Friday, April 28, 2006

Self-Analysis: Part 3

Nihilism - A word Aaron Kinney used to describe my philosophical leanings.

As defined by Wikipedia:

Nihilism is a philosophical position which argues that the world, and especially human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Nihilists generally believe all of the following: God does not exist, traditional morality is false, and secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has no meaning, and no action [intrinsically (this addition is my own)] is preferable to any other.

I do believe Aaron has me pegged correctly. Although, up until now, I never actively labeled myself a nihilist.

So, looking at parts one, two and three of my self-analysis, one may conclude I'm a Populist, Liberal Nihilist.

17 Comments:

Blogger KA said...

FTM:
How can you be a nihilist, & yet score 85% on liberty? Just curious.

1:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Delta said...

He being a nihilist just means that he doesn't believe that there's any intrinsic objective meaning to life or that any moral code can truly be objective, i.e., that it's just a matter of opinion. His own opinion is that liberty is important apparently. Also ra, it seems that we both live in the Bay Area =)

I never considered myself a nihilist before either. I guess I thought it had a different meaning.

2:47 AM EDT  
Blogger udonman said...

just found your blog though reluctants

any way i dont see how humans as social tribal creatures can be nihilist as in the defintion provided

traditional morality is false, and secular ethics are impossible


to be social creatures do we not need at least secular ethics unlesss of course you live alone on your own island then well no ethics no problem

7:16 AM EDT  
Anonymous bernarda said...

The concept of nihilism was primarily developed by Nietzche and he applied it specifically to christians.

For him, christians denied life and favored its destruction in favor of an illusionary after-life. He seems to have thought that christians were not only anti-humanist, but anti-civilization. For him, christianity was the revenge of the losers over the doers.

What is more nihilistic than the book of Revelations in the New Testament?

He gives his own examples of christian nihilism.

So, I would say that it is an erreur to describe a non-believer as a nihilist.

7:38 AM EDT  
Anonymous bernarda said...

Perhaps I was hasty to say that non-believers wouldn't be nihilists. But a summary of part of Nietzche's thinking--for me, the article leaves out some things.

"Nietzsche defined master morality as the morality of the strong-willed. For these men the 'good' is the noble, strong and powerful, while the 'bad' is the weak, cowardly, timid and petty. Master morality begins in the 'noble man' with a spontaneous idea of the 'good', then the idea of 'bad' develops in opposition to it. (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 11) He said: "The noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges, "what is harmful to me is harmful in itself"; it knows itself to be that which first accords honor to things; it is value-creating." (Beyond Good and Evil)

Slave morality begins in those people who are weak, uncertain of themselves, oppressed and abused. The essence of slave morality is utility: the good is what is most useful for the community as a whole. Since the powerful are few in number compared to the masses of the weak, the weak gain power vis-a-vis the strong by treating those qualities that are valued by the powerful as "evil," and those qualities that enable sufferers to endure their lot as "good." Thus patience, humility, pity, submissiveness to authority, and the like, are considered good.

Slave morality begins in a ressentiment that turns creative and gives birth to values. (Ressentiment was a term coined by Nietzsche to describe the feeling of the weak, unhealthy and ugly towards those who have fared better in life.) The slave regards the virtues of beauty, power, strength and wealth as 'evil' in an act of revenge against those who have them in abundance. (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 10) Slave morality is therefore a reactionary morality because 'good' does not spring creatively from the individual but develops as a negation of the values of the powerful. The noble person conceives of goodness first and later determines what is 'bad' while the slave conceives of 'evil' first and fashions his own conception of 'good' in opposition to this.

One of the main themes in Nietzsche's work is that ancient Roman society was grounded in master morality, and that this morality disappeared as the slave morality of Christianity spread through ancient Rome."

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=nietzche&gwp=8

8:17 AM EDT  
Blogger KA said...

delta:
Also ra, it seems that we both live in the Bay Area =)
Oh, you recognized Lake Merrit?
that it's just a matter of opinion.
I got all that: it just seems, that liberty would be an intrinsic value shared by others, rather than an arbitrary subjective individual opinion.
Am I making any sense here?

1:14 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

Hey all,

I'll be back with more responses later. But, for now, I just wanted to address ra's question...

How can you be a nihilist, & yet score 85% on liberty? Just curious.

Because the value I place on liberty and individual freedom is based upon my opinion that liberty and individual freedom are good. As a nihilist, I will never say liberty/individual freedom are objectively good, because objective good is incoherent. Words like "good" are only coherent in the context of "to me." Anything that's phrased in the context of "to me" is, by definition, an opinion, which is by definition not a fact.

3:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Duane said...

You say you are a Nihilist but that means that "no action [intrinsically (this addition is my own)] is preferable to any other."

Doesn't that leave you in just a terrible fix every waking momment? I mean how did you decide writing this blog was preferable to, let's say, not writing it?

7:14 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

You say you are a Nihilist but that means that "no action [intrinsically (this addition is my own)] is preferable to any other."

Doesn't that leave you in just a terrible fix every waking momment? I mean how did you decide writing this blog was preferable to, let's say, not writing it?


That's precisely why I added the word "intrinsically." No action is intrinsically preferable to any other, but some actions are subjectively preferable to me.

For example, eating a vanilla ice cream cone, to me, is preferable to dying in a plane crash. However, that's not to say, objectively speaking, eating the vanilla ice cream cone is preferable to dying in the crash. Objectively speaking, nothing is preferable to anything. Subjectively speaking, there are myriad preferences for every individual.

It's just a matter of recognizing that opinions aren't facts, and every opinion is equally valid (or invalid).

9:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

I don't agree Frances. I think we make a lot of choices we don't even realize we make that are based on an evolved instinct that is geared towards self survival and even overall survival of our species. There are actual objective things we do based on our brain's evolved wiring.

10:38 AM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

I don't agree Frances. I think we make a lot of choices we don't even realize we make that are based on an evolved instinct that is geared towards self survival and even overall survival of our species. There are actual objective things we do based on our brain's evolved wiring.

Surely, evolution favors survival. For, evolution is all about propagation of genes. BUT, who is to say, intrinsically speaking, survival is preferable to death? Certainly, I would say survival is preferable; however, isn't preference a matter of opinion? And, if so, how can anything be universally or intrinsically preferable?

Being a nihilist doesn't mean I have no preferences; indeed, I have many. It means nothing is intrinsically preferable, or good, or moral. It all comes down to individual opinions, in the view of the nihilist.

12:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

OK, consciously you are a nihilist, but sub conscioulsy we are probably prewired to assume survival is the only choice.

9:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous bernarda said...

I wasn't going to do it, but I can't resist. Too easy and tempting.

What "evolved instinct" is it that makes baconeatingzionistjew a zionist terrorist?

4:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Aaron Kinney said...

As you may or may not know, I despise nihilism. But dont worry, I dont think anything less of you for it. But anyway, here is the linkie to my response to you.

http://killtheafterlife.blogspot.com/2006/05/response-to-frances-magnificent-moral.html

2:23 PM EDT  
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