nihilism

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 13, 2020 4:24 pm

Nihilism
Nolen Gertz at the Aeon online site

In moral philosophy, nihilism is seen as the denial that morality exists. As Donald A Crosby argues in The Specter of the Absurd (1988), moral nihilism can be seen as a consequence of epistemological nihilism.


Here things get tricky for me.

Until we are able to grasp an understanding of existence itself [which may not even be possible] what does it mean to speak of nihilism epistemologically? After all, in regard to what we either can or cannot know about the totality of reality itself how are we are not always back to this:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

Instead, my own understanding of "moral nihilism" revolves around the distinction I make between objective knowledge derived from interactions in the either/or world and subjective/subjunctive claims of knowledge in the is/ought world. The gap between knowledge that we seem able to demonstrate as applicable to all of us and opinions embedded in our reaction to human interactions in which conflicts occur regarding behaviors deemed to be either right or wrong. The part I root in dasein.

If there exist no grounds for making objective claims about knowledge and truth, then there exist no grounds for making objective claims about right and wrong. In other words, what we take to be morality is a matter of what is believed to be right – whether that belief is relative to each historical period, to each culture or to each individual – rather than a matter of what is right.


But: As long as there are things in which objective claims of knowledge appear to be exchanged and then sustained year after year after year, where exactly is the line to be drawn between truth and opinion in regard to conflicting goods?

And each of us here is basically in the same leaky boat that has capsized philosophers going back now thousands of year. Boats filled with holes that are unable to be plugged with arguments that settle once and for all what really is the right and the wrong thing to do.

Here instead of there. Now instead of then.

Except of course in any particular philosopher's head.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon May 18, 2020 5:03 pm

Nihilism
Nolen Gertz at the Aeon online site

The 18th-century moral philosopher Immanuel Kant recognised the danger of grounding morality on God or on happiness as leading to moral skepticism. The belief in God can motivate people to act morally, but only as a means to the end of ending up in heaven rather than hell. The pursuit of happiness can motivate people to act morally, but we can’t be certain in advance what action will result in making people happy.


First, of course, if a God, the God does in fact exist, then whether your behaviors are ends in themselves or merely a means to immortality and salvation, what difference does it make if on Judgment Day there is an objective font from which to make that crucial distinction? If you behave virtuously on this side of the grave, is God really going to send you to Hell because your virtue was not motivated by/for the right reasons? Besides, one suspects that human motivation here is almost always going to be a complex intertwining of means and ends. You choose morality because you are obligated to, but also because doing the right thing creates and then sustains human interactions able to be construed subjunctively as the best of all possible worlds.

And if you are able to think yourself into believing that your happiness aligns perfectly with virtue how hard is it to conclude further that this a necessary interaction? After all, there are so many rationalizations available to you in order to embody further still the perfect combination of psychological defense mechanisms.

So, in response, Kant argued for a reason-based morality instead. According to him, if a universal foundation is what morality needs, then we should simply make decisions in accordance with the logic of universalisability.


Where to begin! For example, when the reasons that liberals give for choosing progressive behaviors come into fierce conflict with the reasons that conservatives give for choosing their own rendition of that.

And out on the radical left and the radical right end of the political spectrum, reasons also come into conflict. Karl Marx meet Ayn Rand.

And then there's the "fractured and fragmented" assessments of folks like me.

By determining what we are trying to achieve in any action, and by turning that intention into a law that all rational beings must obey, we can use reason to determine if it is logically possible for the intended action to be universalised. Logic – rather than God or desire – can therefore tell us if any intended action is right (universalisable) or wrong (not universalisable).


If this truly were the case would not every Kantian around the globe today be able to synchronize their own moral and political agendas so as to be as one in regard to the most reasonable behaviors that virtuous men and women are obligated to choose?

For example, in this day and age, is it more logical to continue social distancing policies or to open up the economy? Is it more rational to mandate that all citizens be vaccinated against this infection or to make it strictly voluntary?

And, besides, this logic is still no less backed up by a transcending font. The Kantian equivalent of God.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue May 26, 2020 5:50 pm

Nihilism
Nolen Gertz at the Aeon online site

There are, however, several problems with trying to base morality on reason. One such problem, as pointed out by Jacques Lacan in ‘Kant with Sade’ (1989), is that using universalisability as the criterion of right and wrong can let clever people (such as the Marquis de Sade) justify some seemingly horrific actions if they can manage to show that those actions can actually pass Kant’s logic test.


And logic would seem to be inherently tricky given the gap between its use in the either/or world and in the is/ought world. For example, the rules of language made applicable to a description of a prison execution vs. the rules of language made applicable to a discussion of whether capital punishment is, in fact, rationally, "cruel and unusual punishment".

Then the further leap extrapolating virtue from rationality. If executions are inherently rational, must they then be inherently moral?

And -- rationally -- should this be made a universal truth regarding all executions or given any number of mitigating and/or aggravating sets of circumstances should rationality be assessed only one execution at a time?

Another problem, as pointed out by John Stuart Mill in Utilitarianism (1861), is that humans are rational, but rationality is not all that we have, and so following Kantian morality forces us to live like uncaring robots rather than like people.


In other words, the subjunctive "I". That aspect of my "self" in the brain intertwined with complex emotional and psychological states intertwined further in subconscious and unconscious reactions to the world around us intertwined further still in even more deep seated instinctual drives.

Then the parts rooted in ever evolving and changing historical, cultural and experiential memes?

Is it any wonder then that the biological evolution of matter into the self-conscious mind allowed for objectivism? The capacity of "I", as of now, to just inexplicably "flick a switch" and make all of these convoluted complexities just disappear?

Then the only question is the extent to which it is all nature given a wholly determined universe.

