nihilism

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: nihilism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:45 pm

promethean75 wrote:For two points, name a single problem that philosophers have solved in 2,400 years. Or even better...name a single problem they aren't still arguing about.
Philosophy has helped solve all sorts of problems. That's right help solve, since it is a set of tools to create ideas much more than to, by iteself resolve issues. Darwin was strongly influenced by the philosophical discussions of his time. Empiricism obviously influenced the solving of an unbelievable number of problems once applied. Newton was strong influenced by a couple of philosophers. It's a bit like saying what problems did mathematics solve. Well, apart from mathematical proofs, not only applied math has solved all sorts of problems (applied by physicists say) but even pure math has turned out to end up helping explain all sorts of phenomena. In itself they don't really resolve very much. Just like hammers don't. But tools couples with other knowledge or in the case of a hammer with knowledge and a body can solve problems. Philosophy has been presenting people with new ideas and way sof thinking and ways to eliminate falsehoods, how to notice assumptions, how to notice belief systems and paradigm and models, how language can lead us astray and epistemological options and much much more. It's a category error to bring up things like free will vs determinism and the like and say, oh, well it hasn't solved anything
Karpel Tunnel
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3625
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:51 pm

Curly wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Some of my best fiends are nihilists. :wink:


Again, that I reduce you down to "quips" like this speaks volumes regarding what I can only imagine as the trepidation you feel that one day I may well succeed in pulling your own comforting and consoling rug out from under you.

And then you too will be on the road to a "fractured and fragmented" personality.

On the other hand, at least you won't still be a Stooge. :lol:
Psychobabble.


Good catch. You know, for a run-of-the-mill pragmatist.

Unless, of course, that's a category error. 8)
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:49 pm

Iambiguous,

Come to the abyss with me. Oh that’s right, you’re such a pussy that you put me on ignore.

Nihilism is not the abyss. Nihilism is a reaction (mirroring) of this cruel world as a defense mechanism. Who’s the scared one here, you or me?

You’re just an adolescent posturing here iambiguous!

Not an adult. You are the kid you accuse everyone else of being.
Ecmandu
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 11924
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:22 am

Re: nihilism

Postby promethean75 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:55 pm

Bro I think you got it backwards. Why would one endorse nihilism as a 'defense' mechanism?

Subconscious mind: 'Gosh you know, I think believing that I'm mortal, that the universe is meaningless and that nothing matters, might make me feel better. I think I'd like to be a nihilist because that'll help me ignore my real problems.

Buddy. Those ARE the real problems. We are not escaping here. We are not telling ourselves comfortable lies.

christ that wuz dumb. Why would somebody believe THE WORST CASE SENARIO to make themselves feel BETTER?
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4695
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:20 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

In a recent column titled "Ideas from a Manger," Ross Douthat of the New York Times pursued a similar line of argument.

The secular picture...seems to have the rigor of the scientific method behind it. But it actually suffers from a deeper intellectual incoherence than...its rivals, because its cosmology does not harmonize at all with its moral picture.

In essence, it proposes a purely physical and purposeless universe, inhabited by evolutionary accidents whose sense of self is probably illusory. And yet it then continues to insist on moral and political absolutes with all the vigor of a 17th-century New England preacher. And the rope bridges flung across this chasm — the scientific-sounding logic of utilitarianism, the Darwinian justifications for altruism—tend to waft, gently, into a logical abyss.


Bingo!

Well, one of them.

This encompasses my reaction to the Humanists among us. Of which I was once one myself. They reject the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent God as 1] a font assuring a definitive differentiation between moral from immoral behavior, as 2] an omnipresent point of view assuring us that no one can ever get away with immoral behavior and as 3] an all powerful Being assuring us that the immoral behavior will be punished.

Yet, while accepting the actual existential reality of 2 and 3 in a No God world, they still insist their own philosophical or political or [for some] scientific assessments can at least determine which behaviors are in fact moral and which are not.

And, okay, I ask them to bring their own assumptions here out into the world and demonstrate to us why, in a world bursting with conflicting goods about practically everything, their own moral narrative and political agenda encompasses either the optimal perspective from which to concoct "rules of behavior" or is, in fact, the only rational perspective. Given that, down through the ages, there have been hundreds of them for us to choose from.

And, given the argument of the nihilists and the sociopaths that, in the absence of God, all things are permitted. How philosophically, politically or scientifically is that necessarily wrong?

Again, it isn't that those who believe in "a purely physical and purposeless universe" are all nihilists. Most of them aren't. It's just that their fundamental view of reality leaves them without a good way to get past nihilism; their "rope bridges" are too short. Hard materialism may turn out to imply nihilism in just the same way that nihilism implies amoralism.


Unless, of course, given a No God world, there is in fact an argument from the Humanists that transcends the arguments from the sociopaths and the nihilists. My own participation on this thread reflects the ambivalence that consumes me in confronting this. On the one hand, I would like to believe that my own frame of mind here is a reasonable point of view. That I am capable of being rational here. On the other hand, I would like to come across an argument that refutes it. Why? Because in believing it I remain "fractured and fragmented" here and now, preparing to topple over in the abyss that is oblivion there and then.

