If you haven’t heard of the term ‘Nihilism’ or ‘Nihilist’ before, here is a definition from wikipedia for you.
Nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that suggests the lack of belief in one or more reputedly meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological, ontological, or metaphysical forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that reality does not actually exist.
In Layman’s terms, or my favorite definition, Nihilists are those who basically gave up on everything, saying “In the end, It doesn’t even Matter”. Yes, just like the incredibly famous Song ‘In The end‘ from Linkin Park’s Album Hybrid Theory. They just don’t care about anything in the world. Now there are a lot of Nihilisms, including Existential Nihilism, Moral Nihilism, and many more. Being a nihilist simplifies certain things. Once you’ve turned to nihilism, those that were important to you sometime ago, don’t mean anything anymore. You don’t believe in god or religion anymore, You won’t spend wasting yourself with all the stupid things others concern themselves with. A nihilist wouldn’t need to eat right or maintain a diet, stay in shape, dress pleasingly, have favorite stuff/things/belongings/whatever, fight/debate over stuff. They take and accept everything for what it is.
Now the above said characteristics don’t apply the same to all. Everything becomes a choice. Depending on the situation, and the mental state they are at, nihilists choose what to care about and what not to care about. even these decisions can change over time. This is something i call selective nihilism and this is my favorite. I’m a very lazy person, and i quote nihilism to avoid a lot of things everyone else does, but i don’t. That’s what it becomes, an Excuse to everything.
When i was frantic and tensed while writing my exams, i would close my eyes, and imagine myself looking from above, and slowly zooming out. Me, my class room, my college, district, city, town, State, Country, Continent, Planet, Galaxy, and so on until i convince myself that you are smaller than a grain of sand when compared to everything that is out there. This would pacify me and i would just give my best at the exams.. Now adopting this philosophy has made life easier for me, But like they say, too much of everything is a problem.
Most of the times, people who turn to nihilism were/still are deeply emotional people, who probably went through some kind or other emotional Stress/ Trauma such as abuse, depression, and are trying to cope up with it(it was my case), who basically felt everything at a deeper level, and took everything way too seriously. They start seeing things through their superficial screens, as to what they are and what really matters. Nihilists don’t care anymore about god and religion, Power, Ego, politics, or anything. hell they don’t even care about death. They even want to die as soon as possible or, in their terms, stop existing, but without pain. In fact, a scientific study recently done found that more deeper the people understand the world, more they’re willing to end it all and die. Now, a little bit of nihilism is a good(?) coping mechanism, being able to detach from everything, but too much of it is very dangerous, because it renders them unwilling to do anything because to them, in the long run, it doesn’t really matter.
So here’s my advice. Nihilism is not necessarily a bad thing. It means you understand a lot more truth about the world and everything else than others.But, Be a Selective Nihilist. What to be selective about, is upto you. and the rest, It doesn’t even Matter anyway..!
If you would like to read more about nihilism, here is an interesting discussion from the forum, I love Philosophy.