Yet another problem, as pointed out by Nietzsche, is that reason might not be what Kant claimed it to be, as it is quite possible that reason is no firmer a foundation than is God or happiness. In On the Genealogy of Morals (1887), Nietzsche argued that reason is not something absolute and universal but rather something that has evolved over time into part of human life. In much the same way that mice in a lab experiment can be taught to be rational, so too have we learned to become rational thanks to centuries of moral, religious and political ‘experiments’ in training people to be rational. Reason should not be seen therefore as a firm foundation for morality since its own foundations can be called into question.


Here, in my view, in regard to meaning in our lives, folks like Nietzsche are just alluding to this:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

The part I take back to the gap between what we think we know about the "human condition" and all there is to know going back to that elusive understanding of existence itself. Where does Kant fit in there?

There is what various philosophers have taught us to think about reason, there is what we have taught ourselves to think about it and there is how that is profoundly, problematically intertwined with "I" as an existential contraption rooted in dasein.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun May 31, 2020 7:13 pm

Symbolism, Meaning & Nihilism in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction
Mark Conard reveals the metaphysical truths lurking under the rug in Tarantino’s cult classic.

Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is an odd film. It’s a seemingly complete narrative which has been chopped into vignettes and rearranged like a puzzle. It’s a gangster film in which not a single policeman is to be found. It’s a montage of bizarre characters, from a black mobster with a mysterious bandage on the back of his bald head, to hillbilly sexual perverts; from henchmen dressed in black suits whose conversations concern what fast food items are called in Europe to a mob problem-solver who attends dinner parties early in the morning dressed in a full tuxedo. So, what is the film about? In general, we can say that the film is about American nihilism.


Whatever it is one describes Pulp Fiction to be, it is clearly populated by characters that live far, far, far beyond the parameters of what most consider to be a moral universe. Basically these folks are sociopaths. All they ever seem to be concerned with is in satisfying the next itch -- for drugs, for money, for sex. It is ever and always me, myself and I. The only hierarchy that seems to exist at all revolves around might makes right.

And, from my point of view, this is the most dangerous manifestation of nihilism. Why? Because, with people like these, the reasoning mind is "for all practical purposes" defunct. And forget about appealing to human decency. Plus, you can't exactly shame or embarrass or humiliate them into doing the right thing. At least with nihilists who wrap their motivation and intention around an ideological or political agenda -- anarchists, say -- you can appeal to them with some measure of intelligence and coherent thinking.

But not with these grotesque postmodern caricatures. You get out of their way or you do what they tell you. After all, for them everything revolves solely around not getting caught. By the law. Or by those actually able to exact consequences.

The author then provides a three part summation of the movie plot and his take on the main characters.

As I said, in general, the film is about American nihilism. More specifically, it is about the transformation of two characters: Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Butch (Bruce Willis). In the beginning of the film, Vincent (John Travolta) has retumed from a stay in Amsterdam, and the content of the conversation between Jules and Vincent concerns what Big Macs and Quarter Pounders are called in Europe, the Fonz on Happy Days, Arnold the Pig on Green Acres, the pop band Flock of Seagulls, Caine from Kung Fu, tv pilots, etc. These kinds of silly references seem upon first glance like a kind of comic relief, set against the violence that we’re witnessing on the screen. But this is no mere comic relief. The point is that this is the way these characters make sense out of their lives: transient, pop cultural symbols and icons. In another time and/or another place people would be connected by something they saw as larger than themselves, most particularly religion, which would provide the sense and meaning that their lives had and which would determine the value of things. This is missing in late 20th Century America, and is thus completely absent from Jules’ and Vincent’s lives. This is why the pop icons abound in the film: these are the reference points by which we understand ourselves and each other, empty and ephemeral as they are. This pop iconography comes to a real head when Vincent and Mia (Uma Thurmon) visit Jack Rabbit Slim’s, where the host is Ed Sullivan, the singer is Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly is the waiter, and amongst the waitresses are Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield.


This is something that has always intrigued me. The way our "late-capitalist-postmodern-world" has mass produced literally millions upon millions of citizens who seem obsessed only with 1] pop culture 2] consumption and 3] celebrity.

But: It's almost impossible to link this with nihilism because, well, there it is, everywhere: on TV, in the movies, on records, embedded in virtually every pursuit that the lowest common denominator "masses" are invested in. Even in the midst of a deadly pandemic the "party hardy" "youth culture" crowds are shown trekking to the venues that have come to encompass our me, myself and I pop culture.

In fact, even Pulp Fiction itself becomes just another part of it all. It's not like most of those who left the theaters back then were bent on discussing the way in which nihilism was explored and depicted in the film.

Instead, when most conjure up cinematic nihilists in their head, they are more inclined towards the characters portrayed in Reservoir Dogs. Truly scary fucking men.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:21 pm

Symbolism, Meaning & Nihilism in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction
Mark Conard reveals the metaphysical truths lurking under the rug in Tarantino’s cult classic.

The pop cultural symbols are set into stark relief against a certain passage from the Old Testament, Ezekiel 25:17 (actually, largely composed by Tarantino himself):

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is The Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."


Here's the actual words from the Bible:

“And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.”

But, really, what's the difference? The whole point of having words of this sort to fall back on is to justify anything -- even killing -- in the name of the Lord. And what could possibly serve as a greater antidote to nihilism than that?

After all, as long as you have something to fall back on other than the crass motives of a sociopathic hoodlum, It allows for some measure of sanctity. Whatever is actually unfolding in the mind of Jules Winnfield at the time of each killing, the viewer can always imagine that he has convinced himself there is in fact righteous intent.

But: we know that this is not the case at all. Why? Because Jules himself, personifying the cold-blooded nihilistic psychopath, spills the beans:

“I’ve been saying that shit for years, and if you heard it – that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant – I just thought it was some cold blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass."

