Life’s purpose remains as a variable for mankind. There are three possible choices for this variable: no purpose, a purpose, or the purpose. These choices can be analogous to nihilism, existentialism, and belief in a divine being respectively. But how should one live? From a nihilistic viewpoint, an existentialistic perspective, or just in plain faith? The answer: the latter. However, humans tend to believe their thinking is rational, but one can only say one’s thinking is rational if one knows everything. According to Jesús Mosterín, “Humans are not rational by definition but they can think and behave rationally… depending on whether they apply… the thoughts they accept” (Infosources). In the context of these words, humans create what they believe is rational depending on their knowledge, but in actuality humans cannot be rational because they do not possess omnipotence. Since humans are irrational, there must be a being that is rational who knows the explanations to all questions; everything must have an opposite. With this, nihilism and existentialism are creations of the human mind making it irrational; both of these philosophies do not explain the fundaments to our existence. Rather they are merely a replacement for what humans cannot understand. Hence, people should live by faith in a divine being as it is rational whereas both nihilism and existentialism are irrational.
The philosophies of nihilism and existentialism coincide in the fact that both rely on the human interpretation for life’s purpose. It is a widely accepted definition that nihilism “is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated” ( Dr. Alan Pratt). Having the base word of nihil, Latin for nothing, nihilists, for their radical beliefs, are usually associated with pessimism. Furthermore, nihilism shares a close affinity to existentialism as choosing to believe in nothing is living with a subjective purpose. As Jean-Paul Sartre describes, “[we] are condemned to be free” (2). Being about free will, existentialism says that people can ultimately change their future through the actions they proceed to take. However, because existentialism allows people to change their future for a subjective purpose, it cannot be related to nihilism as nihilists would not bother to change the future knowing that it is pointless.
Carrying this along, there is no appeal to be living life from either a nihilistic or existentialistic viewpoint. Eventually living to serve oneself does reach a point to where one can no longer be content in living life. In a response to a question, John Gardner states that his character Grendel “represents irrationality.” Justified, Grendel does represent irrationality as throughout his life he vacillates from an existentialist to a nihilist. Grendel is the ideal paradigm of the dissatisfaction one feels from living a selfish life; he lives for himself not others.
As a young monster, Grendel experiences his life as an...