All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
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26-07-2014, 09:41 PM (This post was last modified: 26-07-2014 10:03 PM by thespiritualanarchist.)
All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
Naturalism = Nihilism?

(21-07-2014 11:29 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  

It appears to me, that atheism/naturalism can only lead us to nihilism, when taken all the way to it's logical conclusions... yet I see almost no one who will acknowledge/address this.

What grounds can we stand upon when we wish to call something "wrong"?

Are right/wrong merely subjective preferences?

There was a thread on here that I reference above about Nihilism. The original post was asking the question if Atheism leads to Nihilism.

I have met many Atheists that seemed very close to Nihilism but I do not find that Theism is immune to Nihilistic Tendencies in thought.

To me it isn't a specific belief system that leads to Nihilism or the lack of any belief system. The problem is not any particular belief system or lack of any such system. The problem lies in thinking itself.

To me the term "Delusional Thinking" is redundant.

Now I know that this is the Thinking Atheist Forum and I am a Philosopher so my job is thinking.

So I will admit right now that I have the same addiction to thinking as anyone else. And like any true addict I will defend my addiction. Not all addictions are 100% bad. Consider someone addicted to exercise. If I had to choose to be addicted to anything thinking would be my addiction of choice.

See I am doing it already.

(In once sense I am a recovering addict)

This is not an attack on thinking simply a suggestion that we should think about thinking. Mmmm this is addictive ! Give me another.

So let me get right to the point. It is my thesis that thinking does lead to Nihilistic Tendencies. This is different then actual Nihilism.

In practice actual Nihilism is self negating and therefore unsustainable.

But before I continue I want to address the OP I got the idea from to start this thread.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think this post was originally only addressing Moral Nihilism. Although I am putting forth the proposition that thinking leads to Nihilistic Tendencies I am not suggesting that this has anything to do with morality or morals.

Moral Nihilism is actually one of the highest spiritual states you can achieve although I wouldn't advise you to call it Moral Nihilism.

When a Theist accuses an Atheist of Moral Nihilism they are insinuating that an Atheist has no moral compass.

If by a moral compass they mean a set of instructions from a holy book or the voices of gods in their heads then they are right. But if they are suggesting that Atheists have some strange lack of spiritual empathy or compassion like that of a sociopath then they are making a really absurd claim. If you are going to make that kind of extreme claim about a group you better be able to back it up.

Quote:so·ci·o·path

noun
a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.


Sorry Atheism isn't a personality disorder and it isn't going to go away because you say it is one.

The irony is that it is usually a belief that becomes part of some kind of compulsion which leads or at least contributes to most mental illnesses. I have never heard of a case where somebody giving up a belief led to this problem. (Unless this lead to other types of beliefs)

So this whole fear of someone becoming a danger to themselves or society based on a lack of a belief is completely unfounded.

Now back to Nihilism and the purpose of this post.

The Nihilism I am talking about is of the type where every possible way of seeing meaning on any level is exhausted and the only views of Reality accepted are those that support this way of viewing things.

Again I do not think that someone could sustain this way of thinking or perception for long. The problem is that the thought process can continuously seduce the ego to see how close it can take you to the edge. It is true that in my theory it can never get you to jump. But looking over the edge can give a lot of people extreme forms of anxiety.

There are some people with what are called suicidal tendencies who never would actually kill themselves.

In the same way I think we all have Nihilistic Tendencies caused by an addiction to thinking. So what is the alternative?

To a lot of people the alternative to Nihilistic Tendencies is adopting a system of beliefs and adding these beliefs to their other defense mechanisms. It is my view that if this is your solution then the cure may be worse than the disease.

Just to be clear thinking by itself is not the disease that leads to Nihilism. It is the addiction to thinking that leads to Nihilistic Tendencies. Since beliefs are the most addictive type of thinking known to man they can not be the cure to the problem I am suggesting we have here.

When you create an imbalance between your thoughts and your emotive states the addiction just gets worse. The Cognitive Dissonance between your beliefs and Reality will become so great that an extreme defense mechanism will kick in called faith.

The faith I am talking about is what Sartre termed Bad Faith.

Quote:To believe is to know you believe, and to know you believe is not to believe
Sartre:Being and Nothingness

I include the book I first read that quote in Being and Nothingness because I think that it is this book which influenced me most in Philosophy.