And if this isn't construed by most to be what nihilism is all about, there aren't many other film characters that surpass it. Unless it's Maynard and Zed. Nothing cannot be rationalized when your point of view revolves entirely around "what's in it for me"?

The absence of any kind of foundation for making value judgments, the lack of a larger meaning to their lives, creates a kind of vacuum in their existence which is filled with power. With no other criteria available to them by which to order their lives, they fall into a hierarchy of power, with Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) at the top and themselves as henchmen below.


Not unlike the mentality that pervades street gangs, outlaw biker clubs and organized crime cliques...the infamous 1% hell bent on taking what they want and dispensing with anyone who gets in their way.

Aren't they the nihilists that we most fear? The ones that, in today's world, we are most likely to actually come across. The might makes right factions that can and often do get away with, well, anything that they can. They do unto others whatever suits them. The whole point is in not getting caught. Or, if caught, being able to thump the ones that caught you.

These folks:

Things come to have value in their lives if Marsellus Wallace declares it to be so. What he wants done, they will do. What he wishes becomes valuable for them and thus becomes the guide for their actions at the moment, until the task is completed by whatever means necessary. This is perfectly epitomized by the mysterious briefcase which Jules and Vincent are charged to return to Marsellus. It is mysterious because we never actually see what’s in it, but we do see people’s reactions to its obviously valuable contents. The question invariably arises: what’s in the briefcase?


I always construed the contents as being anything the viewer most fears about characters of this sort. Their own rendition of being in Room 101 with them.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:22 pm

Symbolism, Meaning & Nihilism in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction
Mark Conard reveals the metaphysical truths lurking under the rug in Tarantino’s cult classic.

Again, the characters we come across in Pulp Fiction become particularly ominous for most of us.

On the other hand, they are just like us in having acquired value judgments and in ascribing meaning to the things that are important to them in the course of actually living their lives from day to day. It's just like unlike most of us, these value judgments and this meaning is derived from the fact that for whatever personal reason [rooted in dasein] they have chosen to become sociopaths. And power becomes important here as the font which they can fall back on in determining a hierarchy of behaviors within any particular criminal community. And between "outlaw" communities. It's just that some sociopathic entities have more rules than others. Organized crime families, street gangs, motorcycle clubs. Some actually have elaborate codes of conducts. Others don't.

And then those who more or less operate on their own. And who is to say which are the most dangerous if you happen to come in between them and what they want.

And, for many, they have come to encompass nihilism at its most menacing and treacherous.

I’ve been contrasting nihilism with religion as an objective framework or foundation of values and meaning, because that’s the comparison that Tarantino himself makes in the film. There are other objective systems of ethics, however. We might compare nihilism to Aristotelian ethics, for example. Aristotle says that things have natures or essences and that what is best for a thing is to ‘achieve’ or realize its essence.


From my own frame of mind, however, a font is a font is a font. Whether, as a moral narrative, it is a God or a No God rendition, it's basically providing one with a foundation that, psychologically, one can anchor "I" too. It's just that with God that anchor continues on into the next world.

And, even with Aristotle, it's not what he said or believed, but what he was able to demonstrate as being true for all of us. What is the essential reaction that all rational men and women must have in reacting to the characters in Pulp Fiction? I certainly cannot demonstrate that moral nihilism accounts for their existence, but that is because I predicate this on the mere assumption that we live in a No God world.

And in fact whatever helps a thing fulfill its nature in this way is by definition good. Ducks are aquatic birds. Having webbed feet helps the duck to achieve its essence as a swimmer. Therefore, it’s good for the duck to have webbed feet. Human beings likewise have a nature which consists in a set of capacities, our abilities to do things. There are many things that we can do: play the piano, build things, walk and talk, etc. But the essentially human ability is our capacity for reason, since it is reason which separates us from all other living things. The highest good, or best life, for a human being, then, consists in realizing one’s capacities, most particularly the capacity for reason. This notion of the highest good, along with Aristotle’s conception of the virtues, which are states of character which enable a person to achieve his essence, add up to an objective ethical framework according to which one can weigh and assess the value and meaning of things, as well as weigh and assess the means one might use to procure those things.


Bingo! Another "general description intellectual contraption" that crams concepts like "virtue" and "nature" and "essence" and "reason" and "best life" and "highest good" into a world of words. Right? But when the focus is on a particular set of behaviors in a particular context we come at each other from many different conflicting points along the philosophical, moral and political spectrum. Instead, there is only the historical gap between back then in Ancient Greece and right now in our postmodern technocratic world. But surely Aristotle would construe the world created by Tarantino in Pulp Fiction as anything but what he imagined human interactions at their best might be.

And so, as rational human beings, must we.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:38 pm

It’s Not Nothing: The Nihilism of Seinfeld
Liz Wall

Although Seinfeld has often been called a “show about nothing” due to its wacky take on day to day life, each episode’s unique theme and story suggests otherwise. Far from being a show about nothing, Seinfeld is a show with a purpose. The show talks about topics such as group sex, nudity, masturbation, mental illness, and so many more in such an inappropriate, and often offensive way, not taking these things seriously but allowing the characters, and us, to laugh and poke fun at them. But it doesn’t do this randomly. The show uses some clever tactics to persuade its audience into believing that Seinfeld is not only not a show about nothing, it has a definite argument to make about what it means to mean nothing.


On the other hand, come on, any time nihilism can be reconfigured from its depiction in Pulp Fiction above to a "situation comedy" on network television, how dangerous can it be?

Let's make a joke out of it? That rendition of it?

Sure, why not.

