->''"There can't possibly be any meaning in this world. But isn't that wonderful in its own right? Because if there isn't any, we can find our own."''
-->-- A {{Moe}} ShellShockedVeteran from ''SoRaNoWoTo''

This is the sort of character that goes by doctrines along the lines of "Don't cling to pain. Don't expect happiness. Don't fear loss. Accept reality as it is. Enjoy the good. Endure the bad. Don't make a big deal out of anything. Be selfless, and unconditionally kind and just, without ever expecting a reward. We're all going to end up as piles of dust, so why not be nice to each other and get those pleasant fuzzies?"

Basically, an Anti-Nihilist that decides to be ''nice'', ''caring'', ''loving'' and/or ''compassionate'' for the same reasons the StrawNihilist decides to be an [[TheUnfettered unfettered]] SocialDarwinist OmnicidalManiac.

Instead of angsting all the time about "[[CrapsackWorld Life is hell,]] [[DownerEnding we're all gonna die]] [[YouCantFightFate and you can't fight fate,]] [[PutThemAllOutOfMyMisery thus we might as well start killing each other right now]]", this type thinks more like "Life is hell, we're all gonna die and you can't fight fate... [[YouAreNotAlone but why not make each others' lives worthwhile and enjoyable in the meantime?]] [[ForGreatJustice The only thing that matters is letting people know that you care about them, because whatever someone is, has, or can do doesn't mean a damned thing in the end.]]" TheAntiNihilist is usually a KnightInSourArmor who knows how cynical the world is, but decides to stick to a particular value and make meaning out of it, [[WhatYouAreInTheDark despite knowing how utterly meaningless, pointless and nonrewarding doing so is]].

The Anti-Nihilist is very likely to adhere to a {{Utilitarian|ism}} morality to work ForHappiness, although this isn't a universal rule; there are Anti-Nihilists whose morality might border on self-made BlueAndOrangeMorality (see the philosophy of Creator/FriedrichNietzsche). Expect this declaration of defying nihilism to be uttered as a form of [[ShutUpHannibal shutting up nihilists']] [[BreakingLecture lectures]] [[DespairSpeech on Despair]] and how HumansAreMorons. Thus, very likely to take form as a [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech World-of-Cardboard]][=/=]PatrickStewartSpeech. It will likely include SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers because this guy is enjoying himself while the other guy wallows in misery.

Compare DeterminedDefeatist, who is pessimistic not about the world but about his own chance of success, but has a similar 'let's try anyway' mentality. See also {{Ubermensch}} for the type of person who believes in creating their own meaning and morality, but may not be quite as caring or considerate of others in the process. May choose to be a SmallStepsHero. Though they don't believe there's any real "Bigger Picture" to fight for, that means the little pictures are more important.

IAmWhatIAm is the process of embracing the Anti-Nihilist thinking.

Paradoxically, the original nihilist philosophy as conceived by Friedrich Nietzsche is closer to this trope than it is to the "Hollywood version" of nihilism described under StrawNihilist.

See UsefulNotes/{{Existentialism}} for the philosophy that encouraged living in Real Life as this character.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The main conflicts in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' have shades of this, with the HotBlooded protagonists representing this trope while their opponents appear to be {{Straw Nihilist}}s. [[spoiler:[[WellIntentionedExtremist There's more to them than that]], but they're still ''very'' depressed people]].
* [[CrazyAwesome Jack Rakan]] from ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima''.
-->[[http://www.mangareader.net/mahou-sensei-negima/316/5 Truth? Meaning? That crap ain't got nothing to do with my life!]]
** Fate Averruncus appears to be growing into this as of late. [[spoiler:[[SincerityMode Thanks a lot, Rakan-san.]]]]
* In ''{{Madlax}}'', the eponymous heroine is a gun-for-hire in a civil war-torn country, yet this only makes her more appreciative of life and its small everyday joys; e.g. she visits her client and target ([[SuicideByCop same person]]) on the night before his assassination to comfort him. In the end, it is she (or [[spoiler:the part of Margaret corresponding to her]]) who defeats the StrawNihilist of a BigBad.
* Mikasa Ackerman of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' openly acknowledges that she lives in a CrapsackWorld, but keeps fighting because, as long as she has Eren, she has something to live for.
-->'''Mikasa''': This world is a cruel place. But it is also very beautiful.
