Is This the Meaning of a Meaningless Existence?

Nihilism is a dangerous belief. The inability to make sense of it all leads many to conclude that life is entirely pointless. This, in turn, can lead to the belief that there is little point in trying at anything.

Now, I’m not here to debate the existence of a grand creator. (Thank God, I hear you say.) I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with believing in or not believing in a God or Gods. I can see many good reasons for. But I sympathise with those who find it hard to accept the idea. 

Truthfully, I would like to believe in God. I would like to take solace in the idea that I will go somewhere after death, along with all who I love. I appreciate and understand how this can provide psychological security. 

I have a theory that we are theists by nature. Becoming self-aware came at a massive price. I believe we were meant to place our faith in something bigger than ourselves – that this is the antidote to one’s fear of death that resides at the core. Still, I can’t help but struggle with the idea. 

But I also struggle with the idea of a meaningless existence. Why should anything exist if there is no God? Just because? That answer has never satisfied my soul. And for all of science’s ability to explain the how, it will never be capable of answering the why.

I’ve had these thoughts long enough to understand at least one thing that’s for sure. You can waste your life asking such questions. Asking what it all means. Why me? Why this kind of insanity?

I’ve come to realise that this is definitely the wrong approach. 

Many people wish to live in a world free from suffering, of course – one that only has abundant love. But they fail to see that compassion cannot exist without suffering. In the same way, high cannot exist without low or light without darkness. 

Even love without hate. 

What if that’s the point? What if the meaninglessness of existence is a blank canvas that you’re supposed to paint meaning onto? Does the backdrop of meaning not have to be meaninglessness?

I don’t know if that’s true.

But I am sure, at least, when it comes to the meaning of life – our own unique, unrepeatable lives – that we aren’t meant to ask the question. We are meant to answer it in the only way we can.

Perhaps – just perhaps – this really was by design.

***

You can find more of AP2’s writing here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

Or on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot

20 thoughts on “Is This the Meaning of a Meaningless Existence?

  • There’s something called Pascal’s wager. I’ll summarize. “Let us weigh the gain and loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all. If you lose you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He is.”

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      • I’m not a fan of organised religion. God or no God, I believe we should be the ones to answer for what our life means. I don’t believe we should look for/give up our power to have that told to us by someone externally. Thanks Tamara. Wishing you well 🙏

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      • I totally agree with you! There’s a huge difference between spirituality and religion! The negative points you mentioned are all a part of religion and church, whereas spirituality is our own personal journey in life! I believe we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, and really shouldn’t attribute those to anyone else.

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    • I find the concept of what God means fascinating. I was referring to it in a more traditional sense here – a kind of grand creator – but I appreciate many people have different ideas. I recall Anthony de Mello relating the idea of God to awareness itself. He said you have to go beyond the label – drop it altogether. It’s not something you can conceptualise. This idea always resonated with me. Thanks Ingrid – I appreciate your thoughts. Hope you are well 🙏

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  • I reread this lovely post. AP, you have brought up so many points to ponder.

    I love your conclusion, “But I am sure, at least, when it comes to the meaning of life – our own unique, unrepeatable lives – that we aren’t meant to ask the question. We are meant to answer it in the only way we can.”

    I was brought up to believe in an almighty, omnipresent being, and a creator. And to accept and respect that there are several ways to worship or show one’s faith in that almighty.

    We brought up our children to respect and accept all faiths but to be steadfast in their own spirituality. Above all, to be good human beings.

    As I advance in age, my ideas about the almighty are evolving. I believe that there is a higher power and there are a lot of things I do not understand or have control over. But, I firmly believe in acceptance, empathy, generosity, and that there is a lot of good in our world.

    Best wishes.
    Chaya

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    • I think if we can live an honourable, meaningful life – death will not concern us when it comes. Thank you Chaya – I appreciate your comments/thoughts. Best wishes to you too! 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • I believe there is a greater force that maintains a balance. For everything there is an equal and opposite force at play. When suffering increased (during covid times, lets say), people became more compassionate towards each other.

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  • Thought provoking post! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately myself, and reading your post has helped me clear some mental blockage and break down my own ideas more clearly. Wonderfully explained!

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  • No, we humans are not “theists’ by nature. Not even close – even theists fumble like drunk partiers when trying to explain their particular bizarre formulations.
    “Higher power” talk is similar woo – if it’s not about anything specific to our physical reality, like gravity, it’s just pabulum. A.C. Grayling does a fine pedantic job of demolishing these ideological tendencies in “the God Argument.”

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    • I’m not saying there’s a God. I’m an atheist myself. I’m simply saying I believe it’s in our nature to believe in some kind of higher power. With the exception of the very short period in our history following the enlightenment/scientific revolution – almost every civilisation that has ever existed worshipped some kind of God or Gods. Even today – despite this – there exists many thousands of different religions. In this sense its hard to argue against theism not being in our nature. I believe this was/is a way to both explain a world we have (historically at least) been unable to explain, but also cope with the mortal terror – namely our fear of death – that drives us at the core of our psychology. If you like some science to back this hypothesis up I suggest giving the denial of death by Ernest Becker a read. Another good one is “the worm at the core” based on a theory called terror management theory. I also believe for this reason – trying to get people to stop believing in God is like beating your head against the wall. People never will. Thanks for stopping by

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  • I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately, and what it means, and I believe that us existing is a miracle in itself already. I always try to imagine my ‘consciousness’ before I existed, and it’s comforting to know that I’ll return to that at the end of this story, so I might as well enjoy my own unique path while I’m here. Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

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