[serious] How do you come to terms with existential emptiness/meaninglessness?

[serious] How do you come to terms with existential emptiness/meaninglessness?

What do you think?

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  1. I actually find this a very liberating thing.
    There isn’t any great universal meaning in life, but you’re free to choose what your meaning is.

    You can create your own purpose and meaning in life, as long as you’re content with that.

  2. Okey this is gonna be a long one.
    Excuse my English please it’s pretty late at night and it’s not my first language.

    I’m overall pretty negative person even if I don’t really look like it, I fake positive emotions just to not look weird and overall all I can feel is this emptiness and depression (and I’m not talking “being sad” depression, I’m talking “not being able to move” depresion)

    It all comes back to the purpose and meaning of life, when you really realize that all that we are is sack of blood and electrical impulses that drive us there is really nothing left. And then there is the realisation that nothing we do matters because of the scale, in few generations noone will remember you ever existed unless you do something either really great or horrible. Then in few centuries if there will still be someone to remember then won’t remember you anyway.
    And if we are talking universal scale of things then there is literally nothing that you could do that would last.

    I think this will be the question we should ask in few generations when the mechanisation takes over and most of us will just have time to think about this exact think, what is my purpose ?
    There are those basick things like reproduction, keeping the family together, alive and well and this is what most people are driven by later in life but today’s society also shows us how replaceable we are as individuals.

    How does one deal with emptiness and meaningless ?
    Well there are those who don’t realise this, driven by desire to leave something behind them, family, business or just getting to haven.
    This is the reason why stupid or average people are overall happier then very intelligent people, they don’t realize how miserable and meaningless their life is. (And no, I don’t see myself as an intelligent person)
    Another reason why one would not realize this is survival, if you are from countries where people struggle to survive you are not really taking these questions in account because you are focused on staying alive, fed and warm. First world countries are different story because we have an easy acces to pretty much anything without much struggle.
    Then there are those who can enjoy it despite knowing that nothing they do matters but I honestly don’t know how can one get to this point, I really wish I would.
    And then there are people like me, living from day to day hopping that something will give my life a purpose even for a slight moment.

    I personally realised this few years back and my life is going downhill from that point. I go to work, I go to sleep, nothing in between. The only reason I go to work is because my survival instincts are taking over the depression, that’s basically it.
    Survival over depression and when that failed I ended up drunk in a shower with my hand cut open.

    Realising these things is a horrible curse and you better find something to hold on to before it takes over.

    Then there is the “if nothing matters what is stopping me from killing that dude and taking what I want?” And the answer is pretty much nothing. I’m not trying to defend crime, despite how you feel about these things you are still bound by the society which is in my opinion part of this problem.
    The whole system stands on cooperation and giving people purpose while also setting up boundaries but what happens when this system fails ?

    I could go whole night about this but most of my opinions are pretty radical and I don’t really feel comfortable discussing it in public.

  3. Accept that it’s reality and realize that its up to you to give it meaning in anyway that you see fit. Because that’s life. The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

  4. I completely agree with your view point, ultimately nothing means anything, and everything means nothing.

    But to me, that very view means there’s nothing to come to terms with. You’re still looking for a resolution, which is pointless, cus there is no point. We’re just here, milling about, killing time until we die, at which point, consciousness ceases to exist.

    This all just makes me feel completely liberated and free. I can attach arbitrary, pointless meaning to anything or nothing at will, and none of it matters.

  5. Eventually you realise that no matter how big a cosmic nihilist you’ve become, you still need to eat, screw, and bitch. You find that while things like a Lego piece on the floor or the rain or your loud neighbours are infinitesimal against the backdrop of the universe, you still care about them. Once you realise that everyone cares about things and everyone is stuck in an arbitrary, uncaring and finite universe, it’s not hard to feel sympathy for them and to want to do kind things for them.

  6. Just to clarify, this question is based on the presumption that there’s emptiness at the base of existence.

    (as in if you dig deep enough, everything lacks any sense of objective meaning or fulfillment)

    Therefore things like god, subjective meaning or anything stems from personal needs and emotions are empty. Hence, you need to come to terms with the emptiness for it’s not solvable.

