Size is important!
1. Firstly that you are really small, the universe is big, other universes (should they exist,) might be even bigger, but you are just a lump of biological matter attached to a spinning lump of rock, orbiting a nondescript star.
You are tiny and not that important! After all, there are billions of humans and you’re just one of them, a grain amongst a beach of sand, even more so when you add in all of the rest of the planet’s flora and fauna.
Life is a beach, but it’s a really big one and you’re just a single, solitary, tragic and pathetic grain.
Your luck is in!
2. You do not have an automatic right to exist. You shouldn’t even be here! That’s right you are a fluke of nature, the mutant offspring of all of your mutant ancestors from the present day all of the way back in time to the primordial ooze of this world’s early days… The odds of you existing are practically nothing, as close to zero as is statistically possible! So your existence is unimportant, but nevertheless special. Yes, it’s possible to be both special and unimportant all at the same time.
Reality isn’t actually real!
3. All forms are merely illusions. That shiny brand new pair of shoes or that glitzy house is merely an arrangement of atoms. The only thing that is true about either item is that they are made up of vibrating atoms which are the smallest stable building blocks of larger structures which are illusory being made up of emergent characteristics, like colour, the sensation of how they feel or taste.
You’re as blind as bat!
4. You cannot see true reality. All such emergent characteristics of material things like the sun warming you on a nice day or the wind blowing through your hair are in actual, fact just electrical impulses sent from your sense organs into your brain where your consciousness observes a model of reality and not reality itself. All you can ever interact with and enjoy is the model itself. The model isn’t any more real than Plato’s ideal world of forms. It’s a mere cave puppet to actual reality which is beyond our comprehension or imagination because what we perceive to be real isn’t actually real.
Goldfish get to see more colours than you!
You do not exist!
5. You are an illusion! That’s right the you that see in the mirror is also an arrangement of atoms, you’ve gained some today, you lost some yesterday, so you are not the matter that makes up your body, your identity is simply how it is arranged!
Identity is a mere fiction as all forms are merely illusions, you are nothing more than a slightly more dense part of the cloud of atoms that make up the entire cosmos. Your shape, feel and appearance and everything about you are emergent properties of this cloud. You are now free to be mystical and claim that we’re all one!
You are doomed to fail!
6. Your achievements will come to nothing. That’s right, absolutely nothing! Like throwing stones into a pond, the effects of those actions will ripple away into nothingness. Yes, they might have force if you’re right next to the point of impact, you can make a ‘big splash,’ for good or for bad but as always the time will come when the pond will return to stillness, totally unperturbed.
This means that the effects of all good and bad acts will fade away in time. Good and Evil are only relevant if you are close to the splashing of the events they make. If something benefits you, you are free to deem it good, if it harms then you must deem it bad.
Morals are mythological
7. There is no objective morality enforced by the universe, morals are arbitrary when compared to the grand scale of the cosmos and have evolved from biological imperatives to become social customs and norms. They are important only to us. The morality of a fox would be wildly different from that of a human being or a dolphin (if they could express their morals that is).
God might believe in nothing!
8. God cannot, therefore, be the originator of morality and benevolence in the cosmos and religions are merely models of behaviour and adherence to authority that have worked for different people at different times in our history. None of them can accurately describe reality and that’s because we’re still not entirely sure what it is yet! Thus if God exists then God must be grander and more beautiful than can be described within the human mind and literature (yes it possible to be a Nihilist and a believer in God. God may himself be a nihilist!).
Life is nonsensical!
9. All is without purpose. Our empirical search for the meaning of life has drawn a blank. Throughout human history. Many people have claimed to have found the meaning of life when all they’ve actually found is a meaning for them. For a meaning of life to be applicable it must be Universal (this means applicable to all people, everywhere in all times), Compulsory (something that you have no choice but to do), Obvious (so plain and simple that everyone understands it) and Unquestionable True (something that cannot be falsifiable).
There has never been a reason for life that has been given by anyone that has passed the UCOT test, some come close like 3 out of 4, not none get all 4.
So ironically you can argue that the meaning of life is simply to exist, nothing else is required. There’s no purpose to the greater universe and there’s none to your life, you are free to determine your own purpose, but that’s optional and not applicable to everyone!
It’s a hard knock life!
10. Chaos and hardship are normal. Whilst everyone is running around trying to turn chaos into order by imposing it on the cosmos and it’s other denizens a fair amount of friction is generated with religions, politicians, the captains of industry and the less subtle effects of culture clashing frequently in the background of your life. The actions of which will affect you in unexpected ways. The ripples of the stones they drop in your pond may reach you and threaten to capsize your boat! Unless you watch out for them… You can have 10 eyes and something will still blindside you!
Job losses, bad bosses, crap lovers, idiots on roundabouts, divorces, feral kids, unnecessary bureaucrats, overcharging merchants, crooks and thieves as well as the propensity to meet ‘arseholes,’ in the street are entirely normal. What is abnormal is that we expect this not to be the case…
The default state of humanity is one of being a semi-toilet trained ape, that with enough alcohol and other substances can quickly lose the toilet training. We are cavemen, born to violence who just happen to wear decent clothes and shop for groceries instead of wearing loin cloths and spearing bison! The business of survival still goes on and it’s feral and primordial an inch below the skin of every person you meet.
We don’t care about lists!
11. You are free to be free. The main thing that you should take away from nihilism is that you are completely free to live life on your own terms, that far from being a negative or pessimistic state to be in this is actually quite liberating. You are free to make your own morality, form your own beliefs about things or not and do as you wish in the plain understanding that you are at once precious and unimportant and that there isn’t anything you can do to change that. We come from nothing, we go back to nothing, what you do in between and how satisfied you feel about it is entirely up to you.
Also, we included an 11 in this list of 10 things that you can learn from Nihilism simply because mathematics is also an arbitrary creation of the mind, it’s not baked into the universe like some physicists like to claim, it’s merely a convenient way of describing the forces that operate within it.
Mathematics describes physics, which in turn describes chemistry which in turn describes biology which describes life. There we have it.