Quotes / The Anti-Nihilist

Anime and Manga
"The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."

"The sea is vast, Robin! Somewhere out there, there's friends who will protect you! Find them! Befriend them! Travel with them! Simply existing can NOT BE A SIN!"
Saul, One Piece

Shadow Teddie: You will vanish into nothingness here... You were nothing to begin with.
Teddie: Nothing?!
Shadow Teddie: You have no "lost" memories. Your existence is nothing more than a mere-
Teddie: I'm not listening! I'll find the answer for myself.
Shadow Teddie: There is no answer.
Teddie: I'll look anyway!
[Beat]
Teddie: I may be hollow, but I'm not a useless bear! I don't wanna disappear. I don't wanna leave Sensei and my friends!
Shadow Teddie: You would put yourself through more anguish in your quest for answers? Your choice is incomprehensible.

"As long as you're alive, anywhere can be paradise."
Yui Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion

"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."
2nd Lt. Felicia Heidemann, a Moe Shell-Shocked Veteran, Sound of the Sky

Comic books
"I am alone. I look at the heavens and think them empty. And if not empty, I find the idea of worshiping whatever dwells there obscene. It doesn't change what is right. If there is nothing in this world but what we make, brothers...let us make good."

"Understood man's capacity for horrors, and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly, and never surrendered. Once a man has seen, he can never turn his back on it, Never pretend it doesn't exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way. We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled."
Rorschach, Watchmen

Fan works
"There is no justice in the laws of nature, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The Universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky.
But they don't have to!
We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!"
Harry James Evans-Verres, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

"I can’t see or predict the future, but I can understand the inner workings of many things. Society, the human mind, DNA, aspects of the universe itself. Do you want to know what I’ve learned? Nothing means anything. We cling to the surface of a piece of dust in the void, wedged between molten rock and a thin envelop of gas circling a mass of burning plasma fusing hydrogen into helium. One day destined to burn out. Our society is broken, backward, unjust, filled with exploitation and corruption. Many of us claim to know the truth meaning of this world- parents, governments, religious leaders- but none of them know anything. They are merely people who chose to find their own answers in this indifferent universe. Never able to grasp at the one absolute truth there is in this universe. That there is no truth."

"None of us are born on purpose. Not put here for a reason. Nothing exists with a goal. We cry out for a higher power to guide us, but we get no response. There is no god, no fate, and no destiny. Existence is just existence. Everything is born from oblivion, existing for a brief time, then returning to oblivion. There’s no reason for it, but it happens anyway. The concepts many of us hold so dearly in our lives, such as love, peace, kindness, happiness, and justice are meaningless. They are merely ephemeral concepts manifested by our own minds. And yet, it’s precisely because they’re so ephemeral that I value them so much. In my vocabulary, "meaningless" is not synonymous with "worthless." The most meaningless things in the world are, to me, the most valuable and important."
Kyoji Nakamura, The Predespair Kids

Film—Live-action

"It's Hebrew from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'"
Stern, Schindler's List

"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?"
Alfred Pennyworth, Batman & Robin

"I bet your parents taught you that you mean something, that you're here for a reason. My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for no reason at all. They taught me the world only makes sense if you force it to."
Bruce Wayne/Batman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

"We're all out here in this bigass nowhere Twilight Zone shit, says the badass sociopath in my back seat. But you know what, that's the one thing I gotta thank you for, bro, because until now, I never looked at it that way. What does it matter? It don't, so fucking fix it. What have we got to lose anyway, right?"

"I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other — that kept me going."

The Vision: Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and try to control what won't be. But there is grace in their failings. I think you missed that.
Ultron: They're doomed.
The Vision: Yes... but a thing isn't beautiful because it lasts. It is a privilege to be among them.
Ultron: You're unbelievably naïve.
The Vision: Well, I was born yesterday.

"At some point, everything's gonna go south on you...everything's going to go south and you're going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem...and you solve the next one...and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home. All right, questions?"
Mark Watney, The Martian

"For every horrible thing down here, there's something far more beautiful."

