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A different perspective on nihilism Options
 
Justsomedude
#1 Posted : 6/12/2020 9:02:31 AM

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A different Thread in this Forum regarding nihilism inspired me to make a post of my own regarding the subject.
For a context, to lay the groundwork of my words, we shall define Nihilism as follows.
According to : Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.

This seems to be the commonly accepted view of nihilism.

And it's blatantly wrong.

Now, running the risk of a "No True Scotsman" fallacy, I'll tell you that the first sentence is completely right.

"Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated."

I hold this to be objectively true.

The follow up statements about nihilism, and the general associations with the worldview, are however wrong.

Meaninglessness applies both ways, both towards the negative, and the positive.

In a sense, it is the written out variant of "No Mind" state in zen buddhism.
This state of mind is universal, it is not specific to this or that philosophy, or even religion, it goes by many names and is probably present in all cultures of the world, as it is a basic mechanical worldview, only the descriptions are different.

This perception of nihilism as negative, and altogether as "bad", is not due to the inherent meaninglessness of the world and of the abstractions we generate.

It is disappointment, people will see things as they are, and want back, having lost their innocence. The idea that there is nothing "Ultimate" and "Final" about existence is something most of us need time to cope with, others may find it liberating.

Having went through both the disappointment and liberation phase, I have returned to a phase of letting go.

All follow up ideas about nihilism are tacked on, and in themselves just abstractions, no more or less than the worldview itself.

The problem lies not with the view, but the inabillity of those that come to see it, to cope with it.

Most of us require an overarching goal, a something to live for, the belief that all of this has some ultimate purpose, that we are the protagonist of our own story.

While I am writing this, I am sober.

However I am fully aware that this may come off as tripping to some of you.

The final realisation of nihilism, like zen, is that letting go, and holding on, are just abstractions, two sides of one coin.

That's why it's important to realize that some things are wordless, and non-communicable.


 

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dragonrider
#2 Posted : 6/12/2020 11:13:35 AM

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But isn't the world slightly more nuanced than either "true" or "false" judgements allow for?

I would agree that objectively speaking, nothing can realy be known.
But i think it would also be true, that we implicitly hold certain things to be true, and that if you would hold one thing to be true, that would have consequences in relation to other things.

If i believe that i am realy typing this reply on a samsung tablet, then i should also believe that you are real.

Maybe there is no objective truth or value, accessible to us.

But i think that doesn't mean that we can truly live without any truth or values as the organisms we are.

Objectively there is no reason to live. No reason to get out of bed each morning, to eat, to wear clothes, to work, to wash, use toilets, brush your teeth....

Maybe there actually are some nihilists out there who don't do any of these things.
Because if there are, how could i know any of them existed, right?
 
Justsomedude
#3 Posted : 6/12/2020 11:16:26 AM

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dragonrider wrote:
But isn't the world slightly more nuanced than either "true" or "false" judgements allow for?

I would agree that objectively speaking, nothing can realy be known.
But i think it would also be true, that we implicitly hold certain things to be true, and that if you would hold one thing to be true, that would have consequences in relation to other things.

If i believe that i am realy typing this reply on a samsung tablet, then i should also believe that you are real.

Maybe there is no objective truth or value, accessible to us.

But i think that doesn't mean that we can truly live without any truth or values as the organisms we are.

Objectively there is no reason to live. No reason to get out of bed each morning, to eat, to wear clothes, to work, to wash, use toilets, brush your teeth....

Maybe there actually are some nihilists out there who don't do any of these things.
Because if there are, how could i know any of them existed, right?


There's also no reason not to get out of bed and brush your teeth, or use toilets.

We're running the same old circle here, you're only seeing half of the coin.
 
dragonrider
#4 Posted : 6/12/2020 12:27:25 PM

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Well, there must be a reason why you got out of bed this morning.
 
acacian
#5 Posted : 6/20/2020 1:07:07 PM

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It is true that we create meaning in our experiences.. however I would say that the very existence of our capacity to draw meaning from experience is deeply profound and to me inherently meaningful in itself.. in a universe with no objective truths its funny that an organism might evolve with an innate desire to understand those truths.. and the conclusions that many come to.. particularly when investigating through the use of visionary states.. hold many eerie similarities.

 
dragonrider
#6 Posted : 6/20/2020 5:35:25 PM

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Ofcourse, if you mean with "objective truth", something that is true, just by itself, then there objectively speaking there is no such thing as beauty.

