Antidote to Nihilism: Finding Meaningfulness
Why are you unhappy? How do you become spiteful and hateful? Where does hate come from? How does life become meaningless? If you grow up in a lovable environment, with lovable parents, go to a regular school, have a regular job, have a regular partner and regular friends, then you should have no reason to be spiteful or depressed, right? I’m describing the life of an average person and happiness is just a natural way of being. It’s not that you have to do anything to be happy in the moment. So what prevents people from being happy in the moment? What happens that makes people negative, that keeps them away from the peace of mind? Today I’m going to explain where people’s inner misery comes from and that the antidote to that might be in finding meaningfulness in little things.
It’s important not to have a one-sided explanation for people’s misery. In my opinion, it is often overlooked that people have their own volition and power to lift themselves up from their inner pain, even if it is just a bit. It’s so much easier to analyse outer circumstances, but so much more difficult to look deep inside and find the sources of problems in our own thinking and feeling. Of course the outside world plays a major role and in many cases circumstances might be a truly determining factor for explaining someone’s behaviour. This cannot be denied at all. It’s just that the environment is one half of the explanation. The other half is the inner side of human consciousness, the mental processes that can explain why two people in very similar conditions might still choose two different paths in their lives. That’s what I want to focus on: the inner side of our nature that makes or breaks our inner peace.
So, when two people grow up in the same conditions, and face the same problems and obstacles, why does one person become successful and relatively stable and happy, and the other one becomes spiteful and vengeful? The answer is that the two people have two different inner faculties, two different character traits that make their future life either easier or harder to bear. It has to do with how they handle crises and problems in their mind, in their consciousness, despite the outside conditions being the same for the two people. Social conditions are one half of the factors that influence you. The other factor is your inner nature with which you come into the world. You’re not a blank sheet of paper at your birth. Certain features of your character are already existing as a potential. Science knows that. It’s a myth that you can be moulded indefinitely as a person for your life. The reality is, you will be moulded and you will mould yourself as a result of the complex interaction between environment and your already existing nature. Who you are and who you can become is not fixed for the course of your life. But from where you start in life is fixed by nature. That’s the insight here.
That’s also the explanation for why two people under the same conditions can develop in totally different ways. It will depend on their inner nature, their perceptions, their inner maturity and level of development, whether they can lift themselves from their grievance and overcome obstacles, or whether they succumb to desperation and nihilism.
Nihilism is the view that life has no objective meaning, purpose or value and that morality doesn’t exist. Please never ever believe that even for a second. Existential nihilism is a straight road to personal hell, to cynicism and desperation. It’s probably the most powerful illusion of all, but it is exactly that - an illusion.
At the bottom of every expression of hatred and sadness lies an inner wound, a grievance of some kind. Someone was hurt badly either in childhood or as an adult and they haven’t made peace with it. They haven’t mentally processed it, so they carry around the burden of the past. They try to make up for it by desiring revenge. And that’s how you become spiteful and hateful. And your hate will blind your mind.
Because the danger is you might be going to project your accumulated experience of negativity onto an external foe, on one single scapegoat, instead of trying to look deep inside yourself and face the inner conflict, the inner problem. I’m not talking here about denying the problem in the outside world, obviously it exists. I’m talking about what happens if the objective problems are no more there in your personal life but you are still possessed by the thoughts associated with the problem and can’t overcome them. You start projecting it unto other situations, or unto other people or groups of people. That’s how various types of really spiteful attitudes of hatred and violence, and overall negativity can come from.
People with such attitudes, at a low level of personal integrity and with limited intellectual perception might reach a point where they want to destroy the world, literally or figuratively, just because they feel hurt. They can’t discover any meaning in life because their pain blinds them, and they might want to end the pain, by making other lives and their own life even more miserable. It’s a call for help. It makes everything even worse, but it’s still a call for help.
So what’s the solution to that? The answer is: taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. Yes, we are the result of our social circumstances. Yes, what others say sometimes hurts us. But we won’t help anyone by desiring revenge. It’s understandable why people desire revenge, but at the end of the day, revenge leads nowhere. It just creates more drama and violence. The solution is leaving your past behind by accepting the past. Even though what you experienced might be unforgivable, you still need to accept the past to make peace with it, because you won’t be able to undo the past. But you can create a new future, and for that you should leave the past behind. That’s what acceptance is for, for closing the past.
The next step is to focus on where you want to be and act it out every day. You won’t solve a problem by dwelling on the problem all the time. Instead, you need to envision what the situation would be, if the problem didn’t exist, and then you think and act out everything that relates to your new desired reality. In a way, you pretend to be a new you, until it becomes a new habit and then you eventually become the new you. You move away from the problem by changing your behaviour and thoughts slowly. Do not dwell on your old thought patterns because you strengthen them by giving them attention. Just acknowledge that they are there, and then think only about the solution and your alternative life.
It’s good to try to change the world. But first you need to bring yourself in order, before you can claim to be making other people’s lives better. How can you be a social person if you have social problems in your own home? How can you be nice to others if you’re not nice to yourself? It’s everyone’s duty to bring their own lives in order first. Why? Because at the end of the day, a nation consists of individuals. So to live in a happy nation, in a happy country, means to live among happy individuals of that country. Bringing your own life and your own family’s life in order is the first step to make your country happier. Have a good relationship to your parents, to your siblings, to your cousins, friends and your partner. Have goals and dreams for your life. Have a daily routine that brings your through the day. Treat yourself as someone who has the right to exist and be happy. Take your inner life seriously. Make sure that you pay attention to the little things in everyday’s life, because it’s the little things that will give you meaningfulness.
If a beggar comes to you and begs for money, it’s okay if you don’t have a spare change to give away. You can still give the beggar a polite smile and tell him that you don’t have any change at the moment. The beggar will walk away and you will have a feeling that you treated him as a human being by acknowledging his presence. That will give you a feeling of meaningfulness. So remember, meaningfulness comes from everyday’s little things. Experiencing meaningfulness on a regular basis will give you a feeling of satisfaction, and that will make you happy. Simple. So yes, happy people are good people because they spread only happiness around them and that makes other people happier as well. And happy people together make up a happy nation. And happy nations make up a happy world. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
So, that’s the way to go. I hope you liked this article and found it insightful. Lots of love and peace to you and the world. Good vibes only. The world needs it right now.
See you very soon!