Nihilism, a word we don’t commonly discuss but a thought that is always at the back of our minds. Life, death, coming to terms with what it means to exist and is there really a meaning to life is something all of us question, one way or the other. Without a doubt, questions that occupies a portion of our mind. There’s no definitive answers to any of them, but perhaps some insight to nihilism will lighten the existential dread and help us embrace this world just as it is.
I’ll be using a certain tv show as the main example to make nihilism easier to come to terms with.
Nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.
I first got this idea from ‘Rick and Morty’, a cartoon about a genius scientist and his grandson going on all sorts of absurd adventures. Sounds like fun right? Perhaps, but alongside it is something a bit darker than what you can generally expect.
“Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die”
“There’s something about a cartoon world that gives nihilism just the right conditions to flourish. Cartoon characters spend eternity wearing the same clothes, reciting the same catchphrases, and undertaking the same death and physics-defying adventures. Their lives are pointless, but they don’t seem to know it”- sourced from The Week
The thing that does set Rick and Morty apart is the fact that they know their lives are pointless. Morty is like any other normal 14 year old kid who tries to do the right thing, often breaking down after witnessing the absurd, while Rick embraces that madness in the moment. To Morty and much of the audiences, it seems Rick didn’t care about anything. The fact that there is no final goal or aim in his journeys could make him far more dangerous than any villain imaginable.
But, as our views expand, it seems sometimes, these characters don’t have a choice.
“The knowledge that nothing matters, while accurate, gets you nowhere. The planet is dying. The sun is exploding. The universe is cooling. Nothing’s going to matter. The further back you pull, the more that truth will endure. But, when you zoom in on earth, when you zoom in to a family, when you zoom into a human brain and a childhood and experience, you see all these things that matter.
We have this fleeting chance to participate in an illusion called: I love my girlfriend, I love my dog. How is that not better?
Knowing the truth that nothing matters can actually save you in those moments. Once you get through that terrifying treshold of accepting that, then every place is the center of the universe. And every moment is the most important moment. And everything is the meaning of life.” Dan Harmon, creator of Rick and Morty.
So, what can we do with this? Embrace every moment and making the best of it sounds pretty good. Although they live in a cartoon world, Rick and Morty portrays our own world in a sense. The characters don’t have dignified deaths or meaningful lifes, but at least they have fun through these journeys. Accepting the world as it is around them.
So, if you love deep, mind-blowing space adventures like this, check it out.
– What are your views on Nihilism? Do you accept or oppose it?
– Do you think life itself has a pupose?