Optimistic Nihilism

Optimistic Nihilism


Human existence is scary and confusing. A few hundred thousand years ago, we became conscious and found ourselves in a strange place. It was filled with other beings. We could eat some; some could eat us. There was liquid stuff we could drink; things we could use to make more things. The daytime sky had a tiny yellow ball that warmed our skin. The night sky was filled with beautiful lights. This place was obviously made for us. Something was watching over us. We were home. This made everything much less scary and confusing. But the older we got, the more we learned about the world and ourselves. We learned that the twinkling lights are not shining beautifully for us, they just are. We learned that we’re not at the center of what we now call the universe, and that it is much, much older than we thought. We learned that we’re made of many little dead things, which make up bigger things that are not dead, for some reason, and that we’re just another temporary stage in a history going back over a billion years. We learned, in awe, that we live on a moist speck of dust moving around a medium-sized star in a quiet region of one arm of an average galaxy, which is part of a galaxy group that we will never leave. And this group is only one of thousands that, together, make up a galaxy supercluster. But even our supercluster is only one in thousands that make up what we call the observable universe. The universe might be a million times bigger, but we will never know. We can throw words around like two hundred million galaxies or trillions of stars or bazillions of planets, but all of these numbers mean nothing. Our brains can’t comprehend these concepts. The universe is too big. There is too much of it. But size is not the most troubling concept we have to deal with. It’s time, or, more precisely, the time we have. If you’re lucky enough to live to one hundred, you have five thousand two hundred weeks at your disposal. If you’re twenty-five now, then you have three thousand nine hundred weeks left. If you’re going to die at seventy, then there are two thousand three hundred and forty weeks left – a lot of time, but also … not really. And then what? Your biological processes will break down, and the dynamic pattern that is you will stop beinge dynamic. It will dissolve until there is no you left. Some believe that there is a part of us we can’t see or measure, but we have no way to find out, so this life might be it and we might end up dead forever. This is less scary than it sounds, though. If you don’t remember the 13.75 billion years that went by before you existed, Then the trillions and trillions and trillions of years that come after will pass in no time once you’re gone. Close your eyes. Count to 1. That’s how long forever feels. And as far as we know, in the end, the universe itself will die and nothing will ever change again. Our videos induce existential dread in many people, and the last few minutes probably haven’t helped. So, for once, we want to offer a different way of looking at these things: an unscientific, subjective point of view, the philosophy of Kurzgesagt, if you want. Please take it with a grain of salt; we don’t know any more about human existence than you do. We counter existential dread with optimistic nihilism. What do we mean by that? Well, to summarize, it seems very unlikely that 200 trillion trillion stars have been made for us. In a way, it feels like the cruelest joke in existence has been played on us. We became self-aware only to realize this story is not about us. While it is great to know about electrons and the powerhouse of the cell, Science doesn’t do a lot to make this less depressing. Okay, but so what? You only get one shot at life, which is scary, but it also sets you free. If the universe ends in heat death, every humiliation you suffer in your life will be forgotten. Every mistake you made will not matter in the end. Every bad thing you did will be voided. If our life is all we get to experience, then it’s the only thing that matters. If the universe has no principles, the only principles relevant are the ones we decide on. If the universe has no purpose, then we get to dictate what its purpose is. Humans will most certainly cease to exist at some point, but before we do, we get to explore ourselves and the world around us. We get to experience feelings. We get to experience food, books, sunrises, and being with each other. The fact that we’re even able to think about these things is already kind of incredible. It’s easy to think of ourselves as separated from everything, but this is not true. We are as much the universe as a neutron star or a black hole or a nebula. Even better, actually, we are its thinking and feeling part: the centre organs of the universe. We are truly free in a universe-sized playground, so we might as well aim to be happy and to build some kind of utopia in the stars. It’s not as if we’ve found out everything there is to know We don’t know why the rules of the universe are as they are, how life came into existence, what life is. We have no idea what consciousness is or if we are alone in the universe. But we can try to find some answers. There are billions of stars to visit, diseases to cure, people to help, happy feelings to be experienced, and video games to finish. There is so much to do. So, wrapping up, you’ve probably used up a good chunk of the time available to you. If this is our one shot at life, there is no reason not to have fun and live as happy as possible. Bonus points if you made the life of other people better. More bonus points if you help build a galactic human empire. Do the things that make you feel good. You get to decide whatever this means for you.