* Elmer C. Albatross of ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' has this exact outlook. The guy had a horrible childhood and as a result adopted this sort of unsettling StepfordSmiler personality and obsession with happiness. He feels the world sucks so much that it's important to be happy.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'''s Shinji Ikari grows into this trope at the end of [[TheMovie End Of Evangelion]]. With all the hell he's put through, and with the [[MindRape horrifying]] EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, it would make sense that he would jump into the DespairEventHorizon and become an [[OmnicidalManiac omnicidal]] StrawNihilist, especially when [[spoiler:Rei gives him control over the fate of humanity]]. Nevertheless, he [[spoiler:lets the AssimilationPlot fail, and]] chooses to live life as an individual. Based on how you interpret it, ''Evangelion'' itself is loaded with Existentialist themes, like Jean-Paul Sartre's "HellIsOtherPeople" (in ''Eva'', the so-called Absolute Terror Field surrounding all souls), but at the same time affirms that being alive and suffering are parts of life and that happiness can be achieved.
** Kaji also has very strong traits of it. He knows more about what's going on than almost anyone else, yet he's the only character who appears genuinely happy. During one very close battle against an angel that appears to be the final moments before the end of the world, he is watering the melon patch he is growing, with the battle being visible in the distance. If the world does not end on that day, then the melons need to be watered. If it does, then it won't matter what he is doing in the final moments anyway. Either way, he can't do anything to change what's going to happen in the next ten minutes.
** [[spoiler:Yui Ikari]] is also revealed to have been an optimist despite everything she knew about the darker secrets of the world. She believed that, so long as you were still alive, it was possible to find happiness no matter what.
* The character Panaru in episode three of ''Anime/BoogiepopPhantom'' is respected for having this philosophy and teaching it to others.
* [[spoiler:[[ShellShockedVeteran Filicia Heideman]]]] from ''SoraNoWoto''. [[WarIsHell The things she went through]] constantly haunt her. She concluded that, perhaps, life doesn't have any particular purpose, and made herself one in taking care of her new unit, even if it takes [[ToBeLawfulOrGood commiting treason to stop a war.]] [[LesYay And, she has Rio.]]
* Makina from ''ShikabaneHime''. The final scene in the anime is of her repeatedly punching her archenemy Hokuto (a fellow fighting-zombie) in the face after all is lost: it's the first time she ascribes meaning to her existence.
--> Makina: You're not an undead! You're alive! And so am I!
* Main point of KinosJourney: "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is".
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler: Madoka, although exposed by the Incubators to the pitiless CrapsackWorld that fed on despair, chose in her sacrifice, and also as a reply to Mami's claim that death would be easier and her apotheosis would be a FateWorseThanDeath, to instead believe that if somebody told her that it's wrong to hope, she'll tell them they're wrong countless times. As long as they can remember her, [[YouAreNotAlone they were not alone]]. Homura Akemi]] [[CharacterDevelopment also grows into this kind of character]] [[spoiler:to honor her [[AbstractApotheosis sacrifice.]]]]
-->[[spoiler:''"Even though this world is without witches, that doesn't mean there are no curses. The distortions of the world change form and target people from the darkness. This may be a world without salvation and where nothing but sadness and hatred repeat, but it's still a place she once tried to protect. That is something I remember, something I will never forget. That's why... I will keep fighting."'']]
** In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion'' [[spoiler: Homura has a conversation with an AmnesiacGod Madoka, which makes Homura believe that Madoka only sacrificed herself [[ChronicHeroSyndrome because she had to]] and not because she wanted to. This, [[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind as well as the journey]] [[LotusEaterMachine through her own subconscious]], actually causes Homura [[ILetGwenStacyDie to reject her previous position]]. (For the record, her subconscious includes girls shouting "[[GodIsDead Gott]] [[BilingualBonus ist]] [[Creator/FriedrichNietzsche tot]]!" while throwing tomatoes, which indicates Homura has really resented Madoka's sacrifice.) At the end of the movie Homura becomes an {{Ubermensch}} and undoes Madoka's sacrifice...[[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy because she believes that it's what Madoka really wants]] (and also because it's what Homura herself really wants).]]
* Lelouch from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' ultimately believes in people's desire for the future.
