Existential Crisis... Have you had one?

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So I'm at a point in my life where I can't see the point in life... I can't tell if the results of my life are the product of my own choices or a predetermined path. Rather than self-indulgently spill my guts onto this page as a manner of self therapy I would simply like to know if you have had an existential crisis, and if so, how did you deal with it/ overcome it (if at all).

I don't think I've had a true existential crisis, but I've definitely had my doubts about my future. It can be scary to think about, especially since a lot of my former classmates have seemingly moved on with their lives to bigger and better things, and here I am on a forum at 2:30 in the morning, not writing a paper, and working a part time job.

But then I think I've got 50 years in front of me, future me can handle all of it

Huh. That sounds like me every day before breakfast.

I didn't realise it constituted a crisis though.

Had one a few years ago. I didn't handle it very well and it took focusing myself on only the most basic necessities to prevent everything from spiraling totally out of control.

I've been limping along and slowly deteriorating ever since. As it stands, I'm pretty sure that I'm trying to push everybody I know away so that when I do finally kill myself nobody will be hurt by it.

Had one when I was 16-22. Grew out of it, eventually.

You create your own prison of misery, while you can quite easily break out of it. You don't have to be unhappy. There's a comfort in being sad, but there's a greater awesomeness in being happy (or, at least, average).

coheedswicked:
So I'm at a point in my life where I can't see the point in life... I can't tell if the results of my life are the product of my own choices or a predetermined path. Rather than self-indulgently spill my guts onto this page as a manner of self therapy I would simply like to know if you have had an existential crisis, and if so, how did you deal with it/ overcome it (if at all).

Probably everyone has some kind of existential crisis at some point, it just varies between people how much they are bothered by it.

I mean, it makes sense, doesn't it?You as a person or individual have no meaning, and your life will have no meaning in the long run. Maybe 100 years from your death someone will still remember you, but they will die as well.
Your studies, career or possible ambitions mean jack shit.

As much as anyone would like to think that we as beings are more than the sum of our parts... we really aren't.
You, as a person, are a sum of your social experiences, genes, chemistry and memories, and I believe these things are what guide you. While for example I may think that I have the free will to decide to post or not post into this thread, I will always in the current situation decide to post, since that is the decision that my previously mentioned components make for me.

Human beings ain't that different from animals. In the same way as Pavlov conditioned the dog, Watson conditioned the baby Albert to be afraid of hairy things.

Then people say that you should find meaning in love, but even that seems to be a response to some other person's qualities that are dictated by your qualities. While the circumstances are different in different situations thanks to other people, your "pre-generated" response doesn't change. Then when you get into a relationship, studies indicate that serotonine, dopamine and the like start acting in your brain, which gives you the good feeling that you get from a relationship. Then the effects wear off in couple of weeks/couple of months. It has also been noted that oxytocin could be related to long term relationships as it's levels start to increase and it is suspected that it creates the sort of feeling of "belonging together", which is of course necessary from a biological point of view to make sure that the offspring dont die before they get to mate.

So, at least that's some of my opinions on the subject of what our existence amounts to.

Then again, all of this could be wrong and scientists could find a "soul" that gives us free will tomorrow.
That's the interesting part: we don't know for sure.

So how do you resolve your existential crisis? Well, you just deal with it.
Three options as I see it.

1. Convince yourself about the meaning of something and start doing it and/or religion
2. Just give up
3. Accept the fact that you mean jackshit, and carry on

My biggest existential crisis up until now was when I was around twenty.
However, the whole pointlessness of living has been, and always will be a issue for me.
My solution so far is to accept that, and be numb.

I'm going through one right now. It sucks

Sometimes I think life has become such a rut that I wonder if I randomly beat someone with a chair in a class that the world would even notice, as if it's unable to change or react to change.

Hell yes I've been through them. A few years back I was in a couple of Philosophy classes, and after writing my final submissions I had inadvertently become a determinist. That coupled with some existentialism is plenty to drive somebody to depression.

