In this second installment, in trying to understand the liberating and redemptive power of meaninglessness, let’s separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s slice off some of the nonsense that philosophy has handed down to us. Let’s get back down to the clean dirt of mother earth:
Meaninglessness is not Nihilism. Nihilism is not worth considering. A nihilist, driven to certain desperate straits or torments, will abandon his fake philosophy and begin striving for better conditions. Bereft of the luxury of pretending that nothing matters, he begins to work for things that do matter to him, even if it’s only his next meal. So much for Nihilism. No, meaninglessness is not a place where nothing matters. On the contrary, meaninglessness is a place where things do matter. It is a place where hearts desperately crave meaning and purpose, but cannot latch on, or have become conscious of the circularity and distressingly human-centric aspect of life here on earth.
The things that we pursue here do matter, and it is important to live well. Before moving on to more nourishing notions in future posts, I wanted to make sure that I explain that with these essays I am not here to wallow in the imaginary problems of the well-fed. Existentialism is not a way to occupy a mind unoccupied by crushing want. It is an honest attempt to live truthfully and well, according to the heart, and against all dogma.
This series is focused on how to live well in practical terms. Please don’t harbor any thoughts that any of this is supposed to veer off into the clouds. What we want is to recognize that life is ours to embrace, and that things do matter, but we must come to terms with the true nature of meaning and meaninglessness if we are to improve ourselves, the way we treat others, and our lot here on this beautiful planet.