But apart from the question if there even could be any truth "by itself" outside the scope of counsciousness (wich is a relevant question), we know for instance, that the experience of beauty exists.

Beauty does exist on a phenomenological level, and it is something that we are all familiar with. Just like the sensation of sweetness or bitterness.

Is the statement that "sugar is sweet" objectively true?
Well, i think that depends on what your conditions are for assessing the truth of a statement.

It is not an inherent property of glucose, fructose, dextrose and lactosis molecules.
But it is a fact that the way we as humans are built has the result of us experiencing sugars in a certain way, wich does have something to do with the molecular structure of these substances as well.

So in a sense it is true, and it is even true in an objective way. You could do blind tests with millions of people and predict the outcome with a 99.99% accuracy. You could demonstrate the existance of receptors on the human tongue, etc.

If we where to examine an alien lifeform that would experience a sensation unknown to our species, let's call it flabbergasm, when exposed to iron, we could still objectively state that iron is a highly flabbergastic material.

Though ofcourse it would not be an inherent property of the iron itself. It would not be true without the aliens.

With things like beauty, ethics, kindness, etc, it is ofcourse a bit more complicated.

But they are still derived from identifiable properties of a thing, an act or a person, and the fact that humans have a certain receptivity for these properties that expresses itself in a certain way.

These things are also true, objectively speaking.
 
muladharma
#7 Posted : 6/21/2020 11:53:07 AM

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Modern cosmology is for me a great tool to think about nihilism.

My experience of life is built on observing things of a compelxity that I can relate to.
The universe does not keep its degree of complexity to satisfy my abilities, but my place of origin, family, body, and mind, are things that are of a relatable complexity.

My experience of existence is a pulsation of the death and rebirth of my awareness, in between an infinity of complexity and frequency. The unseen always leaves me puzzled, and how my body keeps me alive in the presence of the unseen is a mystery to me.

Cosmology shows me: great things emerge step by step, in the smallest deviation is everything.

Find the wisdom to practice loving-kindness.
 
5 Dimensional Nick
#8 Posted : 8/29/2020 6:32:01 AM

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muladharma wrote:
Modern cosmology is for me a great tool to think about nihilism.

My experience of life is built on observing things of a compelxity that I can relate to.
The universe does not keep its degree of complexity to satisfy my abilities, but my place of origin, family, body, and mind, are things that are of a relatable complexity.

My experience of existence is a pulsation of the death and rebirth of my awareness, in between an infinity of complexity and frequency. The unseen always leaves me puzzled, and how my body keeps me alive in the presence of the unseen is a mystery to me.

Cosmology shows me: great things emerge step by step, in the smallest deviation is everything.



Beautiful, deep and very poetic somehow. BRAVO
"With every thought word and deed, each individual sets forth influence in their surroundings which is subject to no barriers and reaches every level of creation"

".....its our responsibility to uplift the consciousness of the ENTIRE fucking world......" Saul Williams, DJ Krust tune.
 
Nydex
#9 Posted : 8/29/2020 3:00:28 PM

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As Camus put it:
Nydex attached the following image(s):
camus.JPG (82kb) downloaded 49 time(s).
Break free from the chains of your beliefs. It is only then that you may find a moment of blissful stillness amidst the raging storm. Stay awhile and listen. The winds of truth shall fill your sails, and the oceans of hidden and long forgotten knowledge, ancient as the cosmos itself, will be yours to explore.
Quote:
O, supreme beings of the higher realms, allow me to venture into your dimensions. I come with love and with harmony. I bring no hatred and carry no malevolence in my soul. I come to learn and to grow. Show me your world and gift me some of your knowledge. Ask me, and I shall answer with honesty; hug me, and I shall hug you back; advise me, and I shall follow your wisdom. Heal me from my fear and give me insight. There is little I can offer back but my love and trust. O, supreme beings of the higher realms... I am yours.
 
Spiralout
#10 Posted : 8/29/2020 3:40:02 PM

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Yes. Camus also asserts that suicide is indeed something that is not reasonable ( if life is meaningless then it should be our "right" to take our own away).

Similarly, and more eloquently maybe, Dostoyevsky deals with this in Crime & Punishmemt, using the inverse example ; if life is meaningless , as our protagonist Raskolnikov believes, then it shouldn't matter if I take a life .. Especially a vile despicable greedy life .

