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Nihilism

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
I wasn't able to find a thread specifically on this philosophical perspective, most often associated with philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I figured it would be worth a discussion!

Wikipedia seems to give a pretty good description of it. I'll post its overview quote below and a link to the entire article.

What are your thoughts on this philosophical perspective?

Nihilism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nihilism (pronounced /ˈnaɪ.əlɪzəm/ or /ˈniː.əlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting[says who?] the negation of one or more putatively-meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.[1] Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological, metaphysical or ontological forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible or that contrary to our belief, some aspect of reality does not exist as such.


The term nihilism is sometimes used in association with anomie to explain the general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence that one may develop upon realizing there are no necessary norms, rules, or laws.[2] Movements such as Futurism and deconstruction,[3] among others, have been identified by commentators as "nihilistic" at various times in various contexts.


Nihilism is also a characteristic that has been ascribed to time periods: for example, Jean Baudrillard and others have called postmodernity a nihilistic epoch,[4] and some Christian theologians and figures of religious authority have asserted that postmodernity[5] and many aspects of modernity[3] represent a rejection of theism, and that such a rejection entails some form of nihilism.
 

fractal

Eye see what you did ther
If that's another way of saying that purpose and morality is something that humans invent for themselves, then I'm a nihilist. However I don't adopt the view of the complete skeptic who claims that knowledge is not possible.
 
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shelgarr

Registered Member
It might explain why I fear death. Death is just a anticlimatic symbolic end to a life that really held no meaning. There's no lasting results of my time here and besides the temporary grief of some family members, continuation of mankind has not been impacted. I've had times where I look at the advancements of what our human mind as accomplished and think "why?". In the end, does it all really matter?

It kind of sounds depressing! But I love life!! I especially love what I have with my kids, my home, my pets, my hobbies. Simplicity is my motto though. It keeps the stress level low and that is healthiest for our home. That could also explain why I don't covet. While I can admire and be a spectator of the ambition and what others acquire, I always have a grateful spot in me that is relieved I don't have to deal with their day-to-day life and it's complications.

A philosophy like nihilism does bring about the cliche "live in the moment". If life doesn't mean anything anyway, why regret yesterday and worry about tomorrow. Ah, it feels good.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
Fractual...I had to look it up. I don't see a fit. Except for my one thought about "covet". With the second definition, I can see how some of my comments might lead to your conclusion. I beg to differ I think it is "perfection" however. I think of it more as acceptance of myself and my life, and a peacefulness with that.

An excerpt from Stoicism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Stoicism

First published Mon Apr 15, 1996; substantive revision Mon Oct 4, 2010
Stoicism was one of the new philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period. The name derives from the porch (stoa poikilê) in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. Unlike ‘epicurean,’ the sense of the English adjective ‘stoical’ is not utterly misleading with regard to its philosophical origins. The Stoics did, in fact, hold that emotions like fear or envy (or impassioned sexual attachments, or passionate love of anything whatsoever) either were, or arose from, false judgements and that the sage—a person who had attained moral and intellectual perfection—would not undergo them. The later Stoics of Roman Imperial times, Seneca and Epictetus, emphasise the doctrines (already central to the early Stoics' teachings) that the sage is utterly immune to misfortune and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Our phrase ‘stoic calm’ perhaps encapsulates the general drift of these claims. It does not, however, hint at the even more radical ethical views which the Stoics defended, e.g. that only the sage is free while all others are slaves, or that all those who are morally vicious are equally so. Though it seems clear that some Stoics took a kind of perverse joy in advocating views which seem so at odds with common sense, they did not do so simply to shock. Stoic ethics achieves a certain plausibility within the context of their physical theory and psychology, and within the framework of Greek ethical theory as that was handed down to them from Plato and Aristotle. It seems that they were well aware of the mutually interdependent nature of their philosophical views, likening philosophy itself to a living animal in which logic is bones and sinews; ethics and physics, the flesh and the soul respectively (another version reverses this assignment, making ethics the soul). Their views in logic and physics are no less distinctive and interesting than those in ethics itself.

Wikipedia:
The Stoics considered destructive emotions to be the result of errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions. Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved. Later Stoics, such as Seneca and Epictetus, emphasized that because "virtue is sufficient for happiness," a sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase 'stoic calm', though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious.
 
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Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
It kind of sounds depressing! But I love life!! I especially love what I have with my kids, my home, my pets, my hobbies. Simplicity is my motto though. It keeps the stress level low and that is healthiest for our home.
I'd argue that you don't really fit into the nihilistic perspective, based on the comment above.

Nihilism, from what I understand, isn't centered on what we expect out of death.

It also prescribes to the thought that life has no meaning...it sounds like you get a ton of meaning out of it. :nod:
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
Unity....like I said, in my own mind and my own limited existence, yes it can seem like I don't subscribe to nihilism because it "argues that life is without objective meaning". I have happiness but that is subjective. It has no meaning to anyone else. We can say someone like Einstein or other great minds had objective meaning to others because of what they left behind or what they made possible for mankinds' future. Yet, we had centuries without those discoveries and mankind did just fine. I might not suffer from the "general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence" but in the end what does it mean that any of us had life on this earth?
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
I wonder if you could be a true Nihilist and not go mad as Nietzsche did. Waking everyday with the belief that life is void of any meaning, norms or morality would drive anyone insane, imo. I get a little depressed just reading the wikipedia description of the theory.
 

john2054

Registered Member
Hi Menin tights, I don't believe that Nietsche was mad. He recieved a bad press from the German university unit after he was sacked from his job as a senior lecturer there after writing the birth of tragedy, and it seems like he spent much of his later years in an attempt to rectify this mistake. However have you ever heard the saying, true genius is only one step away from madness? Food for thought huh?? :confused:
 
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