Life is a tragedy.
We are born in an arbitrary, and unjust world.
We are raised into a world, if we are lucky we are taught love, only to come finally to the realization that everything, even your body will be torn from you.
This is the first half of most existentialists’ arguments, and where many a young person stumbles. They read this and tossing aside the difficult, and often cryptic words of a philosopher decry “NOTHING MATTERS!” and so they slink into the realm of the NEET.
Ultimately this is a mistake, because it is a false wisdom predicated not on life experience but the experience told to them by a far away authority figure. (many of which are hopelessly misunderstood, and in the second half of the work that is so casually tossed away find logic to refute Nihilism.)
The truth is Nihilism is most often unearned. “Nothing matters , god is dead, there is no point to anything”, goes the Nihilist, but go to any of those saying these things, and ask, “what have you done to prove or disprove this?”
ideas you see are sticky things, and people forget that at our core we are a very advanced animal that came from a much less advanced iteration. This iteration favors laziness and ease to all things, and Nihilism fits this bill perfectly.
“If Nothing matters? Well then I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to have any responsibilities. It’s not my fault, the world is inherently meaningless so I have no motivation.” is the line of logic, and it is a terribly convenient one too.
It is much more difficult to go out and test these “truths” than it is to simple accept them, and moreover it is a vast over estimation of the cognitive power of the self.
Can anyone really know if nothing matters? Do we know without a shadow of a doubt that the heat death of the universe will happen? OR that in that strange place after it there may be some change, some dissonance that starts everything? Or that there might not be some interaction from dimensions above?
We do not. To reject Nihilism, and for that matter all dogmas is to assert one’s own humility in the face of the unknown.
To paraphrase Socrates ” all I know is that I know nothing.” And there is some beauty in that.