Literature
"Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
The Teacher, Book of Ecclesiastes

"Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The Question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
The Answer: That you are here. That life exists and identity.
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
Walt Whitman, "O Me O Life"

"Even death, faced with the option of death or life, she would choose life."
José Saramago, Death with Interruptions

Slartibartfast: Perhaps I'm old and tired, but it seems to me that the odds of ever finding out what's really going on are so absurdly remote, that the only thing to do is say "hang the sense of it" and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
Arthur Dent: And are you?
Slartibartfast: Ah...no. Well, that's where it all falls down, of course...

Death: Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
Susan: Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true; how else can they become?

“I'm in love with you," he said quietly.
"Augustus," I said.
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"Though I am long dead as you read this explorer, I offer to you a valediction. 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 narrator of Ted Chiang's "Exhalation" as his universe ends around him

"Life is a storm. One minute you will bathe under the sun and the next you will be shattered upon the rocks. That's when you shout, "Do your worst, for I will do mine!' and you will be remembered forever."

Once, on ancient Earth, there was a human boy walking along a beach. There had just been a storm, and starfish had been scattered along the sands. The boy knew the fish would die, so he began to fling the fish to the sea. But every time he threw a starfish, another would wash ashore. An old Earth man happened along and saw what the child was doing. He called out, 'Boy, what are you doing?' 'Saving the starfish!' replied the boy. 'But your attempts are useless, child! Every time you save one, another one returns, often the same one! You can't save them all, so why bother trying? Why does it matter, anyway?' called the old man.
The boy thought about this for a while, a starfish in his hand; he answered, 'Well, it matters to this one.' And then he flung the starfish into the welcoming sea.
Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower

Live-Action TV

Mal: We're still flying.
Simon: That's not much.
Mal: It's enough.
Firefly

"Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments: everybody judges, all the time. Now, you got a problem with that... You're livin' wrong."
Det. Rustin Cohle, True Detective ("Form and Void")

"I used to think it was a terrible thing that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'what if life were fair, and all of the terrible things that happen to us came because we really deserved them?' Now I take great comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe."

Anne: We've had some really decent donations, and it's helping. We actually have a part-time paid psychiatric staff.
Gunn: What if I told you it doesn't help? What would you do if you found out that none of it matters? That it's all controlled by forces more powerful and uncaring than we can conceive. And they will never let it get better down here. What would you do?
Anne: ...I'd get this truck packed before the new stuff gets here. Wanna give me a hand?
Gunn: I do. [they each take one end of a couch]
Angel, "Not Fade Away"

Music

"There's no chance for us
It's all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us"
Queen, "Who Wants to Live Forever?"

''"It's easy to say, when you're so down,
that everything's pointless;
your eyes burn, your ears howl,
your limbs are disjointed.
Barren fields, the barren earth, never more will it flower.
Rub your face and your hands in the dirt:
now is the hour!
So stand straight, looking over your shoulder;
walk on, though you fear to arrive;
don't wait till you know that it's over,
be strong - it's your place to survive.
—>— Vander Graaf Generator, "A place to survive"

"I believe in nothing
Not the end and not the start
(...)
I believe in nothing
Not the day and not the dark
I believe in nothing
But the beating of our hearts"
30 Seconds To Mars, "100 Suns"

"Collapsing next to me
Shouts 'Don't look sad,
Things aren't so bad
They're just more wrong than right'"
Scott Walker, "The Girls in the Street"

"Breathe, breathe in the air,
Don't be afraid to care.
Leave, but don't leave me,
Look around, choose your own ground.
For long you live, and high you fly,
And smiles you'll give, and tears you'll cry,
All you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be."