Seinfeld portrays a nihilistic moral point of view. Don’t get me wrong I really like this show, but while the show is really fun and really funny, Seinfeld is essentially manipulating us. The writers and actors behind the show are smarter than we think: they are using rhetoric to manipulate their audience into accepting their nihilistic moral point of view.


Okay, for those here who watched the program, cite some examples of this. Note particular episodes where viewers might walk away convinced that right and wrong were merely social constructs that one can take or leave depending on what you have concluded is in it for me.

Here is the author's example:

Take “The Parking Garage” episode, fantastically written episode in which we see our group of main characters lost for hours in a parking garage trying to find where they parked their car.

This episode reflects a struggle that every person has had; not being able to find your parked car in a sea of sedans. Because this takes something that everyone has experienced to an extreme level, it is engaging to the audience: its absurdity allows it to illustrate the frustrations we feel in such moments.


Nope, that doesn't even come close to the manner in which I construe the world around me from a nihilistic perspective. Instead, it sounds exactly like the sort of thing that "pop culture" would come up with if they aimed to portray human existence as an essentially meaningless sojourn to oblivion.

And another:

Take another episode famous episode: “The Chinese Restaurant.” In this episode, our four main characters walk into a chinese restaurant and are told it will be about five to ten minutes to be seated. It ends up being longer and people who have arrived after them are being seated before them. Once again this is something that seems to always happen. Because these episodes, and many others blend realism with satire, absurdity, and witty dialogue, it engages a broad audience.


That ever happen to you? Brutal!

Some do indeed call Seinfeld "the show about nothing". And nihilism is often associated with it. But it is hardly in the vicinity of what those like me ascribe to a nihilistic frame of mind. Instead it seems to reduce life down to the lowest common denominator human interactions. Plots about almost nothing?

Mainly the episodes seemed to focus in on life's "minutia" moments. The days crawl by with almost nothing truly eventful happening. So the "smallness" of life itself is blown up all out of proportion in a world where people themselves can seem smaller than life itself.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:27 pm

Melancholia
Stefan Bolea takes us on a tour of European nihilism.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=179469&p=2340439&hilit=melancholia+directed#p2340439

“We don’t need an atom bomb at all; the uprooting of human beings is already taking place … It is no longer an Earth on which human beings live today.”
Martin Heidegger, Der Spiegel interview, 1966


Of course here we might be expected to presume this goes beyond such things as the Nazis, the Holocaust, the Second World War or any other actual historical events. This is buried deeper in a world that has basically come to reflect human interactions that revolve increasingly around the idea that "in the absence of God all things are permitted". There is nothing that philosophers can put in His place. So human relationships become increasingly more alienating, estranged, detached from a deeper meaning that allows us to tie everything together into something resembling a teleological foundation.

Even those who have at least managed to accummulate the wherewithal necessary to live princely lives, are no less impaled on all that is down here or out there or up there.

Lars von Trier’s latest movie Melancholia (2011) could be interpreted as a logical consequence of the history of European nihilism, whose most significant proponents were the philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and E.M. Cioran, and poets such as Charles Baudelaire, Maurice Rollinat and Lautréamont. In the film, the Danish director seems to be constructing an argument which not only “questions the value of life” (Nietzsche) but also invites us to change our status from “mortals to moribund beings” (Cioran).


Maybe. Here however the reactions of the characters revolve around the actual reality of extinction. Even if only imagined up on the screen. And it basically ends on an "optimistic" note for the main characters in that they devise a way in which deal with it...through each other.

It is in fact at the beginning of the film when the characters go at each other at the party that the "value of human life" is exposed. Not only in terms of dollars and cents but in the many ways that, in being "human all too human", we make our lives wretched. And, again, this among those who don't have to concern themselves with the at times grueling fact of just subsisting from week to week as wage slaves.

The planet Melancholia is on a collision course with the Earth. This film’s terrifying apocalypse is completely original, focusing not on the biological or physical destruction of our planet and species as do more trivial productions such as Independence Day or 2012. Instead it emphasizes the psychological distress of two particular Earth-dwellers, the severely melancholic Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).


Here, in my view, nihilism revolves around oblivion itself. Everyone on Earth is about to be extinguished for all of eternity by the planet Melancholia. But only each of us one by one have to deal with our own extinction. The characters here do not appear to have a belief in God, immortality and salvation. But in a real extinction event those that do will still have that to fall back on, right?

There's simply no getting around the fact that nihilism itself can be extinguished [on either side of the grave] if one is able to take that existential leap to religion. In their head. And that need be all it is. At least right up to the end. Then for many Pascal's wager kicks in. They are either gone forever but oblivious to it, or, in fact, their soul carries on in Paradise.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:58 pm

Melancholia
Stefan Bolea takes us on a tour of European nihilism.

If the alliance between love and death, and the subsequent destruction of the principle of love, are the atmospheric message of von Trier’s intro, the nihilistic motto of the whole film would be: “The Earth is evil. We don’t need to grieve for it” (Justine).


Clearly this is not the only message that one might derive from viewing the film. It certainly wasn't my reaction.

For example, this assessment revolves more around mental illness. Depression in particular: https://www.indiewire.com/2011/11/revie ... ia-255083/

Also, consider that those who do become aware of the collision are but a tiny demographic faction of the human race. There are countless others -- both God and No God folks -- who might react in any number of different ways. Instead, the assumption [mine] is that this is one possible interpretation attributed to the director.

At the same time, I have myself always been more fascinated in probing nihilism on this side of the grave. The fact that the focus here is more on coming to grips with oblivion, extinction is hardly the manner in which most human beings concern themselves with meaning in their lives. The 70/80 odd years that most of us are around have far more to do with the nearly 30,000 days we have to fill up in the course of living our lives. What if meaning here is essentially just as existential contraption?

