Friedrich Nietzsche in his Thus spoke Zarathustra told us a man should become a "overman" or "ubermensch" i.e. someone who believes in nihilism of universe (believing that life has no inherent meaning) and because of this, he believes that he can do whatever he wants in life. Create his own rules of life.

This idea is great but…… there are certain places where I am unable to work this idea. Life is so unfair I feel. It feels like we have all been strapped to a time bomb which keeps on ticking every second , reminding us of our mortality , time consumption , ageing and death. Every second is so precious and what I have noticed is that the average man spends his time not thinking about it as a reminder of mortality. There are a lot of instances of this where his time is spent on things which maybe take less time to complete like:

  • Cooking, cleaning the room, house chores because you don’t have a maid or can’t afford.
  • Waiting in car during traffic unable to do most of the things.
  • Making notes for studies. Why aren’t they nicely available already? Why there isn’t a one perfect book? Writing assignment papers, copying notes onto papers. Just wastage which are later thrown in garbage.
  • Changing clothes everyday

The average man doesn’t think of these activities as a waste of time, but rather, it's just like he has extra time to spend on these things. But it doesn’t mean that just because I do know these things, I am doing better, because if I do all these things, am I wasting the time of my life?

I think that I am and get stressed as to how can I make things better, but I can't make things perfect and the more I try to make them perfect, the more I feel like a robot: chained to death who is pulling me towards it, slowly. And thus, life starts to feel like a slow suicide making me get into stress, depression, inactivity and sadness.

Now, this idea of treating time like this must also mean that there is something you wish to spend it on, for example: travelling to outer space, fitness, study science, learn acting, dance, karate, parkour, party, drink, eat different kinds of food, travel.

Therefore I have the ideal scenario in my mind:

I spend each second of the time on my goals and none of it is wasted.

opposed to the reality of life:

I try to spend time on my goals of which a third or a half is spent on things I do not consider as part of my goals.

So in this contex of the meaning of life: What does "time spent" really mean?, that is, are certain activites are a waste of time or not, and doing them fast is better than doing them slow? I guess we all want to live like gods who never die, and the worst part is accepting that we are not gods, rather someone with chains all around us (of mortality, time, uncertainty, limit of strength/mind, hormones, moods, wounds, etc.).

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    @S.M.T. Have you sought professional help with this? Are you talking to anyone? Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 20:32

5 Answers 5


This is not an uncommon topic in academic philosophy, but I will take a simplified modern approach, just based on logic, and more adapted to our language, based on Lou Marinoff Plato or Prozac. This approach might help:

Are you doing what you like, what you want to do in your life?

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think your fallacious logic is here: If you don't have a goal on this life, yes, you are losing your time. Every minute stuck in the traffic is an effective loss of time. But if you are following a clear goal, you can't be unhappy or stressed, because this is part of your plan, of the whole process. It would be stupid for me to say "I want to reach the top of the Himalaya", while on the road I say "This is stupid, I'm losing my time here, stuck in this infinite, narrow and difficult path. I'm stressing here, how should I spend my time?"

Think on this: if you are working your entire life for a goal, the worst is to reach it. Because life ends there. Once you reach a long-term goal, you have nothing less to do.

This situation (reaching your long-time goals) is horrible for most. Look at Alex Honnold's defy to climb El Capitan. The day he did the most difficult part, he didn't want to end. Luckily, he had a friend with him who was stuck 100m behind. So, he decided to wait as much as possible, hanging in the mountain, at some meters from the end. Sadly, after some days, his pal climbed the difficult part, and he was forced to finish. He clearly expresses his sense of disorientation after having done something he dreamed about for decades. What to do, now? It was a hard time for him, but he's getting back.

So, if you are not following the direction of your goals, getting stuck in the traffic is a loss of time. Absolutely. But it is not, if you are following the path to your goal. In such case, it is worth the while.

Life is not on the final goal: it is on the path to it. Happiness should not be reached in some years: it is now you should be happy. So, while you are following your goals, everything is ok, you will be sometimes advancing, sometimes stuck, but always happy. People who make sport usually never stop after having a gold medal. They continue. Why? because the competition was not against the others, but against oneself. Poets don't want fame or money. They want to write, hear themselves telling unknown poems.

I love having a beer with Galician percebeiros. In the afternoon, with a beer, they talk about the amazing sea, the clouds, the salt, etc. They are not rich. They just want to go back down the sea as soon as possible. Some are real poets. What is their goal? Just being there. Not selling percebes. Percebes are just an excuse to live the life they want. In the afternoons, they are stuck on ground, with a beer. But they can't be unhappy. They are stuck in the traffic, but not losing their time waiting. They plan, they dream, they get prepared for the morning cold, they spend the time on solid ground while their minds are still at the sea.

