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. There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

  2. We all should just live our lives like he said he's right we only get one shot. Also I love your videos

  3. Well…
    Lately what I feel is life is just like a video game you ALWAYS die in the end. Not fun. And before the end you see the ones you love die too. For me, life is simply meaningless. No purpose at all. And one day the Earth will be gone and it will be as if we had never existed. All this suffering for nothing.
    Of course, while we're still here, if we're lucky enough to afford it, let's forget about the others and enjoy the ride, right?

  4. Every time that im feeling nihilist I just watch this video and it makes me feel better, thanks.

  5. Ooooh, someone has read Nietzsche… This video is pretty much active nihilism, which is his biggest philosophical achievement, mixed with contemporary knowledge. I totally agree with everything you say.

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

  6. Going by this logic, Pedophilia, Rape, Murder, Torture, Theft and all that we consider bad should be completely alright… 🤡

  7. I found the begging part very comforting. After I die, I really hope nothing happens. If my conscious continues to exist, it will watch humanity thrive, then perish, and then be stuck watching the void forever.

    But when you told me to close my eyes for a second, and said that’s what eternity feels like, I found that relieving.

    This might be my favourite YouTube video ever. Thank you.

  8. Even in our own time, no one will ever be important, think about names of people who lived over 100 years ago. Youd probably not be able to name 50. The statistics of even being remembered a century from now are 1 in hundreds of millions

  9. Im so sorry the people at Kurzgesagt dont know Jesus and i hope one day you all find him. This isnt it. We have everlasting life just open your eyes.

  10. So…basically you acuse religion as a estetical bunch of nonsense that helped us dealing with existential anxiety and then you propose another bunch of estetical arguments to deal with existential nonsense?
    Good job

  11. Person reading this, whatever you have been stressed or worried about doesn’t matter. It’s you and your thoughts making it something it shouldn’t be. Everything is. Choose how to respond.

  12. “The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn't a search for meaning. It's to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you'll be dead.”
    -Mr. Peanutbutter

  13. A friend on iFunny asked how I was and I told them that I was feeling meh, so they sent me this. Ight then

  14. 特意过来点个顶,虽然还是时不时陷入悲观的虚无主义,但是这个视频引发了我对哲学问题的思考,感谢!
    Deliberately come here to give this video a like, although I still fall into pessimistic nihilism, this video has caused me to think about philosophical issues, thank you!

  15. I love this video, It doesn't matter how many times I see or how I'm feeling at the moment, it makes me think and somehow I'm always happy after it, thank you Kurzgesagt for putting so much love and effort on this kind of projects.

  16. Great video but it's kinda naive to assume that human lifespan will be even remotely the same when most of YouTube community gets old

  17. The thing is this: We just don't know enough to make assumptions like "I don't know the reason why I live". Maybe in another universe the concept of 'Cause and effect' does not exist and this assumption just does not work. There is so much that assumptions cannot be made.
    Going one step further: we cannot make assumptions about probabilities. Saying that the universe is so big that it contains too much possible concepts and therefor making assumptions do not make sense is might not true. Maybe in a universe where probabilities work different, assumptions make much sense and maybe every your little single life indeed is very important.
    So yes, optimistic nihilism makes sense – or doesn't it?

  18. Welp, time to commit crimes because shit doesn't matter. Later nerds!

  19. We will find a way.
    100 years ago flying was impossible, hundreds of years ago if you got sick, you were probably done for.
    We will find a way.

  20. Watching First half of video: nothing matters, and im also emo
    Watching Second half: live laugh love

  21. Ah yes let's just ignore it till it happens, it's all meaningless anyway regardless of what you do good bad or nothing. If its meaningless it's got no point even with all the meaning we do attach and we'll never see one another again. Better to just pull the trigger now then wait all those weeks.

  22. This gave me an existential crisis, and a new view on things. Depressed and not so much at the same time.

  23. Going to be working at a early childhood environment that focuses on futuristic settings and values! So exciting

  24. Cuando tenía 8 años empecé a darme cuenta de esto que llamamos realidad y me cuestionaba todo, a los 11 me dio una depresión muy horrible por la sensación de estar "soñando" y de pensar que se sentiría ser alguien mas o incluso otro tipo de ser vivo y si realmente las cosas seguían estando ahí aunque no las viera, y de lo limitados que son nuestros sentidos, me quería morir para saber que pasaría y pues el sentimiento de estar soñando era horrible. Actualmente ya me acostumbré y me da igual, pero no he encontrado a nadie que haya sentido eso y que le haya parecido terrible

  25. Bruh, literally watched two videos in a row that make me think differently about life this one and the egg…….

  26. If nothing matters, then why aren't we living our lives the best way without caring ?

  27. Conclusion : You will die, and you will be gone forever, like you have never existed and you can cry if you want but it will change nothing.

  28. I don’t want to start a galactic empire. The human race has already fucked up the small amount of space we already have, what makes you think we are qualified or deserving of more space? Maybe if we can fix our home planet, THEN we can explore the stars.

  29. Though I like everything about Kurtzgesagt, I prefer my nihilism in a more nihilistic form…

  30. Kurzgesagt we realize we give people existential crisis. Just like now. But here is another way to view it.

    Me: look out its a trap

  31. Absolutely terrifying. Do what makes you feel good. And let’s all hope that doesn’t include murder, rape or torture

  32. This philosophy is a cop out. It is like saying "we are here for no reason, lets make the best out of it". It is only concerned with the physical world and denies the existence of anything that is not observable. This would mean that all our laws, ethics and morals are just convention and don't have any real meaning. Who is to say what is best or fair. Any tyrant would be completely justified in their action because they are acting out what is best for them.

  33. Todo esto es increíble. Sabes que lo haría más increible, que lo entendiera más fácilmente en mi idioma .

  34. Nihilism has actually changed my life for the better I refer to myself as a Happy Nihilist I know life has no point and that is freeing

  35. I wonder who are those 9900 people who disliked the video and what their issue is🤦🏼‍♂️

  36. how can we not be in the center of the universe when the universe is constantly expanding? Stupid humans

  37. Every day every time someone sees you, you being there will alter their thoughts, even so slightly. this tiny alteration will cause them to act differently and thus effect others differently and in truth your existence will live throughout all of humanity

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