The irony being that if determinism gets "hard" enough, I am left believing that I am left believing only that which I was ever able to believe in a world where human volition is just a psychological illusion.

And yet I recognize that my own intelligence is hardly the most supple one around. Even here. So there is always the possibility that someone can come up with an argument that hopefully crumples mine to dust.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:37 pm

Nihilism & Philosophy by Gideon Barker
Roger Caldwell scrutinises philosophical revolutions.
Book Review

The philosopher as nihilist is a destroyer of worlds, a revolutionary who comes to make us see with new eyes and radically change how we live. The nihilist philosopher uses words, not bombs; but not simply to offer us new doctrines or facts.


Yes, that is clearly one way in which to spin it. On the other hand, a moral nihilist, in rejecting both religious and secular fonts as the basis for an objective morality and/or a doctrinaire political agenda, can instead advocate more for moderation, negotiation and compromise -- democracy and the rule of law as the "best of all possible worlds" relating to social, political and economic interactions.

Given of course the historical parameters of political economy. And given the extent to which any particular "I" here might topple over into the "fractured and fragmented" hole that "I" am in.

This is philosophy not as a matter for contemplation, but as something to be lived – and if we are to live in a new order, the old one must first be dismantled or destroyed. The question is, once the cobwebs and lies are swept away, what are we left with? Once all our old values and ways of life are gone, do we still have a world at all, and not chaos?


Come on, any philosophy can only be grappled with in terms of how one connects the dots existentially between theory and practice. Indeed, name a single school of philosophy that does not make claims up in the clouds that, upon coming down to earth and becoming intertwined in human interactions, finds the going considerably more problematic.

Start with the assumptions made by any of the Great Philosophers and defend them in a particular context in which the components of my own moral philosophy come into play.

Go ahead, pick one and see what unfolds.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby Meno_ » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:15 pm

But as soon as man became conscious of his existential predicament , he tried to fix it, and pass any solutions down to his progeny.

That set of passed down attempts codified and was then revised by later thinkers

So philosophy becalmed a languages in it's self , for it's self.

It becalms strung between universals and the individual ontological Das Sein.


There is no way to dispense e with the underlying conditions of it's genesis or it's veiled prospective object(ivity)


Iambiguous,

I do feel we may have a conversation here, and referring to a
possible connection of nihilism and Buddhism

It really is no fault of any one of us that we have realized the unrealized -nihilism, and in one sense, it is the angst of the sign of modern civilization.

We alienate generally, in this horrible time of plague, and perhaps it befits Susan Sontag's concern with it as rising, or lowering to the level of metaphor.

In any case I am looking forward to communicating with You further, as things evolve.
Meno_
breathless
 
Posts: 8995
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:59 pm

Nihilism & Philosophy by Gideon Barker
Roger Caldwell scrutinises philosophical revolutions.
Book Review

Typically...this going forward into a new world also involves a sort of going back. Gideon Barker’s book Nihilism and Philosophy deals with four such instances. In ancient Greece, the Cynics rejected what they saw as the artificial world of the city-state in the interest of a return to nature.


As though in choosing either option the realities embedded in my own account of nihilism go away. The only factor that seems relevant to me in regard to any path that one chooses as a mere mortal is the existence of God. No God and meaning comes to revolve around that which can demonstrated to exist for all rational men and women. A God/the God and there is a transcending font able to judge the meaning that mere mortals ascribe to...anything.

Thus...

Then, with the rise of Christianity, the hierarchical order of the Roman Empire was rejected in favour of a world in which, in St Paul’s words, there would be “neither Greek nor Jew, slave or free, male or female” but all standing equal before God.


And, in regard, to human interactions in the is/ought world, what prominent philosophers have not introduced one or another rendition of God as of fundamental importance in defining and defending the most righteous "hierarchical order"?

In modern times, after the ‘death of God’, Nietzsche declared the end of what he calls Christian ‘slave-morality’, trusting to the Übermensch or ‘Over-Man’ to bring back an heroic age that valued courage and caste.


What can Nietzsche possibly have known about nihilism if he didn't include the Übermensch as well? The irony being that the Ubermensch themselves become slaves to their own moral and political agenda. They end up kowtowing to people like Ayn Rand and Satyr.

Then Heidegger, seeing the present technocratic age as a result of more than two thousand years of forgetfulness of Being, tried to return us to a long-forgotten way of understanding and living in the world, to recover a more ‘primordial’ thinking.


If only up in the clouds of intellectual contraptions where, among other things, being and time get to mean whatever he said they did. Oh, and Dasein too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:01 pm

Nihilism & Philosophy by Gideon Barker
Roger Caldwell scrutinises philosophical revolutions.
Book Review

Baker’s account of the Cynics is heavily indebted to Michel Foucault, whose lectures on the subject...were the last he was to deliver before his death in 1984. The Cynics had not previously been accorded much space in the history of philosophy: their doctrines were sparse, their writings have not survived, and what we know of them comes down often in jokes and anecdotes. They were shocking to the society of their day, in that their way of life involved a rejection of all conventional values. They would do in public what most people thought it proper to do only in private; they acknowledged no family, home, or state, but willingly embraced a life of begging and destitution. If this was a sort of asceticism, it was a cheerful one: the Cynics showed that you could be happy without material possessions, and that care of the body is less important than care of the soul. There is nothing ‘other-worldly’ in this.


