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Teenage INTPs and nihilism?

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#1
(Please tell me if the production of this topic is somehow incorrect.)

I read once that INTP adolescents particularly may struggle with mindsets like nihilism. I find it difficult to motivate myself to do anything, instead procrastinating away much of my time. I see the futility in everything and therefore don't push myself to to work, and it is concerning me.

It's not even just futility in the universal sense, but societal, if you get me. I feel guilty for opportunities I hold in being born into a middle class, liberal family, etc. and also feel fear that I will not contribute satisfactorily to the scientific community - at least in my mind, as a perfectionist.

Do many others feel the same? What advice, experience or information might you be able to provide?
 

TBerg

fallen angel who hasn't earned his wings
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#2
There is nothing wrong with being lucky. Fuck everyone who takes the joy of luck away from you. Just find something right now about you that you would like to change, and pursue that goal with all of your effort. Action in this case provides you the experience you need to gain deeply processed information that always leads to awful and awesome wisdom. You will need certain appreciation of those around you as well as the exercise of your curious spirit.
 

Auburn

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#3
I think feelings of fear are common when life hasn't yet unfolded and one's unsure of what will happen. It'd be stranger if fear didn't exist... although some people have higher levels of uncertainty than others.

I always ended up finding advice unhelpful because despite what may be suggested as a better mindset to hold... the uncertainty goes away on its own as events approach and pass, giving one more of a grasp on what directions and opportunities truly lie before you.

What if instead we sought to find ways to be as observant and engaged in the present as we can, and jump to opportunities that pass us by (i.e. someone offers a summer volunteer post at the vet clinic... where you learn a bit about pharmacy and biology and have that under your belt for later scientific endeavors)

As hard as it is for introverted people sometimes, exposure is what fixes the tunnel-vision of our own brains and makes us realize that a dynamic world is around us, constantly opening and closing doors.

*gets off soapbox* o.o
 
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#4
Sounds like you've already set your self a target in contributing to the scientific community...
In regards to nihilism in general, until we solve the mystery of life and the universe, everything is seemingly pointless - question is, do you want to play your role in this pointless movie?
Check out the 'Absudity' thread as it develops, also this, linked by Animekitty a wee bit earlier: http://armageddonconspiracy.co.uk/The-Leibniz-Riddle(1359627).htm

Coming from a middle class liberal up-bringing, I should imagine that hasn't presented you with many challenges to overcome, unlike others in less desirable environments.

I was dragged up rather than brought up, and by an idiot at that; I've never spent a penny that I didn't earn, I worked on my morals and intellect in my teenage years in order to seperate my self from the broken home from whence I came.

If I didn't have those challenges to overcome in my teenage years, I imagine I would have suffered with severe nihilistic thoughts... Dunno what to recommend, unless you seek a paradigm shift lol.
 

Yellow

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#5
I've been wondering lately if being a privileged IxxP is a curse rather than a blessing. I think most IxxPs who have done something, or will do something with our lives are those who had little choice. If you have no motivation to succeed, or at least carry your own weight, then where does that leave you? On a couch, falling asleep to hentai at 3am on a Tuesday night.

That being said, yes, I think that mindset is normal for INTPs in your demographic.
 
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#6
I've been wondering lately if being a privileged IxxP is a curse rather than a blessing. I think most IxxPs who have done something, or will do something with our lives are those who had little choice. If you have no motivation to succeed, or at least carry your own weight, then where does that leave you? On a couch, falling asleep to hentai at 3am on a Tuesday night.

That being said, yes, I think that mindset is normal for INTPs in your demographic.
yup, very true i think.

to the OP: i had very grave encounters with various aspects of "existence" in my teens. if you're like me, it'll pass and you won't wish it undone. it's part of building a coherent worldview that doesn't shy away from difficult topics. difficult topics require a lot of rumination, emotional as well as intellectual (if such distinction can be made here). experientially it's not really thinking or analyzing, more like confronting. thus i had trouble justifying my wandering mind that seemed not to be performing any legible mental operations but just lingering on things and poking them and feeling them out and relating them to more and more other things, so i want to give you some encouragement. i wish you luck and hopefully you come out more cognitively robust than most of your peers.

