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MrDoom
10th January 2008, 10:10 PM
You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost. We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.


It is only after we have lost everything that we are free to do anything.

What is the opinion on philosophical Nihilism here? Nihilism being defined as skepticism coupled with reductionism, the rejection of all preconcieved notions of God, morality, liberty, "free will", political systems. A nihilist is one who seeks truth behind the facades and superficialities of modern liberal civilization. I think nihilism is especially liberating because it sheds much of the self-righteous existential burdens and "non-issues" (gay rights, abortion, etc.) that political, moral, and religious zealots worry themselves with and drive themselves neurotic over. Why worry about the little things when you realize that THE UNIVERSE DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING?

Moral nihilism in particular seems to me to be an accurate and honest ethical stance to take. With no cosmic judge in the sky, one is only bound by the physical laws of the universe and their own sense of pragmatism instead of spiritual pipe-dreams. One doesn't do this or that because it's "right" or "wrong" (whatever those mean), they do it because they see the practical consequences and accept the forseen terms.

Nihilism is essentially the inverse of faith (whether political faith, moral faith, or religious faith).

Ethan
10th January 2008, 10:53 PM
What is the opinion on philosophical Nihilism here? Nihilism being defined as skepticism coupled with reductionism, the rejection of all preconcieved notions of God, morality, liberty, "free will", political systems. A nihilist is one who seeks truth behind the facades and superficialities of modern liberal civilization.

This seems like a disquised debate over moral obectivism/relativism and absolute truth. Which is funny because you imply that truth does not exist yet you also say that a nihilist seeks the truth.


I think nihilism is especially liberating because it sheds much of the self-righteous existential burdens and "non-issues" (gay rights, abortion, etc.) that political, moral, and religious zealots worry themselves with and drive themselves neurotic over.

Why I'm flattered;)


Why worry about the little things when you realize that THE UNIVERSE DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING?

Thats a pretty strong claim dont you think? Please do elaborate.


Moral nihilism in particular seems to me to be an accurate and honest ethical stance to take. With no cosmic judge in the sky, one is only bound by the physical laws of the universe and their own sense of pragmatism instead of spiritual pipe-dreams. One doesn't do this or that because it's "right" or "wrong" (whatever those mean), they do it because they see the practical consequences and accept the forseen terms.

Nihilism is essentially the inverse of faith (whether political faith, moral faith, or religious faith).

Nihilsim is interesting I admit but you need to take into account that at the end of the day its just another philosophy. What is there to put any real punch to it?

MrDoom
11th January 2008, 12:17 AM
This seems like a disquised debate over moral obectivism/relativism and absolute truth. Which is funny because you imply that truth does not exist yet you also say that a nihilist seeks the truth.

There are a few differing 'definitions' of nihilism. One seems to be the stance that truth does not exist. I don't buy that.

However, even if there is an absolute truth, it's inaccessible to human perception. "Truth" as we experience it is relative, uncertainty is the only certainty beyond my personal consciousness (and even that isn't an absolute). I don't know with any absoluteness that my experiences or the things I perceive are "real". But even if they are illusions, they do seem to affect me. Hence why I hold information as the fundamental reality, as opposed to idealists and materialists alike.


Why I'm flattered;)
When society is crumbling around us, culture is decaying into entropy, the ecosystem is being annihilated, and the irrelevant issues are the centerstage of public political life, you know something's quite amiss.


Thats a pretty strong claim dont you think? Please do elaborate.

Whoever said the universe has any meaning in the first place? And even if there was one, could humans ever find it? What if it was something you didn't like? What if it was... *gasp* BORING OR MUNDANE?! Ever read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? :D You'd know what I'm talking about if you have.


Nihilsim is interesting I admit but you need to take into account that at the end of the day its just another philosophy. What is there to put any real punch to it?
Bruce Lee's style of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, is what I like to think of as the Nihilism of martial arts. His mantra: absorb that which is useful, disregard that which is useless. As an epistemological viewpoint nihilism does just that. Why drive oneself insane with existential questions if they are unfounded and presumptuous?

The_Panda
11th January 2008, 5:22 AM
While I see no reason at all to say life does in fact have a meaning, life without meaning seems pretty dull indeed. Rather, the meaning of your life is whatever you want it to be - it's the responsibility of us, as human beings, to apply meaning to our lives.


absorb that which is useful, disregard that which is useless.

I most certainly agree with this. What is useless, and not beneficial in some way is little more than superfluous; and should be eliminated. Let us thank capitalism for enshrining this into our economic system.


Ever read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? You'd know what I'm talking about if you have.