So what could be a form of good faith? I am not sure there is such a thing. But the closest I have come is bridging the gap between I think therefore I am and simply "I am".

That is when I meditate I am often confronted with nothingness but once I let go of my addiction to thinking my perception changed from nothingness to emptiness.

The distinction is subtle but it led my to my view that all paths lead to Nihilism because thinking leads to Nihilistic Tendencies. So the level of Nihilism you achieve is equal to your addiction to thinking.

There is one view of addiction that says that most addicts are in denial and because of this they will often say I can stop any time I like.

So although it is obvious that I like thinking mmm love thinking I am well aware that in order to overcome addiction that I must be able to stop when I want to.

The first thing I did was get rid of my most addictive thinking called beliefs. Then I gave up all my need for faith in the bad sense. As a result my Nihilistic Tendencies became so weak as to be almost nonexistent. (Yes I am aware of the irony of my wording. )

This reminds me of the joke If you can keep your head whilst all around people are losing theirs, then you obviously don't understand the problem.

The problem here is not thoughts but attachment to thoughts. It is this attachment that leads to an addiction. And it is this addiction that leads to Nihilistic Tendencies.

Just remember if you do decide to go all the way to the edge of the cliff it would be better for you to jump into the abyss of nothingness then give into the need to accept a belief system. As I said before Actual Nihilism is impossible. And more importantly if you want any chance of not going insane please remember why this is so. (Just in case you do decide to look over the edge)

It is because Nihilism is self refuting.

Once you realize this you will develop what I would call good faith.

That is not faith that is reasoning without evidence ...but the kind of faith that allows you to see the evidence for what I am saying no matter where your addictive thoughts may attempt to lead you.

The combination of hypocrisy and closed mindedness along with substituting manipulation for reasoning can bring out hostility in me. Facepalm
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26-07-2014, 09:50 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
(26-07-2014 09:41 PM)thespiritualanarchist Wrote:  Naturalism = Nihilism?

(21-07-2014 11:29 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  

It appears to me, that atheism/naturalism can only lead us to nihilism, when taken all the way to it's logical conclusions... yet I see almost no one who will acknowledge/address this.

What grounds can we stand upon when we wish to call something "wrong"?

Are right/wrong merely subjective preferences?

There was a thread on here that I reference above about Nihilism. The original post was asking the question if Atheism leads to Nihilism.

I have met many Atheist that seemed very close to Nihilism but I do not find that Theism is immune to Nihilistic Tendencies in thought.

To me it isn't a specific belief system that leads to Nihilism or the lack of any belief system. The problem is not any particular belief system or lack of any such system. The problem lies in thinking itself.

To me the term "Delusional Thinking" is redundant.

Now I know that this is the Thinking Atheist Forum and I am a Philosopher so my job is thinking.

So I will admit right now that I have the same addiction to thinking as anyone else. And like any true addict I will defend my addiction. Not all addictions are 100% bad. Consider someone addicted to exercise. If I had to choose to be addicted to anything thinking would be my addiction of choice.

See I am doing it already.

(In once sense I am a recovering addict)

This is not an attack on thinking simply a suggestion that we should think about thinking. Mmmm this is addictive ! Give me another.

So let me get right to the point. It is my thesis that thinking does lead to Nihilistic Tendencies. This is different then actual Nihilism.

In practice actual Nihilism is self negating and therefore unsustainable.

But before I continue I want to address the OP I got the idea from to start this thread.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think this post was originally only addressing Moral Nihilism. Although I am putting forth the proposition that thinking leads to Nihilistic Tendencies I am not suggesting that this has anything to do with morality or morals.

Moral Nihilism is actually one of the highest spiritual states you can achieve although I wouldn't advise you to call it Moral Nihilism.

When a Theist accuses an Atheist of Moral Nihilism they are insinuating that an Atheist has no moral compass.

If by a moral compass they mean a set of instructions from a holy book or the voices of gods in their heads then they are right. But if they are suggesting that Atheists have some strange lack of spiritual empathy or compassion like that of a sociopath then they are making a really absurd claim. If you are going to make that kind of extreme claim about a group you better be able to back it up.

Quote:so·ci·o·path

noun
a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.


Sorry Atheism isn't a personality disorder and it isn't going to go away because you say it is one.