Best advice- just be fatalistic about these things. Even if you determine that life has no meaning, or that you have no free will, or any other deep crisis that tends to stem from these things- do what I did: resolve to enjoy yourself anyways. The best thing I ever did for my brain was resolve to not give a damn whether or not anything I did meant anything- or if anybody else was even real. Do I still have those scary moments? Sure; but resolving to not actually care about the truth of the situation did me a lot of good. Willful ignorance is bliss in this case- you can still think about these things but it is within your capability to ignore them.

Been there done that type of thing.
Had existentian cryses, couple of them, contemplated suicide, felt like there is no life for me ahead. You know what helped - change of enviroment. and i dont mean moving. i dropped the current internet comunities, found others, made friends, took a summer job and suddenly i discovered meaning of life, it is to make myself happy. and i work towards it. Sadly its not easy, as while i am easily pleased, i do find myself biding to the goal of making world a better place. and thats not easy.

OniaPL:

1. Convince yourself about the meaning of something and start doing it and/or religion

While you dont look stupid or trolling, you jut told the person to get religiuos? i am dissapoint :(

Paladin2905:
Hell yes I've been through them. A few years back I was in a couple of Philosophy classes, and after writing my final submissions I had inadvertently become a determinist.

Nothing wrong with determinism. Its just that people do not understand it. Nothing happens randomly, but the things that happen are decided by trillions of trillions factors that happen at quantum level and thus is pretty much impossible to predict realistically. we group these things up, we have electrons, brains, behavior patters, social norms, but its all about movements of quantum particles and thats why most people fail to grasp determinism.

Strazdas:

While you dont look stupid or trolling, you jut told the person to get religiuos? i am dissapoint :(

While I didn't assume that you can't type properly or present an actual counterargument to my argument, I was wrong. I am disappoint.

Religion isn't inherently bad or good, right or wrong or any other things. While I am not religious, I don't see a reason why I should be hating on those with faith. Isn't it everybody's own business what they choose to believe as long as it doesn't actively harm others in a physical way?

Religion gives some people meaning.
That's what religion is. Trusting in an invisible, higher force as an attempt to explain their own existence, and the world around them, and that way religion gives meaning to people's lives.

Do you disagree with this assessment? Or did you just jump on the word "religion" blindly "'cause this be the internet and we all must be hatin' on dat shit 'cause dem crusades, fundamentalists and shit, yo?

OniaPL:

Strazdas:

While you dont look stupid or trolling, you jut told the person to get religiuos? i am dissapoint :(

While I didn't assume that you can't type properly or present an actual counterargument to my argument, I was wrong. I am disappoint.

well played.

Religion isn't inherently bad or good, right or wrong or any other things. While I am not religious, I don't see a reason why I should be hating on those with faith. Isn't it everybody's own business what they choose to believe as long as it doesn't actively harm others in a physical way?

While that is true in theory, falls short in practice, as all popular religions survive by blind belief and zealous recruitment while shunning from disbelievers. Other religions do not survive the religion wars long. I have no argument with a person who has a belief and thats it. However when they go around telling me i will burn in [insert your bad place here] because i dont believe, sorry, i dont want you to direct people to be like that.

Religion gives some people meaning.

lottery does too, does not make it a good cause.

That's what religion is. Trusting in an invisible, higher force as an attempt to explain their own existence, and the world around them, and that way religion gives meaning to people's lives.

God of Gaps is why we had dark ages. Humanity is halted by God of Gaps.

Do you disagree with this assessment? Or did you just jump on the word "religion" blindly "'cause this be the internet and we all must be hatin' on dat shit 'cause dem crusades, fundamentalists and shit, yo?

I have been discussing religion for many years now, i have my arguments, but i guess i forgot this site never assumes knowledge when there isnt proof. my bad in this case, anything mroe specific you want to know my stance on?

Nope, not ever. I have both short and long term goals that give reason to my life and in case that everything would fail I still have religion to back it up.

I don't think so. But then again, I don't put too much thought into that kind of thing. Makes it harder to focus on what's important.

Spinozaad:
Had one when I was 16-22. Grew out of it, eventually.

You create your own prison of misery, while you can quite easily break out of it. You don't have to be unhappy. There's a comfort in being sad, but there's a greater awesomeness in being happy (or, at least, average).

