How to Avoid Financial Nihilism

If you don’t believe in anything, you’ll believe in everything—and begin to feel that nothing you can possibly do will build true wealth.

Luke Burgis
9 min readJan 14, 2023

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“It is because you don’t know the end and purpose of things that you think the wicked and the criminal have power and happiness.”Boethius

Nobody has a precise idea how much wealth anyone else has. There is a good chance that you don’t even know your own. We are all engaged in an elaborate game of assumptions, even about our own future.

The fact that men are posting gain and loss porn on Reddit or in tweets is not a sign of transparency, but opacity. The narratives only go skin deep.

Under the narratives, people are crying out for order — a link between cause and effect, or some indication that hard work still matters, or that they will be rewarded for good decisions and not reckless ones.

When you make and/or lose a lot of money quickly, without the ability to see exactly why or how the windfall or bust happened, it can lead to financial nihilism. When you see — or think you see — other people…

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Luke Burgis

Author of “WANTING: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life.” Find more at read.lukeburgis.com