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What is the meaning of life? As someone who has been a charity worker for four years, I thought this would be easy to answer. But since quitting my job due to bullying, those rose-colored glasses have been taken off and now all I see is a world that is eventually going to end without any of our actions or good intentions amounting to anything. How do others manage to get out of bed, check their phones and remain ignorant to the fact that everything we do is meaningless? I have tried to read Sartre's nausea and other philosophers' works, but they all seem stuck in the same rut that I am in. Does anyone have any advice for someone who is desperately trying to distract themselves from the fact that eventually all our years of work will be forgotten? Thanks!
 

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Death, Freedom, Isolation and Meaninglessness, And The Existential Psychotherapy of Irvin D. Yalom
This might provide some perspectives that are in the realm of one's mental well being in relation to philosophy of existentialism.

Hopefully you're not doing a abstract relativity where you consider things from a perspective so large that you necessarily view things on a more local scale as trivial and insignificant.

To which the first of these four stories is nice to bring one's perspective in accordance with seeing the true significance and consequence of one's actions.
And because one's actions or inaction has consequence, it leaves a mark on the world. Perhaps one has grand visions of changing the world, to which are so large that they dwarf the self in it's inability to with ease instantly make the vision reality. To which it's useful to try and ground one's self in what is, so that one first accepts what is. Not to tolerate what is but to have a firmer base on which one can then organize their sense of what should be and the means towards such ends.

And since someone else once mentioned this, I might also recommend considering the thought experiment of Nietzche's Eternal Recurrence which might just evoke the radical conclusions that see one was driven to pursue a life one wants and be driven by those wants as opposed to fear of what might go wrong. Though to be so bold can take a bit to step into, perhaps need to consider what sort of grounding you feel that you're on, whether it's serving you well or not.

Though ultimately in the end I would emphasize that things don't get better by contemplating it, this feels powerless in it's passivity. It's through interaction with the world that were are effected and changed by it and whilst those terrible experiences have hurt you so, so to can you find good people, things that are fulfilling in themselves perhaps.
Rather than contemplate life's meaning, seek to live life that you want, because contemplating meaning doesn't necessarily create it if one is without the material to find satisfaction in the life one lives and if one finds it disatisfactory, then its a sign to change things, to work towards something new that better fits.
Perhaps your sense of reality was shattered by an experience that ill fitted your sense of it and so now shocked by it, you are having to adjust, develop a new sense of it. Which being knocked of kilter perhaps feels prone to cynical outlook.

On an alternative level, I would put forth Marx's theory of alienation (interpretation in a dissertion, p. 60) which might help touch on notions of human nature and attempt to explain some perspectives as to the intensity of alienation under capitalism.

Really though I should probably or someone should start a dialogue and engage you to tease out your thoughts on what makes life so meaningless, try to connect with you on those terms and mutually open up to it.
This stuff just kinda lecturing, but I think what best does away with such meaninglessness is to be found in human relations, to develop important bonds in a society that is organized so as to dissolve us into a mass of individuals that feel isolated from one another.
 

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klb1990 said:
How do others manage to get out of bed, check their phones and remain ignorant to the fact that everything we do is meaningless?
Giacomo Casanova: History of My Life

Those who say that life is only a combination of misfortunes mean that life itself is a misfortune. If it is a misfortune, then death is a happiness.

Such people did not write in good health, with their purses stuffed with money, and contentment in their souls from having held Cecilias and Marinas in their arms and being sure that there were more of them to come.

Such men are a race of pessimists which can have existed only among ragged philosophers and rascally or atrabilious theologians. If pleasure exists, and we can only enjoy it in life, then life is a happiness. There are misfortunes, of course, as I should be the first to know. But the very existence of these misfortunes proves that the sum of good is greater. I am infinitely happy when I am in a dark room and see the light coming through a window which opens on a vast horizon.

At suppertime I waited on Don Sancho, whom I found alone and in a very decent room. His table was laid with silver dishes and his servants were in livery. Bellino, whether from whim or as a ruse, enters dressed as a girl, followed by his two very pretty sisters but whom he totally eclipsed, and at that moment I became so sure of his sex that I would have staked my life against a paolo. It was impossible to imagine a prettier girl. “Are you convinced,” I asked Don Sancho, “that Bellino is not a girl?” “Girl or boy, what does it matter! I think he is a very handsome castrato; and I have seen others as good-looking as he.” “But are you sure of it?” “Valgame Dios! I am not interested in making sure.”