The irony is that it is usually a belief that becomes part of some kind of compulsion which leads or at least contributes to most mental illnesses. I have never heard of a case where somebody giving up a belief led to this problem. (Unless this lead to other types of beliefs)

So this whole fear of someone becoming a danger to themselves or society based on a lack of a belief is completely unfounded.

Now back to Nihilism and the purpose of this post.

The Nihilism I am talking about is of the type where every possible way of seeing meaning on any level is exhausted and the only views of Reality accepted are those that support this way of viewing things.

Again I do not think that someone could sustain this way of thinking or perceiving for long. The problem is that the thought process can continuously seduce the ego to see how close it can take you to the edge. It is true that in my theory it can never get you to jump. But looking over the edge can give a lot of people extreme forms of anxiety.

There are some people with what are called suicidal tendencies who never would actually kill themselves.

In the same way I think we all have Nihilistic Tendencies caused by an addiction to thinking. So what is the alternative?

To a lot of people the alternative to Nihilistic Tendencies is adopting a system of beliefs and adding these beliefs to their other defense mechanisms. It is my view that if this is your solution then the cure may be worse than the disease.

Just to be clear thinking by itself is not the disease that leads to Nihilism. It is the addiction to thinking that leads to Nihilistic Tendencies. Since beliefs are the most addictive type of thinking known to man they can not be the cure to the problem I am suggesting we have here.

When you create an imbalance between your thoughts and your emotive states the addiction just gets worse. The Cognitive Dissonance between your beliefs and Reality will become so great that an extreme defense mechanism will kick in called faith.

The faith I am talking about is what Sartre termed Bad Faith.

Quote:To believe is to know you believe, and to know you believe is not to believe
Sartre:Being and Nothingness

I include the book I first read that quote in Being and Nothingness because I think that it is this book which influenced me most in Philosophy.

So what could be a form of good faith? I am not sure there is such a thing. But the closest I have come is bridging the gap between I think therefore I am and simply "I am".

That is when I meditate I am often confronted with nothingness but once I let go of my addiction to thinking my perception changed from nothingness to emptiness.

The distinction is subtle bet it led my to my view that all paths lead to Nihilism because thinking leads to Nihilistic Tendencies. So the level of Nihilism you achieve is equal to your addiction to thinking.

There is one view of addiction that most addicts are in denial and often say I can stop any time I like.

So although it is obvious that I like thinking mmm love thinking I am well aware that in order to overcome addiction that I must be able to stop when I want to.

The first thing I did was get rid of my most addictive thinking called beliefs. Then I gave up all my need for faith in the bad sense. As a result my Nihilistic Tendencies became so weak as to be almost nonexistent. (Yes I am aware of the irony of my wording. )

This reminds me of the joke If you can keep your head whilst all around people are losing theirs, then you obviously don't understand the problem.

The problem here is not thoughts but attachment to thoughts. It is this attachment that leads to an addiction. And it is this addiction that leads to Nihilistic Tendencies.

Just remember if you do decide to go all the way to the edge of the cliff it would be better for you to jump into the abyss of nothingness then give into the need to accept a belief system. As I said before Actual Nihilism is impossible. And more importantly if you want any chance of not going insane please remember why this is so. It is because Nihilism is self refuting.

Once you realize this you will develop what I would call good faith.

That is not faith that is reasoning without evidence ...but the kind of faith that allows you to see the evidence for what I am saying no matter where your addictive thoughts may attempt to lead you.




Another "typo" ?
Sure.
It appears what you are addicted to is long-winded speeches.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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26-07-2014, 10:02 PM (This post was last modified: 26-07-2014 10:07 PM by thespiritualanarchist.)
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
Quote:Another "typo" ?
Sure.
It appears what you are addicted to is long-winded speeches.

Honestly is this the only reason you join my threads? To point out typos?

I promise if I ever finish the book I am writing to consider you for my editor before I send it off ok?

By the way it isn't a speech but thank you for the complement. As far as long winded thanks for the critique.

Now how about actually commenting on what I said? Or are you just a troll?