“I’m an idealist
who has outgrown
my idealism
I have nothing to do
the rest of my life
but do it
and the rest of my life
to do it”
Jack Kerouac, "Mexico City Blues"

"This is for everybody going through tough times, believe me, I've been there, done that. But every day above ground is a great day, remember that."
Pitbull, in his song ''Time of Our Lives" feat. Neyo

"It doesn't matter if we turn to dust;"
Turn and turn and turn we must!
I guess I'll see you dancin' in the ruins tonight!"
Blue Öyster Cult, "Dancin' In The Ruins"

"There are no stories told in a vacuum.
There is no prophecy lighting our away.
There's just a lot of darkness to be afraid of.
Good thing we are not afraid.
There is no Superman in that phone booth.
There is no rewarding our faith.
There is no one who can save us.
Good thing we don't need to be saved.
There are no starships in low-earth orbit.
No aliens to save us from ourselves.
There's no voice willing to speak for us.
Good thing we know how to yell!
There is no Chosen One, no destiny, no fate.
There is no such thing as magic.
There's no light at the end of this tunnel.
Good thing we brought matches."
Sifu Hotman, "Matches"

Video Games
Igor: Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey. One is always aware that it lies in wait. Though life is merely a journey to the grave, it must not be undertaken without hope. Only then will a traveler's story live on, cherished by those who bid him farewell.

Solas: You truly are content to sit in the sun, never wondering what you could've been, never fighting back?
Varric: Ha, you've got it all wrong, Chuckles. This is fighting back.
Solas: How does passively accepting your fate constitute a fight?
Varric: In that story of yours — the fisherman watching the stars, dying alone — you thought he gave up right? [...] But he went on living. He lost everyone, but he still got up every morning. He made a life, even if it was alone. That's the world. Everything you build, it tears down. Everything you've got, it takes — and it's gone forever. The only choices you get are to lie down and die or keep going. He kept going. That's as close to beating the world as anyone gets.
Solas: ... Well said. Perhaps I was mistaken.

"I'm not gonna break any cycle. If I'm lucky, maybe I can dent it—just a little."

"Cloud says they are trying to save the planet. Honestly, I don't think it can be done. For even if they stop every reactor on the planet, it's only going to postpone the inevitable. Even if they stop Sephiroth, everything will perish. But, Nanaki. I've been thinking lately. I've been thinking if there was anything WE could do. As a part of the planet, something to help a planet already in misery... No matter what happens, isn't it important to try? Am I just wishing against fate?"
Bugenhagen, Final Fantasy VII

"Get it into your head, Kais. The tau'va isn't real. Nobody ever reached it. We're always getting closer, always approaching, but never arriving. As long as we go in the right direction, as long as everything we do is done in the name of the Greater Goodthen it doesn't matter how far from the path you are."
El'Lusha, the Novelisation of Fire Warrior

"We all know the underground has problems, but we smile anyway. Why? We can't do anything, so why be morose about it?"
Snowdin NPC, Undertale

"Merlina...every world has its end. I know that's kinda sad, but that's why we've got to live life to its fullest in the time we have." (hands her a flower) "At least that's what I figure"
Sonic after defeating Merlina, Sonic and the Black Knight