How the hell do you have almost 2000 posts and only 4 badges?

Strazdas:

OniaPL:

Religion isn't inherently bad or good, right or wrong or any other things. While I am not religious, I don't see a reason why I should be hating on those with faith. Isn't it everybody's own business what they choose to believe as long as it doesn't actively harm others in a physical way?

While that is true in theory, falls short in practice, as all popular religions survive by blind belief and zealous recruitment while shunning from disbelievers. Other religions do not survive the religion wars long. I have no argument with a person who has a belief and thats it. However when they go around telling me i will burn in [insert your bad place here] because i dont believe, sorry, i dont want you to direct people to be like that.

Well, then your experiences must be very different from mine, as I have never had someone walk up to me and tell me that I will burn in hell because of yadda yadda yadda, nor have any of the religious people I know shunned me because I am not one of them.
Many people believe in god or something supernatural, and they do not actively try to convert others or shun them. While every religious has their own bit more extreme sides, so does every institution/organization. You saying that all religious folks are bad is the same as me saying that all yankees are bad because of Snookie.

This person asked where he could find meaning to his life. I answered that religion might offer it. I did not say that "go christian and go all inquisition on their ass!".

Strazdas:

OniaPL:
Religion gives some people meaning.

lottery does too, does not make it a good cause.

Lottery and religion are two different entities which do not belong in the same category, you can't compare them. I fail to see what you intended to convey with this comparison.
And how do you determine "a good cause"? There is no universal, objective good cause.

Strazdas:

OniaPL:

That's what religion is. Trusting in an invisible, higher force as an attempt to explain their own existence, and the world around them, and that way religion gives meaning to people's lives.

God of Gaps is why we had dark ages. Humanity is halted by God of Gaps.

But that's on humanity, not religion itself. Besides, the dark ages can't be compared to modern ages since during the dark ages and before them religion played an important part in the affairs of the state while in the modern world religion largely does not have much of a say when it comes to politics, legislation or similar affairs that could hinder the scientific progress that other people strive for.
Third world countries are a different matter, of course.

Had one last week.

Yeah, it's not very fun.

VanQQisH:
How the hell do you have almost 2000 posts and only 4 badges?

He probably hasn't touched his badge order since the change. When they changed it to display 5 badges, you'd still only show 4 until you changed your order, whereupon it would change to 5.

OT: Nope, never had one. That's probably the joy of living for myself.

I kinda had one of those once. Here are the steps I took to resolve it.

1. Went to GP. Was given a sample of SSRIs in a brown paper bag with hand-written dosage instructions scribbled on it.
2. Took a dose. Went nuts for a day.
3. Researched those particular pills. Discovered the horrific side-effects which the doctor gave me no warning of. Vowed never to deal with that quack again. Threw pills in the garbage.
4. Made appointment with counselor.
5. While waiting to get in, started taking steps to get life under control.
6. Met with counselor. Counselor's judgement: "You are unusually self-aware. Keep doing what you're doing. Come back if it doesn't work."
7. Kept doing what I was doing. Changed job and country. Found I enjoyed it immensely.
8. Approached my new career from the perspective of using my work to try and make the lives of the people around me happy.
9. Periodically go through grumpy phases or even once in a while a full-on depressed phase, but then I go to work. And then I generally come home happy and fulfilled because I made someone's life just a little bit better.

I've had periodic panic attacks to do with fearing death, ever since I lost my religion.

In November I got something like this full on. Fearing death, fearing ageing, fearing how short life is, fearing eternal non-existence, fearing how futile life is no matter how good or bad it is. Preys on your thoughts all the time. It peaked around Christmas time. Worst thing about it is feeling that even if I got over it I'd just be ignoring the problem I've realised here.

AnarchistFish:
I've had periodic panic attacks to do with fearing death, ever since I lost my religion.

In November I got something like this full on. Fearing death, fearing ageing, fearing how short life is, fearing eternal non-existence, fearing how futile life is no matter how good or bad it is. Preys on your thoughts all the time. It peaked around Christmas time. Worst thing about it is feeling that even if I got over it I'd just be ignoring the problem I've realised here.

