Very recently, my inquisitive searches about “Does life have a meaning?” and “Why do we live?” led me to an interesting set of memes, most of which highly pessimistic, highlighting time and again on the meaninglessness of life.

A word frequented all these search results – “Nihilism”.

I’ve come across the word many a time, having had it thrown around by random people during random conversations. I decided to dig deeper, and realised something absurdly and awfully true.

What Exactly Does The Term Mean?

Nihilism derives from the Latin word ‘nihil’, meaning – ‘Nothing’. It basically means – believing in nothing, there is no ultimate truth, there is no purpose in life, we know nothing, and that, existence itself is meaningless. The philosophy is clearly laden with hell lot of ‘Nos’ and comes across as highly pessimistic.

The term was popularised by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who propounded that there is no specific meaning in the world, other than the ones we give to it.

Owing to his nihilistic attitude towards life, Nietzsche was declared an utter insane by the end of his life and died a lonely death.


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Nihilists can be broadly classified into two fields, Passive Nihilists and Active Nihilists.

Both of them have a realisation of life having no meaning and no intrinsic core value, but each party responds differently.

Passive nihilists are hard-hit by the discovery and consequently give up all action, lose faith in loving and get stuck neck-deep in disillusionment. But active nihilists, on the other hand, digest the meaninglessness of things and absence of morals in society.

Having realised that there is no true one meaning of life, active nihilists move towards creating their own meaning and values in life.

Rising Nihilism Today

It is a source of worry how a major chunk of today’s millennials are slowly and sub-consciously becoming nihilists. And the reasons for this aren’t shocking.

We live at a complex crossroads of times. Various technologies are tugging their claws at us each day. Simultaneously, there is an erosion of the authority and institutions as those experienced by and followed by our parents.

Lack of religious affiliation, growing unemployment rates, heightened mistrust among people, social media and the pressing need in youngsters to surpass others – all feed in into making our youth nihilists or potentially so.

With nothing going right, constant or recurring failures or setbacks, how do we convince our youth of the meaningfulness of life and/or the rewarding nature of good values?

Are You A Nihilist?

So, if you –

  • Feel upset often
  • Undergo a sense of disillusionment
  • Get the feeling that things have no meaning
  • Choose to sit in bed than get work done
  • Feel it unnecessary to study for exams

DOES NOT MEAN that you are a nihilist. It just means that you are a pro at procrastination.

But if the sense of meaninglessness persists more than you think it should, better reflect upon the possibility of you moving towards nihilism.


Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Britannica, Philosophy Talk

Find Blogger At: @Rhetorician_rc


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