Quote:In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]
Troll (Internet)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The combination of hypocrisy and closed mindedness along with substituting manipulation for reasoning can bring out hostility in me. Facepalm
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26-07-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
Bucky Ball

Hmm after reading your profile maybe I have come to the conclusion that having you as an editor isn't such a bad idea. Consider

To bad you hate me
Laugh out load

The combination of hypocrisy and closed mindedness along with substituting manipulation for reasoning can bring out hostility in me. Facepalm
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26-07-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
The thing about nihilism is either you're right and everyone can suck it, or you're wrong and it's a happy surprise. Win-win in my book. I think everyone has these tendencies at some point in their lives. You don't have to be smart or educated to have them and even those who do know their stuff can succumb to nihilism. Meaninglessness does not mean bad. It means not good or bad. Nihilism is neutral. We put meaning and purpose on things. We decide what is right or wrong. I don't quite agree with your statement that thinking is addictive. That would be like saying existing is addictive. Sure, you could say that, but it kind of goes without saying. It's less of an addiction and more of a desired circumstance. I'd rather exist than not exist. I'd rather think than not think. That doesn't mean I am doing it for thrills or to fill a void of some sort. I don't have any other choice but to think. It seems that you are describing the use of logic and reason, which is not simply thinking. And sure, I can understand there being an addiction for logic. It's not bad as you say, but honestly I wouldn't call it an addiction. The word addiction has a bad connotation. Maybe you could say using logic is preferable to merely thinking.
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26-07-2014, 10:20 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
One other thing I was going to say is that I was pretty much a nihilist even before I knew what an atheist was, back when I was a Christian. I agree with your point that nihilism doesn't come from any particular set of beliefs or non-beliefs. It comes from examination of reality.
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26-07-2014, 11:08 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
T
Quote:he thing about nihilism is either you're right and everyone can suck it, or you're wrong and it's a happy surprise. Win-win in my book. I think everyone has these tendencies at some point in their lives. You don't have to be smart or educated to have them and even those who do know their stuff can succumb to nihilism. Meaninglessness does not mean bad. It means not good or bad. Nihilism is neutral.

Well yes the first part of my thesis is that everyone has Nihilistic Tendencies.Which you have admitted is true.

I wasn't trying to imply that only intellectuals have these tendencies. That is why I brought belief into it. Many people with a belief system are actually anti intellectual. And if you read my whole post you will see that I say that belief is the most addictive type of thinking of all.


Quote:We put meaning and purpose on things. We decide what is right or wrong.


Yes I agree. Apparently you missed the part where I said I wasn't talking about Moral Nihilism and even suggested that Moral Nihilism was spiritual? Also I defended Atheists from the Theist view of Moral Nihilism. I know that my post was really long and I am sorry but please read the whole thing. This is why my post are so long because I want to address everything. You would think Bucky would appreciate this since his profile talks about have to analyze everything.

Quote:I don't quite agree with your statement that thinking is addictive. That would be like saying existing is addictive.

Well existing isn't something that you can stop any time you want but I get your point.But I would like to point out that think is something you can stop any time you want. Also to be clear I did explain that I liked the addiction and that the only reason I challenged thinking as an addiction was the attachment to thinking.

When you want to go to the store you are not necessarily attached to going to the store. If most people who decided to go to the store suddenly found they couldn't they would simply put it off until another time. And once they do go to the store they get what they need and go home. They usually don't keep going back to the store over and over in the same day. Now if they had an attachment to going to stores they would be considered a shopaholic and that would be an addiction.

When I say that anyone can stop thinking I am not suggesting that they could stop thinking forever or that they should try to.To me thinking is like holding your breath. Some can do this longer than others but if you stop all together you would suffocate.

When I meditate I can stop my thoughts completely but not for long. And sometimes I can not stop my thoughts at all but when this happens I can listen to thoughts like a radio. They are not "my" thoughts just thoughts. When I am able to just label thoughts as thoughts and not "my" thoughts I lose attachment to thinking and I am able to stop thinking. This is what I mean when I say to stop thinking.



Quote:Sure, you could say that, but it kind of goes without saying. It's less of an addiction and more of a desired circumstance. I'd rather exist than not exist. I'd rather think than not think.


The same could be said of any addiction. The root of addiction is desire. But it is possible to enjoy something without desires. If I get the desire for ice cream and I go to buy some ice cream and they are all out of ice cream or may favorite flavor I might be upset and I might consider this suffering. But if I just happen to be passing by an ice cream place and walk in without thinking about it the situation is different.