From wiki:

Cynicism...is a school of thought of ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics. For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

Then there's my own tendency towards a cynical philosophical perspective. It has little or nothing to do with souls or living virtuously or being in agreement with nature or shocking anyone...let alone "embrac[ing] a life of begging and destitution."

Instead, my own reasons revolve around a philosophical assumption: that all of the paths chosen by all of us in regard to souls and virtues and nature and conventions is rooted largely in dasein. Thus while some may call themselves cynics there does not appear to be an argument they can make that would obligate others to choose it as the most reasonable manner in which to think about human interactions in the world around us. It's just one of many frames of mind that can seem reasonable to some based on the manner in which they conflate their own personal experiences and their attempts through the study of philosophy to "think through" to a rational understanding of the most meaningful and moral life.

In Plato’s dialogue The Sophist, Socrates says the real philosopher is one who ‘lives the philosophical life in truth’. For Baker, Cynicism is the first philosophy to have actively tried to put this vision into action.


As though in taking this "vision" down out of the clouds the sheer complexity of human interactions in the modern/postmodern world won't rip it to shreds. In fact, the only antidote that seems to remain is objectivism. In other words, the vision is sustained largely "in your head". Then others around you may or may not be hammered into it. Or, if the "vision" revolves around ideologies like fascism or Gods that sanction going after the infidels...?

In other words, historically, Cynics weren't the only ones to have a "vision".

Thus to what extent could this frame of mind...

The Cynics radicalized the Socratic simplicity of life. After all, Socrates went home each night to bed; the Cynics by contrast often didn’t have homes. Socrates didn’t take part in politics: the Cynics didn’t even acknowledge the city-state (polis) to begin with. It was necessary for them to keep a distance from the exercise of political power if they were to say what they thought needed saying. They aimed to speak truth fearlessly whether to fellow citizens or to a mighty tyrant, to expose lies or wrongdoing. Most Greek philosophy was for an elite, but Cynic philosophy was available to all.


...become just another rendition of objectivism?

To speak their truth fearlessly. To expose that which they construed to be lies. All embedded in their own particular world in their own particular historical and cultural context.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:37 pm

Nihilism & Philosophy by Gideon Barker
Roger Caldwell scrutinises philosophical revolutions.
Book Review

For Nietzsche, Christianity is Platonism for the masses, promising us an eternal world where all is truth and light in place of this world, which Plato called “the twilight world of change and decay”, where mankind could only live to die.


Okay, but how then is Platonism not the equivalent of a religion for any number of "serious philosophers"? Given that distinction he makes between being in or out of the cave; and certain crucial components of philosophical realism and political idealism. As though Plato's thinking here is not embraced by some as if he were the one and only source to go to.

What if my own assumptions about the "human condition" more reasonably reflects the nature of the "twilight world" mere mortals embody from the cradle to the grave?

For Nietzsche, however, it is not our everyday world of appearances that is the illusion, but the Platonic-Christian heaven. His declaration of the death of God is directed not only at Christianity, but at any claim to the existence of another world. This world in which we live – the only world there is – is not only subject to change but is also without goal or purpose. It is also subject to eternal recurrence. The challenge for us is to embrace what seems the ultimate pointlessness: the prospect of repeating our lives in every detail forever.


Whereas from my frame of mind, Nietzsche merely concocted another illusion: the Ubermensch. The "next world" is scrapped but what about this one? Is there a way to channel the "will to power" rooted in the evolution of life on Earth into a "philosophy", into a "way of life" into a moral narrative and political agenda argued to be the closest to living "naturally"? Or, instead, is his philosophy just one of many embedded in Humanism to make the claim that they and only they have concocted the one true path to "ultimate pointlessness" for mere mortals in a No God world.

What's crucial for me then is this part: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=185296

The psychology of objectivism. Only with no God around to make the final judgment.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:58 pm

Nihilism & Philosophy by Gideon Barker
Roger Caldwell scrutinises philosophical revolutions.
Book Review

For Heidegger, that philosophy is not the overcoming of nihilism Nietzsche had intended. On the contrary, it is “the ultimate entanglement in nihilism”, and fails to escape from the metaphysical prison. In effect, Nietzsche remains caught up in Platonism. If the true world is one of eternal Becoming for Nietzsche, as compared to one of eternal Being for Plato, it is still, for all that, a true world: all that’s happened is that Being and Becoming have changed places.


Exactly. If, for Niezsche, the "death of God", the "will to power" and the "Übermensch" are seen to be paths enabling mere mortals to "overcome nihilism", how then do they not become just one more secular rendition of religion itself? The only things missing are immortality and salvation.

No small things, obviously, but: But at least on this side of the grave you have access to the one true path that separates you out from the contemptuous "masses". You become a "master" of all you survey by adopting one or another rendition of, say, the philosophical tripe peddled by Satyr over at Know Thyself.