I love those books. Of course the point of Deep Thought is that after seven and a half million years of meditation, the "Ultimate answer to the ultimate question" is 42 - the problem being Deep Thought didn't actually know what the ultimate question was in the first place (and after that; Earth, the computer designed to compute the ultimate question, was blown up by the Vogons hired by psychiatrists). Of course, if you've heard the end of the radio series, Arthur pulls out some random scrabble letters, which just so *happen* to spell out "WHAT DO YOU GET IF YOU MULTIPLY SIX BY NINE?".


Six by nine. Forty two.
That's it. That's all there is.
I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe.

Cutiebunny
11th January 2008, 6:53 AM
What's the difference between nihilism and being emo?

(scratches head)

I'd like to think that there is a purpose to life other than the number '42'. Existence would seem pretty boring if you just had one shot at it. I'd like to experience a lot of other lives as well.

Cipher
11th January 2008, 7:10 AM
Nihilism is sort of like existentialism without sensibility. Whereas existentialism dabbles in moral objectivism, nihilism is consumed by it, and perhaps the key difference, while existentialism asserts that life has no inherent meaning, it strongly encourages self-initiative and self-applied meaning. Nihilism is more implies that life cannot have meaning.

That assertion, especially when combined with your claims of its promoting self-initiative, really quite silly. Nihilism is a waste of your time. In promoting a total absense of truth, it would have you ignore pertinant issues and your own motivations.


I think nihilism is especially liberating because it sheds much of the self-righteous existential burdens and "non-issues" (gay rights, abortion, etc.) that political, moral, and religious zealots worry themselves with and drive themselves neurotic over. Why worry about the little things when you realize that THE UNIVERSE DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING?
You may precieve the philosophy as destroying social, spiritual, moral facades, and all related "non-issues." Unfortunately the real non-issue is the pervasiveness of faith to begin with. If the universe doesn't mean a thing, why drive yourself neurotic worrying about the subjectivity of morality? Your last sentence was highly ironic.

If subjective morality is your thing, there are a hundred and one philosophies that support it along with the self-motivation, and self-applied meaning that nihilism lacks. More bluntly, adhereing to nihilism is a terrible way to live. Good luck going through life with no faith in anything, including your own perceptions.

The_Panda
11th January 2008, 10:16 AM
Existence would seem pretty boring if you just had one shot at it. I'd like to experience a lot of other lives as well.

I would prefer only one chance of life. If you think you're only going to get one chance of life, it lends you to appreciate it more; and try live it all out to the fullest. Instead of spending your life trying to get a better one in the next, you'll try to live everything in this life.

Asaspades
12th January 2008, 4:08 AM
There are a few differing 'definitions' of nihilism. One seems to be the stance that truth does not exist. I don't buy that.
So were not debating nihlism, just your slant on it. ok what ever works for you...


However, even if there is an absolute truth, it's inaccessible to human perception. "Truth" as we experience it is relative, uncertainty is the only certainty beyond my personal consciousness (and even that isn't an absolute). I don't know with any absoluteness that my experiences or the things I perceive are "real". But even if they are illusions, they do seem to affect me. Hence why I hold information as the fundamental reality, as opposed to idealists and materialists alike.
well, if everyone around you is an illusion, then what is it that makes you you?Why are you so special?


When society is crumbling around us, culture is decaying into entropy, the ecosystem is being annihilated, and the irrelevant issues are the centerstage of public political life, you know something's quite amiss.
But why not take care of the illusion, it betters us to care for "our" things.



Whoever said the universe has any meaning in the first place? And even if there was one, could humans ever find it? What if it was something you didn't like? What if it was... *gasp* BORING OR MUNDANE?! Ever read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? :D You'd know what I'm talking about if you have.
Well it makes logical sense for there to be a meaning. Cause and effect. Everything has a cause (meaning) and effect (result).

The_Panda
12th January 2008, 11:49 AM
Well it makes logical sense for there to be a meaning. Cause and effect. Everything has a cause (meaning) and effect (result).

I see little of the aforementioned "logical sense" in this statement at all. Could you please elaborate and explain why it makes logical sense that there has to be a meaning?

Profesco
12th January 2008, 9:03 PM
Gee, you're putting a pretty bad spin on nihilism, MrDoom. I get the parts about doing away with non-issues and relative preconceptions, but (at least the way I've lived my life) morality has been consistent with practicality. Why do you need faith to experience the usefulness of "good?"

Conquistador
13th January 2008, 8:22 AM
^ Lol, I thought the opposite (in the first post that is) xP.

I felt he was sugarcoating Nihilism a rather bit.