i was never bothered by the futility or ultimate meaninglessness of existence per se, but the undeniable truth of determinism troubled me deeply - as did all the other limitations i could think of. i was depressed for a year because there's theoretically a limited number of musical compositions, for example. to relate an anecdote my girlfriend is a pretty clear-cut ISFJ and we discussed this very subject and she's the opposite. i get anxious thinking of limitations, and she gets anxious thinking of the vast and unbound. my mental safe-zone imagery is space and dimensional vortices and altered states, while hers is familiar objects and people and past events.

egotistical post, whatever, i hope you can get something out of it.

i think it could be noted that an NTP kind of mind often takes a while to settle in and get going with stuff. it's not illegitimate to think of yourself as a late bloomer when it comes to life tasks, purpose, discipline, mental hygiene and things like that. NTP wants to explore many things before deciding, and learn many things before implementing. we may seem utterly incompetent or lazy, and lots of judgment is to be expected from people whose strength doesn't lie in openness. mind you i might just be projecting stuff onto you.
 
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#7
Damn thanks dudes for the useful/interesting replies! I feel like I should reply to each, but it'd be unnecessarily self-centred, or just an exclamation of agreement tbh.

In, I guess, relation to privilege - I myself have multiple INTJs close to me, and honestly envy their ability to take advantage of opportunities. If I understand the function, the problem could be a confused Fe getting in the way of making decisions to my advantage when there are other people involved.
 

Bock

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#8
If you have no motivation to succeed, or at least carry your own weight, then where does that leave you? On a couch, falling asleep to hentai at 3am on a Tuesday night.
I knew i was being watched...
 
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#9
(Please tell me if the production of this topic is somehow incorrect.)

I read once that INTP adolescents particularly may struggle with mindsets like nihilism. I find it difficult to motivate myself to do anything, instead procrastinating away much of my time. I see the futility in everything and therefore don't push myself to to work, and it is concerning me.

It's not even just futility in the universal sense, but societal, if you get me. I feel guilty for opportunities I hold in being born into a middle class, liberal family, etc. and also feel fear that I will not contribute satisfactorily to the scientific community - at least in my mind, as a perfectionist.

Do many others feel the same? What advice, experience or information might you be able to provide?
If you feel lucky, then you have a great opportunity to extend that luck to other people. That is purpose enough.
 

Call Me Fishmael

Theoretically a Perfectionist
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#10
Nihilism is not necessarily an unhealthy mindset. Existential nihilism can be a fantastic way of viewing the world. If you acknowledge that life is without any inherent meaning, then you can either kill yourself or continue living. If you continue living, you can accept the existential interpretation of morality, that is, whatever you can get away with. Not as in the legal sense, for fear of punishment by an external authority, but by holding yourself to your own individual standards that you have arrived at by critically examining your own life. While the pressure to conform to an external system is strong, embodying your own morality will always be more rewarding.
 

Tannhauser

angry insecure male
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#11
I definitely 'struggled with nihilism' in my late teens and early 20's. Although I would hypothesise that for an INTP it is more a result of a lack of knowledge/experience than the converse. For example some might say "life is meaningless therefore I should kill myself". Well, as Camus pointed out in "Myth of Sisyphus", killing yourself because life is meaningless is a contradiction: "life is not worth living" does not follow from "life is without meaning".

Actually, I would say that if there was any specific event that made me think about nihilism in a new light and come to grips with it, was indeed reading "Myth of Sisyphus".
 

Bock

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#12
I definitely 'struggled with nihilism' in my late teens and early 20's. Although I would hypothesise that for an INTP it is more a result of a lack of knowledge/experience than the converse. For example some might say "life is meaningless therefore I should kill myself". Well, as Camus pointed out in "Myth of Sisyphus", killing yourself because life is meaningless is a contradiction: "life is not worth living" does not follow from "life is without meaning".

Actually, I would say that if there was any specific event that made me think about nihilism in a new light and come to grips with it, was indeed reading "Myth of Sisyphus".
There is more to life than meaninglessness, things such as suffering, despair and torment - or simply just never being truly content (or even content overall). Or the fact that these things always outweigh the good stuff simply because it's evolutionary advantageous.
 

Tannhauser

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#13
There is more to life than meaninglessness, things such as suffering, despair and torment - or simply just never being truly content (or even content overall). Or the fact that these things always outweigh the good stuff simply because it's evolutionary advantageous.
Not sure if I get your point. The point Camus made, and with which I fully agree, is that nihilism in itself cannot be a reason to find life not worth living, and that nihilism in itself should not demoralize you from achieving things. Nihilism is the stance that there is no given purpose to life. This is the equivalent of saying that you have absolute freedom do decide your purpose. It makes at least as much sense to find that motivating as demoralizing. Why would, for example, life be more worth living if you were given a specific task to perform at birth, like a machine designed to fulfil some purpose?
 

