I will begin this article with a quote from my book, The Influencer –
“Let me tell you a secret about the human condition. Nihilism leads to spirituality. And spirituality leads to nihilism. It is never in between for long. It is always a see-saw in action. Man, you see, swings between nihilism and spirituality. Man, you see, swings between utmost bliss and the feelings of utter despair.”
Sounds like Bipolar Disorder, right?
Trust me, when it comes to our philosophical leanings at a particular point in time, we all are bipolar. Well, by all, I mean the people who have a lot of time to spare on rumination. Many of us are far too busy in our daily lives, or have way too many commitments, that we are so exhausted to have late-night musings or think about “nonsensical” and “unproductive” things. But those who are fortunate enough to have the most precious currency, time, do ponder a lot. And as they contemplate the existence, their role in this Universe, they usually take positions, alternatively, which are in stark contrast to each other. It all depends on the mood. It all depends on how that particular day of this person went.
Yes, I am talking about Nihilism and Spirituality.
One you see believes that every action is ultimately futile or pointless. The other believes that every action plays its part in our ascension and enlightenment.
One believes whatever it is means nothing. The other believes everything in this Universe is deeply connected and it’s all meaningful, no matter how petty that stuff or trivial that occurrence or action seems to be. Nihilism and Spirituality are therefore the two extreme ends of the same spectrum. Before we go further we should first understand what true nihilism actually is. People usually have a clear idea when it comes to spirituality, but when it comes to nihilism, many of us are confused or perceive it utterly wrong.
So, first, let’s see how Google defines the term nihilism
“the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.”
Now many people new to this world of nihilism read this definition, for it is easily accessible, and immediately jump to conclusions, without reading the philosophical works of famous nihilistic philosophers and without understanding the context. As a result, there is a general belief amongst the non-nihilists that a nihilistic person is not only super selfish but is also immoral. Adding to the stereotypes are these movies and tv series where the villain or the serial killer is usually shown as a nihilistic person. But, you see, it’s the exact opposite.
If a true nihilist believes doing something “good” for this world and this society is completely pointless, he also believes that doing bad is pointless too. If he believes that helping people is of no consequence, he also believes that harming them is pointless too.
A true nihilist is, therefore, a hermit and a sage in the opposite direction. And contrary to popular beliefs, a nihilist is not depressed or a sad person. Instead, he or she is cheerful. “Cheerful Nihilism”. These are the couple of words you’ll find everywhere these days.
Yes, a true nihilist is always cheerful and mentally content, because understands the “futility” of everything. A true nihilist will never commit suicide. As for him, suicide is pointless too. For him, his non-existence is as absurd as his existence. It’s only those who see a ray of hope at the end of a tunnel, those who think that death will be liberating, an end to all their miseries, are the ones who take the extreme step of ending their lives.
Nihilism as believed and practised in the truest form, is, therefore, a higher state of mind. Just like spirituality. But you see, I am not talking about the people, who share funny nihilism memes. I am talking about people who are nihilistic in the real sense. For whom even sharing these sarcastic and cynical memes on these social media platforms is pointless too.
To sum up, for a nihilist everything is pointless. Pursuit of all sorts. Be it money, fame or power, etc. Be it something good or bad.
But the thing to be noted is that a nihilist is usually not a nihilist all the time. He switches to spirituality on occasions. Like the flip of a coin. And then back to nihilism once again. It’s like a see-saw in action like I told you before. The same is the case with a spiritual person, who is spiritual most of the time. Yes, out of these two beliefs, one may be the dominating one, i.e. a person might remain at a particular end of the spectrum for a longer period. But still, people swing towards the other extreme from time to time.
Anyway, without wasting any time, let’s talk about the commonalities between these two stark contrasting ways of looking at this world. Yeah, rather than finding differences. We must try finding the intersection points.
So, here are my observations –
Both a nihilist and a spiritual person live peacefully in their little shells. Both prefer to be socially aloof. Both desire to live like hermits. Both have rich inner worlds. Both are highly contemplative. Both are like sages. Both don’t want to interfere in the lives of others or hurt them. Nor do they want others to interfere in their lives.
So, the thing to be noted is – Though both beliefs are entirely opposite to each other, and lie at the two extremes of the spectrum, the consequences of these beliefs when it comes to the behaviour of these people are alike. Yes, humility is the common quality between both kinds. Both these nihilists and spiritualists are pretty grounded.
One is humble because he thinks he is nothing, like everyone else. The other is humble because he believes he is everything, like everyone else in this world. This is why I conclude, that both nihilism and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. Both viewpoints result in people, who behave alike towards this society. And last but not least. Both these people switch their positions from time to time.
Yes, I am reiterating it the last time.
“Man swings between nihilism and spirituality. It is a see-saw in the action. One doesn’t remain in the middle for long.”
Well, with this I would end my disquisition.
Let me know what you think about it. It is always a pleasure to connect with beautiful souls like you. 🙂