If, for me, nihilism revolves around a "fractured and fragmented" I, confronting "rival goods" out in an essentially meaningless world, the narrative of all too many Nietzscheans today seems to be downright noble, righteous, honorable.

Right?

But in Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power, Heidegger sees the end of metaphysics, the completion of a history of forgetfulness of Being lasting more than two thousand years: with the essence of knowledge as will to power comes “the unrestrained exploitation of the earth” even “the thrust into outer space”, confirming mankind’s sense of homelessness.


Here of course we confront Heidegger's doctrine pertaining to Nietzsche's doctrine regarding the will to power such that for any particular flesh and blood human being, it can mean practically anything. What does it mean to you? Me? I'll need a context first.

Seriously, though, what on earth are we to make of something like this? How is it applicable to your own life from day to day given the manner in which you connect the dots between will to power and nihilism?

"Sense of homelessness"?! Huh? A little help with that please.

The ‘essence of metaphysics’, Heidegger tells us, is nihilism.


I'm trying to imagine if it is actually possible that this could be further removed from my own considerably more existential assumptions about nihilism. In particular, moral nihilism.

And, just out of curiosity, if the author is right about what Heidegger tells us here, how might Heidegger go about connecting the dots between it and, say, the Nazis? Or is this only a "technical" thing that has absolutely nothing to do with the lives that we live.

If Nietzsche remains the last metaphysician despite his repudiation of all philosophy since Plato, what of Heidegger himself? Arguably he is in no better position. Nietzsche awaits the Übermensch for the transvaluation of all values. Heidegger, seeking to recover a sort of poetics of Being in a time when instrumental (practical-goal-directed) reason has strangled thought, vainly evokes what is, in effect, a return of the gods.


Try as I might, I can't make any sense of this. It's basically just intellectual gibberish to me -- everything that I have come to despise about the sort of philosophy some practice. Will Durant's "epistemologists".

All I can do then is to ask someone who thinks they do understand how "for all practical purposes" this is relevant to their own lives, to describe in more detail how and why that is the case. Otherwise for me I'll stick with the distinction I make between knowledge able to be conveyed and exchange in the either/or world as opposed to the is/ought world.

Given a particular set of circumstances.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:30 pm

Speaking of this...

Try as I might, I can't make any sense of this. It's basically just intellectual gibberish to me -- everything that I have come to despise about the sort of philosophy some practice. Will Durant's "epistemologists".

All I can do then is to ask someone who thinks they do understand how "for all practical purposes" this is relevant to their own lives, to describe in more detail how and why that is the case. Otherwise for me I'll stick with the distinction I make between knowledge able to be conveyed and exchange in the either/or world as opposed to the is/ought world.

Given a particular set of circumstances.


...here's the latest intellectual gibberish from Satyr:

satyr wrote:With so many variables, so many unforeseen repercussions for every act, every thought, how could a man be held accountable for what he could not foresee, when his own intentions are not entirely known to him?
Would he not be innocent, from ignorance, and if omniscience has proven to be non-existent, then are we not all, to some degree, innocent?
Would not ignorance be a measure of our innocence, each vying to prove he was entirely ignorant and therefore not responsible?

Faith a product of an absence, or rejection, of responsibility - a rejection of the daemonic.
To remain purified in self-abengating, self-dinal.

Power of nil.
Our new god.


I challenge -- dare! -- one of his disciples here to reconfigure this into a set of circumstances in which one could clearly differentiate the behaviors of a moral Übermensch from a moral nihilist.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:49 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

I’m usually wary of epiphanies, lightbulb moments and sweeping realisations that reorder lives. But walking home one evening earlier this year, my existence shifted with a single passing thought.

I was chronically stressed at work, overwhelmed by expectations, grasping for a sense of achievement or greater purpose and tip-toeing towards full-on exhaustion. Then it hit me: “Who cares? One day I’ll be dead and no one will remember me anyway.”


Come on, admit it, accepting this can be all you need to put everything -- everything -- in perspective. And once you convince yourself that this is true for everyone else, they are dumped into the same "bonfire of the vanities" that you are in. You have nothing to prove to a God that doesn't exist and there is nothing that can be proved to mere mortals in a world that is essentially meaningless up until the point where, tumbling over into the abyss, you become nothing at all but mindless matter on its way back to star stuff.

Not only that but since you don't have to be concerned with living your life within the confines of some religious or ideological agenda, your actual options increase dramatically. You can choose to do only those things you construe to be in your own selfish interest, concerned only with not getting caught when you do something that others might not go along with.

I can’t explain the crashing sense of relief. It was as if my body dumped its cortisol stores allowing my lungs to fully inflate for the first time in months. Standing on the side of the road I looked at the sky and thought: “I’m just a chunk of meat hurtling through space on a rock. Pointless, futile, meaningless.” It was one of the most comforting revelations of my life. I’d discovered nihilism.


On the other hand, it depends on the actual set of circumstances when this first occurs to you. Obviously, if your life is filled with all manner of fulfillment and satisfaction attached to one or another religious or secular font, you lose all of that. Especially if you are able to convince yourself that "I" -- your soul -- continues on into one or another configuration of immortality and salvation.