Live on through the ways you influence others, through your children, through your deeds and creations. That is what life is: a huge canvas that every living thing contributes to. If you stand before it, always worried that you will mess up or that it won't matter, then you will have passed up the opportunity to be part of the greatest coalition of creativity and thought that has ever existed. I urge you to pick up a brush and make a few strokes.

This thread and this ---> http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.400986-Have-you-ever-felt-like-its-pointless-to-live-anymore thread both on the front page on Valentine's Day? Coincidence? I think not.

OT: I don't count the typical "boo hoo the world is evil no one loves me everyone should die" teenage angst as an existential crisis. I've yet to have a genuine one either. Right now my point in life is to finish my studies to become a land surveyor honorably while trying to keep my social circle from diminishing altogether. And learning to play piano on the side.

PissOffRoth:

AnarchistFish:
I've had periodic panic attacks to do with fearing death, ever since I lost my religion.

In November I got something like this full on. Fearing death, fearing ageing, fearing how short life is, fearing eternal non-existence, fearing how futile life is no matter how good or bad it is. Preys on your thoughts all the time. It peaked around Christmas time. Worst thing about it is feeling that even if I got over it I'd just be ignoring the problem I've realised here.

Live on through the ways you influence others, through your children, through your deeds and creations. That is what life is: a huge canvas that every living thing contributes to. If you stand before it, always worried that you will mess up or that it won't matter, then you will have passed up the opportunity to be part of the greatest coalition of creativity and thought that has ever existed. I urge you to pick up a brush and make a few strokes.

thanks, I'll keep it in mind

coheedswicked:
So I'm at a point in my life where I can't see the point in life... I can't tell if the results of my life are the product of my own choices or a predetermined path. Rather than self-indulgently spill my guts onto this page as a manner of self therapy I would simply like to know if you have had an existential crisis, and if so, how did you deal with it/ overcome it (if at all).

Yeah, after being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 25 it made me question the value of the actions I had taken though my life and made me realize how i had alienated a lot of my friends and family with out ever realizing it. I felt completely alone, starting to question my identity and my goals in life.

As for a way to deal with your existential crisis: Try setting yourself a goal you know you can reach and you have sometimes thought about, like climbing a mountain. do something you have never made the time or effort to do.

Nope. The only point to life is whatever you meaning you give it. Find something you're good at or want to do and work towards it. There's no external goal, so find your own. Embrace it as the opportunity that fact is rather than despair because you lack external direction. Don't see it as pointlessness, see it as freedom.

i almost lost my mind once when i was a teenager - i was living in a small, conservative town with odd-ball parents and few friends. almost convinced myself that i wasn't really here. then i though, most likely, we're here and there isn't anything after life, so might as well make the most of it and try to enjoy the time i'm here instead of ending it and finding out what death is like, as i'll find out eventually.

I agree completely with the idea that life has only whatever meaning you give to it. In fact, I had discovered this long before my existential crisis. The problem is that everything that I had built up in my mind to be parts of my own personal meaning faded away. I am currently studying to get my M.D. and until recently I've thoroughly enjoyed it, but now I find myself losing my motivation; I used to play guitar for pleasure and to relieve stress and in the past couple of weeks I have barely touched it, though this feeling is causing me a great deal of stress. It is as though I no longer enjoy anything I used to. I seem to have no motivation for anything. I seem to be drifting. These are the feelings that have caused this crisis.

Nope. Life is fine, and even if my plans don't work out, I figure I can ad lib my way somewhere else. I've generally found that if something goes to shit in my life, I can trace is back to my own stupid decisions.

Maybe for a few seconds....then I remember something awesome

Like my new gaming pc

Lately I've been feeling like Bill Murray in the movie, "Groundhog Day" with every day feeling the same, being bland and pointless. I think the only thing that keeps me sane is thinking about going back to school and getting a job somewhere else.

coheedswicked:
So I'm at a point in my life where I can't see the point in life... I can't tell if the results of my life are the product of my own choices or a predetermined path. Rather than self-indulgently spill my guts onto this page as a manner of self therapy I would simply like to know if you have had an existential crisis, and if so, how did you deal with it/ overcome it (if at all).

