Life is meaningless

Your motivation is gone. What’s the point in doing anything? Nothing has any intrinsic meaning, which saps the little life energy out of you that remained to guide you to your goals. Welcome, my friend, to the world of nihilism.

The reason this belief (which I share, in case you’re interested) is so upsetting is that we’ve been living life unaware so far. It’s like the world has gone from telling you “this is what you should do with your life” to “I lied, you’re pointless”. This is one reason people like religion so much – they’re told that their life has divine meaning.

As Forest Gump famously said, “life is like a box of chocolates”. By this I mean that there are lovely sweet things in it that only give you short-lived pleasures. When you open the box of chocolates, you are fully aware of this. You don’t expect the chocolates to have an intrinsic meaning or to last for more than a few moments. You know the pleasure is fleeting, but you accept this and enjoy it anyway. Conquering nihilism is much the same; accept your life is meaningless and impermanent, but gobble up the good bits regardless.

One of the good things about nihilism is that you realise that all your mistakes will eventually be forgotten. You could do something as terrible launching a nuclear missile at the centre of London (please note that I am not giving you permission) and in the end nobody will even know London ever existed.

Another good thing about nihilism is that no life goal is less meaningful than another; you could decide to collect every red stamp feasibly possible and this is no less worthwhile than pursuing a high-paying career. The same can be said for changing goals; there was nothing meaningful to be gained from your previous goal so there’s nothing lost when you change it.

In conclusion, make meaning land wherever you want it to. Live life free of a deity dictating what you’re supposed to do. You can do whatever is within your means, which notably includes extending your means for the sheer sake of it. Learn to live life because you can, not because you have to.

Suicide, selfishness and attention seeking

Is suicide selfish?

People who attempt suicide are sometimes seen as selfish. It is understandable why someone might think this, as from the outside it appears that this person is giving up their responsibilities because they aren’t quite “strong” enough to deal with their life as it is. However in my experience, this is usually not the case.

How can it not be selfish?

If you stop to ask someone who survived their attempt why they did it, they will often state that they believe the world is better off without them. Whether this is true or not is beside the point; they believe it and this is one of the motives for their attempt.

This may seem absurd from the outside, but there are so many conditions of the mind that can lead to such a conclusion that I could not possibly list them all here. It is not necessary for you to try to understand all of the conditions that can lead to this, I only ask that you try to accept that such things exist if you haven’t already.

What about the attention seekers?

First of all, failing an attempt does not mean that you are seeking attention. Sometimes it’s genuine failure. Sometimes that failure is due to the impulsiveness of the attempt; it wasn’t thought out in detail.

If the act is indeed attention seeking, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you see someone drowning in a pool crying “Help!”, it seems preposterous to respond by calling them attention seekers even though that’s exactly what they’re doing; seeking attention. Suicide can be the mental health equivalent of drowning in a world where people tell you to shut up and swim.

If somebody almost drowns, people wonder how it can be prevented from happening again, they ask what went wrong, they care for the person in need. If somebody almost kills themselves, the intention of treatment should be the same.

What’s your point?

If you’re one of those people who tells someone to be “thick skinned” and to “just get on with it”, please stop. Your actions are the equivalent of telling the drowning man to just swim harder. When someone cries out for help like this try to give them the benefit of the doubt and guide them to people who understand better. Show support by accepting their condition rather than judging it by your own model of the world.

It can be very hard / impossible to understand other people’s actions, so I implore you to simply accept them if that proves too difficult.