I Am Off My Meds -- Part One
I cannot refute nihilism. I cannot prove that at its most basic level the universe isn't just a vast machine running out its power supply until all that is left are virtual particles in the void. True, the machine might not be the grand clock implied by Isaac Newton's physics. There may be a fundamental randomness in the gearing that makes the movements of the machine ultimately unpredictable, but the end state is the same. It all runs down. It may be a Schrödingerian machine rather than Newtonian machine, but I cannot refute the contention that it is all just a machine.
I cannot refute the contention the universe is meaningless. I cannot refute the contention that it is without purpose. We cannot predict all of the interim moves as the game is played out, but our science appears to be implying that we can predict the final score: zero to zero. When the game is over, the pieces might be picked up and randomly reset, but that new game will be a different universe, not ours.
I cannot through deductive reasoning prove anything at all about the nature of the universe. Deductive reasoning requires that the reasoner choose his postulates. Those postulates don't have to be true in a fundamental sense. She's a dry hole, boys. Time to move on.
What I can do is watch and gather information. I can compare notes with other watchers. I can borrow the thoughts of greater minds than mine. Here and there, under certain conditions, some of the rules of the game can be discerned. We don't know how many rules there are. We don't know their scope. We don't know how long the rules might last until they change. But while they do last, we can use the rules to our advantage. We are not utterly helpless in the path of the Schrödingerian machine, for we ourselves are part of that machine.
The rules may all point to zero in the end, but we do not have to like it. Nihilism is the enemy. I cannot refute the enemy, but I can defy it. All the knowledge I have points to a universe without meaning or purpose. All the knowledge I have points to a game with a final score of zero. What I can offer in response is the cold insight of existentialism: I exist. I am a thinking being.
In a universe that lacks fundamental meaning, I have the thinking being's freedom to choose a meaning of its own, assuming I have any ability to choose at all. I cannot choose the final score of the game. I can choose how I will play it.