From the Constantine Cavafi's poem "Ithaka":

Have Ithaka always in your mind. Your arrival there is what you are destined for. But don't in the least hurry the journey. Better it last for years, so that when you reach the island you are old, rich with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.

  • It’s like to live each moment , you have lose sth as well and that is time associated to it.
    – S.M.T
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 10:56

I have no idea how old you are, but biotechnology is going to radically transform the world. Nihilism, like most other philosophies, are also timed, just like time bombs, in me humble opinion i.e. they have an expiry date and it's not long before (say another 50 - 100 years) it becomes obsolete just as telegraphs are in the present day. Panta rhei ~ Heraclitus.

However, nihilism can resurface in the future for novel reasons, reasons that we can't foresee/foretell from our current vantage point (temporally, spatially, epistemologically, ontologically, etc. limited). The answer to the question is in the question itself.

  • Dear @AgentSmith how can biotechnology transform the man soul? Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 11:56
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    @άνθρωπος. It's the closest tool we have to drive home me point mon ami. Transformation can be effected by n number of things.
    – Hudjefa
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 12:02
  • What things do you mean? I know what is a number in math, but i donno what is a number in the reality. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 12:07
  • @άνθρωπος, good question. You should investigate this question further. I won't be able to assist you though.
    – Hudjefa
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 13:20
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    @S.M.T, well you seem to have grasped the gist of my answer. Kudos. Happy to be of service to you mon ami.
    – Hudjefa
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 16:10

You might be interested in the Japanes Zen Buddhist perspective on time and space (bolds are mine):

[...] the Zen person rides on the rhythm of living nature. That is, “here and now” is one experience (and hence “not two”), and for this reason they should be designated as “here-now.”

In living this integrated, living space-time, Zen does not understand time to be a quantifiable (the move prepared by Aristotle’s understanding of time as the measurement between before and after) and homogeneously punctuated unit (i.e., the clock time of natural science). Nor does it conceive of it as a linear progression from past to future through the present, although it does not exclude them insofar as they are useful for everyday life. The negation of the linear idea of time also includes the negation of the idea of time as symmetrical and reversible, because in the Zen experience of space-time, a teleological intentionality, an “in order that,” is absent. Yet Zen does not accept time as a “fleeting image of eternity” (as in Plato). Zen understands time to be living. According to Zen, theories of time built through conceptual abstraction are distanced and separate from the immediacy of “here-now.”

Which leads, among other philosophical concepts you can find in the SEP article, to each of those seeemingly uninteresting or unfulfilling experiences in every day life being one and the same in importance for the all-aware Zen follower:

In short, Zen freedom designates a term of achievement [italics in the original]. What Zen says about freedom of action has an implication for every action people perform in daily life, from the simple act of opening a door to the magnificent play of a great athlete or performer of any kind. In them, Zen contends however, the spirituality of a performer must be expressed. Zen extends an invitation to all of us to act in this way, so that our quality of life will be enhanced with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, free from stress and anxiety.

I am not one of them, though, so cannot speak from personal experience, but I would be surprised to find any Western philosopher treating this issue in more depth than the Zen tradition itself.


"What does it matter, a dream of love, or a dream of lies?

We're all gonna be in the same place when we die


We're chained to the world, And we all gotta pull

And we're all gonna be, I said we're all going to be,

Just dirt in the ground"

-Tom Waits, from the song Dirt in the Ground, by way of illustrating your sentiment isn't unique

Firstly, I don't think that's a good description of Nietzsche's ubermensch. Although Nietzsche late in his life accepted the label of nihilist applied to him, in his work he constantly railed against nihilism and the nihilistic outlook. I argue this is because he focused on religions not as sets of truths, but as systems of social cohesion. Discussed here: Nietzsche on balancing service to the creation of (or becoming) the Overman and living a life of ones own choosing? He explicitly stated he wasn't an ubermensch but only the prophet of their coming, and I would relate the ubermensch to someone who can reorder society through manifesting a meaning-cosmology which others come also to occupy. Discussion of that task here: Can the Universe make sense at all?

Rememberance of death, memento mori, has been a practice of Stoicism, and used as antidote to vanity in Christian thought. This way of thinking can be a source of sorrow or a balm, depending on your current situation. See the ancient phrase 'This too shall pass.'

You clearly have a sense that the meaning of your life will relate to what you have done, what you leave behind as impact. But in the truly big picture, in the recognition that everything even the universe will end, leaving no trace, can anything have mattered? It seems to me you have done half the work, recognising that there won't be a metaphysical scorecard to value your life after it's done, but not fully absorbing this lack of foundation to any structure of meaning we create, because you think furious busyness will intrinsically be best, apparently unexamined.