But it is not that simple . Its arrogant and foolish of anyone to believe they can understand life and its mechanisms entirely. We have an absolutely astonishing grasp on the objective world, and with it has come a rejection of religion . While religion in its old incarnations may not be suitable and may indeed be insane, it is a safety net.

The step "after realizing the true nihilistic sense of life" is where it becomes necessary to find some sort of faith; you need some kind of axiomatic logical scaffolding or you will go insane . Whether you can invent your own lens to view life through is debatable; any idea you have has surely originated from outside you. If it didn't originate their then it was at least filtered through your socially and culturally inherited lens .

Its fine, and sometimes useful (and sometimes just a spinning of your own self indulgent wheels) to try to look at the intractable problems of life through a scientific lens . But in the final analysis they are not questions to be parsed through the scientific method. This is true only if you consider yourself a scientist . Any good scientist tends to put a pragmatic valence as being primarily important, and if a question can't be empirically or experimentally defined or inferred, does not attempt to force it drink from the same well regardless .

When dealing with a question of life you are ultimately affecting how you live your life .
 
dragonrider
#11 Posted : 8/29/2020 5:11:18 PM

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Spiralout wrote:
Yes. Camus also asserts that suicide is indeed something that is not reasonable ( if life is meaningless then it should be our "right" to take our own away).

Similarly, and more eloquently maybe, Dostoyevsky deals with this in Crime & Punishmemt, using the inverse example ; if life is meaningless , as our protagonist Raskolnikov believes, then it shouldn't matter if I take a life .. Especially a vile despicable greedy life .

But it is not that simple . Its arrogant and foolish of anyone to believe they can understand life and its mechanisms entirely. We have an absolutely astonishing grasp on the objective world, and with it has come a rejection of religion . While religion in its old incarnations may not be suitable and may indeed be insane, it is a safety net.

The step "after realizing the true nihilistic sense of life" is where it becomes necessary to find some sort of faith; you need some kind of axiomatic logical scaffolding or you will go insane . Whether you can invent your own lens to view life through is debatable; any idea you have has surely originated from outside you. If it didn't originate their then it was at least filtered through your socially and culturally inherited lens .

Its fine, and sometimes useful (and sometimes just a spinning of your own self indulgent wheels) to try to look at the intractable problems of life through a scientific lens . But in the final analysis they are not questions to be parsed through the scientific method. This is true only if you consider yourself a scientist . Any good scientist tends to put a pragmatic valence as being primarily important, and if a question can't be empirically or experimentally defined or inferred, does not attempt to force it drink from the same well regardless .

When dealing with a question of life you are ultimately affecting how you live your life .

I think life itself is it's own axiom or axiomatic system.
It forces it's axioms on you, whether you like it or not.

Like any true axiom, it cannot be explained or proven.

There is no reason to hold on to life, but still it is the will to live that drives all our reasoning and everything we do.
And to almost every living creature, it is only self evident that this is so.

And to everyone captured by this forcefull mechanism, to question it is almost like questioning why 1+1=2.

The absence of it is usually a sign of a depressive disorder, or some other kind of malfunctioning of the mind. Not because society says so, although ofcourse it often does, but because it is in almost any case synonymous with suffering.
 
corpus callosum
#12 Posted : 8/29/2020 8:11:47 PM

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dragonrider wrote:
Well, there must be a reason why you got out of bed this morning.



Philosophically speaking, and after much pondering, could it be as simple as not having ones bladder catheterised? Laughing

Nihilism could be regarded as taking the meaninglessness as a personal affront. We then veer into metaphysical territory as the issue of what is a person, or self, rears its head. Is the "being" that you think/believe you are a noun, or a verb?

It is often overlooked how language defines and constrains how we consider such questions. The word "meaningless" carries an implicit flavour as being something lesser, or negative, as if meaning has been taken away or diminished. If something had no meaning to begin with, then meaningless is much more acceptable. And actually very liberating.
I am paranoid of my brain. It thinks all the time, even when I'm asleep. My thoughts assail me. Murderous lechers they are. Thought is the assassin of thought. Like a man stabbing himself with one hand while the other hand tries to stop the blade. Like an explosion that destroys the detonator. I am paranoid of my brain. It makes me unsettled and ill at ease. Makes me chase my tail, freezes my eyes and shuts me down. Watches me. Eats my head. It destroys me.

 
 
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