* In ''TheTarotCafe'', immortals tend to find themselves jaded and disgusted with life. Pamela proves herself to be this trope when she talks to Belus [[spoiler:actually the ''very'' crazed and angry demon Bellial]] at the end of the series.
--> "It took me a long time to accept this abnormal life of mine... but going through so much made me realize that it's not how long one lives that's important... it's ''how'' one lives. I choose to live happily."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Optimus Prime becomes this in ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW. This might also be a case of RealityEnsues as to the effects of being at war for millions of years would have on one's psyche.
* He's slightly different from the example, but [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Rorschach]] has a similar philosophy. Instead of abandoning rules and discipline due to a nihilistic outlook he decides his rules and principles are all the more important in a world that has no more meaning than the one we impose on it.
** Dr. Manhattan also develops into this by the end.
** Rorschach's therapist, Malcolm Long, who becomes influenced by his philosophy, also comes to a similar conclusion. When his wife tells him not to intervene in a street fight, he says: "I have to. In a world like this... I mean, it's all we can do, try to help each other. It's all that means anything..." [[spoiler: And then they-- and half of New York City-- die. Not exactly a subversion, but certainly tragic.]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}}, DependingOnTheWriter. The victim of a random and meaningless crime, young Bruce Wayne could have decided that life was pointless, and succumbed to depression and nihilism. But instead he chose to create his own purpose, re-inventing himself as a force for order and justice, which stands in direct opposition to The Joker's strain of chaos and destruction.
** There's actually a surprisingly deep (if unsubtle) quote in ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' which captures the existential nature of Batman's character.
-->'''Alfred''': "Death and chance stole your parents. But rather than become a victim, you have done everything in your power to control the fates. For what is Batman if not an effort to master the chaos that sweeps our world, an attempt to control death itself."
* Despite hanging out with various Norse gods and calling [[TheMightyThor Thor]] "oathbrother", BetaRayBill does not believe in God in the theological sense. This doesn't stop him from being a true hero.
-->"If there is nothing but what we make in this world, brothers... let us make good."
** One could argue that the Norse pantheon along with every other pantheon of gods (Japanese Shinto, Greek, Roman, etc.) are basically just superpowered aliens so the concept of an actual "God" would be different than say Odin or Zeus even if they are the most powerful and elder of their respective pantheons.
* ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye: Minor character Ore was killed in the first issue, the annual (coming out between issue 8 and 9) has him temporarily revived, and his dialogue reveals him to be one. At one point Swerve asks if he's a believer of in any science or religious answer to life.
-->"I'm not '''anything.''' I just think... pfft. What do I think? I think that life is violent and cruel -and precious. Yeah... I think you don't have to believe in a '''higher power''' to be overawed by the world around you."
* AllStarSuperman turns Superman into one. Due to his advanced senses, he can actually ''see'' the way the universe works: a vast, intricate mechanism of connections. The universe merely chugs along indifferently, and the only thing that matters are our connections to each other. The only thing in this vast machine worth protecting is ''life.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Harry himself, in ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality''. He knows that there is no God or meaning to the universe, so he decided to ''become'' God, and... [[UnusualEuphemism optimize]] things. This is also the fundamental difference between him and this 'verse's Voldemort. Voldemort saw an uncaring world and said "[[StrawNihilist Why not be evil]]?" Harry saw an uncaring world and said "Why not be good?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/{{Collateral}}'' shows how one of these might be created. Max starts the film as an idealist and a dreamer, contrasted with StrawNihilist Vincent. After a series of [[HannibalLecture lectures]] from Vincent, Max eventually throws his philosophy back in his face--[[spoiler:yes, Max's life is meaningless, and yes, if he continues living it the way he currently is, he'll never achieve his dreams, so why shouldn't he risk his own life to try to stop Vincent?]]
* A number of protagonists in Creator/WoodyAllen films are people who don't believe there is much more to life than misery and unhappiness, but desperately search for meaning in their existence, and/or simply find a way to enjoy themselves while they can. They may also seek to "escape" their reality, either through overactive imaginations (some of Alvy's childhood memories in ''Film/AnnieHall'', for instance) or more mysterious, generally unexplained {{Plot Device}}s (''Film/MidnightInParis'').
** In ''Film/AnnieHall'', a number of Alvy's opinions on life and relationships ''reek'' of pessimism and nihilism, best exemplified by the film's opening lines: "There's an old joke, um... Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life--full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly."