I argue here that through culture our limited lives can make contact with transcendental themes, and that we wish to be remembered well in order to lead a fulfilling life: I have an idea that affects my life We should try to serve good ideas well, in ways that contribute to meaningful lives. I recommend you consider how your goals are motivated by impacting others, and look more closely at that layer of deeper motivation, because those ideas of what is good to do have largely been put in your head by society for it's purposes, and you should consider more deeply where your own purposes come from, and what they are.

"Cooking , Cleaning the room , house chores because you don’t have a maid or can’t afford."

I find this entertaining. What about the maid, or cleaner? What about their time and fulfillment. You expand your time, while doubling costs to their time. Why is that a net positive? Have you checked if the maid has a better claim to be an ubermensch? Supporting a net increase in meaningful living is supported by intersubjectivity, by interest in sharing perspectives with others. See According to the major theories of concepts, where do meanings come from?

"Changing clothes everyday"

Einstein's entire wardrobe apparently consisted of five identical suits. He chose to fully dedicate himself to physics over concern about appearance - further evidenced by the story about his final ever lecture, where apparently his shirt was sticking out of his unzipped fly which everyone else was presumably too polite to mention, and he was presumbly completely uninterested in noticing. There are costs and benefits to where we apply attention.

"Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought." —opening lines of the Dhammapada

Whatever your purposes, your mind is your fundamental tool to achieve them. So you should consider it as a tool. Is the state of near-panic you describe helpful to achieving your goals? Probably not. A more measured practice, like say setting aside a few minutes each day to reflect on how short life is and whether your actions that or the previous day match that recognition, might be more valuable than constant anxiety.

In the Buddhist picture even gods face the difficulties of disatisfaction and change of themselves, because those are part of the Three Marks of Existence. In their picture even the supreme deity Maha Brahma, who had thought they were Creator, was really only the first being to arrive in this realm, who confused the coincidence of the arrival of other beings and their wish for company, with creating them. This is about recognising on a deep level literally nothing can last forever, nothing can remain unchanged. Many live their lives in denial of this, because it scares us, and can undermine flimsy sources of purposes. But a deeper draught of that tonic, can be a guide to how to arrive at a life well lived.

Here is an answer that links to discussions on the philosophy of work life: References regarding pragmatic views of philosophy of worklife I would reiterate from there what I consider to be the greatest and best line by Nietzsche:

"Man's maturity: to have regained the seriousness that he had as a child at play" -Beyond Good & Evil, chapter 4


you know, that main distinction between son of god and ordinary man was the soul(psyhe), man had mortal soul. Zeus won Chronos. Chronos mean the time eating self childs. "Time just feels so stressful" - not buy, not beat, not gain, win against Chronos that is enough.

what is the goal wishing, have you think about it? it is the dopamine getting for brain - nothing more means. you feel distress, because your brain waiting of dopamine, while it is waiting it got cortisol - stress hormone. it is work this way while you are waiting the goal you feel that time eat you inside. nothing mystery in this process. you always can stop and don't wait, because all your brain needs is dopamine. but it is your brain and your dopamine. the goal means nothing more that you think about it, the goal meaning is equivalent to the dopamine you promised to your brain, while feeding him cortisol . the goal is nothing, thou art both who eat and wait the time.

"There are two wolves and they are always fighting... Which wolf wins?" Thou esti feeded both.

Edit. Insite the Time:

Time esti 2 definitions: tempo and interval. That you call the goal - it is only the tempo, viewing part of the time. Intervals is a long part that you don't see. But it is possible to feel interval of the moment if you practice any art till meditative mastery - that you can do without thinking(dopamine goals getting). Interval sounding as any sound or any non-sound - pause. Look at this text - it have words, and words have letters, but there are intervals between the letters and between the words/phrases. This void of non-information - are intervals, or it is only the One great interval. But if you know the Form of the Void - you know anything about inside, all inside are only details, elements of "grosse Nichts"(Nietzsche Zaratustra 56-17) .

Turn the time inside out. Go beyond the limit of a gaol of the goals.

  • h Thank you for your answer and time. Appreciate it. True , it is the dopamine that we will run after. I mean , what else can a man do ? He has to do sth right if he has a life. So , its like to distract yourself to pleasure or dopamine as you rightly pointed out.
    – S.M.T
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 14:41
  • @S.M.T thou mustn't run after the dopamine. thou canst stop any moment thou willst. all in thy hands: to be friend the wolves, be their owner or their slave, art the one, be full or broken. all is inside all that thou art, trust the wolves, they are thou. immortal body it is fake for now. no technology to do same, no theory to do this, don't lose the time for nothing. nothing is not existing, art thou wolfs and don't let others manage and feed them nothing or empty promises Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 18:00

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