The Idea of Nihilism

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Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, claiming the death of God, forced the largest announcement upon the Western culture. The world that was built by faith, all of a sudden became irrelevant of all its value. Years of being reliant on a divine being to explain our existence, our society was advancing and discovering new information about the world we live in. In by no means was it ever intentional to completely dispose of the Christian faith, but with the rise of science, people wanted to attach reason. Our society was entering an era of nihilism. Nietzsche, was a strong believer in nihilism and believed that everything in our lives were absolutely meaningless. We should not fear death, as death is inevitable and because of this, we should live our lives with no regrets. When we are born, we are free to do whatever we want, and now because nothing has value, there is no good or bad nor is there right from wrong.

As many people believe, God was the creator of the universe and mankind. We are born into this world without a choice and it is up to us to figure out where we must go from there. We did not ask to be born, yet we are thrown into existence. For thousands of years, we believed that God was the centre of the universe and that He was the reason why everything was, and gave our lives meaning. Everything we have done was acted through our moral codes and ethics. However, in the rise of science, philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, proclaimed the death of God. We no longer needed God to explain the universe, and came to the conclusion that God was no longer relevant.

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Everything we valued and believed in suddenly became meaningless, and our world had become absurd. We were no longer obligated to follow a set of rules and were free to do absolutely anything we wanted to do as there was no longer distinction from right and wrong. At this point, nothing was morally wrong. Living in a world of absurdity, we face limitations, the most important being death. Philosopher, Albert Camus, favours with nihilism in believing life is indeed meaningless. In his essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ Camus referred to the ancient Greek mythology, where a man named Sisyphus was condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder to the top of the hill, just to let it fall back down again. Sisyphus was to continue to roll the rock up the hill for the rest of his life. This was a direct metaphor about living in the absurd, expressing that we no longer had purpose in life. There was nothing meaningful about it, and that we would eventually die. However, there is no specific timeline telling us the exact day we will die or how it will happen. Because we cannot predict our future, we should enjoy every moment of our life. We should not waste our time dwelling in the past or think about the future because our time on earth is like a ticking time bomb.

A great way to better understand the idea of nihilism is through the popular animated series of Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty is about a crazy scientist and his grandson who travel the intergalactic, between parallel universes and get themselves into crazy situations. Rick, the scientist, constantly questions everything and tries to solve meanings, such as relationships, through science. As Rick and Morty go on crazy adventures travelling through dimensions, Morty, already depressed, becomes more miserable throughout the show as a result of Rick’s nihilistic attitude. Travelling between different dimensions, Rick lives in the moment of each universe and does not care about anything else, rather than where he is at that very moment. In one episode, Rick freezes time so that Morty and his sister could clean the house before their parents get home to avoid getting into trouble. It is later revealed that time has been frozen for the past six months and that Rick let it happen so he could spend time with his grandchildren. In this episode, as time is stopped, Rick is able to live in that moment and enjoy it as much as he can before he unfreezes time.

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The Idea of Nihilism. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-idea-of-nihilism/
“The Idea of Nihilism.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-idea-of-nihilism/
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