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Depressed due to existential thoughts


confusedboy16
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I don't know how to explain how I am currently feeling. I suffer from OCD and depression but I have never felt quite so bad in my life. I feel as if I am surrounded by blackness. I've just turned 21 and all I want to do is sleep. For the past few weeks I have been obsessed with the apparent meaninglessness of life. I am an atheist so I do not believe in any kind of god or creator. I just can't see any point in going on if I'm going to die one day, what's the point? I'm just prolonging the inevitable. We are merely born to die. I look around me and all I see is other people who will one day die. My sister has just had a daughter (6 months ago) and I look at her and think "one day you will be dead".

What's the point in trying to achieve when it will all be forgotten when will die. Some people say "but your legacy lives on" but they are just delusional. The sun will one day engulf the planet and everything will be lost. Humans are just delusional. What is the point in me trying to get better when I will one day die? Why live just to live?

I came across a guy called Peter Wessel Zapffe who said that human's cannot deal with the fact that life is meaningless so we transfer the angst into other forms (isolation, anchoring, distraction and sublimation). So everything we do is about deluding ourselves into believing we are immortal. The same goes for Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death. It seems logical to me that these theories are true. We're living in a meaningless universe deluding ourselves into believing we have a purpose.

Why would it matter if I killed myself? It would hurt my family of course but one day they'll be dead and all of their pain will mean nothing. I just don't see anyway out of this hell. Life is hell.

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Well, NS, are you saying then that the definition of "meaning" is something that lasts forever? Does that concept of meaning exist anywhere? And if it doesn't exist, is it reasonable to insist on it as a goal?

Some people might say that living can feel good. At least, enough of the time to make it worth something. Now, you might think that has no meaning, being as transient as it undoubtedly is, (and probably not true of yourself at the moment,) but then I would ask you about the "meaning" of the pain that you're clearly feeling. It's obvious to anyone reading what you wrote that you're in pain. Logically, though, (if any of this discussion could be called logical,) there should be no pain associated with simply realizing the "truth" about "meaning".

Is the pain a "delusion" too? Even if you convinced yourself that it was, I doubt that you would stop feeling it. Personally, I think that our feelings are intended to help guide us through our lives, just as much as (perhaps more than), our thinking is. Thinking is fine when you're mostly concerned about objects; look at all the advancements of science. On the other hand, look at how much we still don't know about why people do what they do. Why don't we know? Because each of us is unique, so there's no way to do science on us. We change all the time ...

And you ask what the purpose might be ... maybe it's that, for as brief a time as it may be, we're uniquely us. No one else, before or after, will be able to say that.

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malign, i couldn't disagree with you more.

1- "our feelings are intended to help guide us through our lives, just as much as (perhaps more than), our thinking is", seriously?

if feelings help guide us, why are 99.99% of us lost?

2- something can easily be unique and completely meaningless at the same time.

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You're allowed, resolute. It's part of your uniqueness, for one thing.

We all have feelings, we all have thoughts. Why are so many of us lost? Maybe we're not listening ...

From what standpoint do you assign complete meaninglessness to something? Might it not simply mean that you don't know its meaning, at this moment in time?

It's easy to question my answer, but it might be more productive to answer my question: how do you define "meaning"?

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things can have all the meaning in the world and still be meaningless to us if we never know wtf they mean.

how do i define "meaning"? something meaningful is something that has a clear purpose, a point. now something might have a purpose that would be revealed millions of years from now (like in the afterlife, i'm not an atheist), but it's still meaningless to all of us here on crappy planet earth.

"maybe we're not listening", well, when something is so elusive that almost no one "hears" it, i'd say it's "pointless" and "unproductive".

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Okay, but it seems that you've just defined "meaning" in terms of "purpose", or "point". What would those be? I'm assuming that you mean some sort of universal, rational reason, like "this had to happen so that that [other thing that is important] could happen", but that too just defines the meaning of "this" in terms of some future meaningful "that".

What I'm getting at is that only humans think in those terms. In some ways it's a legacy of our past that we haven't let go of yet. Our need for a god-concept is, in part, a need for a reason, even if the reason is just "god says so". Perhaps our compulsion toward "explaining" things with science has been the next step, only we're beginning to grasp that that, too, only defines things in terms of other, undefined, things.