*** This, however, is turned around when Alvy shares another joke at the very end of the film[[note]]This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken." And, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs."[[/note]] and rationalizes that he has a reason to endure all of the absurdity and suffering "because he needs the eggs". The theme is also exemplified through Dr. Flicker's viewpoint in his talk with young Alvy and his mother, when young Alvy had concluded that nothing is important because the the universe is expanding and everything in existence will fall apart.
---> '''Dr. Flicker:''' It won't be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we've gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we're here!
** In ''Film/MidnightInParis'', Gil finds his reality to be unsatisfying and his work as a Hollywood screenwriter to be worthless. He wishes to escape it all, and he does. However, he later concludes that there is no escape as life and present-day realities are always unsatisfying for everybody, and one ''has to'' live with it. The story concludes with Gil, having decided to leave his "Golden Era", finally finding meaning and joy in his own contemporary era.
** In ''Stardust Memories'', [[AuthorAvatar Sandy Bates is a director of many comedy films who started to tell more serious stories]] because he started finding life to be too miserable and full of suffering and nothing seemed funny to him anymore. [[FilmWithinAFilm His latest movie]] is about delivering a message along the lines of, "No matter who you are or what you did, your life is headed for a garbage dump." He desperately searches for meaning in life, discovering that he'd find it in love and enjoyment in such, despite maintaining that everyone is just headed for the metaphorical "garbage dump".
** In ''HannahAndHerSisters'', Mickey decides to kill himself, because he feels that existence is meaningless. After he bungles it, he goes to the streets, and eventually wanders into a movie theater, where a MarxBrothers film is playing. After a while, he starts enjoying the film.
-->I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself, I mean isn't it so stupid? Look at all the people up there on the screen, they're real funny, and what if the worst is true. What if there is no God and you only go around once and that's it. Well, ya know, don't you wanna be part of the experience? You know, what the hell it's not all a drag. And I'm thinking to myself, jeez, I should stop ruining my life searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And after who knows, I mean maybe there is something, nobody really knows. I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have.
* Phil in Film/GroundhogDay, eventually. Nothing seems to keep the day from repeating, so might as well help out.
* In the famous final scene of ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'', the cast cheerfully sings about the importance of always looking on the bright side of life even in our super-shitty world. [[SoundtrackDissonance While being crucified.]]
* In ''Film/TheSeventhSeal'', Block ultimately becomes this. He can't find God or any meaning in life, so his final quest is to perform some meaningful act to validate his life. He distracts Death to let Mia and Jof and their young child escape alive, at the cost of forfeiting the [[ChessWithDeath game of chess]] that was postponing his own demise.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The title character of ''Jacques the Fatalist'' is (obviously) TheFatalist, and since he believes everything that happens is preordained, he appreciates the good things and reacts with stoicism toward the bad ones.
* Attila József: "Why should I be honorable? I'll be laid out regardless! Why shouldn't I be honorable? I'll be laid out regardless." ("Miért legyek én tisztességes? Kiterítenek úgyis! Miért ne legyek tisztességes? Kiterítenek úgyis.")
* Arguably, Ralph, Piggy and Simon in Literature/LordOfTheFlies. The primary theme of the novel is the regression of humans when removed from the rules and order of society. Ralph and Piggy ruminate on the fact that structure and meaning of the "real world" doesn't apply to their island, but they still commit themselves to maintaining order and peace. All the others, without anything to control them, quickly fall into anarchy and violence.
* Many Literature/{{Discworld}} books have this theme, especially ones focusing on Death and Sam Vimes. Pretty much reflects Creator/TerryPratchett's RealLife views.
** [[MagnificentBastard Lord Vetinari]] (the most competent and benevolent tyrant [[WretchedHive Ankh-Morpork]] could ever hope for) might well be one, as he repeatedly gives cynical speeches about the inherent [[HumansAreBastards evil]]/[[HanlonsRazor stupidity]] of people, yet the very first time he gives such a speech (at the end of ''Guards! Guards!'') Vimes immediately points out that he still bothers to get out of bed in the morning.
** Stated most succinctly by Brutha in ''Discworld/SmallGods''. When Om points out that they'll all be dead in a hundred years, he replies: "But here and now, ''we are alive!''"