  7. I try to make meaning by setting goals, a lot of which involve helping family and friends and even strangers I care about.

    I consider anyone who does similarly noble for giving a stout middle finger to the universe and entropy.

  8. You don’t. Just limit trauma done to others, since that’s typically the underlying reason for those feelings. Stop eating the bodies of animals, stop circumcising babies, stop normalizing hate to marginalized groups, etc.

  9. 1. Try to grasp the meaninglessness on an intellectual level which can make you feel less lonely. See how others have dealt with it. Read books, read philosophers, watch existential films.
    2. Embrace that life is meaningless. Don’t try to change the parameters. Every human still has evolved with a survival mechanism, though — the thing that gets you out of bed every morning. Make choices knowing it doesn’t matter but being human, you still have emotions that want to be fulfilled because that’s how humans evolved. Do you want to be happy? Do you want to feel like a part of you will live on until the heat death of the universe? Think about what matters to you in the moment or long term and what your needs are. Pursue that.
    3. Know that, even if the underlying premise of life being inherently meaningless doesn’t change, you might gain new intellectual insight as a human and/or your human chemistry might change. How you use the “life is meaningless” information might change. You might push it to the back of your mind and try to live in the moment. You might just decide you don’t care and that you find meaning (not cosmic objective meaning, but meaning to you) in little things. You don’t know how you’ll feel in 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

  10. Many here have told you how to live and how to give yourself purpose or meaning by making your own up but I think you also want to know ‘why’ – why should you bother to even do that? So, i’ll try to answer.

    Intelligent life is rare in the universe (well, from what we’ve observed).

    This means you have an opportunity. Regardless of what you believe, there was nothing before you existed according to your own memory. So, nothing for 13 billion years, and now you’re here for a very short moment in time.

    You can look at that a few ways. You could see it for an extremely fortunate occurrence and use that to drive you making the most of it. You could see it as a random fleeting moment in the history of the universe and use that to allow yourself to enjoy it. You could see it as a stark reminder that outside of existence there is the nothingness you could return to at any moment.

  11. Not trying to be rude but there have been some amazing answers to this question; did you ask to learn or did you ask to counter and vent about your POV?

  12. This may come as a shock to you but this topic is specifically explored in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes. The common thread of the whole book is that everything on earth is meaningless. You can work hard and accomplish much, but ultimately you will turn to dust the same as a fool, and your money will go to someone else who didn’t earn it. You can try to indulge your desires and passions, but you will never be truly satisfied. You can gain wisdom, but wisdom brings sorrow. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Nothing is truly under your control. Everything is meaningless. Here is a short exert:

    > What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

    So, what is the Biblical answer to this?

    > This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them

    And later in the Bible, Jesus says these wise words in Matthew chapter 6:

    > “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

    The reason I do not suffer existential emptiness is not because my life is particularly different or more meaningful than yours. I just accept that life on this earth is out of my control. I don’t have to worry about figuring everything out. I just trust in God, do my best to keep his commands, and enjoy the good things in life while I can. And Jesus gives me a hope for the future once I eventually die.

    You may not believe any of that. But I do and that is why I am not depressed or worried or anxious. I hope my insight was helpful. Happy Easter!

  13. I accept it and then create my own meaning. I believe that it’s up to me to make life meaningful. I decided for myself, what’s important and what makes me happy. I also thinks its important to live in the moment, and interact with those around you.

  14. Set yourself small goals – why not? – achieve them. Repeat.

    Try to make a mark on the world. No matter how small or big, you never know the ripples it may cause.

    You have a purpose. You may never know what it is.

  15. There is a huge misconception that there is a meaning of life.
    There isn’t

    BUT
    There is abundant meaning in life, we are generating and sharing meaning from moment to moment in even our most trivial of encounters. And this meaning can be beautiful.

  16. It’s only empty and meaningless if you make it that way. It’s easy to find things to fill that hole, like children, family, loved ones, hobbies, education, etc.

  17. In the vast emptiness of space and time the fact that we can both recognize the shit show that is human life and have the means to do something about it is amazing. Go out and help people, you’ll get over the emptiness pretty fast.

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