What gives our lives meaning, given that we do not believe there is an omniscient force who provides meaning for us? When people lose their religious beliefs, they might fall into despair due to the lack of inherent meaning in the world…or they might party hearty.
There are several philosophies which address this inherent meaninglessness. Existentialism posits that we can and must construct our own meaning. Nihilists maintain that it’s pointless to even try. Absurdism concludes that although a search for meaning is inherently in conflict with the actual lack of meaning, one should both accept this and simultaneously rebel against it by embracing what life has to offer. And there are other variations.
For advice on how to be happy in a world without inherent purpose, try Epicureanism: Seek physical pleasure in moderation, avoid pain, find satisfying work, enjoy deep discussions (and make merry) with your friends, for tomorrow you must die…but also study and try to understand the world, and leave it better than it was when you found it.
These videos are entertaining introductions to the subject matter, if you have time.
What is Existentialism? (2:46 min)
Existentialism: Crash Course Philosophy #16 (Skip ads, 8:53 min)
Optimistic Nihilism (Skip ads, 6:09 min)):
Introduction to Nihilism (14:09 min):
Epicureanism (Skip ad, 5:24 min):
Epicurus’ Cure for Unhappiness (9:32 min)
Nihilism, Existentialism and Me (Text with long embedded video starring Rick and Morty and BoJack Horseman: “Gaze into the Abyss”):
General discussion group info:
PFC Monthly discussion groups are open to all - if the topic interests you, you'll be welcome! Casual dress. Discussion is moderated but informal - speak up as much or little as you wish. Discussion Group 2 - Mt. Lebanon meets in a conference room at the Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church. Please use the side door entrance on the right side of the building, NOT the main entrance. See you there!