David Chapman is writing a book on the meaning of life, called Meaningness, in public on the web. This chapter, on the deceptive lure of nihilism, is particularly interesting.

The particular attitude that Chapman takes issue with is the idea that, because death is certain, life must lack meaning:

“In the end, everything is meaningless. Your death is certain, and final. No heaven awaits; you just cease to exist. Life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. What meaning could that have? You will soon be forgotten, nothing you do can make any difference in the long run, none of it matters.”

His thoughtful dismantling of this is neatly summarised towards the end:

“Yes, nothing really matters in the end. But people forget that things often matter quite a lot in the beginning and the middle.”