Whether or not Nihilism is quite logical, most, even Atheists, will be unlikely to "admit" to themselves that everything is without purpose.

@ Cutiebunny,

In a way, I'm very much of the same stance. What is the difference between a Nihilist and an Emo? Sure, there are many, but when you get down to the core of it, both commonly believe "there is no purpose to life", which I find to be a very poor way to live one's life, not to mention that sort of outlook can lead to more serious conditions.

Besides, nobody wants to invite such a person to their cocktail party.

I agree with Profesco, however. If practical use of "good" is all you have, and that good is practically useful to you and others, why not use it practically? Live your life as a "practically good" person and find out when you die, lol.


In the end, I agree with Babs. Nihilism is just another philosophy. Whilst I do not agree with it, I accept it.

MrDoom
14th January 2008, 3:08 AM
Let us thank capitalism for enshrining this into our economic system.
Yeah, because everyone just needs their edible panties and annoying-dog carrying bags. And let's speak nothing of the consumerist dehumanization and ecological destruction. :D


What's the difference between nihilism and being emo?

Well, for one, emos cut themselves. And they're boring. The music is boring, too.


In promoting a total absense of truth, it would have you ignore pertinant issues and your own motivations.
Execpt that I don't promote a total absense of truth, and that's a misconception of nihilism, or at the very least, is an alternate definition. Nihilism was also a Russian political movement, for example.


So were not debating nihlism, just your slant on it. ok what ever works for you...

The word is esoteric and has multiple definitions and interpretations. Kind of like "fascist" nowadays...


well, if everyone around you is an illusion, then what is it that makes you you?Why are you so special?

I never said that I neccessarily believe that no one else is real or conscious (though certain elements of humanity certainly could be arguable in that regard... :) ), I simply said that there's no certainty in anything.

In all likelyhood, the people I percieve are in fact other conscious minds, though really, what difference would it make if they weren't? Saying they were "clever masquerades" of conscious beings which merely displayed all the qualities of one is sort of self-defeating of the purpose of definition (if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck...), and regardless, what measuring stick would one use to make the comparison of judgement anyways? How would one tell with any certainty?

It's an important issue because much of secular ethics bases itself around human sentience, though like Magic Space Wizard-driven morality, it doesn't establish what exactly makes a moral statement "true".


Well it makes logical sense for there to be a meaning. Cause and effect. Everything has a cause (meaning) and effect (result).

I think you're mixing causality up with teleology, which is unfounded.


Gee, you're putting a pretty bad spin on nihilism, MrDoom. I get the parts about doing away with non-issues and relative preconceptions, but (at least the way I've lived my life) morality has been consistent with practicality. Why do you need faith to experience the usefulness of "good?"

What is "good"? What is "practical"? What utility does morality have and what does it state about any quality of existence?

In other words, what makes a moral statement true? Is it something built into the universe? Or is it entirely subjective? But if it's subjective, than what is the point of a concept of morality in the first place? A moral subjectivist would have to acknowledge Hitler and Stalin as very morally righteous individuals.

Conquistador
14th January 2008, 4:31 AM
Execpt that I don't promote a total absense of truth, and that's a misconception of nihilism, or at the very least, is an alternate definition. Nihilism was also a Russian political movement, for example.

What is "good"? What is "practical"? What utility does morality have and what does it state about any quality of existence?

In other words, what makes a moral statement true? Is it something built into the universe? Or is it entirely subjective? But if it's subjective, than what is the point of a concept of morality in the first place? A moral subjectivist would have to acknowledge Hitler and Stalin as very morally righteous individuals.

You contradict yourself for a start, you claim you are against the thought that truth does not exist yet you use it as an argument.

The way I see it, there are two types of truth:

1. Logical/practical truth
A conclusion logically drawn from "evidence" or a conclusion which has a practical (or "physical") application in life.

Then there is the other type;

2. Absolute truth
A 100% irrefuteable conclusion/argument which is "true".


To be honest, I doubt that absolute truth can actually be obtained, and really its only use is in theory at best.

That is because no truth or fact can be proven to be truly absolute, and there a paradoxes and problems with definitions at every corner.

In moral circumstances, for instance, as you said "who actually decides whether an action is "right" or "wrong"?" and I very much agree with that on some levels.

First of all it is impossible to define both "right" and "wrong" absolutely which just creates a sort of paradox.

That is why I feel practical/logical truth is much better.
Use logical opinion/conclusion and not absolute facts to live your life.

Is is right or wrong to kill a man?

From that question you cannot get a real answer, and so use practical logic to provide an answer for yourself, eg;

I feel that it it wrong to kill a man as I would not like to be killed myself.


