Why is Gen-Z so Nihilistic?

Why is Gen-Z so Nihilistic?

Why is Gen-Z so Nihilistic?

By Disha Suresh

Disillusionment, lack of attachment and an odd acceptance of death; this is how a majority of Gen Z looks like. Generation Z broadly comprises of the children born between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Nihilism is the philosophical belief that all values are pointless and that humans have little to no purpose in this world. It comes from the Latin word “nihil” which means “nothing”. This idea occupied artists, thinkers and philosophers in the 1900s. Now, everyone born after 1998 employs this ideology without knowing what it is called. No matter the stress, political situation and economic turmoil, Gen-Z simply does not care. They believe that life is quite meaningless. A lot of this ideology stems from upbringing and the shared history that we are currently experiencing. 

Our parents and grandparents were born into a post-war society, which experienced a shift in values, rapid capitalization and industrialization. This led to an increased focus on materialism and accumulating money and property. The consequent generations, i.e. the millennials and Gen-Z, were in the shadow of this generation. They were expected to function the same way but under different circumstances. The economy worsened, cost of living went up, and the wages went down. But the millennials and Gen-Z then resorted to fatalistic thinking and dark humour in order to accept the inherent meaningless of their actions, struggling and striving, because it was leading them nowhere. 
           
The blatant nihilism of the current generation is visible in its popular culture. In the cult classic Fight Club, the protagonist says, “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” This ideology is also highlighted in the humor of the current generation. There is an entire subcategory in memes called nihilist memes, which make fun of the pointlessness of actions. 

There is an increasing silent rebellion against the moral conventions of society that the present generation is waging. They have no religious affiliations and show mistrust in institutions of society. They are likely to not associate with their country, community or ethnicity as it is clearly pointless in the long run. Nihilism can be beneficial and reduce the anxieties of the present generation, for what can affect them if there is no clear objective in life other than being content.