Respecting the Spaniard for possessing a wisdom which I lacked, I made no answer; but at table I could not take my eyes from this being whom my depraved nature impelled me to love and to believe a member of the sex to which it was necessary to my purposes that he should belong.
 

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I find reality quite depressing and think evolution is a cruel and unstoppable force of nature, and if the Christian God exists and is the way they say he is, then he may be cruel after all. That being said, its possible that you and i have merely traded the rose glasses in for jade glasses, or maybe humans have all always had it wrong.
 

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Not anymore. The last time I was depressed was in 2012 and since then I've been consistently improving, getting help, helping myself, changing my life, my lifestyle, my attitude, hanging out with more positive people, creating and accomplishing goals ... despite consistently acknowledge and knowing that life is innately meaningless. Even if it is meaningless, it doesn't have to be full of grief and sadness and my happiness is in my control.

I started with getting married and then changing myself day by day by day until eventually all I'm left with is a very distant and vague memory of my very extreme depression (those who know me from 2011 here will probably know what I'm referring to). Inaction results in more sadness, sadness results in inaction. So what could be a solution? To act. The more you act, the less passive impact external forces have on your life. The more you engage, the more there is meaning within meaningless.

I'm still a nihilist and I still believe that life is innately meaningless, but at the same time, I am the one in control of my destiny and the meaning I create for myself through my action or inaction. Whether life is meaningful or meaningless has very little bearing on happiness in and of itself and I tend to notice that claiming meaninglessness as a justification for sadness can be (not is, but may be) is essentially looking at the same symptom caused by a problem instead of looking at what is causing you to think that everything is meaningless. The meaninglessness of existence is not a cause of depression in most case in and of itself. It's a justification to refuse to act and engage with the world around you.

If it's meaningless, therefore I don't have to engage or do it. But since you don't do anything, you can't find meaning, nor use for yourself, nor do you discover meaning. The only way to get out of this rut is to engage, make changes, make big decisions and just move, move, move.
 

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Man makes himself. If you want meaning you derive it from action (a very Te perspective funnily enough). So as the poster above said, act, engage with the world in whatever way you can and that will become your meaning.

It's what I'm trying to do.

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I'm both an existentialist and a Nichiren Buddhist but not necessarily depressed.
 

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Meaninglessness doesn't make me feel depressed, it makes me feel free. But not knowing what to do, falling into bad habits, and making poor choices with the life I have does.
 

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Meaninglessness doesn't make me feel depressed, it makes me feel free. But not knowing what to do, falling into bad habits, and making poor choices with the life I have does.
That is exactly how I feel.
When my husband gets all mopey because " Life is meaningless." I remind him that " life is inherently. So you have the freedom to choose what that meaning is to you." Nope. Some people just have to have a devine purpose I guess....I don't get it.
 

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That is exactly how I feel.
When my husband gets all mopey because " Life is meaningless." I remind him that " life is inherently. So you have the freedom to choose what that meaning is to you." Nope. Some people just have to have a devine purpose I guess....I don't get it.
It's not a need for a divine purpose as much as it is the comfort of knowing things will be ok. This is tied to a person's resilience and optimism.

I know a divine path doesn't exist for me, and while on one hand that is freeing on the other it's horrifying. God or a divine will is comforting, that's what you can turn to for support during times of stress or turmoil to give you hope for a brighter future. Knowing you have to rely on just yourself can drain that hope.

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Finding out that life doesn't have intrinsic worth and worth needs to be found independently is very common, it's why the whole "finding yourself by backpacking through Europe after highschool" thing exists.

I believe the universe is uncaring, yes, but at the end of the day I just feel lucky. Out of all the things I could've been born as, out of all the possible people my parents' could have met, out of all the possibilities inherent in our vast cruel bastard of a reality, I got to be a human being - one with a great family and many opportunities besides. My brain is always going to want me to have more and I have to make a conscious effort to be grateful and find satisfaction in what I have. This struggle to be happy is just part of the human experience.
 

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...yet you're here. Make the best of it.