Thus, like most things, it depends on where you are and what is happening to you when the idea of nihilism first pops into your head. Dasein is clearly written all over this frame of mind.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby felix dakat » Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:53 pm

iambiguous wrote:Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

I’m usually wary of epiphanies, lightbulb moments and sweeping realisations that reorder lives. But walking home one evening earlier this year, my existence shifted with a single passing thought.

I was chronically stressed at work, overwhelmed by expectations, grasping for a sense of achievement or greater purpose and tip-toeing towards full-on exhaustion. Then it hit me: “Who cares? One day I’ll be dead and no one will remember me anyway.”


Come on, admit it, accepting this can be all you need to put everything -- everything -- in perspective. And once you convince yourself that this is true for everyone else, they are dumped into the same "bonfire of the vanities" that you are in. You have nothing to prove to a God that doesn't exist and there is nothing that can be proved to mere mortals in a world that is essentially meaningless up until the point where, tumbling over into the abyss, you become nothing at all but mindless matter on its way back to star stuff.

Not only that but since you don't have to be concerned with living your life within the confines of some religious or ideological agenda, your actual options increase dramatically. You can choose to do only those things you construe to be in your own selfish interest, concerned only with not getting caught when you do something that others might not go along with.

I can’t explain the crashing sense of relief. It was as if my body dumped its cortisol stores allowing my lungs to fully inflate for the first time in months. Standing on the side of the road I looked at the sky and thought: “I’m just a chunk of meat hurtling through space on a rock. Pointless, futile, meaningless.” It was one of the most comforting revelations of my life. I’d discovered nihilism.


On the other hand, it depends on the actual set of circumstances when this first occurs to you. Obviously, if your life is filled with all manner of fulfillment and satisfaction attached to one or another religious or secular font, you lose all of that. Especially if you are able to convince yourself that "I" -- your soul -- continues on into one or another configuration of immortality and salvation.

Thus, like most things, it depends on where you are and what is happening to you when the idea of nihilism first pops into your head. Dasein is clearly written all over this frame of mind.


It might surprise you to learn that I have experiences like Wendy's.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9274
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:29 pm

felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

I’m usually wary of epiphanies, lightbulb moments and sweeping realisations that reorder lives. But walking home one evening earlier this year, my existence shifted with a single passing thought.

I was chronically stressed at work, overwhelmed by expectations, grasping for a sense of achievement or greater purpose and tip-toeing towards full-on exhaustion. Then it hit me: “Who cares? One day I’ll be dead and no one will remember me anyway.”


Come on, admit it, accepting this can be all you need to put everything -- everything -- in perspective. And once you convince yourself that this is true for everyone else, they are dumped into the same "bonfire of the vanities" that you are in. You have nothing to prove to a God that doesn't exist and there is nothing that can be proved to mere mortals in a world that is essentially meaningless up until the point where, tumbling over into the abyss, you become nothing at all but mindless matter on its way back to star stuff.

Not only that but since you don't have to be concerned with living your life within the confines of some religious or ideological agenda, your actual options increase dramatically. You can choose to do only those things you construe to be in your own selfish interest, concerned only with not getting caught when you do something that others might not go along with.

I can’t explain the crashing sense of relief. It was as if my body dumped its cortisol stores allowing my lungs to fully inflate for the first time in months. Standing on the side of the road I looked at the sky and thought: “I’m just a chunk of meat hurtling through space on a rock. Pointless, futile, meaningless.” It was one of the most comforting revelations of my life. I’d discovered nihilism.


On the other hand, it depends on the actual set of circumstances when this first occurs to you. Obviously, if your life is filled with all manner of fulfillment and satisfaction attached to one or another religious or secular font, you lose all of that. Especially if you are able to convince yourself that "I" -- your soul -- continues on into one or another configuration of immortality and salvation.

Thus, like most things, it depends on where you are and what is happening to you when the idea of nihilism first pops into your head. Dasein is clearly written all over this frame of mind.


It might surprise you to learn that I have experiences like Wendy's.


Then we need to explore the extent to which your own subjective rendition of sunny nihilism is or is not compatible with that aspect of nihilism -- the darker side -- which has resulted [for me] in a fractured and fragmented "self" convinced that his own existence is essentially meaningless and getting ever so closer to oblivion.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:48 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

Nihilism has existed in one form or another for hundreds of years, but is usually associated with Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher (and pessimist of choice for high school kids with undercuts) who proposed that existence is meaningless, moral codes worthless, and God is dead.


That's one rendition of Nietzsche. Another revolves around the Übermensch. The Übermensch sets "as a goal" the "overcoming" of nihilism. How? By separating himself out from the flocks of sheep [God or No God] and, through the sheer "will to power", rising above the herds.

Then some [like Satyr] link this to the one and the only correct understanding of human behaviors that can be described as "natural". In other words, in sync with the one and only rational manner in which to grasp human nature itself. As they do. This can then be made applicable to race and ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation and religion and many political dogmas.

Similarly, for the Übermensch, there are any number of interpretations regarding the makeup of the Last Man.