* The books of ''HisDarkMaterials'' end up coming around to this theme, more or less, with a bit of a FantasticAesop courtesy of Dust. But it's former nun Mary Malone who first reaches the conclusion: that though once she felt that no God meant no purpose to the world, the need to keep Dust alive, that is, wisdom, curiosity, education, and kindness, gives the worlds purpose. In other words, "There is now!"
* [[FirstPersonSmartass Christine]], the narrator of the novel ''[[FactionParadox Dead Romance]]'' thinks like this when she's dismissing one of her friend's uber-depressing, {{Wangst}}y poetry:
-->''What I'm getting at is that in a pointless, empty universe a good time is as meaningless as a bad time, so you might as well slap on a smile and get on with your life.''
* The narrator of Ted Chiang's short story "Exhalation" is watching his universe wind down to equilibrium. Rather than despair, he implores future explorers to "contemplate the marvel that is existence and rejoice that you are able to do so. I feel I have the right to tell you this because, as I am inscribing these words, I am doing the same."
* The book of Ecclesiastes in Literature/TheBible is perhaps a rare theistic example of this, albeit justified as it is from an ancient Jewish source. The author seems to spend large amounts of time going through the whole of human experience and showing how meaningless it all is, and how we can barely fathom the way of things, or of God, the evils that occur, and how no matter what you do we all die anyway; yet still finds time to point out that some things are better than others, to make the most of life, and above all to remember God.
* An oft-paraphrased passage from Loren C. Eiseley's "The Star Thrower" illustrates this trope and its overlaps with SmallStepsHero and/or DeterminedDefeatist:
-->''While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference.]] He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, [[SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers "It makes a difference for this one."]] I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Inherent to all of Creator/JossWhedon's work.
** ''Series/{{Firefly}}'':
*** Mal fought for freedom and honor in [[TheWarOfEarthlyAggression The War Of Coreward Aggression]]. He lost, and has come to terms with that. But at the same time, he refuses to be a slave or a thug - even when the entire 'Verse insists that he has to obey a higher authority or act against his principles to survive, he remains Captain Malcolm Reynolds. And he aims to misbehave.
*** Simon also has something of a tendency toward this. He specifically states that acting morally means even more out in the black without an authority to impose it.
*** River recognizes that all meaning is "imbued" and thus there really is no "meaning" to begin with, River has a surprisingly positive outlook on life, and sees things in a very innocent way (i.e. the loaded gun everyone was freaking out about took the form of a harmless stick in her mind). Objects In Space is actually an exploration of these two character types, juxtaposing River against Jubal Early, who's definitely a StrawNihilist. Faced with the same realization as River, Jubal's response was to become a complete psychopath who tortured his puppy.
** Series/{{Angel}} from ''Series/{{Buffy the Vampire Slayer}}'' once had the revelation that life has no purpose or meaning, thus making even the tiniest act of kindness an end in itself. Angel's {{Koan}}:
--->If nothing that we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.
*** Wesley outright states the existential nature of the character Angel (as well as the series itself) when he says:
--->"There is a design Angel, hidden in the chaos as it might be. But it's there. And you have your place in it."
*** Contrary to Angel, his son Connor also encounters an existential crisis, but he acts as a [[{{Foil}} mirror image]] to his father by going the opposite route and becoming a StrawNihilist.
* Thanks to CharacterDevelopment, the once callous and self-serving Jeff Winger has elements of this by the end of season 3 of ''{{Series/Community}}''.
* Dean Winchester of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' to some extent, at least up until episode 2 of season 4.
* Implied by Oma Desala in ''Series/StargateSG1''
-->''The Universe is so vast, and we are so small, there is only truly one thing we can control; whether we are good or evil.''
* From ''Series/BabylonFive'' we have Ranger Marcus Cole, who is always eager to annoy the relatively straight-laced military characters of the show with his input:
-->"I used to think it was awful that [[LifeIsntFair life was so unfair]]. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life ''were'' fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because [[LaserGuidedKarma we actually deserve them]]?' So now I take [[IronWoobie great comfort]] in the [[CrapsackWorld general hostility and unfairness of the universe]]."
