Existentialism vs Nihilism vs Absurdism


Existentialism vs Nihilism vs Absurdism

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Nihilism: the idea that your life has no inherent purpose. You weren’t born to do or be anything.

Existentialism: Assuming nihilism is true, you can just make up your own purpose to give life meaning.

Absurdism: acknowledges that you have a drive to find purpose in your life, but the universe (being non sentient) is indifferent to this, so maybe you won’t find one, or you will lose that. It states you should primarily strive to just be happy, even if you find life has no purpose.

I’ll start. Existentialism focuses on four core fears that affect our decisions and behavior:

1. Fear of death
2. Fear of Isolation
3. Fear of meaninglessness
4. Fear of freedom (too much choice, failure, etc)

Each of these things can deeply affect our ability to be happy. Check out Irwin Yalom’s “Existential Psychotherapy” and you’ll Yalom’s approach to applying the philosophy in a pragmatic way. This book was recommended as an excellent alternative to understanding moral trauma, particularly for those without religious inclinations. It’s a great primer for Existentialism. Hope this helps.

Nihilism: no point to anything so who cares?

Existentialism: I am a point and scared

Absurdism: the universe is the point and it’s scared