This attitude is reminiscent of gnosticism, seen as a forerunner of modern nihilism by scholars such as Hans Jonas and Ion Petru Culianu. Its first principle was that the world of matter (or the Earth) is evil, and that humankind is the damaged creation of an evil divine power. The nihilism proposed in the 20th century by various writers, such as Cioran, Marinetti and Gottfried Benn, draws the similarly disturbing conclusion that because of our inherent defects, human beings must be destroyed – adapting one of the four noble truths of Buddhism, that suffering must be annihilated by nirvana (which means ‘snuffed out’).


This sort of thing revolves around the assumption that in living our lives from day to day we are ever and always preoccupied with meaning and purpose in our lives. Yet, for many of us, challenging the idea that teleologically there is no underlying existential foundation does not make all the things that we choose to do any less satisfying and fulfilling. Does preoccupying oneself with "inherent human defect" make the food we eat taste less delicious, the music we listen to less sublime, the relationships we pursue less rewarding, the careers we sustain less worthwhile.

Here I often come back to that which Woody Allen often comes back to in the face of all the things take make human existence so difficult and painful:

Why is life worth living? It's a very good question. Um... Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh... Like what... okay... um... For me, uh... ooh... I would say... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing... uh... um... and Willie Mays... and um... the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony... and um... Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues... um... Swedish movies, naturally... Sentimental Education by Flaubert... uh... Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra... um... those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne... uh... the crabs at Sam Wo's... uh... Tracy's face...

Lars von Trier illustrates a similar destructiveness, in both his earlier Antichrist (describing the apocalypse of a relationship) and in Melancholia, in depicting the noche oscura (‘the dark night of the soul’ – St. John of the Cross) of a human being (Justine) together with the universal night of St. Bartholomew (the death of the world). As we shall see, the personalized dark night of the soul may be even more significant than the dark night of the world.


Try even to imagine all the different reactions there are from all the different people reading his words. Sure, if your philosophy is bleak and the circumstances you endure from day to day are just as bleak [with no end in sight], you might be sync with this interpretation of Melancholia.

On the other hand, how about your 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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:58 pm

Melancholia
Stefan Bolea takes us on a tour of European nihilism.

Lars von Trier’s vision of apocaplypse in Melancholia puts it in the same category of Romantic nihilism as Byron’s Darkness, Lautréamont’s Maldoror and Cioran’s A Short History of Decay. All of them start from the psychological disintegration of the individual and move out to a project of universal destruction. First one of us dies on the inside, and then all must follow: this is the incontrovertable rule of nihilistic violence:

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air…
The world was void,
The populous and the powerful – was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless –
A lump of death – a chaos of hard clay.

Byron – Darkness


Yes, in my own way, with my own "story" articulated through a unique set of assumptions derived from the components of my own rendition of nihilism -- dasein, conflicting goods and political economy -- that is basically how it "works" for me too.

Once you have thought yourself into accepting a fractured and fragmented "I" in regard to human interactions, it really doesn't make any difference how you put the either/or world together. All the science and logic and objective reality in the world doesn't make the part about an essentially meaningless existence ending in oblivion go away.

It's only a matter then of finding a way not think that is true or in finding others that you can at least share the disintegration with.

Or sinking down [as "I" do] in "distractions".

Byron’s poem proposes a sort of spectacle of imploding anxiety, which might be summarized through Samuel Beckett’s construct, ‘lessness’ (“rayless”, “pathless”, seasonless”, etc). In the imaginary universe of Melancholia, lives are similarly transformed into an ode to death. Consider for instance the scene in which Justine gives herself to the Planet of Death, worshipping it naked as Melancholia menacingly approaches.


What is this though but a frame of mind that can only be understood with any degree of comprehension by Justine. Here she is a fictional character in a book facing a set of circumstances that are in turn entirely made up. There is no planet out there about to crash into our own wiping us all out. But there are of course any number of very real contexts in which one is confronted with imminent death. And do we or do we not have to accept that we may or may not be able to convey our thoughts and feelings about it to others? That others may confront us for not thinking and feeling as they do? That arguments may erupt over how one ought to think and feel?

Here, nihilism can either perturb you all the more or in fact actually soothe you.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby promethean75 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:14 pm

"Here, nihilism can either perturb you all the more or in fact actually soothe you."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:25 pm

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

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Re: nihilism

Postby Destiny » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:50 pm

Nil

I dont blekeve in noting
what if you hate you
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:59 pm

Melancholia
Stefan Bolea takes us on a tour of European nihilism.

“If the face of the earth were covered with lice as the sea-shore is covered with grains of sand, the human race would be destroyed, a prey to dreadful pain. What a sight! With me, motionless on my angel wings, in the air to contemplate it!”

Comte de Lautréamont – Maldoror and Poems, translation by Paul Knight

Lautréamont’s apocalypse has a sort of evolutionary feeling to it. From his point of view a race of predators (lice) replaces a race no longer creative, caught up in a spiral of decay. This spectacle of human disintegration is presented with cynicism and sarcasm.


And this is a frame of mind that, perhaps, any number of nihilists have entertained. I know that I have. And for me it flows from the assumption that human existence is an essentially meaningless sojourn to oblivion. Why not go all the way out on the cynical limb and imagine the worst. After all, it's no less entangled in the assumption itself.

And, from my frame of mind, the cynicism and sarcasm reflect but another psychological defense mechanism, however twisted. The consolation being that "I" have figured this all out while others live on in their delusions of morality and immortality.