I've had that fate one creep up on me before but I find that, at least for me, it is surprisingly easy to shut down if you ask yourself how do you tell if your life is by choice or fate. If you can't tell then why does it matter? My view is that I am the master of my own destiny until proven otherwise and even my entire life is written like a book then it would be rather rude not to finish such an intricate story.

My most recent crisis was a few nights ago. I had what I like to call a "death attack" where the question 'what happens after I die' comes up. Currently my view is absolutely nothing, which hits pretty hard for being nothing. Accepting it is incredibly difficult since I can't really imagine non-existence, after all existence is all I've ever known, but I've at least come to terms with it. Come to think of it this kind of ties into that fate/choice one. I don't care if my life is predetermined or not cause I don't have anything to look forward to afterwards. Might as well make the most of what you have then wish for something.

I find that it helps if you record a conversation about the crisis with yourself. Just talking to yourself works too but recording makes it feel less awkward and you can always playback the recording if the crisis point comes up again. I've done it a few times and I just keep the recordings tucked away somewhere on my hard drive. I don't post them or show them to anyone and probably never will.

Did during my younger years. Not in a "oh-god my-life is-pointless" sense but more like "Holy shit, we exist, we're flying through space, and atoms are in EVERYTHING! WHY IS NO ONE ELSE FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS?!?" Mainly when I found myself bored and flexing my hands.

I've had those depressed moments where I've wondered why I should bother doing anything, but then I would answer it when I remember I like my bed, nachos exist, and cartoons are a thing.

Really, and this is gonna sound kinda...iffy, but you just shouldn't think about it. Your purpose, your meaning, your whatever. Just do what you want to do. No, I'm not telling you to stop reflecting on your life, but to stop thinking so needlessly big. You're just trying to climb a mountain that keeps growing every once and awhile, it's not worth it in the long run. In reality, a simple life isn't that hard. Just try to stay alive and keep moving forward.

Oh, and what you're actually feeling is the collective embarrassment from all your past mistakes and how it's currently impacting your life. Cheers to mistakes.

OniaPL:

This person asked where he could find meaning to his life. I answered that religion might offer it. I did not say that "go christian and go all inquisition on their ass!".

Fair enough.

Lottery and religion are two different entities which do not belong in the same category, you can't compare them. I fail to see what you intended to convey with this comparison.
And how do you determine "a good cause"? There is no universal, objective good cause.

Both run on people stupidity and false belief.
While not objective, a universal good cause is one that ensures existence. Stupidity and blind belief does not fall into that. although i do agree lottery is not the best example. However when people think they can heal cancer with prayer this does not help humanity. or maybe it does, it weeds out the stupid.

But that's on humanity, not religion itself. Besides, the dark ages can't be compared to modern ages since during the dark ages and before them religion played an important part in the affairs of the state while in the modern world religion largely does not have much of a say when it comes to politics, legislation or similar affairs that could hinder the scientific progress that other people strive for.
Third world countries are a different matter, of course.

Humanity made godreligions. religion, being construct of humanity, has all the problems humanity has. While church does not have the ultimate power anymore, to say that it does not have a say in politics legislation, scientific progress of even something as simple as teaching biology in school is simply ignorant. Do you not remember the incident when a woman sued the local government, because the senior home were forcing prayer before food. Or how religious zealots stopped stem cell research pre-obama? or how abortion is still not legal in many states? or how gays are shunned by religious zealots?

I do admit i attacked you too zealously, i am like that, and for that i am sorry. but religion is a thing that should not be sought out or even suggested. Not in the state it is now anyway.

Sometimes I find myself staring into the abyss, the darkness threatening to consume me... Then I flip the darkness the bird, and go back to being awesome. See, the thing about determinism is that even if life is pre-determined, it doesn't matter. It's fascinating to see how the dominoes fall, even if I had no hand in how they fell.

Well, I never really assumed there was any sort of point to life in the first life. I just do what I do and enjoy my life while it lasts.

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