And who really knows the extent to which it may or may not be, well, more or less true? Genes and memes become intertwined in any particular "I" out in any particular world understood in any particular way that, down through the ages, there have been hundreds and hundreds of "schools of thought" to explain the "human condition". And, sure, there is no way for all of the others to demonstrate conclusively that it's not yours.

This decade it’s had a cultural comeback. Visiting the central tenets it’s easy to see why. Nietzsche’s argument that “Every belief, every considering something true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world” feels chillingly relevant as we stumble through a “post-truth” reality.


Actually, given the Blue State/Red State mentality that suffuses the current election year, there are still plenty of folks able to see the world as divided between those who are "one of us" [the true moral majority] and "one of them" [the true deceivers].

Again, in many crucial respects, there is no actual "post-truth" reality. The objective reality of the either/or world is still around. It's just the extent to which one is able to demonstrate it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:56 pm

https://youtu.be/3v5zNMtMtiM

Here is Satyr's latest defense of objectivism embedded in genes [natural behaviors] as opposed to subjectivism embedded in memes [social behaviors]

This guy goes on and on up in the clouds of intellectual abstraction coming down to earth only in regard to trees and trunks and branches and apples. Then delving into particularly dense, abstruse reflections on "psychobabble". Then equally obscure references to religion.

He starts out by saying that...

“Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself. Fundamentally it consists in propounding the claim that there is no truth as if this were truth or in declaring it to be absolutely true that there is nothing but the relatively true; one might just as well say that there is no language or write that there is no writing. In short, every idea is reduced to a relativity of some sort, whether psychological, historical, or social; but the assertion nullifies itself by the fact that it too presents itself as a psychological, historical, or social relativity. The assertion nullifies itself if it is true and by nullifying itself logically proves thereby that it is false; its initial absurdity lies in the implicit claim to be unique in escaping, as if by enchantment, from a relativity that is declared to be the only possibility.”

Well, not my own relativism. The laws of matter, mathematics, the empirical world, the rules of language. My own nihilism would never suggest that knowledge communicated in regard to them...in regard to material and human interactions in the either/or world...is relative to the subjective interpretation of the individual.

Then preposterous assumptions like this:

"In the existentialist universe there is no room for objective and unwavering intellection."

Huh? Do the laws of matter, mathematics etc., not apply to existentialists? To nihilists?

And the irony is that minds of Satyr's ilk are ever and always intent on insisting that only their own arrogant "intellections" regarding race and ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation and every other example of a "conflicting good" counts as "natural" behavior.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:11 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

While Nietzsche (and the goths you grew up with) make it all sound like a bummer, Generation Y’s and Z’s take on things is more upbeat and absurd. Modern nihilism has been honed through memes and Twitter jokes. It manifests as teenagers eating Tide pods, fans begging celebrities to run them down with their cars, and a lot of weird TV shows. Turns out the descent into nothingness can be pretty funny.


In other words, in our pop culture world, nihilism itself becomes just another adjunct of social media. Reduced to Seinfeld writ large across the entire "reality TV" mentality of each new generation. Certainly not something to be discussed...seriously? Even here I can't those who choose to become members of a philosophy forum to examine it in terms of the behaviors that they choose in their interactions with others from day to day.

Are we witnessing a new, sunnier, generation of nihilists emerge? If meaning and purpose are overrated illusions, then so is any sense that you are special or destined for greater things. It’s a balm for a group burning out over exceptionalism, economic downturns, performative excellence, housing crises and living your best life on Instagram.


Come on, we've just had an election here in America in which one thing is crystal clear. That there are still millions of objectivists on both sides of the political spectrum who are not yet reduced down to the social media rendition of nihilism. On the contrary, they take the "news" very, very seriously. And "meaning and purpose" for most is still divided distinctly into "one of us" vs. "one of them". Nihilism -- especially nihilism in the manner in which I construe it -- is the farthest thing from their minds.

As for nihilism as a "philosophical question" examining "I" as an existential contraption rooted in dasein, forget about it. It's a non-starter not only for the "masses" but even for those who have an active interest in philosophy.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 pm

When we last examined Satyr's take on nihilism I was bitching [yet again] about his refusal to bring those godawful "intellectual craptions" of his out into the world where "for all practical purposes" we could examine his argument given the behaviors that flesh and blood human beings actual choose.

Alas, my bitching has come to naught:


satyr wrote: Nihilism is completely dependent upon and defined by words/symbols. It is, literally, nothing, without semiotics.
It's only potency is by defining existence, out of existence - negating it linguistically - otherwise it remains impotent; giving expression to the very sensation of impotence it declares itself omni-potent.
A self-cotnradition if you remain within the contexts of its linguistic inversions.


Oh, yeah:

satyr wrote: blah blah blah


But my challenge is still open. If anyone here does read a post of his in which he takes these "godawful intellectual contraptions" out into the real world, please bring it to my attention.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:06 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

In her collection of essays Trick Mirror: reflections on self-delusion, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino grapples with the culture and conditions of a post-global financial crisis America. In particular, how cults of self-optimisation and identity have left us lost and apathetic. Several reviews used the term nihilistic when discussing the book, referring to both the content and how it made them feel.


