Nihilism is a philosophy which states that human existence in the universe does not really have a purpose. This is one of the philosophical positions that have drawn a great deal of attention and an equal amount of criticism at the same time from many people around the world. Believing that human existence on Earth has no absolute purpose some people find incredible as well as depressing, but can anybody give a real factual answer to the question of the purpose of life? Nihilists obviously don’t believe in a God or Creator of the universe, neither do they believe in morals, therefore no action is necessarily preferable to any other. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing someone, for whatever reason, is not inherently right or wrong, because morality is rudimentarily constructed. A nihilist also believes that loyalty is a weakness and ‘truths’ are illusory.
Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most famous philosophers on nihilism. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche called the establishment of moral systems based on a dichotomy of good and evil a “calamitous error,” and he wished to spark a re-evaluation of the values of the Judeo-Christian world. His philosophy is certainly not based on any religion but I don’t think this means that all atheists are nihilists (though all nihilists by definition must be atheist). While atheists have no view with respect to any values you want to discuss, as long as they don’t necessitate a god existing. Nihilism rejects all traditional values.
The philosophy of nihilism is often pointed by a lot of people around the world as something that takes away the joy of living in its entirety. People, at least most of us, generally live under the illusion that life needs to lived with certain principles and within certain boundaries and the laws of the land are in place to uphold most of these principles. Also, people generally believe or at least want to believe that there is a point in living. Usually, they think that reaching out to a superpower (God) and surrendering to it is the ultimate aim of life. But for a nihilist, none of this makes sense. This is not in the atheist’s sense that he doesn’t believe in the superpower in the first place but also because he does not believe in living for something either.
Though the idea of living without moral boundaries is quite difficult for me, I have no problem in the nihilist’s belief that life is meaningless or as I prefer to put it a little more optimistically “the meaning of life is life itself.” And is there really anything wrong with believing In nothing? It could conceivably be far less dangerous than dogmatic beliefs which have led to numerous conflicts all over the world. And of course the flip side of the despondency that many say comes with nihilism is, as Nietzsche pointed out if “God is dead,” man is free, ie free from religious, moral, ethical, and cultural clutches, things that nihilism totally denies. Then again, Nietzsche died insane so maybe he didn’t have all the answers.