If you've read an earlier article of mine, The Nature of Reality and The Meaning of Life, you would know my core philosophy lies in nihilism, but I suppose it's a bit unfair to drop a black pill like that without at least explaining how to navigate this new realm with no floor beneath feet and no roof over head.
I've chosen this name because the typical nihilist is generally represented with lethargic or pessimistic qualities, giving the philosophical school a bad rep, hence, they are opposite to me as the dysfunctional ones.
The Nihilist half of my concept would be the full recognition that all efforts from myself, humanity, and nature itself are inherently meaningless and purposeless in the macro perspective. Only a select few recognize the beauty of this perspective, as life having no intrinsic goal allows us to appreciate existence in itself, as an end rather than a means. However, some of those who do realize this fact become depressed and dysfunctional, thus Functional Nihilism is simply not applying anymore unnecessary resistance to the fact that Nature has willed my existence to be.
Although it is our Reason that separates us from the more instinctual animals, interestingly, we don't always use this Reason to our benefit, and we very often are the victims of our own intelligence. We assume animals operate on a lower state of Being, but that would at least save them from ever having to contemplate suicide as regularly as we do, for example.
With humanity not being tethered to an all-encompassing purpose, many take the stroke of luck that is existence as an all-out pass for a life of hedonism. I'm personally not opposed to this, objectively. As a nihilist, the priest and the prostitute are the same to me. The only difference between me and them is that I'm not particularly good at gambling. The priest wagers a non-guaranteed spiritual gain over a life of material and sensual pleasure, and the promiscuous or other over-indulgent person gambles their own health on their quest for stimulation.
However, I still am pursuing pleasure, but it is through creativity. Consider the quote, "I think, therefore I am." Well, as a Creative Hedonist, my motto is "I was created, therefore I create." I stretch this a bit, because materially this can be used as a reasoning for me to continue to populate the species. No, I mean I was created and create on metaphysical terms.
I write. I design. I create art. That's what I'm talking about.
A life full of the creative pursuit is still Hedonism because the completion of my works provides no guarantee that I'll ever step off of the hedonic treadmill, especially since my interests are so varied. Even if I struck gold on my first novel like Harper Lee, I would most likely pool my earnings to adapt it into a graphic novel, or start developing video-games.
Another reason why I consider my perspective on creativity to be Hedonism is because, well, the nihilism. I'm not banking on my artistic efforts to leave a great legacy. Yes, we remember Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo now, but we're a relatively young species; I think even Jesus and Buddha will be forgotten one day, especially if we manage to outrun the sun in this universe.
The best thing I could hope for is that I do reach a point of satisfaction that I truly can create no more, similar to Quentin Tarantino's recent comments that he'll step away from the director's seat after his 9th or 10th movie (He's on #9 already, by the way).
But then again, you never know when he'll come out of retirement (ahem, Hayao Miyaziki).
All in all, I think Creative Hedonism is the most productive of the other typical pleasure-inducing pursuits, especially since most of them involve direct consumption and are dependent on external sources.
It gives me a purpose, to strive for personal satisfaction, as opposed to fulfilling some unreasonable and egotistical grand role and narrative for humanity or the spiritual realm; a concept thankfully crushed by my functional nihilism.
What are your thoughts on hedonism and nihilism? Let me know in the comments.
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