Written in graffiti on a facade of our city stands a proclamation of nihilism, saying something that would loosely translate as: “In time, the pessimists will become realists and optimists will become insufficiently informed utopists”. It always seemed to me like a sad giving up on the world, a helplessness induced nihilism setting the conditions for a self-fulfilling prophecy, a retroactive rewriting of histories as internally negative in their core and progressive decline towards chaos that cannot be avoided by our intervention upon it.
Along with sadness upon reading this on my commute, there was always something else as well – a sense of a sort of resentment for cowardice that somehow lingered around the unknown author of this inscription. There is something innately reprehensible in nihilism that derives from the lack of personal moral fortitude, a sense of pity those who give up and subscribe to negativity only because it makes it easier to relinquish responsibility and are satisfied by getting attention through whining and moping, without ever offering any real solutions to the problems they so love to rummage through.
It is understandable why one would adopt such a stand. There are a lot of horrid things out there and it’s by no stretch of imagination a picnic to actually work towards fixing thing without disturbing the system so much that you manage to make it worse. The nihilists are not completely wrong and cannot be judged on their wits here, but choosing to give up and float is moral cowardice. Choosing that what you do or don’t do doesn’t matter at all because we’re doomed anyway and nothing makes sense is weak. If nothing makes sense why would you put in the effort? You’re rewarded for nihilism by lack of any responsibility with a justification that – it’s not you, it’s the system and there is no way out because we’re all doomed anyway. But even the nihilists don’t act out their own preposition that nothing matters. If anything, pain matters at least. They act like it matters and it affects them, so by the same logic the opposite of pain would affect them as well and matters accordingly. The world where nothing matters is pretty much anarchy, with no anchors, devoted only to perpetual hedonism because the time frame is extremely shrunken if you can’t even imagine tomorrow in which something matters. This place is also the breeding ground for aggression instead of compassion, because compassion presupposes that there will be a longer period in which your actions will matter and reverberate. If nothing matters compassion is dead.
So no, nihilist, those “not a single F*** was given” lobbyists are not wise carefree people, dedicated to pleasure of the moment. They are cowards not even trying to do anything meaningful out of fear of failure. We’ve all been here long enough to know that the failure to try is the only real failure. All else is a combination of factors known and unknown, chance, luck, effort and knowledge. None of us can afford to not try. The game may be biased but it is not rigged. Learn the rules and then find a way to do it better.