It's interesting that you feel that almost no one is listening to their thoughts and feelings in an effective way. I grant that might be true of this site, which after all is dedicated to troubled people, but do you feel that's true of the population at large?

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It's interesting that you feel that almost no one is listening to their thoughts and feelings in an effective way. I grant that might be true of this site, which after all is dedicated to troubled people, but do you feel that's true of the population at large?

i'll get back to you on the rest of your post, but i couldn't resist answering this part right away.

yes, i do "feel" and "think" and "believe" that it applies to most people who ever existed, at least to some extent (significant extent).

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Okay, and how do you think those people handled it?

I mean, if your point is that life is full of suffering, I would agree. But I would also say that I feel it's worth it, and on that I suspect we disagree somewhat.

As I understand it, you're saying that it might be worth the suffering, to you, if in some way it "meant" something. I'm still trying to get at what this "meaning" would be, or would do for you, if it were present.

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Okay, but it seems that you've just defined "meaning" in terms of "purpose", or "point". What would those be? I'm assuming that you mean some sort of universal, rational reason, like "this had to happen so that that [other thing that is important] could happen", but that too just defines the meaning of "this" in terms of some future meaningful "that".

What I'm getting at is that only humans think in those terms. In some ways it's a legacy of our past that we haven't let go of yet. Our need for a god-concept is, in part, a need for a reason, even if the reason is just "god says so". Perhaps our compulsion toward "explaining" things with science has been the next step, only we're beginning to grasp that that, too, only defines things in terms of other, undefined, things.

i'll get straight to the point. it doesn't seem to me that any part of the universe could have a convincing purpose. learning, experiencing, "growing", becoming a better person, being good, or bad, and even going to heaven or hell seems pointless to me. god could've just bypassed all that and simply not have created anyone or anything in the first place, and problem solved.

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Okay, and how do you think those people handled it?

I mean, if your point is that life is full of suffering, I would agree. But I would also say that I feel it's worth it, and on that I suspect we disagree somewhat.

As I understand it, you're saying that it might be worth the suffering, to you, if in some way it "meant" something. I'm still trying to get at what this "meaning" would be, or would do for you, if it were present.

personally, i don't "currently" believe it's worth the suffering, but that wasn't what i was saying. i just meant that very few people throughout history have actually figured out or understood anything about "the meaning of life" or the point to this (miserable) existence.

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resolute: Okay, the universe may not have any actual purpose. We'd probably never know even if it had.

Why does that render our existence futile, again? Right this minute, I think, I feel. I only get to do that for a limited time. Although that could lead me to despair because it has no external purpose, my internal purpose is to go on doing those things for as long as I'm given.

For a time, I was quite suicidal. I thought about it all the time, on the train commuting to work, at work, on the ride home, while being harangued by my ex-wife ... I had worked myself into an existential corner: I thought I could only exist in the life I had made for myself, and at that point, that life was hell. As my sig says, my way had come to an end.

All I can say is that the fact that I'm still here is proof that I changed. And if I can, I'm willing to bet on others too.

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To Nathan, I used to think like you...I still do sometimes. But the first thing I move onto thinking is that I WILL die, and I will never live again, so I might aswell live now, since Im inevitably dead, the only thing i can do to compromise the gloomy, ultimate reality of death, is to live, even if only for a short time. If we are never going to be here again, doesn't that make you at the very least want to follow this through to its end, even if you are depressed about it? Becuase youll never get the chance to do it again.

after the might aswell do it approach, if i think about what reality is, I realize I really dont know what it is-and nobody really does. I look down at my hands, and I know logically that I can look at these hands because of something that the materials of the universe did, of which I had no control of. I have been perpetuated by biology's genetics, which itself was made from stuff that came from massive exploding stars, and were somehow paired and orderd in complex systems that ultimately resulted in a pair of eyes which could look at these hands. This whole process came about without having to feel or think about it, and I could kill myself now, but I am not going to END what the universe started.

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