If they have ice cream and the flavor I want fine I get some and enjoy it.
If they do not have what I want that is fine too. I will go find something else to do or go get ice cream later.

As I said all through my post it isn't thinking itself that is the problem but a certain type of thinking called attachment.

Quote:That doesn't mean I am doing it for thrills or to fill a void of some sort. I don't have any other choice but to think.

Now you can not tell me that you never get bored or never seek thinking because of this. I come to these types of message boards because of many types of void which include boredom and the need for thrills of debate. That is just me but I am sure that I am not theb only one.

As for you saying you have no choice but to think. That depends. If you mean you can not completely stop your thoughts indefinitely then I agree. But stop also means pause or take a break. I have managed to stop my thoughts through meditation but I know many people who can find things to do that takes their mind off things. And sometimes you can have an experience that is so intense that you stop thinking and just experience. So it is possible to stop thinking. You do have a choice in this.


Quote: It seems that you are describing the use of logic and reason, which is not simply thinking. And sure, I can understand there being an addiction for logic. It's not bad as you say, but honestly I wouldn't call it an addiction. The word addiction has a bad connotation. Maybe you could say using logic is preferable to merely thinking.

One type of addiction is logic or analyzing or the compulsive need to point out typos or the length of someones post...

This is an attachment or aversion to certain thoughts. I doubt any one on this board dislikes me that much. They don't really know me. But they may not like the way I express myself. They may dislike all kinds of things about the way I think. Again this is an aversion to certain types of thoughts.

Many Atheists seem to have an aversion to thoughts involving certain Metaphysical ideas like God or the Soul or Free Will.

And many Theist seem to have an aversion to certain types of thinking like Atheism or Materialism or Skepticism.

Even aversion is not necessarily bad. But attachment is.That is the only bad type of aversion is the type that you have attachment to.

Because I am a Buddhist I can not think of a way to explain attachment without quoting Buddhism. You could call this an attachment to Buddhism but so be it.

Quote:The Buddha taught that this craving grows from ignorance of the self. Because we see ourselves as something separate from everything else, we go through life grabbing one thing after another to ease our stress. We attach not only to physical things, but also to ideas and opinions about ourselves and the world around us. But physical things can be lost, and we get frustrated when the world doesn't conform to our ideas and opinions.

I see Buddha as a very good psychologist. Most Buddhist are Atheist. So if you want to debate what I am saying I hope I am not going to be here defending my Buddhist views and never actually addressing the actual topic.

If you want to address Buddha as Psychologist and analyze the method he uses for flaws I'm game . But to me Buddhism is not my "religion". So I won't address it as one.

Socrates also had a method and I am sure someone could systematize this method into a belief system. But I for one am not interested in such beliefs or belief systems.

I am just trying to make clear my views on attachment and their relation to thinking.

The combination of hypocrisy and closed mindedness along with substituting manipulation for reasoning can bring out hostility in me. Facepalm
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26-07-2014, 11:11 PM (This post was last modified: 26-07-2014 11:16 PM by thespiritualanarchist.)
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
Quote:RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
One other thing I was going to say is that I was pretty much a nihilist even before I knew what an atheist was, back when I was a Christian. I agree with your point that nihilism doesn't come from any particular set of beliefs or non-beliefs. It comes from examination of reality.

Thank you for acknowledging what I actually said. I love disagreements and debate. But I don't like having to explain everything I just said to address what somebody thought I said.

I didn't mind answering every point you made in your last post because I know my original post was pretty damn long. (My fault)

But if I had to answer all those same questions 10 pages into this I would be disgusted and frustrated beyond belief.

Laugh out load

The combination of hypocrisy and closed mindedness along with substituting manipulation for reasoning can bring out hostility in me. Facepalm
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26-07-2014, 11:20 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
I actually did read all you had to say, and I was only agreeing with you on the parts that stuck out to me. I wasn't trying to debate. You and I share the same opinions on a lot of points. A bit of friendly criticism however: Try condensing your thoughts so it doesn't come off so "long winded" as our friend Bucky pointed out. Shortening and simplifying ideas is, after all, what science does best.
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26-07-2014, 11:33 PM
RE: All Paths Lead To Nihilism?
I'm a functional nihilist myself. But what does it mean?

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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