I feel I have babbled on and not made much sense. Anyone understand what I'm getting at?

Cipher
14th January 2008, 4:51 AM
What is "good"? What is "practical"? What utility does morality have and what does it state about any quality of existence?

In other words, what makes a moral statement true? Is it something built into the universe? Or is it entirely subjective? But if it's subjective, than what is the point of a concept of morality in the first place? A moral subjectivist would have to acknowledge Hitler and Stalin as very morally righteous individuals.That's the thing isn't it? I actually agree with you here. Morality is subjective. Certain notions, such as not killing, are hardwired into our instincts because they impact the survival of the species. But, on the whole, morals are constructs of society. If you grow up in a culture that partakes in cannibalism, you're obviously going to think that cannibalism is moral.

The Nazi Party, and I'm not advocating thier actions one bit, were acting on what they precieved to be societal utility. Societal utility at the expense of a minority has been analysed all over the place, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, ultilitarian philosophers like Bentham, etc. It's almost always impractical or contradicts human instinct, (perhaps a factor in defining morality, as Conquistador was also saying) but it's interesting to think about.

But all Profesco was saying was that in our current society, most morals coincide with practicality and utility, so why make a fuss? I also agree with him.

Yeah, moral subjectivism, that's fine as long as it's not taken to extremes. However, nihilism throws this curveball of "life cannot have meaning" into the mix. There are other philosophies that acknowledge moral objectivism, even that life has no inherent meaning, but still encourage individuals to find their own purpose. See 'existentialism.' That's a hell of alot more encouraging than nihilism.


And let's speak nothing of the consumerist dehumanization and ecological destruction.Do you realize that capitalism runs on moral subjectivism, and that dehumanization is a realistic side-affect of a wholly utilitarian society?

Ragnarofl
14th January 2008, 5:03 AM
In my high-school and now in uni, all the attention-seeking passive-aggressive brooding kids in black belong in Nihilist clubs.

The_Panda
14th January 2008, 7:00 AM
Human morality is programmed into us; what we innately consider 'moral' is what is most practical for the survival of the group and ultimately ourselves.

Death dealer
14th January 2008, 3:28 PM
Human morality is programmed into us; what we innately consider 'moral' is what is most practical for the survival of the group and ultimately ourselves.

What about a system of morality that left as much as possible up to the individual to go about their own lives, defining themselves, but without the freedom to control what others do?

Profesco
15th January 2008, 6:17 AM
What is "good"? What is "practical"? What utility does morality have and what does it state about any quality of existence?

In other words, what makes a moral statement true? Is it something built into the universe? Or is it entirely subjective? But if it's subjective, than what is the point of a concept of morality in the first place? A moral subjectivist would have to acknowledge Hitler and Stalin as very morally righteous individuals.

"Good" is anything that causes improvement. "Practical" is anything that facilitates improvement. Moral actions provide us with status and acceptance in society, and personally, "doing the 'right' thing" makes a person stronger or more able to face difficult problems.* Both are quite practical, non?

* By consistently performing good feats, even simple ones, a person's self-esteem and, for lack of a better word, emotional hardiness, can flourish. Having these traits in healthy supply adds to one's ability to cope with stress and suffering, which, from an evolutionary psychologist's point of view, is a survival advantage. That's practical.

Also, I consistently believe that there are core morals that are not subjective. Yes, culture, religion, societal norms, et cetera can alter or redefine morals from a very early point in development, but that influence shouldn't change the concept of morality.

RedJirachi
5th February 2008, 11:12 PM
It would be a sad exisistence

Death dealer
5th February 2008, 11:35 PM
MrDoom, you certainly have embraced reductionism.

Your idea that the natural laws which we are a product of have no intrinsic moral value, and that therefore that humans have no moral value, is a non sequitur, and in fact incorporates the argument from composition.

Also, why do you label certain moral issues as "non issues"? It seems like your are irrationally rejecting them based on the idea that humans and other animals have no moral issues, based a=on a fallacy as I said above.


"Good" is anything that causes improvement. "Practical" is anything that facilitates improvement. Moral actions provide us with status and acceptance in society, and personally, "doing the 'right' thing" makes a person stronger or more able to face difficult problems.* Both are quite practical, non?


Thank you Profesco. I don't see why he made any distinction between his "practical" and "good". It seems they were one and the same, simply labeled differently.

Profesco
6th February 2008, 6:35 PM
Thank you Profesco.

Glad to be useful. Actually, my explanation has implications on moral objectivity/subjectivity, doesn't it? I should send Babylon over here...