* Inherent in ''Franchise/StarTrek''. The Federation - or at the very least, Earth - is a whole society of Anti-Nihilists. Since there is no scarcity, the acquisition of wealth is pointless[[note]]But whatever you do, don't tell the Ferengi that. They'll burn you for heresy![[/note]]. Since they've OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions, religion is irrelevant. And since the universe is big enough for everybody, there's no reason to conquer or force people to serve you. Life is focused on individual accomplishment and/or happiness. People go out and find their own purpose - whether that might be exploring the galaxy, making great scientific discoveries, or just starting a farming colony.
* Rust Cohle in ''Series/TrueDetective'' has a deeply nihilistic and pessimistic outlook on life, and thinks that perhaps it would be best if the human race voluntarily extinguished itself. However, he works as a detective.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/VanDerGraafGenerator tackles the subject with "Lemmings"; the first half dealing with the meaningless of life, and the second concluding that ending it all won't fix anything.
* This trope is prevalent in the album Lateralus by ''Music/{{Tool}}''. The lyrics grapple with themes of alienation, helplessness, and disgust at the state of the world, but ultimately come to the conclusion that being bitter won't make things any better and that it's up to everyone to choose what makes their life meaningful.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The Bleak Cabal in ''{{Planescape}}'' is canonically an example of this. Life is meaningless and cruel so hey, no need to add more meaningless cruelty to it by your own actions. The Bleak Cabal runs Sigil's soupkitchens and asylum, and are at a whole a rather decent bunch even if most of them are insane to one degree or another. Sure, their actions won't make any difference in the long run (but in their view, ''nothing'' does anyway), but it helps ''today''.
** They may be the only example on the page that exist ''in the afterlife,'' surrounded by evidence of gods, and still hold to this philosophy. Of course, beholding a being of divine power and acknowledging it as an ''empirically'' superior being are two different things.
* The more idealistic characters in ''{{Exalted}}''. Sure enough, the world is gangbanged from all directions by undead, Wyld mutants, demons, and other awful things. The folks in charge of defending it are too busy politicking. Heaven is a sham and a scam, and the patron god of heroism is a crack addict. But --and this is a massive ''but''-- you're a hero, possessed of a power to drastically change the world. And by "hero", it's hero in an archaic sense: you get to decide what is right or wrong, answerable only to your own conscience (or the lack thereof).
* Nurgle, the Chaos God of disease and despair in TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} / TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} is, suprisingly enough, like this. Yes, all things will eventually die and rot, and you will most likely never achieve your dreams, but does that matter? Instead of angsting over it or spending you life trying to reach an impossible goal, you should just be happy with what you have. Nurgle loves you no matter what you do. Of course he is the god of disease, so while he genuinely does care for you, his idea of caring involves "gifting" people with terrible diseases...
** Well of course. Diseases are made out of millions of lifeforms. Someone needs to love those too.
* Similar to the Bleak Cabal above, this is also canonically the attitude of the faithful of the Sovereign Host in ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}''. People of Khorvaire know for a fact that the afterlife is a dreary, gray wasteland known as Dolurrh where the best they can hope for is for their soul to slowly fade away into nothingness. The gods are unresponsive, and even angels and fiends can't say whether they even ''exist''. Despite that, the Sovereign Host teaches that life is for living and people should find meaning in creating the world they'll leave behind. Nearly every other religion's teachings have a hard time with this truth and include some idea about how ''their'' [[{{Cult}} faith will]] [[TheUndead let them]] [[PathOfInspiration escape Dolurrh.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is the life philosophy of the [[MindHive Geth]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect''. [[spoiler:The usual philosophical conundrums of organics are easily answered by the Geth: Why do we exist? What happens after death? For the Geth, they were created to be menial labor for the Quarians, and their memories are archived after "death". Since they are no longer performing their original task and have been "disowned" by their "gods", they have created their own purpose: total unity of ther MindHive in a single giant "Dyson Sphere" platform (though a more accurate analogy would be a Jupiter Brain). The True Geth (which Legion is from) want to do so on their own terms along technology paths they find themselves, while the Heretic sect took an easier, more controlled path under the command of the Reapers.]]
** [[spoiler:Javik]] eventually has to face the prospect that he may ''outlive'' the chance to get revenge on the Reapers and will need a new purpose in life. [[spoiler:Unless you suggested he use the Memory Shard. In which case he will kill himself.]]
* The ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed''; "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." There is no God. There is no Devil. There are only [[HumansAreFlawed Flawed Humans]], the children of flawed {{Precursors}}. So if we wish to live in peace, prosperity and freedom, ''we'' must build a civilization that permits those things.