89 Replies to “Optimistic Nihilism”

  1. Every day every time someone sees you, you being there will alter their thoughts, even so slightly. this tiny alteration will cause them to act differently and thus effect others differently and in truth your existence will live throughout all of humanity

  2. I just discovered I was an optmistic nihilist about three months ago and then this video shows up in my recommended perfectly voicing what I couldn't when talking to others

  3. I love you guys but you just made my thanatophobia worse and I’m only 13 and go to crazed scared states form thinking about death sometimes…

  4. Think about all those big things in the universe, black holes, galaxies, nebulas, stars. You are more special and unique than all of them. There are millions of galaxies and black holes, and each one is big beyond imagination. But you are much bigger and unique… because no matter how many stars there are in the night sky, there is only one of you in all the universe.

  5. I really cried during this video…made me realize what I've wasted so far and how the only thing coming for me is the unknown

  6. I don't have any problem with me being dead forever, I fear that someday people will find the answer but I won't be around to know it.

  7. Let’s bring back the video about Emergence.

    We already know that every smaller thing is part of a bigger, greater and more complex organism. Mere atoms make up molecules. Molecules make up cells. Cells make up living organisms. Living organisms make up colonies and societies.

    Why would it stop there? Why wouldnt mankind be part of a superior, more complex organism? Like Earth. Just like our white blood cells have no way to comprehend that they’re part of something far greater, we can’t know if we’re part of something greater. The universe we’re part of may have its very own kind of consciousness that is too complex for us to understand (we definitely dont understand how the universe works).

    That’s what I believe when I think about God. Not that bullshit from « sacred » texts. God isnt some jackass creator living within us, we’re living in God. The universe is God.

  8. The word is "meaning"
    Life gave the universe meaning, infact, one could even argue Life created existence in the first place. Without Life, the concept of existence wouldn't exist.
    I think, therefore I am.
    I think, therefore everything is.

  9. This thing make me got headache. Whatever i do, i always searching the meaning of life. For me, it depressed thing. Omg i can't sleep, help

  10. The fact there's so much to do, to see, to experience makes it sometimes even scarier; it doesn't always help to know that you'll just have to choose from the endless options. You'll miss out on all the others and that induces this feeling of uncertainty. Although it sparks also the feeling of a need to enjoy the things one gets to experience. Sometimes these two things are in balance, sometimes they're not. No matter what, the world's a pretty cool place and being alive is neat.

  11. So life is meaningless so we have to give it some the world doesn't have clear morals so we need to give it morals. You were never given a purpose so you must give yourself a purpose. Life is a sandbox with many creatures playing in it so let's try to get along the sandbox is full of materials that we can use to do things so we should. So the world is a sandbox but we are the players and its our job to make the rules

  12. "It is quite futile to argue that man is small compared to the cosmos; for man was always small compared to the nearest tree."

    G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

  13. You can't be optimistic about nihilism. You can't be pessimistic either. Actually, value statements don't apply to nihilism at all. But absurdism is better. Life has an infinite number of meanings and you can disappear at any moment. And life's absurdities could very well repeat themselves. Nobody knows jack shit about the universe's origins, and nobody probably ever will. But the implication of nihilism is do whatever the fuck you want which has potentially catastrophic ramifications for humanity as a whole. I'd advise against it, although I'm equally indifferent to humanity's sufferings and accomplishments. Post-theistic society is bound to be a clusterfuck tho.

  14. so reductivist. more complex theories of consciousness as it relates to universality, subjectivity, and identity have existed for thousands of years, these jokers just didn't bother to learn sanskrit or indigenous languages without trying to translate them into white man speak. teotl, isvara, we already know.

  15. In the islamic religious book (QURAN) you'll find all explications and answers of what you search kind of:what's life? Why we're created? What's our goal in life?…and so much more that clear your life

  16. can I just make a point, there are many theory that says there is a chemical in your mind that makes you relive every moment of your life in the last millisecond before you die, and if time is relative theoretically were just stuck in a loop?

    ps please help make Kurzesagt read this id love a video on this concept

  17. this is exactly how I view the world.
    suffered deep in depression then I bounced back by turning Nihilism as some kond of comfort or asurance.

    I just wish I've seen this video long ago, it would have helped.

    but still, Thank you for this video, this video probably saved lives. seriously.

  18. I love this video, you give me reasons to keep live smiling and not crying, to live like today is the last day, forgetting every problem. I watch this video until you uploded it and i feel really better, i start to saying " i love you" or what i think without problem

  19. I'm sorry but I didn't find anything innovative about this thought process… Anyone who hasn't thought of this has either been under a rock, or in some sort of cult or religion… oh wait, most people are religious. This world, smh…

  20. Before watching this I had only a idea what it might be about, but during and after I made connections with my own philosophy existentialism (or existential nihilism also I follow Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy) which is basically the same thing as what your saying.

  21. When you said optimistic nihleism I thought you meant more I exist because my parents had a kid and I don't really have any goals. Thus no driving force of life.

  22. Life has only the meaning that we attribute to it. The universe does not need to have a higher meaning, for us to give it meaning ourselves.

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