18 Dec How a Meaningless Life Can Make You Truly Happy
Nihilism is often seen as a negative philosophy; even a depressing one.
But that’s not really how I (and many others) interpret it.
Believing there’s no pre-ordained meaning in the world allows each of us to create our own meaning in the world; and that can be quite exciting …
via The Next Big Idea Club by Wendy Syfret
Wendy Syfret is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. She is the former Managing Editor of VICE Asia, as well as Head of Editorial for VICE Australia. She has contributed to publications such as The Guardian, Crikey, and ABC Life, to name a few. Currently, she is editor-in-chief of RIISE, a climate-forward fashion and lifestyle publication.
Below, Wendy shares 5 key insights from her new book, The Sunny Nihilist: How a Meaningless Life Can Make You Truly Happy. Listen to the audio version—read by Wendy herself—in the Next Big Idea App.
1. Nihilism doesn’t deserve its bad reputation.
Nihilism has a PR problem—the term itself has become shorthand for “grim” and “depressing.” But I’d argue that this reputation is undeserved, owing more to the people who have embraced, promoted, and manipulated it than the concept itself.
In its simplest form, nihilism preaches that “life is meaningless.” In turn, so are you and I. When we accept that “meaning” isn’t an inherent thing, we can examine it as a concept we create, and hence have the ability to control. Additionally, we can question where it comes from, and who is pushing it.
Even if you don’t go full nihilist, it can be a prompt to wonder: Why do I believe what I believe? Where do these ideas come from? Who is benefitting from them? What do they really deliver to me? And how do they benefit others?
“When we accept that ‘meaning’ isn’t an inherent thing, we can examine it as a concept we create, and hence have the ability to control.”
2. Meaning is supposed to make us happy, but our obsession with it is making us miserable.
The search for a meaningful life isn’t a bad thing. It is a quest that has pushed humanity forward for millennia. It’s also a lot of work—people have dedicated their entire existence to understanding meaning through religion, philosophy, art, and even a commitment to civic life.
Few of us have that kind of time, but our desire for meaningful connection remains. Unfortunately, that lust can easily be hijacked by power-holders who recognize that if they can produce a dupe of that meaningful feeling—for only a fraction of the work needed to create a true sense of meaning—then that’s a powerful tool.
Meaning was never supposed to be binged on. Even believers of meaning located it in, perhaps, one or two parts of their lives. But now, every job is suddenly “culture-defining,” and each consumer product “life-changing.” Nothing can exist without some huge, bloated narrative attached to it. It’s great marketing, but it’s also exhausting…
… keep reading the full & original article HERE