-->'''Altaďr Ibn-La'Ahad''': ''...laws arise not from divinity, but reason. I understand now that our creed does not commend us to be free - it commends us to be wise.''
-->'''Ezio Auditore da Firenze''': ''...merely an observation of the nature of reality: To say that nothing is true is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile, and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization. To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic.''
* Solid Snake of the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series adopts this outlook. He doubts whether or not his actions will make a difference in the long run and knows how brutal and senseless life can be, but still devotes himself to the cause of creating a more just, peaceful world by stopping the [[LensmanArmsRace proliferation of superweapons]], especially the eponymous HumongousMecha.
** Snake's predecessor, Big Boss, once had a very similar philosophy, but became a WellIntentionedExtremist and one of the series' main antagonists when he took romantic notions of being a soldier too far, [[TraumaCongaLine though it's hard to blame him for it.]] [[spoiler:He eventually returns to anti-nihilism at the end of ''MetalGearSolid4'', ending his long and storied life with a very fitting DyingMomentOfAwesome: He reconciles with Snake and reaffirms that world peace is WorthLivingFor, performs a MercyKill on a comatose old friend who had unwittingly become the keystone of the [[CrapsackWorld War Economy]], enjoys OneLastSmoke, and salutes the grave of his mentor (who was also an AntiNihilist who sacrificed her life and reputation to make the world a better place) before passing away. His last words?]]
-->[[spoiler: Big Boss: This is good, isn't it?]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', Shirou lives his life by this sort of doctrine, even though he doesn't realize it. The "Unlimited Blade Works" route causes him to actively seek it, as he realizes his life is empty and the only thing he finds meaning in is selflessly sacrificing himself for others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* There is a ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/167/ strip]] in which the white beret guy used this trope when confronted with a more typical nihilist.
* [[http://asofterworld.com/index.php?id=767 This]] ASofterWorld strip sums it up pretty well. "Nothing matters at all. Might as well be nice to people."
* When the Shadowchild asks her what the importance of being good is, ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' has [[http://diggercomic.com/?p=294 this reply]]:
-->'''Digger:''' Because it's a cold, hard, miserable world sometimes, and there's suffering enough to go around without any of us making it worse.
* Dechs of ''Webcomic/{{Antihero for Hire}}'' once got a medium-sized [[HannibalLecture lecture]] from a mercenary out to kill him ([[CasualDangerDialog during the fight]]), about how his morals are meaningless and the people he protects would not return the favour and so on. Eventually the mercenary left, making it clear that he probably could win, but it [[MoneyDearBoy wasn't worth the risk]]; but it left him rattled and doubting everything. At the end of the chapter, [[MissionControl Wrench]] shakes him out of it by simply asking "does it matter if it matters?".
* [[http://dresdencodak.com/wp-content/gallery/stickman/2007-07-16-whistl_in_the_wind.jpg This]] DresdenCodak doodle uses a hole in the chest as a metaphor. While most people try to fill theirs up, the anti-nihilist enjoys it for what it is.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The SCPFoundation, [[NightmareFuel of all things]], features this with SCP-1281, which is a message from a dead alien race.
--> The galaxy is dark, empty and cold. It spins inevitably toward death. You will die too, one day. Perhaps you will have longer than we have. We hope so. But one day you too must vanish. Until that time, you must light the darkness. You must make the night less empty. We are all small, and the universe is vast. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming But a universe filled with voices saying "I am here" is far greater than a universe silent. One voice is small, but the difference between zero and one is as great as one and infinity.]] And when your time is passing, [[FlingALightIntoTheFuture please send this message on]], so the next voice can speak against the darkness.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic is developing into someone who thinks that life is stupid and the world has very few good things in it, but cares deeply about protecting children and displaying HonorBeforeReason UndyingLoyalty to the people he likes.
* This is ultimately the main message of Nemo Ramjet's web-novel All Tomorrows; taking us through the overarching history of mans' future and then; when it's all over, saying that the important part isn't how things ended up, but in those individual moments of life throughout our history.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[BillAndTedsExcellentAdventure According to Rufus]], the entire future will be based on this:
-->''"Be Excellent to Each Other and Party On, Dudes"''
* ''{{Futurama}}'': Bender, depressed at learning that as a robot, he has no Free Will and can only do what he was programmed to do, seeks solace at a Robot Monastery. The [[IncrediblyLamePun Ab-Bot]] tells him that his order has accepted this, but rather than be depressed about the fact that their purpose in life is pre-determined, they choose to revel in fulfilling that purpose to the best of their ability.
