Optimistic Nihilism

Optimistic Nihilism


Human existence is scary and confusing. A few hundred thousand years ago, we became conscious and found ourselves in a strange place. It was filled with other beings. We could eat some; some could eat us. There was liquid stuff we could drink; things we could use to make more things. The daytime sky had a tiny yellow ball that warmed our skin. The night sky was filled with beautiful lights. This place was obviously made for us. Something was watching over us. We were home. This made everything much less scary and confusing. But the older we got, the more we learned about the world and ourselves. We learned that the twinkling lights are not shining beautifully for us, they just are. We learned that we’re not at the center of what we now call the universe, and that it is much, much older than we thought. We learned that we’re made of many little dead things, which make up bigger things that are not dead, for some reason, and that we’re just another temporary stage in a history going back over a billion years. We learned, in awe, that we live on a moist speck of dust moving around a medium-sized star in a quiet region of one arm of an average galaxy, which is part of a galaxy group that we will never leave. And this group is only one of thousands that, together, make up a galaxy supercluster. But even our supercluster is only one in thousands that make up what we call the observable universe. The universe might be a million times bigger, but we will never know. We can throw words around like two hundred million galaxies or trillions of stars or bazillions of planets, but all of these numbers mean nothing. Our brains can’t comprehend these concepts. The universe is too big. There is too much of it. But size is not the most troubling concept we have to deal with. It’s time, or, more precisely, the time we have. If you’re lucky enough to live to one hundred, you have five thousand two hundred weeks at your disposal. If you’re twenty-five now, then you have three thousand nine hundred weeks left. If you’re going to die at seventy, then there are two thousand three hundred and forty weeks left – a lot of time, but also … not really. And then what? Your biological processes will break down, and the dynamic pattern that is you will stop beinge dynamic. It will dissolve until there is no you left. Some believe that there is a part of us we can’t see or measure, but we have no way to find out, so this life might be it and we might end up dead forever. This is less scary than it sounds, though. If you don’t remember the 13.75 billion years that went by before you existed, Then the trillions and trillions and trillions of years that come after will pass in no time once you’re gone. Close your eyes. Count to 1. That’s how long forever feels. And as far as we know, in the end, the universe itself will die and nothing will ever change again. Our videos induce existential dread in many people, and the last few minutes probably haven’t helped. So, for once, we want to offer a different way of looking at these things: an unscientific, subjective point of view, the philosophy of Kurzgesagt, if you want. Please take it with a grain of salt; we don’t know any more about human existence than you do. We counter existential dread with optimistic nihilism. What do we mean by that? Well, to summarize, it seems very unlikely that 200 trillion trillion stars have been made for us. In a way, it feels like the cruelest joke in existence has been played on us. We became self-aware only to realize this story is not about us. While it is great to know about electrons and the powerhouse of the cell, Science doesn’t do a lot to make this less depressing. Okay, but so what? You only get one shot at life, which is scary, but it also sets you free. If the universe ends in heat death, every humiliation you suffer in your life will be forgotten. Every mistake you made will not matter in the end. Every bad thing you did will be voided. If our life is all we get to experience, then it’s the only thing that matters. If the universe has no principles, the only principles relevant are the ones we decide on. If the universe has no purpose, then we get to dictate what its purpose is. Humans will most certainly cease to exist at some point, but before we do, we get to explore ourselves and the world around us. We get to experience feelings. We get to experience food, books, sunrises, and being with each other. The fact that we’re even able to think about these things is already kind of incredible. It’s easy to think of ourselves as separated from everything, but this is not true. We are as much the universe as a neutron star or a black hole or a nebula. Even better, actually, we are its thinking and feeling part: the centre organs of the universe. We are truly free in a universe-sized playground, so we might as well aim to be happy and to build some kind of utopia in the stars. It’s not as if we’ve found out everything there is to know We don’t know why the rules of the universe are as they are, how life came into existence, what life is. We have no idea what consciousness is or if we are alone in the universe. But we can try to find some answers. There are billions of stars to visit, diseases to cure, people to help, happy feelings to be experienced, and video games to finish. There is so much to do. So, wrapping up, you’ve probably used up a good chunk of the time available to you. If this is our one shot at life, there is no reason not to have fun and live as happy as possible. Bonus points if you made the life of other people better. More bonus points if you help build a galactic human empire. Do the things that make you feel good. You get to decide whatever this means for you.

100 thoughts on “Optimistic Nihilism

  1. We were there when were were not here, we will be there when we are not here. Human beings are as old as this universe is, and neither we live ones nor we die ones …a death gives us life from one world to another, may be it comes to an end, a life without death

  2. What a bulshit. We are NOT FREE if matter created us, we are it's slave. Because than we need matter to exist but matter does not need us. A more fancy way to describe this is the philosophy of determism. Furthermore in a closed system we need to take live to exist. So we are all monsters following a genetic code to kill others (if not humans than animals, if not animals than the plant the animals need to survive on). There is no salvation for us, nor is there any genuine love or frienship in us (determinism, remember?). So all freedom we have here is to experience one 100 years as a monster 🙂

  3. Do one really need a degree in environmental science like me to understand that you can not have a good life whithout making the life of another creature worse – and be it a creature in the future like future generations? Absolutely nothing comes for free in a material world, not even sitting there and staring into the dark. This is a typical new age feel good movie with feel good music. The makers can not think straight because like everyone they think they can do good philosophy and at the same time sell it – and this two aims will of course never create a conflict of interest that endangers the quality of their movies … Yep, well done. Religious scepticism is good but atheism sucks.

  4. Feel welcome to change my mind
    3:50 I understand that this is optimistic, but no good things wouldn't matter after you die either.. so if you are suffering and not interested in life, this sounds like the best argument in favor of suicide ever.

