The world is shit, but you don’t need to be.

I am an active nihilist, or what some like to call, a positive nihilist.

I believe the world is chaos, and there is little we can do about it. The people who have the power make the collective rules we must live by, and contrary to the public’s perception, voting changes very little in the grand scheme of things. The partisan divide is stronger than ever, authoritarianism is on the rise across the globe, and the future of the human species is in jeopardy, as the fear of nuclear war, climate catastrophes, exotic viruses, and festering anger takes its hold with our arrogance in believing we are the apex predators.

That’s depressing shit, isn’t it?

Not to me.

It is a powerful feeling when you stop and analyze how little control you have over world affairs. We think we control something when you angry tweet, stand on a social media soapbox, or make your profile pic into the latest outrage. I know not every person can drop their lives and take up activism in the streets, but a social media soapbox makes you feel better, not enacting any lasting change. Unless you put the feet on the streets, you are just another voice in the abyss, and that abyss is loud and volatile.

Humans love to feel important, but the simple fact is we are only as important as the circle we are included in.

We are doomed as a species. We are parasites to this planet. We have stripped it of resources, polluted the oceans, killed numerous animal species in the name of greed, run down rainforests for paper, and we are exploding in population as the world sinks deeper into our self-created hell.

People have hope, but I believe it’s wasted hope. The population that cares is drowned out by the immense Grand Canyon partisan divide between humans and lawmakers. I believe we will not have another effective president in America due to that simple fact. The dam was broken, and the flood is hard to contain.

In the midst of all I see wrong with the world, I live my life to the best of my ability. I am that meme where the dog sits in a burning room and says, “This is fine.”

More hopeful individuals say, “there is more good in the word than bad, don’t say that!”

At the core of humanity, I agree. The vast majority of us want to live our lives in peace, be happy, and do our best to be good parents, siblings, children, and humans. Most humans also have zero control over corporations, governments, geopolitical conflict, and politicians who care more for Twitter engagement than serving the people. Hope, to me, is yet another one of those wonderful emotions that help us feel better over putting in the work.

It is easy to take the fatalistic stance of Nihilism and believe this all has no meaning, but it would also be wrong.

Our lives have meaning, and the insanity of the world doesn’t erase your ability to create a personal utopia. This isn’t about working harder, getting more money, or living on a homestead in some isolated state, and declaring internet war on the American government via meme and Gadsden flags. This is about walking through the world knowing you are serving you.

Find a group of like-minded people, even people not like you

Are you isolated? Are you alone? Do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders without reprieve? It’s okay, I feel the same sometimes, but using apps such as Meetup could help you find local interest groups to seek out. I created a local KC men’s group called “Men In Unity” to allow a small group of us to hang out, discuss things, be vulnerable and listen. Men need men, women need women, humans need humans. I put myself out there to meet as many people as possible who don’t fit into my typical expectations. I will be doing an open mic night at the end of this month, and despite being comfortable with public speaking, this is a first for me. Even if you are an extreme introvert, finding like-minded people will help you release the stress of our daily existence.

We are social animals, and being selectively social is a net benefit.

Develop purpose inside

What do you enjoy? Who are you as a person? What are your values? If those questions are hard to answer, your nihilism will resemble the dark brooding type of pessimism, rather than the active form I like to embrace. I am fully aware the world is shit, but I strive to focus on self-improvement, the people around me, and creating a little world with my community I can feel happy in.

You cannot create something meaningful out of nothing. If you don’t know what your interests are — and they do not include social media doom scrolling or trolling politicians on Twitter — you should find some.

If you cannot pinpoint your identity away from what you do for a living, you need work.

Realize you control you

Despite any obstacle you have in your life, you intimately control you. This isn’t to say you should tolerate oppression, racism, sexism, or any other negative-ism thrown your way, but you certainly control how you react to it.

Anger in the face of injustice is more than justified, but is that anger directed on changing it, or is it simply shouting into the void?

We often take slights personally, and an incredibly empowering viewpoint is realizing that humans are selfish people who look out for their best interests despite the appeal for collectivism. If you feel slighted by someone, understanding it is likely not personal, but rather how that human is may take the sting of the bite away.

It doesn’t excuse it, but gives you the power to take control of how you react, rather than react out of rashness.

The same thought process holds true for your career and relationships. Sometimes you are just fucked. Hard pill to swallow, indeed, but if you are in a relationship with someone who is hellbent on being a toxic human to you, and you stay around hoping for the best, who is the foolish one? If your career/job has minimal upward mobility and you want more, but you are afraid to leave because you must go through the arduous process of searching for a better place, that is on you. Our world is set up to give minimal hand-holding, and no desire to change that will change it. It is the unfortunate reality.

We are owed shit. You need to develop the control to take the shit, which gives your life pleasure and meaning.

Love your circle, truly love them

You are the sum of your circle. In the past couple of years, I have worked diligently to surround myself with people I value. I am lucky in this area. Being a business owner affords me some luxury to meet various humans, network with other business owners, and develop a group of humans I trust, cherish, and love.

I can confide in them, cry with them, share stories and struggles, have deep conversations, and I am comfortable with them — men and women alike. These people span the spectrum of interests and ideologies. Some are Christian, some are atheists, none practice what I do, but we accept each other. Some are black, some are white, some are Latino/Latina, and all have opened up to me about life and our collective struggles within it.

I love them all. Truly love them. I often feel alone in the world due to my demons and my diagnosed mental issues, but deep down inside I know I am not alone. My circle helps me without realizing how much they do. Spending time with them rejuvenates me, lifts me up, encourages me, and makes me feel closer to myself and them.

The bright spot in a world of shit contains the people I treasure.

Nothing can replace them.

Pain is temporary, forward is forever

You will be hurt in life. You will have your heartbroken. You will lose people you love. Nothing lasts forever, and we will all die.

Using that knowledge to avoid love, lust, and connection is a fool’s errand, since the only person who will feel the pain of your isolation is you.

We take a chance with every decision. You may lose your home in a foreclosure, your new car could be repossessed, your partner may cheat on you even if you are a wonderful person to them, and you could be fired from a job.

That is the risk we take in life. Life is risk, period.

I could go on my Harley tomorrow and be run over by an 18-wheeler careening out of control.

I could die of a heart attack while lifting weights.

I could go to sleep one night and never wake up.

There is nothing I can do about it. Death is coming, and none of us know when.

You can choose to wallow in the mortality of man, or you can choose to take the short time we have on this globe and create a world for yourself that truly fulfills you and enhances your life.

The world sucks, but does your world have to suck?

Earlier I wrote: In the midst of all I see wrong with the world, I live my life to the best of my ability. I am that meme where the dog sits in a burning room and says, “This is fine.”

What is preventing you from the same thing?

If you want more information on finding purpose in the darkness, I highly suggest Viktor Frankl’s magnum opus, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This book has more than 12 million copies printed in multiple languages. In my estimation, this is the greatest book any human can read, who finds themselves looking at a dark world in search of a flicker of light within.

Also pick up Gordon Marino’s book, “The Exisentialist’s Survival Guide.” This book masterfully takes the concepts from Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre and applies them in a way that sheds light

“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning




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Jay Ashman

Jay Ashman

This is a public journal. I write what I want, how I want, for the reasons I want. Follow and subscribe for musings.

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