The last few years I've struggled with Nihilism - my work, games, activities really just have no fun or spark like they used to have. I have many sleepness nights where I'm wracking with existential thoughts and anymore I feel like just sentient matter waiting to die, and yet I dread that moment where my consciouness will no longer exist. My questions are - How do you break through Nihilism? How does one truly come to terms with impermanence and actually enjoy the short time they have left despite a meaningless, uncaring universe? I have read Camus and Sartre but I still struggle with the existential angst.

It's important sometimes to distinguish between intellectual problems and other kinds of problems. Many, maybe most of the people I know well are atheists. They agree with you: the world doesn't contain any meaning of its own, it doesn't care about us, and nothing is permanent. The difference between most of those people and you isn't that they've had some philosophical insight that you haven't. The difference, I would gently suggest, is that you are depressed and they aren't.

I'm not a psychologist, but the way you describe your state of mind sounds like a textbook depression. How we think about things is certainly relevant when we're depressed, but the way it's relevant isn't just about content. Two people can both think that the world is indifferent to us, but for one this isn't an intrusive idea. It doesn't stop her from enjoying her work and her friends and her pastimes. It doesn't keep her awake at night. The other finds himself perseverating about it, brain caught in a loop. Getting out of that loop isn't likely to come simply from reading Camus or Sartre or anyone else.

I'd suggest talking to your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find a therapist. Given the way you describe your state of mind, you might ask if s/he knows of someone who practices cognitive-behavioral therapy. It also might turn out that a course of medication will help reset the circuitry. Both of these things (I speak from experience) can be helpful. But it's worth saying again: even if a problem has a philosophical side to it, it may not really be a philosophical problem. This sounds to me like one of those cases.

Having said all that, let me add strictly as an afterthought that you might find Mark Johnston's book Saving God interesting. I'm not suggesting it as a substitute for the things I said above, but Johnston has an interesting perspective that might appeal to you. He's a thoroughgoing naturalist; no hint of the God of classical theism. And he thinks that we are impermanent in the most obvious sense. But he doesn't think that this makes the world meaningless. The book isn't easy reading. I wrote a review that you can find at

and which you may find helpful in following Johnston's complex argument. But this isn't intended to set aside the point above: I don't think your primary problem is a philosophical problem. If you read Johnston, wait until you've made some progress with the background issue.

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