    Suffering will go away instantly and you won't be able to miss the good stuff or even regret your suicide (as long as you succeed and die)

  5. The way I see it, is if it matters to us…then it matters truly and completely. The rocks and streams will never care, the stars will never care. So if we are the ones to whom things matter, then what matters to us matters most in the universe.

    On an unrelated note, I think I’ll have steak tonight.

  6. I wish I was born a dog. I don't think they thinking about life, death and meaning of life they are just happy existing. The only things they demand are basic needs food, love and playing around.

    Still a scary thought total darkness, not conscious anymore.

  7. Me before watching this video: "life is pointless and nothing matters"

    Me after watching this video: "I need to complete Fallout New Vegas and Portal before I die"

  8. A good place to start would be by divorcing your preconceived notions of life and death and just accept that these ideas are merely human constructs. There is no such thing as a soul. There is no such thing as life. There is no such thing as death.

  9. I'll just leave this here in case someone needs to be reminded that everything is going to be okay, the unknown is terrifying, but hey atleast you're not alone 🙂 see you there.

  10. The beginning of this video was freaking me out👏🏼 but then it was extremely powerful and i think just solved my current life dilemma.

  11. 0:38 think about who Kurzegsagt is referring to with that statement. I've personally never believed the stars were shining for me, but lots previous societies believed that's the only reason they could be there. Why else would the night sky be beautiful? So this channel is not only refuting value judgments, but god and religion as well.

    Nothing matters

  12. WHO RELATES???
    like if u duu
    ps: first like is meh
    pps: existential dread makes up 90% of my thoughts at all time

  13. We must believe in an single almighty God to understand the answer to all these questions.
    I know that most people do not want to believe this, but they will have to at the moment of your last breath.
    Btw. I love your videos

  14. There are two types of people

    Nothing matters: 🙁 😭😔😩😰😣
    Nothing matters: :))))))) 😈🤬🤬👌😈

  15. Guys human life is short and we think its not were pretty stupid and pretty destructive but lets use the little stuff we have to the fullest who's with me

  16. "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” -Mark Twain.

  17. I love Kurzgesagt. It fells like a somebody is telling me a story about scary, and discouraging topics but wraps it in a comfy blanked. Exept the nuke-thing, that shit is scary.

  18. Calculate chance of you existing. Chance of you Reading this.
    There is no Way universe was formed from nothing. Life developer into creatures like humans. God MUST exist. Just by thinking universe should have its purpose.

  19. So I should listen to the voices & kill all in my path? Well alrighty then! Thanks for the green light. PS this is an attempt at humour pls don't put me on a watch list…again.

  20. I can't even start to describe how much I had to go through just because I watched this video. It is not a silly comment, I mean literally 1 and 1/2 year of being in an existential depression, making therapy superhard and panic attacks so bad I would be out of it for days after. It's really nobody's fault tho, I couldn't know what nihilism meant when I clicked on this. Or that it would trigger me so much. I forgot it is a perspective, not a fact.

  21. So then what is right and wrong is just an opinion

    There's no such thing as you can't do that that's wrong?

    All morality is just an opinion?

  22. Kurz you are genious, u made 42k people comment on this vid, it means u make our brains go overdrive and our lives matter, thank you

  23. Once you've stopped worrying about what other people think about you, you start to realize how little they think of you.

  24. Saying we will never leave our galaxy feels very final infact I didnt like your use of never throughout this entire video. Like say just for example the universe is choc full of stuff we dont understand yet. When we finally get into a black hole it may lead to other galaxies the point is we dont know yet

  25. This entire thought process makes me nauseous and it just makes me think "What is the point if we're all just specks of dust?" We go through life wondering what we're doing here and I'd rather take comfort in knowing Someone else knows me better than I know myself and can help me achieve my inner potential rather than relying on my untrustworthy self to accomplish anything. This isn't optimistic in anyway, it's literally a numbness of the spirit. Why bother enjoying what you have now if it's all gonna be gone someday and you aren't remembered? It all seems obsolete at this point with this mindset. And it just makes it sound like we're our own deities – and we're NOT. We barely know ANYTHING. We've only scratched the surface of knowledge. And we'll never go beyond that all that much.

  26. As someone who recently turned 25, hearing how many weeks I may be lucky enough to have left was deeply unsettling but also motivating…

  27. This viewpoint makes even more monstrous any who would seek to reduce your life to one of unchosen servitude, or who would step on the necks of others to further their reach. They are thiefs of life.

  28. I've maybe, realistically watched this video about 35 times so far. I watch it every time I lose touch with existence, and I show it to friends whenever appropriate. It never gets old. This video is probably one of the best pieces of content I've ever seen, and I now live by it.

  29. Here's the crux of his argument: "Well, to summarize, it seems very unlikely that 200 trillion trillion stars have been made for us." This is his proof that there is no God. Suppose I made a sand castle for my daughter. Each grain of sand contains about 50 times 10 raised to the 30th power. Wow! How unlikely is that? His argument falls apart like tissue paper.
    What lengths, what suffering, what illogical ideas people will go through in order to deny a Creator.

  30. Great video and all but that whole 5200 weeks to live kinda gave me a panic attack. One week feels so long now but any week in the past is gone in an instant.

  31. If everything is relative to oneself and at the end of our life there is only non existence then wouldn't logic dictate that the path for least amount of suffering for the universe is to kill yourself?

  32. ❤️❤️❤️ I really think that we can say kurzgesagt is one of the best Chanel ever on YouTube, everyone should watch their video from school to the oldest people, incredible video like always !

  33. The thing is that generally speaking, people act as if someone promised them 2340 weeks of time…that is where the misconception starts that influences their entire existence, as long or as short as it may be…

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