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.


  • While on the surface it seems like existentialism, underneath this feels like a pep talk, or a different take on affirmation.

    Care to share about the med thing? None of my business, but curiosity wins out sometimes.

  • Last month I had an incident where I felt very, very good -- better than I had in decades -- for no reason at all, along with no desire to sleep for about 24 hours. There was no way it could have been natural, so I decided to wean myself off the antidepressants. I took my last (reduced) dose 25 October.

    My moods since have been more reactive and volatile than they have been in a long time.

  • I am back on my meds.
    The experiment worked for a while. I felt good without feeling so emotionally flattened. This month, however, the anxiety came back big time, and I haven't been able to keep it in control with just thinking and breathing. Oh, well. Such is life.
    I wonder what people with unnaturally high anxiety did before modern drugs. Did they all become drunks?

  • Perhaps they became hermits?

    Although examining history we can see plenty of stories of shell shock, of hysteria, of catatonia, etc that were treated in numerous fashions... Normally followed by stories of addiction to said substances.

    As an example, ancient Rome apparently cultivated poppies for opium... Marcus Aurelius may have been using them for stress. Maybe.

  • edited March 2019

    There is (was) a whole generation of world war two veterans that came back with all manner of PTSD and anxiety disorders... Because there was no understanding of these psychiatric conditions, at the time, everyone just thought they were assholes.

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