Others have their own "intellectual contraptions". This one:

Moreover, the poetic subject seems to observe the apocalypse as if from Planet Melancholia, taking a non-human (or anti-human) point of view: “With me, motionless on my angel wings in the air to contemplate it!” We can observe a detached, non-human point of view in Cioran too: “The spectacle of man – what an emetic! Love – a duel of salivas… All the feelings milk their absolute from the misery of glands. Nobility is only in the negation of existence, in a smile that surveys annihilated landscapes.” This is the inner contradiction of a nihilism which goes beyond the self: a nihilism that firstly wants to destroy and secondly wants to watch destruction from above.


Or this one:

If Cioran’s “smile that surveys annihilated landscapes” is evocative of the horrors of WW2, what would the cosmic destruction in Melancholia suggest? Perhaps the Danish director is expressing our deepest unconscious desire to be absolved of existence: he’s expressing the mysterious will to die, the instinct of death, which has its roots in the core of our civilization. However, remembering the significance of the Wagnerian soundtrack from Tristan und Isolde, if death and love collide, we must hang on to our capacity for love until it transforms the power of death.


The bottom line being that any particular reaction to events portrayed in the film are going to be subsumed in dasein. And here you can only communicate to others what you think and feel up to a point. After all, unless someone has lived your life, what can they possibly know about what you think and feel when confronting extinction. There are only those who come closer to the experiences that you have had.

Still, my point is that, at this juncture, even we ourselves are only able to grasp our lives existentially--subjectively, subjunctively. There are simply too many variables [going back to the cradle] that were/are/will be either beyond our control or our understanding.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:35 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

Over at the Week, Damon Linker argues that Woody Allen's bleak vision of the world would have given him no reason not to commit the terrible crime he's been accused of. Linker claims that Allen's films, as well as certain things Allen has said over the years, indicate that he is a nihilist, which leaves him without a warrant for morality. Nihilists, Linker writes, believe that "there is no justice."


Let's face it, if one is convinced there is no essential meaning able to be ascribed to human interactions, nor any font onto/into which one can anchor an objective morality, then why can't the sexual abuse of children be rationalized? If, in the absence of God all things are permitted, then nothing is really out of the question. Instead, your focus shifts from "is this the right thing to do" to "will I be caught if I do it". You may rationalize any behavior but you still live among those who do not.

Me? Well, I'm as ambiguous in regard to this as I am in regard to all other issues relating to value judgments and identity at the juncture of any particular political economy.

Others of course will then ask: "Wait, are you saying that abusing children sexually is neither right nor wrong, but embodied subjectively in whatever predisposition any particular individual happens to accept here and now?"

Well, yeah. My own moral philosophy revolves around the assumption -- another existential contraption -- that in a no God world, there does not appear to be an a demonstrable argument from either science or philosophy that is able to establish beyond all doubt what all rational men and women are obligated to believe in regard to human sexuality. Or, if there is one, I haven't come across it yet. Or, yeah, I have come across it but am not intellectually sophisticated enough to understand it.

I certainly don't deny that possibility.

And then there are those among us who take a leap of faith as sociopaths, solely to whatever furthers their own selfish wants and needs. And, sans God, where's the rebuttal to that?

So, given these assumptions, it's not that there is no justice, but that justice itself in a No God world would appear to be no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:59 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

From Plato's sociopathic sophists to Friedrich Nietzsche's ambition to "sail right over our morality," this has been the conviction and the insight of the nihilist. These are Woody Allen's philosophical compatriots.


Probably. But what are the "convictions and insights" of the author in regard to a moral context in which the deontologists themselves come down on opposite ends of the political spectrum?

That's the part I always point to. Say that you are one of those philosophers [from Aristotle to Ayn Rand] who champions one or another rendition of moral objectivism [derived from God to Reason] but you bump into other philosophers who, while sharing this conviction, insist that your value judgments are the wrong ones. You both agree that philosophers can determine the optimal or the only rational moral agenda in prescribing [rewarding] and proscribing [punishing] behaviors in regard to any particular conflicting good, but only your own value judgments are examples of this.

I should note...that this doesn't mean he's a sexual predator. Nothing in the outlook of a nihilist necessarily implies that he will engage in immoral actions.

All that nihilism implies is the absence of a compelling reason not to do so.


And you know where I'll take this: to "I" as an existential contraption rooted in dasein. And what of the sociopaths who rationalize predatory sexual behavior because for them morality revolves solely around sustaining their own wants and needs. Where is the philosophical argument able to demonstrate that this is -- necessarily -- irrational? In a No God world.

I'm not suggesting that the argument doesn't exist, only that [here and now] I am not myself cognizant of it.

Rod Dreher of the American Conservative agrees:

What is useful about Allen’s nihilism is that he really does see the implications of that worldview more clearly than many, many others who profess a softer form of nihilism. That is, many people would believe that there’s no ultimate truth, that whatever you think is true is true for you. That the universe is meaningless; whatever meaning exists is meaning we give it. If that’s your view, says Woody Allen, then you must agree that the murderer has understood the reality of things better than the moralist. Of course most people would recoil from that conclusion, but I don’t see how any other conclusion is sensible, given the nihilist’s basic premise (that moral truth does not exist).


Indeed. And my argument here is that the moral objectivists recoil from this because it prompts them to examine their own value judgments and behaviors as "existential contraptions rooted in dasein" rooted in a particular world historically, culturally and circumstantially. And a "softer" or "harder" frame of mind is, to me, just another manifestation of "I" as constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed along a particular path embodied in a particular life.

Though, sure, if others are able to to offer up alternative moral narratives and political agenda, by all means, let them.

But: Just because my own frame of mind here is disturbing [to some] doesn't make it wrong.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:52 pm

My views are more disturbing to you than yours are to me. Nobody in existence wants their consent violated.

Very simple.

I even go on to state that all we can do in this world (no matter what we do) is violate someone’s consent.

I even stated further that the goal of life here is to violate as little consent as possible. The goal in the cosmos is to eradicate consent violation for everyone forever.

