Living in a meaningless universe…

I live in the virtual world. Every day I plug into the matrix, read books and write reviews, check my mail, and read the news. Two weeks ago, I decided to unplug.

After finishing my last book, I realized this virtual living was diverting me from the real world. I was growing distracted and distanced from reality. So I made a decision not to read further until I was properly grounded in what was around me.

At first, it wasn’t very different. My mind was still full of thoughts which indicated that I wasn’t fully present. But then after a while, I began to become more aware of the chairs, the table, and the sounds of cars outside. I began going to the lake every evening, and found peace in the sounds of dragonflies and ducks, and in the sight of the water plants, reeds, and the deep green grass. I wanted to find something meaningful to do. Something that I could pursue no matter where I was and which focused my mind on the world around me. I thought hard, but wasn’t able to come up with anything.

This went on for a few days until I saw a documentary about how the universe was going to end on the science channel. The universe being just 14 billion years old, is in its infancy. A time will come when the earth will fall into the sun which will in turn explode. Slowly the universe will become darker as fewer and fewer stars are formed and the galaxies themselves will dissolve away leaving only red dwarfs and black holes. And after a long time, they too will explode or go dead, and there will be nothing but blackness till the end of time. For trillions and trillions of years. And that will be just the beginning…

I imagined an immortal person and how they would feel when they saw everyone around them dying. And when they see the last of the black holes evaporate, how they’ll remember this universe once full of light and energy as they prepare themselves for the long black nothingness of eternity.

That night I had a dream. I dreamed that my wife was gone, leaving me alone. I went home, and my mother my dog were dead too. Our house was empty and desolate and the light which burns in my mom’s clinic was dark. The soul of the place was gone – the lives that lived there and gave it meaning were burned out. And I was alone – I suddenly realized that I was the person doomed to remain alive for eternity. And there was nothing to do, but go into my room and weep. Then I woke up.

I began to see the meaninglessness of everything. What’s the point of living every day and going through the motions? It’s a joke actually. And if I wasn’t the butt of it, I would be laughing my head off. Our search for meaning is useless. I know that the only meaning to life is what we give it. But why? I feel like a fool – deluding myself that just because I choose to call something meaningful, it magically becomes so.

I picked up Albert Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus” where he recognizes this feeling and gives it a name – “The Absurd.” I’m still reading it. I don’t hope to find answers really. No person can solve this problem. It’s not even a problem! It’s just…absurd.

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  1. Crimini Reaper says

    Love this writeup and the comments, Glad there are more people out there grappling with this issue. My response is informed by an underlying pragmatism (which itself is an odd mix of cheerful pessimism and ironic nihilism). THis pragmatism accpets the existence of free will and deplores it as futile, like everything else. So what does deplore mean if I apply it to everything/ Thats just it, something truly uplifting would have to be supernatural. But we are stuck in a natural universe. Our minds see the gap. What’s really awful is that this universe would severely indict its creator. I’m reluctant to suicide because can I really expect a better future state? Voltaire said reincarnation is no less reasonable than this current confounded, confounding one (in better words.). This is my biggest pronatalist argument because if you gotta come back, better as a human, eh? Im sorry but opposable thumbs just make everything better. Heck in the olde dayse, they made everything!

    The sad thing is, as noted by an above commenter, this is the product of rationality and open-mindedness. Just steadily pursuing knowledge which comports with what you know, while being willing to re-evaluate your chain of associations. Dingdingding! You are a nihilist! It’s particularly painful living in Kenya, where the very scarcity itself enhances the game theory aspect of the tribal calculus (more of us, more for us. Hwvr, more of everyone, less for everyone. Let’s all try for opt1, what could go wrong?) and motivates competitive breeding.
    I all too easily see thru the turgid, turdid, sordid pettiness of such an endeavor, even though it really is a question of survival. I personally hope more people intermarry, so they feel less of a burden to uphold a particular heritage, and we may one day breed in the interest of the whole people. Or is it because I miss the point of preliterate cultures? Am I a city boy too accepting of his estrangement from his roots? >putss pizza in microwave< what is objective is that a dose of rationalty and compassion for the next generation would dampen ardors. Is a long occupation of grazing land something to cherish? Herding goats may not be as soul-destroying as cubicle work, but droughts-reccurent should act deterrent!


    • Crimini Reaper says

      In reply to Crimini Reaper

      My point is, the only way I can talk myself into perpetuating this practical joke, is a gnostic fear of a demiurge who inflicts not only life but the horrors of reincarnation. A mechanical universe means my machine will run down, the machine will run down, say the lord be thank it. The truly unbearable thought is infinite return, it got Nietzche!


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