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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.

100 thoughts on “Optimistic Nihilism

  1. Relativism at first fascinates, gives a temporary sense of power, but then disappoints, humiliates, empties the conscience, ends up taking on the modern face of nihilism." "Isn't the height of madness to think that being is nothingness? And isn't "nihilism", first of all, thinking that being is nothing? And isn't it perhaps because of this ancient thought that all the radical destructions that mark the history of the West may have matured?" "Nihilism is only a pose, not a doctrine. Put a candle flame under a nihilist's testicles and see how quickly you see the light of existence." "Self-destruction is the last act of active nihilism that self-destructs itself because the will of destruction, enormously enhanced, falls upon itself: it is from here that Nietzsche presents himself as Zarathustra, "he who goes beyond": "I love those – he will say in Zarathustra's preface – who do not know how to live, except as those who perish, for they are the ones who pass over"". "It's time to end this free terminal nihilism." Quotes.

  2. “A few hundred thousand years ago, we became conscious” sorry but I don’t think fossils can tell us when ancestral humans became conscious. Pretty sure we knew what shit was happening around us before we could stand upright.

  3. The nature of conscious thought proves this wrong with the simple example of your existing not being random chance nor divine intervention. You are who you are because of what you have always been and that is not determined by what you think of it.

  4. I feel good eating human feti. Thanks for making me feel less guilty about it. I'll devote the rest of my brief life to my passion.

  5. 어찌 이런 동영상을 만들까… 유튜브에서 본 가장 가치 있는 동영상중 거의 세손가락 안에 뽑고싶네요. 감사합니다 그 어떤 대학강의, 책 보다도 머리에 번개를 맞은 듯한 느낌을 줍니다

  6. It starts when you're born,neglected and never loved,school teaches us to obey and only obey,they punish you for socializing while the kid that only obey what they're told are rewarded,highschool comes,you can't communicate because they told us not too,you don't have any friends,you were looked at like a weirdo,your reputation spreads,lies were told,made fun of,after college you never found a job,you can't find the love of your life,you were treated like garbage by society,then it hit you,nothing mattered,you snapped,you told yourself to never forgive everyone who wronged you,while the rich blames everythinh on you as they sit in their expensive comfortable chairs,because of your reputation you were all they can blame,thrown to jail without a chance to defend yourself,as they rejoice of their accomplishement,while you whisper to yourself,"They took everything from me,i never did anything wrong,what did i do to deserve this."as you grab a rope,"The only thing that i can take is my own life."You were proven inoccent,but was all too late as they see your lifeless body hanging,They knew that it was their fault but is too stubborn to admit,so they lie to themselves to feel rightous and not guilty.
    Your soul finally resting in piece,you felt happiness that you never felt for a long time,but you wake up,you where confused,"Was that all a dream?".You came back to life as a baby wiping your memory.
    The cycle continues…

  7. Well, that's good and all, but try to be free being poor and you'll understand the vast majority can't just choose how to live.

  8. Lo ame con profundidad, desearia que esta misma informacion esté en español para compartirla con todos mis cercanos

  9. This really helped me iam saying this 1 year and 6 months after watching this video…. I felted lost for a long time and it was very hard for me … I feel so dumb for not thinking about it this way before or not even trying to think at all…. I just want to say thank you for helping me you kinda saved my life😅 you cute little birds🙂

  10. This isn't actual philosophy. 😐

    telling people to live happy by scarying them with death first.
    Does that sound optimistic to you?

  11. Sometimes I think: Just because the universe is so big compared to us physically, does not mean we do not matter. We are sensing and feeling beings, and therefore the only thing in the universe that matters. Should we cease to exist, the universe will cease to matter. We give the universe meaning because we experience it- without us, the universe would be meaningless.

  12. This is very much a modern snippet of how one perceived life; quite tiny in comparison to the amount of research and studying and especially discovering the human species has accomplished. In the matter of 10 thousand years we went from hunter gatherers to space travel, an extremely quick rush of development. So, this philosophy of doing stuff simply for the sake of “having fun” only feeds into the consumerism and constant apathy for all that truly makes one feel. The video games, the little things, the movies; all of that, just doing that and only that, doesn’t solve the issue at hand. It instead sets up a system of apathy and pathetic excuses for laziness. Humanity may eventually understand the universe, and already has begun to understand many specific aspects. There is more philosophy involved behind Momento Mori and many need to understand that.

  13. Kurzgesagt: yeah nothing matters but it’s okay you can still find a way to matter.

    Fake existential crisis people: I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see that.

  14. Life will not stop after its demise, because God will recreate it and send the dead to hold them accountable for their deeds. And whoever is a believer, he will have heaven live in it forever.

  15. Im an optimistic nihilist as well, and i could really relate to this video, and made reflect on current life again. I love it, thank you .

  16. Danke für gute Darstellung! Jedoch etwas stimmt nicht: wir Menschen sind nicht Zuhause hier, sondern Gäste, und sind woanders zuhaus.
    Jedoch alles andere Lebendige ist hier zuhause, wach, lebendig und intelligent- weil Intelligenz das Leben ist- NICHT INTELLEKT
    Wir sind nicht hier, um auf Kosten aller Natur inkl Erde, Luft und Wasser, nicht nur auf Kosten aller Tiere glücklich zu sein- eben nicht.
    Bewusstheit ist eine Ver Antwort ung und nicht zur Versklavung und Folter aller Lebewesen.

  17. In the absence of absolutes, the capacity to create blossoms
    In the venture through pain and extremes, gratitude lives
    Nietzsche

  18. Gratitude >>>begets>>> Abundance – Robin Kimmerer

    Pain > Gratitude > Abundance > Pain > Gratitude > Abundance

  19. The thought I had after watching some Alan Watts and smoking a bit, before this video: if nothing matters REALLY, then, the question isn't if something matters or not, but "What do you want to make matter?"

    After watching video: aha! Someone else sees it!

  20. mY pHiLoSoHy iS OpTiMiStIc niHiLism – like u even know anything about philosophy, it's literally existentialism lol

  21. yeah when I was having anxiety attacks over the summer this is essentially the only logical conclusion I was able to come to which makes sense and also makes me feel better about myself.

  22. Pretty sure "consciousness" existed more than a few hundred thousand years ago. I think it's absurdly egotistical to think that humans are "conscious", and that no other animal, mammal, or even any other ape is also "conscious".

  23. Nothing new to me, but social anxiety prevents me from living my life as I want it to be…trapped in being not happy, too shy to do a bigger step

  24. !! I didn't know there a was a perfect video out there to explain my outlook on life to nihilistic friends. This makes everything easier I love you guys.

  25. Was expecting some positivity and something that would make me feel good. You just gave me an existential crisis instead, thanks.

  26. That kind of realization helped me alot when I was around 16 and It hasn't failed me ever since. Very nice video indeed!

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