-->"Are we automatons? Yes. But we are ''magnificent'' automatons."
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Toy Story}}'', Buzz Lightyear experiences a major HeroicBSOD when he realizes that he's a toy and not a real space ranger. This trope comes into play when he accepts who he really is and what he ''can'' do.
-->Woody: "[[YouAreNotAlone Look, over in that house is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and it's not because you're a Space Ranger, pal. It's because you're a toy. You are his toy!]]"
-->Buzz: "[[HeroicSelfDeprecation But why would Andy want me?]]"
-->Woody: "Why would Andy want you? Look at you! You're a Buzz Lightyear! Any other toy would give up his moving parts just to be you. You've got wings! You glow in the dark! You talk! Your helmet does that...that...that 'whoosh' thing. You are a cool toy! As a matter of fact, you're too cool. I mean -- [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter I mean, what chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure? . . . Why would Andy ever want to play with me, when he's got you?]]"
-->Buzz: "Come on, Sheriff. There's a kid over in that house who needs us. Now let's get you out of this thing."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} is considered by some to be an early precursor to this, especially in its earlier forms
** Rather a cultural parallel, if you read ''Literature/TheDeclineOfTheWest''.
* Soren Kierkegaard's "Knight of Faith", one of the major influences to the Existentialist trope. You fully accept that following such stuff about God and ethics is ultimately an absurd goal in this life, but in contrast to the aesthetic "nihilist" and the otherworldly "knight of infinite resignation", you still prefer to make the most virtuous out of it.
* Usually, this is the Classical response of atheists, agnostics, deists, Epicureans and the like to accusations of nihilism and hedonism. After all, if there's no god (or God is apathetic) who will give us a meaning in such a miserable life, and everyone would be DrivenToSuicide. "The fact that we have only one life to live should make it all the more precious."
** Likewise, the only way to live on past your death is through others. Might as well ensure that you can keep people smiling, even after you're gone. Indeed, many if not most atheists embrace this as their world view in place of any belief in a higher power or afterlife, calling out critics on why they think only {{Big Brother| Is Watching}} can prevent them from becoming villains (see also: WhatYouAreInTheDark).
*** NorseMythology had a similar view: "''Cattle die and kinsmen die, thyself too soon must die, but one thing never, I ween, will die, -- fair fame of one who has earned''". Through the Norse belived in several afterlifes they did not consider the deeds done in life as the key to a certain afterlife like Valhalla but the manner of death. Instead they spoke for giving oneself a good reputation because that was the only thing that would be left of them in this world.
* Creator/FriedrichNietzsche's version of the Anti-Nihilist in particular is less of a "utilitarian" who works ForHappiness and more of a "Let's [[TheUbermensch live by our own rules]] while being [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arete awesome]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtus_%28virtue%29 manly/virtuous]] and [[Main/MagnificentBastard magnificent]] at it". It should also be noted that he pointed out that a way to make life suck a little less could be through charitable acts (note that he didn't say that it would make you happy, just feel less angsty/guilty/whatever)
* There might be older instances of this trope that couldn't be properly called Nihilists, since they predate the movement, but they should go through a Discussion first, so as not to dissolve the trope into meaninglessness.
* Creator/AlbertCamus, despite TheStranger. In his essay [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Sisyphus The Myth of Sisyphus]] he argues that the absurdity of life is in fact an invitation for human beings to experience revolt, freedom and passion and not in fact a valid reason to commit suicide (which he argues is even ''more'' absurd than life itself), concluding with the thought that "The struggle itself [...] is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
* This trope is basically the gist of the website humorously named [[http://www.anus.com ANUS]] (acronym for American Nihilist Underground Society).
* For all his cynicism and for all the HumansAreBastards themes in his work, Creator/KurtVonnegut was a vocal secular humanist.
* Philosopher Thomas Nagel has an essay titled "[[http://www.pitt.edu/~kis23/ABSURD.pdf The Absurd]] that basically arrives at this point after noting the absurdity of existence.
* UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} is mostly about this trope, especially the original, philosophical Taoism.
[[/folder]]
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