Web Animation
Hey sis, I hope my letters have been reaching you and Dad. Hand-written stuff's never been super reliable, but I guess it's all we've got these days. Anyway, in case you haven't been getting them, I want to say I'm sorry for leaving the way I did. I know you told me it was a reckless idea, and after everything I've been through, I can definitely say you were right. It's been hard, on all of us, and I'm not just talking about the monsters we fought out here. Every step we made took us further and further from the things we knew. And every morning we woke up wondering, if just over the next hill would be something good or something terrible. It's scary not knowing what's going to happen next. And the things we do know now - just how bad it can get - it almost makes it all worse.
You told me once that bad things just happen. You were angry when you said it, and I didn't want to listen. But you were right, bad things do happen, all the time, every day. Which is why I'm out here, to do whatever I can, wherever I can, and hopefully do some good. We've all lost something, and I've seen what loss can do to people. But if we gave up every time we lost, then we'd never be able to move forward. We'd never have a chance to see what beautiful things the future might have waiting for us. We'd never have the strength to change; whether it's ourselves, or the world around us. And we'd never be there for other people who might one day be lost without us. This is what we were training for, Yang, to become Huntresses, to be the ones to stand up and do something about all the bad in the world. Because there are plenty of people out there who are still lost and even more who will try to gain everything they can from their sorrow. Believe me when I say, I know it can feel impossible, like every single day is a struggle against some unstoppable monster we can never hope to beat. But we have to try, if not for us, then for the people we haven't lost yet.
I miss you so much. I miss Weiss and Blake too. But I think you'd all be proud to know that I made it to Mistral. All of us did, and we even ran into Uncle Qrow along the way. He's going to take us to see Professor Lionheart, the headmaster of Haven Academy. And he told us some things that you're gonna wanna hear, things I can't trust will make it to you in this letter. But maybe, if you join us, he could tell you himself. With Beacon gone they'll need Dad at Signal more than ever, and I know you need to focus on yourself before I can expect you to come out with me. But it sure would be great to get Team RWBY back together again.
Until next time, your loving sister, Ruby Rose.
Oh! Uh, PS. I'll be sure to give you the address of where we're staying in Mistral! I'd love to hear back from you and Dad, and I can't wait to fill you in on whatever's going to happen next! Now that we've made it across Anima I really think things are gonna start going our way.
Ruby Rose's letter to Yang Xiao Long, RWBY, "No Safe Haven"

Web Original
"Within True Detective, this is always framed with the idea that this is a fallen world. The edges of it are always rotting into an unspeakable barbarism; something that cannot quite be displayed and seen... The truth of being a detective is the act of seeing the unspeakable and fundamental rot; of knowing the truth of the fallen world, and being condemned to live with that vision."

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. 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, please send this message on, so the next voice can speak against the darkness.

Web Video
"He can go on and on about how hollow our culture is and how shallow life is, but what of it? I'm alive, and I can experience the new, and share it. Here, now, I'm alive. And what happier thing can be said? We should all keep creating and sharing. Because, in the words of a better filmmaker, 'Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.' "

Western Animation
"I'm better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says “don’t run.” Nobody exists on purpose, nobody really belongs anywhere, everybody's going to die. Come watch TV?"
Morty Smith, Rick and Morty

Bender: Ab-Bot, I need to know. What's the point of living if I don't have free will?
Ab-Bot: Ah. We Robot Monks have meditated long on this. And we have made our peace.
Bender: No way!
Ab-Bot: Way, My Son. For though we must always obey our programming with no deviation whatsoever, we choose to take satisfaction in the ritual. So, are we automatons? Yes. But we are magnificent automatons.
Futurama, "Free Will Hunting"

Xyler: Are we real? Is this reality? Jean-Paul Sartre postulated that every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.
Craz: Totally righteous, bro!
Xyler: I knoooow!
Gravity Falls, "Weirdmageddon Part 2: Escape From Reality"

Real Life
"If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event—and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed."

"To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it."

"The malady of civilized man is his knowledge of death. The good artist, like the wise man, addresses himself to life and invests with his private vision the deeds and thoughts of men. The creation of a work of art, like an act of love, is our one small yes at the center of a vast no."

"In the cruel and terrible time in which our generation has been condemned to live on this earth, we must never make peace with evil. We must never become indifferent to others or undemanding of ourselves."
Vasily Grossman

"We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us."
Charles Bukowski

"Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—"God damn it, you've got to be kind."

"Those who reach across lines to assist the 'enemy' freed themselves from nationalist abstractions that dehumanized others. They were vaccinated against the cult of death that dominates societies in wartime. They reduced their moral universe to caring for another human being. And in this they were able to reject the messianic pretensions that come with the nationalist agenda. By accepting that they could only affect a few lives they also accepted their small place in the universe. This daily lesson in humility protected them. They were saved not by what they could accomplish but by faith. Such people are, however, very rare."
Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

"The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space"

"Most people don’t get to be born at all, ever. To see in that radiant impossibility only pointlessness, to see our experience as malignantly useless, as Ligotti does, seems to me a bit camp."
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Quotes/TheAntiNihilist