The Difference Between Existentialism, Nihilism, and Absurdism
Philosophers have believed for centuries that no intrinsic meaning exists in the universe. Here we will summarize three of the major responses to this belief.
Existentialism is the belief that through a combination of awareness, free will, and personal responsibility, one can construct their own meaning within a world that intrinsically has none of its own.
Nihilism is the belief that not only is there no intrinsic meaning in the universe, but that it’s pointless to try to construct our own as a substitute.
Absurdism is the belief that a search for meaning is inherently in conflict with the actual lack of meaning, but that one should both accept this and simultaneously rebel against it by embracing what life has to offer.
In general, there are three ways of practically dealing with the situation.
Suicide due to life being ultimately meaningless and therefore either too boring or too painful
Embracing a meaning framework such as religion or spirituality
Acceptance of the lack of meaning, and living on in spite of it.