The Sunny Nihilist
Meatballs and blueberries. Breakfast of… eh… well… people who don’t have anything else in their fridge. But I’m going to go and say this was a repast of choice. I right click on repast to make sure it means what I think it means. And we’re good. Ketogenic, paleo and low-carbohydrate. All catchwords I like to bandy about and pretend that I am an adherent of. I mean sometimes I am. But mostly not.
I went over the mountain… eh… what’s today… Wednesday. So Monday. Rather reticently I had to pick my brother-in-law from the airport. Being now well meshed into small town living I have become resistant to sojourns that intersect with the crush of humanity in large urban spaces. Although, to be honest, I still quite like airports. Airports are the mélange of humanity. Watching people in transit flowing through the strange null-zone that is in your modern aerodrome… it always makes me quite cheerful… they’re all so fantastically weird. (not like me obviously)
In any event, we needed pods, without which I can’t caffeinate myself with Lungos to the point of functionality and/or happiness. There is however a fly in the ointment, an annoying bookshop (somewhat pretentiously called ‘Wordsworth’) that stands vigil between me and my nespresso goal. It was never my intention to browse… just get in there and get out again. Like date night coitus.
But then I saw this. And I was like… hmm. (although I also bought other books)
I often worry that I’m a nihilist. Ha ha. I mean I also worry that I’m a sociopath.
The core tenet of nihilism is that you think that life is largely pointless. And I really do feel that. Feel it in my joints. The non-smoking variety.
Problem with that sort of thinking (and/or mindset I guess) is that you’re walking incredibly close to the edge of the abyss. ‘You know Nietzsche went insane’ is often my go-to retort we faced with any sort of Nietzscherism or abyssal tendency. I also enjoy pointing out that Marcus Aurelius persecuted (and murdered) Christians and that Seneca tutored Nero. Put that in your stoic pipe and smoke it. (He says as a sometimes stoic)
Wendy Syfret is an award-winning Melbourne-based journalist. Formerly Managing Editor for Vice Asia and Head of Editorial for Vice Australia…
Do you think she means Melbourne-Birkenau I muse. And then laugh at my own joke. I’m so funny. But in all seriousness, what the actual fuck Australia? When did you become this insane climate change denying police state?
At the end of my street in Melbourne, Australia there is a sandwich board belonging to a store that, form what I can tell, sells candle-making ingredients. Each morning, it’s updated with a motivational platitude – ‘Why carry the mountain when you could climb it?’ ‘You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step’. ‘Be the hero of your own story’. Once it helpfully advised passers-by to ‘Do something great!’ A few years ago, that sandwich board advertised discounts, opening hours, and more traditionally candle-related news. But at some point, someone decided these stale practicalities were a waste of such cosmic space. The board needed to serve a more meaningful purpose. Now it regularly asks if today is the day you’re going to change your life. Selling candle-making ingredients has become secondary. Meaning itself is now the product.
-The opening paragraph, The Sunny Nihlist. Wendy Syfret. Souvenir press, 2021.
That’s is quite a good hook I thought. I often rage about about how meaning and mindfulness has now been commodified and marketed to us. Buy our product. We care about the planet and your health and making sure you’re efficient AF but also mindful AF. I’m Consumer Psych major, so I know how dark it gets in those product meetings where marketers try to graft something onto a product. These days its always meaning.
Anyways. I’m about half way through. It’s quite a large typeface and only eh… 176 pages. Quite an easy read… I will almost certainly finish it. Looks across at Rutger Bregman’s Humankind… which I’m struggling through… for no other reason than it’s too ‘cheerful’ for me. ha ha. I found Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens much more… ‘clickable’ somehow. Insofar as I often imagine things as Lego blocks. Somethings just work (or click) better into your current build.
Maybe I am a sunny nihilist? You know… if you’re looking for something to pigeonhole yourself with… or something clever to put into your Insta-profile.
After all it doesn’t really bother me that we are meat-sacks powered by chemical reactions floating through the infinite darkness of space on a rock. Albeit a rock with an atmosphere… and magnetic poles (things that are quite important in the grand scheme of things). When we die I’m pretty sure we just Go-dark.. (its the namesake of my blog after all). It doesn’t make me suicidal or sad or anxious or anything. It just is (imo anyway) what it is… and getting bent out of shape about it doesn’t really do anything for you anyway. Might as well be cheerful.