Worldview: Nihilism

“Nothing really matters”

If you start with the belief that the material universe is all there is, and you are consistent with that belief, then you will end up with Nihilism. Nihilism is the belief that, regardless of what we do, nothing really matters. It the material universe is the only thing that exists, then there is no real point to anythig.

Overview of Nihilism

The story of Nihilism is the following:

There is no God. There is nothing in the universe but matter, and because of that, it doesn’t matter what happens to us. If we live, it doesn’t matter because we will one day die. If we die, it doesn’t matter either because others will take our place. If we all die, it doesn’t matter because there’s no ultimate purpose to whether humanity lives or dies.

Nihilism is the most depressing of worldviews. No one can truly live by nihilism for long, simply because most nihilists see no reason for living. Some people claim to live by nihilism, but many of those are actually clinging to the possibility that some ultimate purpose actually exists. Nihilism drives people either to commit suicide or drives them insane.

Defining Nihilism

The Questions that define Nihilism:

  1. What is prime reality – the really real?

The material universe is all there is and all there ever will be.

  1. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?

Reality is whatever can be sensed and detected.

  1. What is a human being?

A human being is a complex organism, but a human being is not really more special than any other collection of molecules.

  1. What happens to a person at death?

At death, a person ceases to exist. There is no afterlife.Death is no better than life.

  1. Why is it possible to know anything at all?

We can only know what we can perceive, but there is no point in knowing anything because human knowledge is constantly lost and rediscovered.

  1. How do we know what is right and wrong?

There is no right or wrong. Doing right has no more importance than doing wrong.

  1. What is the meaning of human history?

There is no meaning to human history and no point in human existence.

Problems with this Worldview

First, there is no hope associated with this worldview. Nihilism means that nothing matters, so why even try? Those who embrace this worldview do so at their own peril and may end up with suicidal thoughts, as did Kurt Cobain.

Second, with the hopelessness that is associated with this worldview, it typically ends in suicidal thoughts and possibly even attempting suicide. There is really no plus side to this worldview other than the fact that you are being consistent if you believe we all simply products of chance.