“Optimistic Nihilism” and Whistling Past God’s Graveyard
The colorful six-minute animation from the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt recently raked in millions of views with a brief history of...well, everything. The narrator offers a naturalistic view of the entire universe, but carries it to nihilistic conclusions.
You’ve heard the story before: In its infancy, humanity believed in God, purpose, and the centrality of human life to cope with the scariness of earth. As we got “older,” science showed us how backward these ideas were.
The condescension toward believers and the assumed conflict between faith and reason is not surprising. What is surprising is Kurzgesagt’s conclusion about what this all means in the end. In short, we come face to face with an inconceivably enormous universe that is from nothing, for nothing, and amounts to nothing, culminating finally in its own heat death.