Relationships with a Hope: Nihilism

You don’t need hope in order to keep going. You need a stable relationship with hope in order to sustain growth, but when you’re in the thick of the fight and have never felt more hopeless, remember that you don’t need it. It’s not necessary. You never needed hope, and if there comes another time like this, you still won’t need hope. 

Action doesn’t need hope.  You don’t need to have faith. When you are in a place of despair, putting too much value on hope will not help you, it’ll crush you. If hope isn’t useful to you right now and is only a source of pain, abandon hope. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

Accept the absence of hope. Now what? Now you’re free from disappointment. Now you can take a chance on scarier things than dying, it’s not a leap of faith if you’re hopeless, it’s just a leap to something different. Thoughts of suicide indicate that something needs to change and if we’ve devalued hope then we open up a vast selection of change to choose from. If you’d jump off a cliff, jump into stranger waters. Change thoughts of “nothing matters so I might as well die” into “nothing matters so I might as well try something new”. Commitment is difficult while hopeless, so why commit to the ultimate decision of suicide? It’s far more effort than other much easier, more obtainable, less permanent choices to take a chance on. Trust me you’d also much rather mess up putting yourself out there or asking for help or expressing yourself than mess up a suicide attempt.

We’re not striving for perfection at this point, we’re just trying to get through the day. We’re searching for motivation to continue on without relying on fragile sentiments. So we’re not searching for hope for now, it’s not useful to us. So let’s tap into a superpower, existential nihilism. In this place of deep discomfort and unbearable living, it’s easy to believe the universe doesn’t care about you. Nothing matters. 

Dealing with hopelessness and apathy is usually a game of turning negatives into positives. You’ve given up on expectations, given up on fate, there’s no hidden meaning to anything— this can be an action of endurance, not giving up.

We haven’t truly given up on anything, only reverted into a safe, protected state in which we can navigate our hostile environment.

Think about our fellow creatures, looking for food, shelter, burrowing in dens and shitting in the woods. They’re happier than you are when you’re grasping for loose threads in the wind for no particular reason. 

Survival doesn’t have anything to do with hope, in my opinion. Survival is what your body does when it’s been given resources. Our bodies and brains are usually quite hardwired to work on without our complicated soul-minds, you just have to trick the soul-mind to provide those resources.

The chance you take once you’ve decided to be rid of disappointment or expectations or existential dread, is to start focusing on those resources. 

The soul food you’ve been looking for really might not be in those soft positivity posts or articles or blogs, it might be more primitive than that. If you’re in the depths of despair, ‘be kind to yourself, it’s not your fault, you’re amazing’ might not be inspiring hope, but ‘procure berries by any means necessary and roll around in the dirt before eating them’ may not inspire hope either, but if you take a chance, you might find something better. 

Since early childhood I’ve been deeply involved in metaphysics. The truth is, while I have despised Nietzsche since I was a preteen, his words on hopelessness and worthlessness truly can be comforting when what you truly need is the deepest nihilism to pull through the unforgiving struggle. These thoughts you gave, they’ve come before from other people. I find it helpful to read how others have transmuted these familiar thought patterns in ways I haven’t thought to.

I personally would prefer what Albert Camus has to say on living: I rebel; therefore I exist. No philosopher is perfect because for every good opinion there are five bad ones, but without idolizing any specific voice, the idea of philosophy is already an unavoidable part of suffering or mental illness. The struggle to understand and live. 

I’m not suggesting dedicating your life to researching philosophy, I maintain that what you should do is roll in the dirt and eat berries. The occasional dip into some weird, pretentious words might help motivate you though. 

Thank you for reading.

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