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Is nihilism really a bad thing? Why does there HAVE to be a point to everything? Why does there have to be a reason for the grass to be green beyond the fact that chlorophyll is green and the grass is full of it? Is it an inherent weakness in our species that we must ascribe that which we do not understand to something greater than ourselves rather than simply seeing it as a mystery we don't yet comprehend, and therefore would the human race be better off if we embraced the fact that some things just are what they are? Or is the fact that we strive to find meaning even where there may be none a noble trait and, essentially, what makes us human?
To quote Archbishop Michael Sheehan on Nihilism and Atheistic Extentialism
He [the Nihilist] finds himself commited to the rejection of the ideas of law and value and is forced to regard life as totally purpseless and meaningless-not even death has a meaning. He cannot even find a reason for taking life seriously. In the end there is nothing worth living for and nothing worth dying for. But he is himself located in the world and it's various forms of impact. From this situation there is is no escape and human life resolves itself into hoplessness anguish dread and disgust.
The absudtity and harm of such conclusions- for even common sense tells us life has a meaning and value- reveals its utter unthinkablness."
A good summery of the objection to Nihlisim. Maybe there is no meaning in life but if there isn't then finding a meaning is a survival trait to stop us going completly insane. But then if we are going down this road what is sanity?
I used to be a Nihilist myself, believe it or not. It was good fun slapping down anyone who tried to talk about a higher meaning to reality in the hope they'd become as depressed as I was back then.
Then I realised I was being as irrational as any religious believer. After all, how can I claim to understand the universe when I'm part of it myself. Now, as far as I'm concerned, The only rational response to an incomprehensible world is doubt and the denial of truth. After all, all truths eventually fall apart, or get replaced by something else.
Is a bad thing though.. Nope, it's no more bad than any other belief. But it is just that, a belief, and I think beliefs are flawed. I prefer uncertainty.
That said, I still like Nihilist art. There's a lively bitterness to it.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; April 21st, 2006 at 16:01.
Pretty depressing for the human race though, just makes you want to shoot up and spend the rest of your days in a smack induced haze.Originally Posted by The_Giant_Mantis
Still didn't know anything about Nihilistic art, just looked it up you are right it is quite bitter. Prefer brighter things myself but its a free country.
Why does nihilism have to be bitter or depressing? Fair enough the rejection of everything can be seen as a pretty bleak world view, but surely it's got to be liberating as well in some respect. If nothing means anything, if everything is a lie and death is the only real certainty in life (because let's face it, taxes can be evaded ), why worry about it? Carpe diem ^_^
I would say its worrying because without any meaning nothing can be good or evil not really not with a capital G or E as it were. Evils such as the holocaust or pheodophillia (sp?) can only be said to be bad in as far as they effect you (even your family and friends are secondary to your own comfort). Its not especially a world I would want to live in even if it were true (plug me back in the matrix please).
A Nihilist knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
What is the point in Nihilism?
If there is no point in anything, then there is no point in Nihilism, and it is a complete waste of the little (pointless) time you have (because there's nothing else anyway).
Seriously, how could believing in nothing be better than believing in anything? Fair enough, you're a depressed and depressing bastard, but that's only because you truely believe in something and you know you won't get / don't deserve it, but that's not a philosophical belief, it's a personal punishment that you force on others
Mysterious Member of the ANZAC Clan
That's a nihilistic attitude born out of whineyness; it's not actually nihilism, insofar as nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that one can ascribe to.
I'm trying really hard to be the devil's advocate here, but there's no positive angle you can come at this from; yes, the rejection of morality as fabrication would be liberating in terms of personal freedom, but it would also allow things like rape and genocide to go unpunished, and ultimately become commonplace as society degraded into a state of anarchy. Plus what's the point of personal freedom if you can't enjoy it? Which you won't, since it has no meaning beyond what it is; you experiencing a series of events until ultimately you cease to exist. Nietzche was right; nihilism is pointless
I think Heathen's original point deserves to be drawn out here, and maybe added to.
Let's accept, for the moment at least, that Nihilism is more depressing than many other doctrines, because it doesn't provide you with any security or comfort.
Now, is that a bad thing?
Now, even after you've challenged the association between happiness and 'good' which exists in our society, which I think is somewhat flawed already, there is a second point to be made. Is the truth worth pain? I'm not saying Nihilism is the truth, but assuming the possibility that it is, is it unworthy of consideration merely because consideration is painful? What does pain mean anyway?
I think Heathen is also right (it's probably my fault for recommending it) in that you're all seeing the very artistic DaDa face of Nihilism produced mainly by emotionally damaged German war veterans. A truly Nihilistic society would be no less happy than any other. In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the society was totally based on producing eternal happiness in its citizens, but there was no purpose to society beyond reproducing itself and reproducing happiness in the most shallow, chemical sense.
To the Nihilist, happiness and sadness are just brain chemistry. The Nihilist doesn't have to be depressed by his beliefs, therefore, because he can see the pointlessness of being depressed. Laughter is one of the principal tools of Nihilism, even DaDa art is filled with bitter humour and mockery. Laughter undermines the meaning of life far better than sitting in a corner and crying.
This doesn't change the fact that Nihilism is an illogical jump of faith, at least as far as I'm concerned. But saying it's pointless because it's depressing misses the point, so to speak.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; April 22nd, 2006 at 13:24.