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Philosophy Athre Philosophy

Posted on Feb 3, 2022 | 5 minutes

People I know in their 20’s told me that they went through a weird yet realistic thought of life. A feeling of not having a purpose. This dear folks have been in my parents generation(Early 1990’s) in their 20’s to be specific and one can assume that this has been a prevalent phenomenon among the people in their 20’s.

In my opinion, it’s a good thought, the mere existence of life finally hitting the onset of adulthood is something on it’s own. Sadly it’s the bitter reality of life. And it’s traumatic enough to think about it and to get to terms with it. This post is supposed to be my philosophical growth dump and my thoughts on the same. It’s the same story but in a bitter or not so fun wrapper.

Stargazing and Philosophy

The pandemic happened and sitting at home was the only option and online classes were boring which made the perfect conditions for having a lot of free time. This free time also meant that I need to find new hobbies for making my time fruitful. The first thing I tried was stargazing. It was really the easiest hobby to get to speed with. I had to download an app and look for the constellations, also take photos of the same.

Stargazing actually gave me time to stare the stars(that’s what its supposed to be) and think about the vastness of the universe. This was when existential dread first hit me. The thought that you are just equal to atoms in the whole universe and you’re existence is so insignificant compared to the whole of the universe made me shiver. Whatever I did doesn’t make sense in the universal scale and there isn’t a butterfly effect that will be triggered by my existence is just dark. The overthinking side of me went even further and My quest for answers was kicked off by the stars!

Kurzgesagt and Existence

Youtube is a great medium to learn new stuff in both small and large proportions. Byte sized topics for dummies is another term. This search for universe triggered existential crisis led me to Kurzgesagt’s Youtube channel. Little did I know that these folks added a bit of existential dread to almost all their videos. I watched some super sci-fi stuff from their channel and one day ended upon a video titled Optimistic Nihilism.

“Close your eyes, count to one. That’s how long forever feels”

That single video just made a lot of sense. The stars weren’t made for us neither anything we have. We’re just lucky that we can see and feel these things.

This video also led me to search more about Nihilism. The answers I found meant a lot of sense then but when you’re just frustrated and you need answers to a problem just as old as humans started to think, you’ll accept the first ideology that you receive. I became a Nihilist! This was without knowing what it meant in a broader sense. I was at peace knowing that my life doesn’t matter and everyone is meant to die and that life doesn’t have no inherent purpose.

Later on, whilst I was just and learning more about Nihilism, it didn’t seem to make much sense. Not the inherent purpose of life but that we are just born to die. It felt wrong. So I started being an Optimistic Nihilist😅. The glimmer of optimism in the face of darkness is always a good warm feeling. These happened in a span of months from being a self proclaimed Nihilist to not being one. Then my friend suggested me about Stoicism.

“Quit being so stoic, Stoic”

Stoicism. The ism not meant for the light hearted. To not lose one’s cool at the time of adversity is something easier said than done(duh). My quest for answers brought me to learn more about the Stoics and some history. A lot of history. I read a few books and turns out I wasn’t ready to be a stoic yet. I was in a dark place when I first learned about the stoics and the philosophy of the stoics, it did keep me going darker for a while though. It wasn’t meant for me but the idea stuck with me, our life is a sum of our choices and the Latin sentences that new age kids post on their Instagram/Twitter bio(s) to look cool. It gave a wider perspective to view life as a whole but it didn’t work out with me yet.

The self proclaimed Nihilist meets the Existentialist

The quest for purpose led me to Existentialism(അസ്തിത്വവാദം in Malayalam). It made a lot of sense in contrast to Nihilism, or it was more similar to Optimistic Nihilism. Life doesn’t have a purpose and that’s okay. Learning to come to terms with that is a task but not unattainable. It was a more sane view on life and purpose of existence. Embracing existence as it is!

I recently read the book Ikigai and it’s striking to see the Japanese wisdom for happiness is similar to Existentialism. It’s the same at some points but the ideas are nearly similar, Enjoy your existence!

The Absurdist

This idea was put forward by the French philosopher Albert Camus. It points at the absurdity of existence. The absurdity of the quest for finding the purpose of life. The absurdity of looking forward that everything will be good. Absurdism is the one philosophy that I’m stuck with now. It gives a bit more perspective to the existence of anything or anyone.

Absurdism can be dark too at times. The first chapter of Camus' book, “The Myth of Sisyphus” is about suicide and absurdism. But there is a beauty in understanding. You have the freedom to make any choice and none of these have to exhibit your life’s purpose. The freedom in enjoying what the world has to offer. The sheer existence of a person is to love, to be loved. To put a smile on someone else’s face and to be felt special and to make someone else to feel the same way. To enjoy the world as it is, to care for people, to make friends and to enjoy life. It’s absurd that we don’t do this.

The Stories

There are many more philosophies I haven’t heard about and many more to learn. This mere journey between life and death is meant for more rather than finding reason to life. But this expands the thought horizon of a person. I could troll the whole post as the coming of age problems in my 20s.

Very recently I had a conversation about the said philosophies to my mom. She explained a lot more on these. We live in the age when you need to learn something we just google that stuff and get a surface level knowledge, but in my mom’s 20s ie the 1990s, the only place to get knowledge was books and they know about these stuff quite deeply. My parents know a lot more than I thought they knew. These learnings must’ve constituted to how to lead their life and to raise my to my 20’s and ask them the same questions they had in their 20s.

Ironic!