So you decided to ignore me. Apparently, it violates your consent that objective morality exists.

When I tell you I’ve been resurrected 3 times and that I’ve been to hell, you decided to ignore me as the crazy person. That’s my life story dude. It really happened. My mind is beyond the veil between life and death. But that doesn’t fit into your little box, your existential contraption.
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:34 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

Both Linker and Dreher quote an interview with Allen that appeared in Commonweal a few years ago. There Allen curtly declined our interviewer's invitation to acknowledge a religious dimension in his films. He made it clear that he regards religion as a form of self-deception. In fact, he regards most things as forms of self-deception. As he put it:

"Everybody knows how awful the world is and what a terrible situation it is and each person distorts it in a certain way that enables him to get through. Some people distort it with religious things. Some people distort it with sports, with money, with love, with art, and they all have their own nonsense about what makes it meaningful, and all but nothing makes it meaningful. These things definitely serve a certain function, but in the end they all fail to give life meaning and everyone goes to his grave in a meaningless way."


Here's the thing though...

He might believe this, but like those who believe exactly the opposite, he appears unable to actually demonstrate that this is in fact true.

Instead, as with you and I and everyone else, all that need matter is what we have come to believe as [in my view] the embodiment of dasein. One set of experiences out in a particular world will give rise to one frame of mind, another set of experiences, another frame of mind altogether.

I merely suggest that given this there does not appear to be argument available to philosophers that would allow us to conclude what rational men and women are obligated to believe regarding what is either true or false about "the meaning of life".

Sure, if you think Allen and folks like me are full of shit, fine, explain why. If you're convinced that objectively, essentially human existence does have meaning then, hey, by all means, note the premises of your argument and then note how they can be aggregated into a demonstrable proof of that meaning.

Here again all I request is that any philosophical text be illustrated by taking the conclusions and integrating them into a particular context in which men and women embrace conflicting goods. Why? Because these conflicts clearly generate an enormous amount of human pain and suffering. Pain and suffering derived in large part from making conflicting assumptions about what is the right thing and the wrong thing to do. In "this situation" or "that situation".

Besides, it seems rather obvious to me that the extent to which one does have a pessimistic view of life is more likely to revolve around sets of circumstances that allow for little or no real satisfaction and fulfillment. Then you can go to the philosophy texts. Or if existentially your life is bursting at the seams with all manner of really, really gratifying things who the hell needs philosophy then anyway?

Meaning then can revolve instead around all the things that do make you feel good and that do bring you comfort and consolation.

In the end, nothing matters. Until then, all that matters is finding something that will help you "get through."


Yeah, the things I call "distractions". Interactions with the world around you that both satisfy you and keep you at a distance from things that dissatisfy you. Whatever works. Then it comes down to how you intertwine this into some acceptance of morality or from the perspective of the narcissistic sociopath: me, myself and I.

To this, Allen's "philosophical compatriots" would add: There is no right or wrong, no Last Judgment, no karma. There's only power, desire, and luck. Rational deliberation involves just two questions: What do I really want? And can I get away with it?


Bingo! What nihilism can ultimately come to encompass for all practical purposes in a No God world that is essentially meaningless. But, once you are convinced that death equates with oblivion, choosing behaviors can become tricky, problematic. Why? Because on the one hand, if you don't do what you want now, you may never get another chance to do it at all. But if you do things that you want and they are dangerous you risk losing the only life that you will ever have. Or you risk the ire of those who will confront you. Or the law in which the only freedom you will ever have [given human autonomy] is placed in jeopardy.

After all, what if you can't get away with it? Or what if you do, and it results in some terrible fate that cripples the only life you will ever have.

Nihilism like most things is not a one size fits all assessment.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:08 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

I agree with Linker and Dreher that "nihilistic" is not too strong a word for Allen's views and for much of his art. Crimes and Misdemeanors, which Linker and Dreher both consider Allen's best film, shrugs off Dostoevsky's existential anxiety. The film's moral—or rather its lesson—is: Yes, without God, everything is permitted, and what of it? Grownups will not pretend that the moral chaos visible to anyone willing to look is a good reason to believe in God.


First of all, relevant quotes from Crimes and Misdemeanors:

Professor Levy: [voiceover] We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions. Moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points. But! We define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included, in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.

Aunt May: There's this joke about the prizefighter who enters the ring. And his brother turns to the family priest and says "Father, Pray for him." And the priest said "I will. But, if he can punch, it'll help."
Rabbi: So what are you saying May? You're saying you're challenging the whole moral structure of everything?
Aunt May: What moral structure? Is that the kind of nonsense you use on your pupils?
Rabbi: Do you not find human impulses basically decent?
Aunt May: There's basically nothing!
Rabbi: What are you saying May? There's no morality anywhere in the whole world?
Aunt May: For those who want morality, there's morality. Nothings handed down in stone.


Judah: You've seen too many movies. I'm talking about reality. I mean, if you want a happy ending, you should go see a Hollywood movie.

Miriam: Judah, I don't know what's wrong with you these days. You're a different person.
Judah: I believe in God, Miriam. I know it. Because, without God the world is a cesspool.


Maybe not a cesspool in a No God world, but, in my view, sans God, there is no way in which a mere mortal can pin down when it does becomes one. Philosophically, for example. Or ethically. Even historical events like the Holocaust are viewed by some as moral triumphs. Judah ends up sanctioning the murder of Dolores even while admitting to Jack, "It's pure evil! A man kills for money and he doesn't even know his victims!"

