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Trajork

How many of you are troubled by existential problems - a world that feels utterly meaningless?

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I've been thinking, as we're all known to do. It's a big part of why we ended up here.

One of the things that seems to make me an especially treatment-resistant case is the constant feeling that there is no meaning to life, except what we arbitrarily define it to be - which could be anything from spreading love and peace to making money to the sense of meaning soldiers get in a war where their job is to [end the lives of] other people. 

Essentially, it's a long-running existential crisis with no end in sight. It's not the only part of my depression - I also have no energy and willpower to clean up after myself, finish my MS thesis, look for a job and actually work 40 hours a week, etc. too. But the perpetual existential crisis isn't helping.

Respond with any experiences you've had or not had with existential crises and depression. Literally anything at all within forum rules.

One question comes to mind: If you're religious or have some other strong set of beliefs, does that help by defining meaning for you? If you've ever lost faith in anything, have you been able to recover from learning about the world as it is commonly understood by irreligious people such as myself? (not to make this a religion thread - post experiences about religion if they've been important to you, not judgments about religion)

Edited by Trajork

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Me me me!!!! Not having parents or decent upbringing makes it even more obvious.  Life is pain. No pain no gain. When I look around at other peoples lives and what I could have, im not interested.  It must be a mental problem

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My views on the world are very depressing and complicated. As a New Age person, my beliefs give me some respite, but I am very depressed with how money/greed driven the world is. I just want to be healthy, happy, and to live as long as possible to be with those I love, and to do the things I love (writing, art, etc.) I also want to be away from people--and I have felt this way since I was a young child.

I often wonder what the point is of living, because people treat each other so poorly and I don't know why. I feel depressed about the world and it's relation to myself and people in general that I am not sure how to put it into words. I try to express it anyway--through writing.

I know that you are feeling really down about the world. I completely understand. If you want to get a job/work on your thesis, then you should certainly do that. If you want to live in a van or wander the world you could do that. I think that the world is boundless and sometimes really void of meaning. Society makes this even worse because it tries to tell us what the world IS and what everyone SHOULD be doing, but you need to find what makes you happy, for what purpose and why. Maybe finding happiness is the reason for existence :)

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As a Christian, I believe God dropped me onto planet Earth for a reason. I have no idea what it is though. I just have faith that I am fulfilling God's purpose for my life by trying to be a good employee, husband, and father. I participate in my local church and try to help other people when I can. I have gained alot of peace by recognizing that I am not in control of my life and what happens to me. All I can do is control how I react to it, and if I do the best I can then that is all that is possible.

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Yes, the world is meaningless, there is no point to life, but while we here, let's just try to have fun, and be good people and help others. Optimistic nihilism, this is how I see the world.

I try to avoid the news and all that and just survive by being cynical about everything, just living day to day is the only way to stay alive for me.

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1 hour ago, wheelman82 said:

Yes, the world is meaningless, there is no point to life, but while we here, let's just try to have fun, and be good people and help others. Optimistic nihilism, this is how I see the world.

I try to avoid the news and all that and just survive by being cynical about everything, just living day to day is the only way to stay alive for me.

I kinda have the same outlook accept I don't see it as nihilism more like accepting that I am part of the universe and that is all I need I don't really understand why people need a deeper meaning look at how amazing life is and all the things that happen everyday look at how complex the body is the mind space ecology weather patterns there is so much around you to discover people are made from everything in the universe they come from it and go back into it when they die life is a cycle of constant change, from life to death, hot to cold, suffering to happiness.Nothing is ever lost it just changes form. I use to read alot of philsophy and one day i just thought to myself this is all bs and just a play on words none of the concepts demonstrate anything it doesn't really change anything if we have freewill or not if the universe is material or immaterial if there is a grand meaning to everything. I like to do a thought experience with myself what would be the difference of a meaningless universe and one with meaning i really just end up imagining it being the same way either way. I feel like people are way to dramatic there doesn't need to be a complex reason to things for life to be meaningful or worth living.

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I'm not religious, so I've found that having faith in other people is really therapeutic for me. There's no denying that there are some bad people out there who do terrible things, but there are just as many (hopefully more) honest, genuine, good people, and they're the ones I try to pay attention to whenever I feel jaded about mankind. I know this may seem kind of naive and stereotypical ("look for the good in others", etc.) but when you start applying it to your everyday life you notice the good more. I've tried to pay more attention to the things that people do to help others, especially those they don't know. For example, the people who were at the concert in Las Vegas & could have run away (nobody would have blamed them for doing so) but instead they kept running into the fray to help people out of the line of fire. Or the thousands of nurses and carpenters and electricians who flew to Puerto Rico to help with the recover efforts. Hearing about these things restore my faith in humanity piece by piece and help me understand how worthwhile life is.

As far as personal existential crises go, I've also been there. I study space as a hobby, and had always enjoyed that awestruck realization of just how big the universe is... until this summer when I had my first depressive episode. I was laying in bed fighting insomnia & reading about the vastness of space when suddenly it occurred to me that I am so, so small, and in my lifetime I might only see 1/4 of this planet (if I'm lucky), never mind our solar system or galaxy, and that weight of the unattainable was crushing. And I have to admit, it took me several months to move past it, and in that time I could hardly look up at the moon or the stars without feeling a panic attack come on. But in a weird way the thing I was afraid of was what helped me feel better: yes the universe is enormous, and despite being infinitesimal as I am, I get to be alive to experience it. So I try to think about that anytime I feel down or disheartened about life, because in the very least I get to be here. And ghostwriter89 put it really well: the point of life is to find the joy in it :)

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Hi Trajork,

It sounds like I suffer with the same kind of depression as you. For the most part I'm treatment-resistant, too. The meds only help a little. Just can't seem to shake off my negative thinking. 

But the world does seem to be a meaningless place. I've never been able to find any meaning to my life. 

I try find meaning in the world, but all there ever seems to be is cold Darwinian survival. You need to remember that when you look in the mirror, what you see is not the real you -- your body is just a vehicle -- what you truly are is DNA doing everything it can to survive and reproduce. I don't like this cold truth, but neither am I the type of person to ignore the truth.

Another major problem with this world is that it's the bad people who are in charge of everything. Bad people possess all the necessary qualities to get to the top, whereas good people don't. This is a world run by psychopaths, narcissists, liars, manipulators and egotists, and their dark influence cascades down into the lower levels of society, penalising selflessness, kindness, charity and relationships and rewarding selfishness, greed, ruthlessness, ignorance, corruption and decadence. There's no escape -- every time you go out into the world, they've got you because it's their world.

Edited by Mark250

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