As I recall my own experimentation with love and life outside of the Church — primarily Her wisdom but also Her graces and the sacraments — I recollect on how empty everything was. Nihilism has become glorified these days, in part of a reason I’ll cover here. People have gotten used to having no sense of control over their lives, or having so little control that they choose to either humor themselves and find joy/relief in their helplessness or they exercise as much freedom as they can to enjoy what good things they can effect.
The truth about nihilism, once you take away all the privileged voices praising it and those defeatists who have come to accept nothing as if it were something, is that the emptiness is crippling. Taken for what it is, nihilism is nothing to glorify. I must add that I do make jokes that could be considered nihilistic. I value nihilism insofar as it detaches me and encourages detachment from the world. I truly believe that the real wisdom of nihilism is this and nothing else: it describes a world where nothing has any reason to exist. Our age could use a bit more of that kind of thinking.
Many have, but only as a presupposition about which they are anything but clear. Consumerism and the modern dating scene both presuppose a universe where nothing has any particular meaning or reason for existing. Sure, things are enjoyable, but appreciating something for the way it looks or feels cannot be said to be the same thing as understanding it’s purpose. How many women have felt objectified because the person they are was less important to a guy than the way they looked? A sensual appreciation of something, more aptly put, is not an appreciation at all. It’s a mere response.
It should be noted that we are not satisfied in any such way. Hence, the level of disinterest, depression, and boredom that people are experiencing. This far, I should not have confused any Christians.
Nor offended. But I’m afraid I likely now will. Indeed it has only recently dawned on me, but I really do wonder why no Christians think that perhaps the way the feminists, liberals, and everyone else — even some of their own — take part in consumerism and dating is because they have no real conception or hope that they may live a truly good life, a life of virtue. Consider Netflix and Chill and porn. Just consider these two alone. They both in fact touch on the metaphysical underpinning of consumerism. Once again, we are really helpless to effect the things in life we want. Most of us, all of us, do want marriage and sex, but the modern culture and environment we are living in makes this is harder than ever. So people without Christian hope give up. They Netflix and Chill or watch porn because they want the comfort and closeness that comes from marriage or at least a long-term relationship, but give into the idea that the future is more certain because it is nearer to control. Their hopes are not set on the distant future because they’ve experienced so many harsh and disheartening blows in their own life. And when they are disappointed after these experiences, they quickly acquiesce because the rest of their life experiences confirm this rise and fall. The real tragedy in watching people have sex or pretending to have the intimacy of a married couple is this: people cannot do anything but tease their hearts with an illusion.
I know the Christian reader can find any number of places to admonish a specific return to virtue as taught by the Faith. But this is not a defense of Christianity, it is a defense of the humanity and goodness in those outside the Faith. Hell, it is even a defense of those who practice as best they can but fail or believe something different that the Church does not teach.
Until Christians can stop preaching the narrative that people’s actions are the direct consequence of choices they desire, until Christians can accept that a lot of the pain in the world comes from a desire to do good, Christians will not help anyone. Perhaps we’ll save ourselves, but here the obvious advice is that Christ said no such thing, but rather to go and preach the Gospel.