I'm not but my husband is. It's exasperating because it seems like nothing I do makes any difference.
That is exactly how I feel.
When my husband gets all mopey because " Life is meaningless." I remind him that " life is inherently. So you have the freedom to choose what that meaning is to you." Nope. Some people just have to have a devine purpose I guess....I don't get it.
But nothing's the best, that's the problem here... You know, it's not about the lack of a divine purpose, it's just about the lack of objective... anything objective. I can't make the best of anything because different things are the best for different goals and this never ends. I can just keep asking why, until I run out of answers. I mean, I'm actually very good at setting goals, as long as there's some impuls, some problem to solve (like hunger), but life in general doesn't have anything like that, it just is, and there's not really anything I'd care about. And in such case, if you can choose anything, why choose something difficult? Yeah, I totally could just choose anything. But that's also really depressing, you know, with this lack of objective anything, you can just run with any sort of bullshit and it will always pass for a meaning of life. "As long as this stone is safely in this drawer, I'm happy..." *facepalm* Why is it depressing, you ask? Well, at the very least it's totally demotivating. I mean, why should I study and work hard and talk to people when I could as well just be happy keeping a stone in a drawer?

And yeah, there's nothing you can do to make your husband feel better. Keep that feeling in mind and now realize that that's how he feels too - that nothing he does will make him feel better.
 

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I definitely had existential depression after a series of similar experiences to those you mentioned knocked off the rose coloured glasses.
I embraced absurdism which is a much 'happier' position for me.
 

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I imagine myself as another addition to the planet, no more important than a bumblebee collecting nectar and pollinating flowers, or trees cleaning the air, or a colony of ants scuttling single-file back to their nests. As a child I used to squash those ants with my finger: the stench they made was vulgar, and I don't even know why I killed them. I stopped when I wondered why no entity bigger than myself used their finger to squash me or my family, my neighbours, our homes; why a larger entity didn't surround my community in flammable fluids and cast us to the flames.

It's a strange thing feeling meaningless and purposeless, useless and hopeless, because essentially that would enable a form of freedom that, nobody what you do, it means absolutely nothing; yet, somehow one still cannot seem to do the things they would like to do. There is always an underlying fear, an anxiety or precaution, that prevents me from doing things, which is honestly ridiculous because I don't even care, but then I must care or I wouldn't be afraid.

A lot of the time I merely sleep to pass away the time, and pray to whomever before I sleep that I would die in my dreams. Needless to say, I don't die, and wake up deciding that the more I want to die, the less it's likely to happen. So, I stopped looking for death and started looking for humour and absurdities, which as nonsensical as they may appear, somehow possess a power to highlight the pity of life, and I feel my smirks fading into frowns when I turn my head away from people. I internally question people's happiness, their joys and delights, but can never seem to find out how they feel what they feel; and when I ask these people why they are happy, they feel accused and abashed as if I plucked forbidden fruit.

I think the key is to stop thinking. If you need to do something, even if it's as mundane as cleaning the dishes or mowing the lawn, don't think about it. Just get up and do it. As soon as you start thinking about it, that's when you start thinking of what else you could be doing, weighing the pros and cons to the task, and ultimately avoid doing it at all.
 

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Author of thopic is INFJ so it si very common problem for our type.

From My experience on that subject, we all living in.... Yellow Submarine ..... I mean in world made to create depression among sensitive persons (emphats) due to its unnatural, toxic design. And this is the problem and great task to find out, mainlly why is made like, and how is made.

And the boredom ends hire.

INFJ proper charity is to find bigest picture in it. That charity is to solving problem mentioned above
 

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@klb1990

Sartre's novels and plays are good for illustrating his themes but I would recommend reading his essays (Existentialism is a Humanism to start) for a better understanding of his philosophy. Sartre did not believe that the meaninglessness of life necessitated a bleak outlook. In fact, he argued the opposite - that the meaningless of life meant that people were "condemned to be free". If life truly means nothing, than the consequences of failure and adversity, fears which often keep people from individualizing, are also insignificant. Accordingly, meaning is to be found in the experience of living itself and not its result.

Kierkegaard (Either/Or and Fear and Trembling) and Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus) are two other existentialists worth looking into. Both deal with the absurd nature of existence but where Kierkegaard argues that a "leap of faith" in greater purpose is ideal, Camus argues that "rebelling" against objective meaning and living a life of individual value can still be fulfilling.

An interesting tangent to the above is that all three philosophers are thought to be Fi-valuers: Kierkegaard as INFP, Camus as IxFP, and Sartre as INTJ. Some prominent existentialists that supposedly valued Fe were Merleau-Ponty (likely ExFJ based on Simone de Beauvoir's memoirs) and de Beauvoir (herself INFJ). Sadly, I don't know either's work in enough detail to recommend something specific.
 
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