THE CULTURE OF PURPOSE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO NIHILISM

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What are our beliefs? What do we believe in? Ironically, in our world of nihilists everyone seems to believe in something – of course we must, something has to push us along. So we have believers in the family or the economy, in God or a football team… But it is still nihilism, because what all these believers overlook is the belief in humanity itself and, therefore, the truly positive belief that our humanity is going somewhere purposeful. The opposite of nihilism is true purposefulness: a belief in human purpose. We posit human purpose  as an alternative to the nihilist idea that real purpose can only be found either in personal satisfaction, or in a supernatural satisfaction offered by a blind faith in a god in which the real will only be grasped after death.

            Seen in this way, human culture becomes a narcotic pill, taken in order to escape the pain of an otherwise total surrender to the meaninglessness of life itself. Like all narcotics, it allows one to relax and stimulate fantasies of satisfaction in one’s daily life. Culture has allowed humanity to escape from life rather than to search for real reasons to go on living. Reasons rooted in real purpose derived from the human experience of being in a universe condemned to perish.

            From the first invented god, humanity washed its hands of its own mightiest dilemma. Instead of contemplating its own capacity for understanding the tragic nature of the universe and planning a way of overcoming finality, it turned its back on the problem and left it in the hands of its fictional saviours. Gods or banks, fathers, mothers, or sons and daughters, or whatever way we have of turning away from truth – they are but patches, diazepam to cope with the tremendous stress of the complexity of the ultimate paradox: if everything must come to nothing, if all existence is ultimately vain, why do anything at all except make the most of the time we’ve got? And by surrendering we ensure that nothing meaningful will be done.    

            There is only one truly positive idea: that humanity itself is the way for the universe to overcome its own self-destruction. Everything else is most certainly infected with the sin of nihilism.

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2 thoughts on “THE CULTURE OF PURPOSE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO NIHILISM

  1. The statement that “humanity itself is the way for the universe to overcome its own self-destruction” implies that the universe is on a path to self-destruction. Please, elaborate.

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