He professes a belief in God that in fact he does not really have. By the end of the film he recounts the experience to Cliff thusly:

And after the awful deed is done, he finds that he's plagued by deep-rooted guilt. Little sparks of his religious background which he'd rejected are suddenly stirred up. He hears his father's voice. He imagines that God is watching his every move. Suddenly, it's not an empty universe at all, but a just and moral one, and he's violated it. Now, he's panic-stricken. He's on the verge of a mental collapse-an inch away from confessing the whole thing to the police. And then one morning, he awakens. The sun is shining, his family is around him and mysteriously, the crisis has lifted. He takes his family on a vacation to Europe and as the months pass, he finds he's not punished. In fact, he prospers. The killing gets attributed to another person-a drifter who has a number of other murders to his credit, so I mean, what the hell? One more doesn't even matter. Now he's scot-free. His life is completely back to normal. Back to his protected world of wealth and privilege.

Clearly, that might not have been something that you could ever imagine yourself doing. But the reason God becomes so crucial here is that with God there is no question of of Judah getting away with what he set in motion. And there is no question of him being punished for it.

No God and that then disintegrates into whatever behaviors one can rationalize. Or, being a sociopath, simply shrugging it all off from the perspective of an amoral frame of mind.

Linker makes it clear that he isn't offering a theoretical argument against nihilism, which he describes as a "viable, albeit false and ultimately chilling, philosophical and existential position." And he points out, more than once, that Allen's nihilism doesn't give us any reason to assume he's guilty of child abuse. Nihilists, too, should enjoy the presumption of innocence.


"Viable albeit false". And what particular context could that be applicable to other than one in which others are obligated to think about the behaviors as he does. Ultimately chilling only to the moral objectivists who insist that an essential [even universal] morality is within the grasp of mere mortals in a No God world.

And, sure, there may well be. So, let's hear it. Let's see how one would go about demonstrating it to the moral nihilists [like me] and the sociopaths.

And the point isn't whether Allen is or is not guilty of child abuse but that child abuse itself is just one more behavior that can be rationalized by some once they conclude there is no omniscient and omnipotent God. That, instead, their behaviors revolve around self-gratification and not getting caught by those who see the abuse of children as a moral affront to either God or their own Humanism. That attached either to a political ideology or a deontological philosophical assessment.
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

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Re: nihilism

Postby felix dakat » Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:25 am

Some of my best fiends are nihilists. :wink:
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
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Re: nihilism

Postby Meno_ » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:10 am

My best and only friend, ever, said if he were ever asked

said if they ever were , they wouldn't .......

tell.


Course , cpuldnt



There is a huge problem inherent in nihilism, it does regress back into a state that is am anti-state..

Nature, must be admitted nominally as a presumptive process, which did evolve into the conscious entity that we experience today .

The anti-state., reduced to the anti-hero utilizes the same archaic elements the hero can conscript of the state, but in diametrically opposing ways. So any argument posed either
way, presupposes a slant, either way, as well.

The return into Plato's cave becomes Nietzsche's depth staring back, and resetting the automorphic paradox.

That mirror stage, resets anew the eye, through which individual consciousness need recycle toward what has become simulated reality.

The will toward nihilism merely shows this possibility, and the antihero must travel down again into the subterranian underworld, as the mythic religions have prescribed to, below the level of Christian doctrine, which basically could not descend there any more.

Redemptive efforts did not work, works of the conscience
have not been shaken to below that ground, that.prescrinee to archaic modes of.expressions of struggle .

Dasein is assailed by the fear of the fall, the depth of which is unassailable.

The anti-hero is, by necessity , becomes.the next stage.
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:07 pm

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:
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
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:45 pm

Woody Allen, Nihilist
By Matthew Boudway at Commonweal website

Still, I think both Linker and Dreher do end up suggesting that we should at least be suspicious of self-aware nihilists like Woody Allen, the kind of nihilists who understand the chilling implications of their worldview.


Of course I imagine that any number of folks here will be adamant in their assurance that others should be suspicious of moral nihilists like me. I even manage to push a few of them all the way over edge into posting rather fierce declamatory warnings about me.

Now, I suspect that reactions of this sort are predicated more on their concern [conscious or not] that I may be right. That, in fact, the manner in which they construe their own self out in the world of conflicting goods may in turn be an "existential contraption rooted in dasein". That they too may well find themselves sinking down into the "hole" that is a fractured and fragmented personality.

If such nihilism really has no practical importance, then why even mention it in connection to Dylan Farrow's accusations against Allen? Doesn't Crimes and Misdemeanors itself suggest that nihilism does have a practical importance?


Oh, indeed it does. After all, if one comes to accept that, "in the absence of God, all things are permitted", what might they themselves come to permit regarding their own behaviors. Is there a potential sociopath lurking inside us that just needs the right sequence of experiences -- the right set of circumstances -- to bring out?

Instead, they have managed to sustain the belief that they really are at one with the real me at one with the right thing to do at one with this or that God, this or that spiritual path, this or that ideology, this or that philosophy, this or that assessment of nature. Ever and and always it is that they believe in the objective [even universal] distinction between good and evil rather than in whatever that moral and political distinction might be.

Nihilism may not "necessarily" imply a willingness to engage in immoral action, as Linker puts it, but he and Dreher seem to agree that, in general, those who believe there's no reason to act morally are more likely to act immorally. At the very least, the nihilist who consistently avoids evil is being inconsistent. Either he doesn't really believe what he says he does, or he lacks the courage of his convictions.


And, again, the sheer irony here is that, by and large, our world is owned and operated by those who, in sustaining a global economy through government policies that revolve around "show me the money", the moral nihilists already "run the world" by and large.

America. Russia. China. And all the rest of them. It's all about markets and cheap labor and natural resources.

No "philosopher kings" around yet to change that.
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
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Re: nihilism

Postby promethean75 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:53 pm

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.
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Re: nihilism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:30 pm

unmade
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