If anything might be deemed the “essence” of our existence, it is the recognition that we had no choice in its coming about. Indeed, as individual entities we had absolutely no say in our conception — nor in our being brought to term. In a word, our existence is utterly incidental to our wishes, desires, and needs. We are “thrown” into the world in which we find ourselves. This groundlessness; this miserable accident is not of our own doing. It’s the burden upon which we all were shouldered and must bear for the duration of our existence.
In our very being we are our possibilities — the ultimate of which is our own-most possibility of non-existence. The only grounding, and perhaps the most un-satisfactory grounding conceivable, is our being in time. Temporality (and by this I mean something more ‘primordial’ [to use Heidegger’s terminology] than linear, chronological time) is being. But if temporality forces us to take account of our own finitude, then our conclusion can only be that our most authentic existence is opening up the possibility for our own total collapse; our very own no-longer being.
Upon entering this realization, it becomes clear that we are thrust into existential futility; this futility is distinct from run-of-the-mill hopelessness. Rather, it is a reward — the only reward available to free us from our collective sickness: fanatic hope. Existential futility is the cure to the illusion that life has meaning; that the universe owes us something.
The only available means to fight the onslaught of existential nihilism is with nihilism’s own weaponry.