Let's be really, really clear here. When these folks speak of nihilism it bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to the manner in which I explore it on this thread. Philosophically, for example. But starting with the premise that in a No God world meaning and morality are rooted in "existential contraptions rooted in dasein in an essentially meaningless existence that ends for each of us one by one in oblivion", is not exactly where Jia will be taking us in reacting to the "post-global financial crisis" in America. Or for that matter the extreme global turbulence brought on by the coronavirus today.

As for feeling "lost and apathetic", it's one thing to attach these reactions to one individual's life that has been flushed down the toilet and another thing altogether to dismiss that life ontologically and teleologically as ultimately valueless and completely futile.

But when speaking to her earlier this year, Tolentino offered a warmer take. She admitted she found feelings of insignificance “really galvanising” for her writing, adding: “If we’re here for just a blink of the eye, and in general if nothing matters, it feels like [it’s] carte blanche to wild the fuck out. To try a lot of things, try your best to do something because the odds are so good that none of it means anything that perversely it makes me feel free to try.”


Yes. This is clearly one way in which to deal with a nihilistic frame of mind. To actually take advantage of it. Only in order to "wild the fuck out" you have to have access to both options and a willingness to accept the consequences of those the "wilding" might do harm to.

Also, the author doesn't focus at all on the points I raise in regard to moral nihilism. The feeling of being "fractured and fragmented". And the way in which some who "wild the fuck out" become sociopaths, making life hell for all those who come between what they want and how they choose to get it.

She didn’t see purposelessness as a poison seeping into our lives to turn us into the nihilistic baddies from the Big Lebowski. Rather she argued it had the potential to define and soothe a pained generation: “I think it’s the millennial condition. It’s this kind of ecstatic, fundamentally ironic but also incredibly sincere, unhinged quality.”


Sure, when you turn the "nihilistic baddies" into cartoon characters in a movie, the only ones to feel their wrath are cartoon characters themselves. But out in the real world don't expect much in the way of a "ecstatic, fundamentally ironic but also incredibly sincere, unhinged quality" to prevail.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:59 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

Last year, on opposite sides of the world, two high schoolers presented TEDx talks about nihilism. Elias Skjoldborg, a junior at Hanwood Union high school in Vermont, took the stage to deliver his case for optimistic nihilism. It was aptly subtitled “Or how to be a happy emo”.

During his presentation he reminded the audience of fellow adolescents that: “If you died right now it wouldn’t make a difference, big picture. If you’d never been born no one would care.”

https://youtu.be/hmRBzc0o71A


Okay, he starts out with the same nihilistic assumption that I do: that human existence in general and your own existence in particular is essentially meaningless. That ultimately nothing in life really matters.

And, as well, he makes another point that I do: So what? You can still find any number of activities that bring you satisfaction and fulfilment. Or what he calls happiness.

That’s the good news. “That life has no meaning is not a reason ... to be sad,” he said. If our lives are needless then the only directive we have is to figure out how to find happiness in our momentary blip of consciousness. For instance, he helpfully suggested his audience get hobbies, help others, solve problems rather than creating them, and just try their best.


What he does not examine however is moral nihilism. Okay, you set out to be happy in an essentially meaningless universe. You can even use that to your advantage. How? Well, if your existence is ontologically and teleologically anchored only to that which makes you happy, then you are not anchored instead to one or another dogmatic moral and political and spiritual agenda which ever and always requires you to do the right thing.

In other words, this part...

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

...just never comes up. It's all about being happy. And if what you choose to do in order to be happy comes into conflict with what others choose instead?

Next up: Siddharth Gupta...Confessions of an Existential Nihilist.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:34 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

Subverting the stereotype of a teen nihilist, Siddharth Gupta presented his talk “Confessions of an existential nihilist” while wearing a pink button-down shirt. The senior at Kodiakanal International school in India confessed that his belief life was worthless gave him the “opportunity to find meaning in all that I do”.


https://youtu.be/5iLk42uOUhg

How hard is it to find meaning in life? There are countless paths you can take. In business. In the arts. In sports. In relationships. In families. In hobbies. In education. In social and political interactions. Things become meaningful here because from day to day they are attached to the satisfaction and the fulfillment that participating in all these different things can provide.

Instead, what some find hard is in anchoring existential meaning to one or another overarching essential meaning of life. An ontological and teleological font that enables you to tie all the things you do to some all encompassing meaning. Whether anchored to God or to any number of secular Humanisms. And, in failing to accomplish this, some can become quite disturbed.

And, as well, rooted in dasein, some never go searching for this at all. They are either content to feed off the gratification that their day to day commitments provide, or they choose instead to make it all about accumulating experiences that simply bring them pleasure. Hedonists for example.

Unburdened by a larger mission, he was free to seek out his own: “I still believe there is no inherent meaning in life, but I now believe that because of this, there is no reason not to give everything I have and try to create my own meaning in this most likely hollow existence.”


But here again we can still encounter the objectivists. There may be no inherent meaning, but they still manage to convince themselves that "my meaning" reflects the most rational manner in which to understand the world around us. That they come closest to the least hollow perspective on the human condition.