Lol

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#14
As a teenage INTP (18), I cant really say that I struggle with Nihilism. Life can have a lot of different purposes it just depends on what you want from life I guess.
What I have struggled with however is motivation to do things. I get called lazy and laid back quite often which I personally dont think I am but hey.
However I an really good at wasting time so I can see where they're coming from.

I'm slowly getting over this obstacle by setting mini projects on what I want to achieve, for example get a driving licence. I'll be focused on completing the project ASAP and when it's completed I'll set another profect to do.
It's proved to be quite useful, I'm feeling more productive in my life and am achieving more stuff.
 
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#15
I don't think nihilism is necessarily something to "struggle" with. While I do think maybe it can be a common mindset for INTP adolescents (especially now that I'm reading this thread), you don't necessarily have to consider it a problem.

For instance, when I was in high school, I developed an existential mindset. I found it quite empowering, since life being devoid of any particular purpose or meaning meant that I was free to find my own path, chart my own course. No matter what obstacles were thrown my way-- by society, my peers, adults, anyone-- I could do literally anything I wanted, because there was no metaphysical force stopping me. If anything-- take it from personal experience-- it would be determinism or fatalism that would truly cripple you and prevent happiness.
 

Mensch

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#16
Young INTP nihilist here too! Except I don't "struggle" with nihilism anymore. I've been studying philosophy for one and a half year, and struggled with the nihilism problem aswell; if there isn't any objective meaning / presupposed goal with one's life, are there any reasons to do anything, or in the extreme; to live?

The answer is; it doesn't matter if there are any objective goal / meaning with life. You can find meaning in any action you value and understand why you value it (existencialism).

Nihilism is only the presupposition that there isn't any giving meaning to the world in it self. It has nothing to do with yourself wishing a given goal or meaning to your life - for yourself. It is yourself that give values to the objects around you in the world, not the world in itself. Nihilism and existencialism is perfectly consistent together, as long as you see the "directions" for what they are. Nihilism is related to value for the world in itself, which doesn't exist unless the world in itself is a counciousness giving value to everything (value doesn't exist to the world in itself [for example the universe, which isn't a counciousness]). Existensialism has to do with value for the counciousness, for example for humans, which have the ability to value objects, the world around itself, and appreciate it's own life.

After philosofied over terms like "quality", "value", nihilism and read myself up on existencialism, I got over the "meaningless-/nihilism"-struggle.

I absolutely recommend that you read up on Jean Paul Sartre and his theory about the "life project", which he argues very well should be a sufficient mindset to motivate oneself in life, and appreciate one's own existence. Also Nietzsche and Kierkegaard are good existencialists, even though Kierkegaard was christian (but he works fine if you look past the christianity and God-stuff).
 

Trurl

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#17
Hi, INTP teenager here, too. To say, I don't struggle with nihilism of the "classical type". I mean, when doing things I like e.g. maths or playing music, I do it for its own sake. And I feel/think that I don't do it for a meaning defined by myself, rather for a meaning it already had(independently from my definitions and interpretations).

What I'm saying is that I can find meaning in certain fields/aspects of life, but I feel that it haven't got a meaning as a whole. The big picture is a meaningless chaos. Like others in this topic, I tried to find answers to these questions in philosophy and literature. Although I have found some authors I have really appreciated(particularly Nietzsche), my questions still remained unanswered. Nietzsche said, that we should get rid of the old values, and replace them by values defined by us. I guess this is statement's purpose was to answer questions like mine. But it didn't. I can define my own values(and through those, the meaning and purpose of my life), but I feel unsatisfied with my own definitions. I don't feel that eternal meaning, independent from material world, which I feel when doing maths, for example. My own values looks human, all too human. Moreover, I think that a human being can't define values which look 'eternal'. This is why I am nihilist.

Note 1: This may sound like I believe in some 'higher power' or something like that. No, I'm an atheist. I just have some intuitive thoughts, which may sound spiritual.

Note 2:If my English is bad, sorry. I'm Hungarian, still learning this language.
 
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