things, and I believe life is more than that.  You don’t have to achieve greatness, you don’t have to get a PHD or discover something new; all you have to do is try to leave the unique imprint of yourself somewhere everyday (with exception to intentionally hurting others), and try to err on the side of positivity.