There are or have been any number if them here. Some religious. Some secular. But they all come here with these often elaborated thought out "theories of everything" which they then try to convince all the rest of us to embrace in turn. So, for all practical purposes, there night just as well be an inherent meaning when they comes across those who won't or don't accept their own .
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:39 pm

Nihilism attracts those who are insecure about themselves, those who secretly hate themselves, and this self-hatred is expressed as narcissistic, hyperbolic displays of self-love, and high self-esteem.


On the other hand, nihilism deeply disturbs those who insist that they and only they can tell you which behaviors you must choose if you want to be thought of as a rational human being.

The ones that they choose, for example.

More to the point though are those who insist as well that only their own "intellectual" assessment of nihilism is ever to be tolerated in discussing it.

That way they never have to bring the words down out of the pedantic clouds...out into the world we interact in...in order pin down nihilism in regard to a set of circumstances where others refuse to just accept their own objectivist font.

Still, I don't read all of the posts [both here and there] in which nihilism is discussed.

So, sure, if anyone here does come across a reference to it relating to a particular context, please bring it to my attention.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:20 pm

Sunny nihilism: 'Since discovering I’m worthless my life has felt precious'
Wendy Syfret at The Guardian

One of the many criticisms of nihilism is that it opens the door to unchecked selfishness. It’s a logical next step if you think there’s nothing to gain from life except personal happiness and pleasure. Yet for the people who have absorbed this message, the trend isn’t towards greed, but community-mindedness.


And what examples of this trend might that be? What particular communities in regard to what particular situations in which "sunny nihilism" seemed to prevail?

Anyone here familiar with situations of this sort? And: in today's world, given the events that have been unfolding this year?

No, instead, the word nihilism is still used as a pejorative to tar those whom one is convinced are clearly part of the problem:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... story.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/11/opin ... court.html

Both in terms of ends and means.

Skjoldborg urged his audience to solve problems. Gupta sought to build his own meaning. Tolentino’s whole book is an argument against self-serving, neoliberal systems that crush people lower down the economic ladder than you.


So, what can we discern from this such that we might come to grasp the one true understanding of nihilism. And how to differentiate the sunny from the cloudy rendition. Who's "own meaning" in regard to solving what problems? And what happens when the points that I raise come into play. Not that they ever really do of course.

In the months since discovering I’m worthless, my life has felt more precious. When your existence is pointless, you shift focus to things that have more longevity than your own ego. I’ve become more engaged in environmental issues, my family and the community at large. Once you make peace with just being a lump of meat on a rock, you can stop stressing and appreciate the rock itself.


No, there is still what I construe here to be an important distinction between coming to conclude that you are essentially worthless in an essentially meaningless universe that ends for all of eternity in oblivion, and recognizing all of the many ways in which worth can be embedded in the lives we live existentially. Instead, the difficulties are derived from all of the many, many contexts in which conflicting goods become entangled in those behaviors that are attached to moral and political prejudices that are at odds.

The author went in one direction. But other more cloudy nihilists can go in very different directions indeed.

And that's before we get to all of the dangers embedded in authoritarian objectivists who are able to secure the political power necessary to make life hell for those who are not "one of us".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:04 pm

Have We Regressed into Nietzsche’s “Moral Nihilism”?
Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage

The events of last week where at least 50 people were killed and 50 wounded in an attack targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch was despicable. The admissions cheating scandal in the U.S. raises serious questions whether the large group of people involved know the difference between right and wrong or even care about it. Where is the moral outrage?


These two events are seen by me in very, very different ways. The Christchurch murders -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchu ... _shootings -- happened as a result of a a fanatical right wing racist employing "any means neccessary" in pursuit of his own "kingdom of ends". This end being anything but nihilistic. On the contrary, it was profoundly objectivist. Only the means might be reasonably described by some as nihilistic.

As for the cheating scandal -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_coll ... ry_scandal -- yes, it might be reasonably described as something a moral nihilist might rationalize. All that mattered to the parents here was getting their kids into the best universities. Conventional morality be damned.

Given the first event, the moral outrage might be shared by those opposed to attacks on Moslem mosques. But for those [religious or otherwise] who share the political convictions of Brenton Harrison Tarrant, there is nothing to be outraged regarding at all.

These events and so many others turned my attention to whether we have, in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, devolved into a world where moral nihilism is the brand of “ethics,” or no ethics at all exists. If so, we are well on our way down the moral slippery slope and headed for ground zero.


My point of course is that in a No God world, it's not a question of devolving into nihilism so much as recognizing that ethics itself is merely a manifestation of the assumptions rooted in fonts such as God. Or reason. Or philosophy. Or [for some] even science itself. Human interactions require rules of behavior. Some behaviors will be rewarded, others punished. And this is rooted in historical and cultural contexts predicated in large part on the evolution of political economy.

One person's "slippery slope" and "ground zero" is not going to be the same as another's. Thus for some communities the slippery slope in regard to, say, gun ownership can go back and forth politically resulting in a ground zero that either prohibits private citizens from owning guns or allows them to own shotguns, machine guns, high-powered rifles, semi-automated weapons, etc.

When does all of this result in "nihilism"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 41470
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: hanging out with godot

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users