Over the past few days I have become quietly obsessed with the word ‘nihilism.’ I have wondered to myself whether, at any point in my recent history, I could have considered myself a nihilist. Then, I wondered whether others would have agreed with my assessment. After all, I’m certainly not the smartest in my circle of friends and most of them probably have a much better idea of what nihilism is all about than I do.
Of course, I’m not the dumbest of my friends either so let me reference Merriam Webster’s definition of the word for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.
Main Entry: nihilism
Pronunciation: ‘nI-(h)&-“li-z&m, ‘nE-
Etymology: German Nihilismus, from Latin nihil nothing
Date: circa 1817
1 a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
2 a (1) : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility (2) capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination b : TERRORISM
I do often find myself holding the viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded. I am constanly of the opinion that existence is essentially senseless and useless. But, are those beliefs just my bad days talking or are those things that I truly believe. I am more inclined to say the latter is true because even when I’m not having a bad day if you get me into a serious discussion about the Establishment or organized religion or standard-issue human beliefs I get on a real negative kick that some might call nihilistic.
I don’t know… I had a rotten day at work today. The days continue to grow more and more rotten and I spend a good deal of time trying to imagine ways out of my situation. Stef and I need to be in Massachusetts right now, so that she can finish her degree. But, if we didn’t have to be here we could go so many places. I could work a less stressful job and write more. It would be wonderful.
I got a response on my second MFA submission today and the comments were so wonderfully insightful that I wanted to get right back to work on my story. Unfortunately I had to do my “real” work instead.
I don’t belong. I don’t do well. I would be better off as a pauper who wrote on an old manual typewriter in a cabin in the wilds of Maine, hunting and foraging for food and only venturing into civilization to mail my stuff off to prospective publishers. I would be happier as a hermit, I am willing to bet.