Atheism vs. Nihilism?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
04-06-2011, 09:47 AM
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
Quote:Stefania, I highlighted in bold this definition's reference to Nietzsche. I've not heard before of his, Transitional Nihilism. Do you have information from his writings on that, that you might care to add to the conversation?

Hello GassyKitten, it will be my pleasure to explain Nietzsche's transitional nihilism further. I will first start by going through the stages of Nietzsche’s understanding of nihilism for those that may not know.

For Nietzsche nihilism is a pathological transitional stage that a person follows once they believe that god does not exist and the morality built as a result of the creation of god no longer applies to reality. I like to use the analogy of a basket of apples that have been given to you. There are rotten apples in there but you do not know which ones are rotten. So you need to throw away the whole contents of the basket and start again with new apples that you acquire for yourself where you definitely know are not rotten. It is in effect a re-evaluation of all the values and beliefs that an agent holds.

Quote:Beyond Good And Evil (Chapter One: Section 5) "We who find no small amusement in spying out the subtle tricks of old moralists and ethical preachers."

We find that there is no meaning at all at this stage of denying god and his morality. Where as morality used to be the solution to our way of life it now becomes the problem, what is morality?

Quote:The Gay Science (Section 109) "Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress. When you realise that there are no goals or objectives, then you realise, too, that there is no chance: for only in a world of objectives does the word "chance" have any meaning."

Everything we have been told has been fiction and fantasy, life has been a deception. Any meaning that we did know was a lie. We believed in the deception, the lie because it was a need to feel belonging in the world. When we realize this fabrication the last form of nihilism takes shape, not believing anything that is offered from the world as we used to know it.

The above paragraph where the agent becomes aware of the world’s deceptions can be attributed to Nietzsche’s “Four Errors.” The first error, man always saw himself as imperfect. The second error, man gave himself imaginary qualities. The third error, he believed to be in an order of rank that is false with animal and nature. The fourth quality, he created values and believed them to be to be everlasting and unconditional. The effect of these four errors, humanity is lost, the act of simply being human is lost and human dignity is lost. To regain these three qualities back we need to according to reject anything the world offers to us as belief, morality etc. The Four Errors can be found in The Gay Science.

Nihilism has now been achieved (it does not stop there though) instead of it becoming a negative impact on the agent, it empowers the agent. The agent is free from the constraints that the world creates on its other subjects. Nihilism is a transition to freedom to thus become “The Free Spirit.” Now Nietzsche talks a great deal on what is known as “The Free Spirit.” As with a lot of Nietzsche’s writings there are MANY interpretations and what I offer is my own interpretation. “The Free Spirit” in my opinion is something a person becomes once they have achieved Nihilism.

Quote: Beyond Good And Evil (Chapter Two: Section 24) “One can never cease wondering when once one has got eyes for beholding this marvel! How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple! How we have been able to give our senses a passport to everything superficial.”

From the world built on deception and untruth we go through a transition via nihilism to become “The Free Spirit.” This is positive nihilism. It increases the power of our spirit becoming free and truthful seeing beyond the deception that the world presents to us. At the beginning of my reply I mentioned the analogy of the basket of apples. Now the agent has acquired their own ripe and pure apples to fill their basket with no rotten apple in sight! As a result The Free Spirit is strengthened by pure truth.

Quote:"Religion poisons everything." - Christopher Hitchens
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-06-2011, 10:24 AM
 
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(04-06-2011 09:47 AM)Stefania Wrote:  Hello GassyKitten, it will be my pleasure to explain Nietzsche's transitional nihilism further...
Thank you for taking the time. Smile That's not anything at all like what I shared from the Philosophy site, with regard to the definition of Nihilism.

I am familiar with Nietzsche, but not as much as all that. You've given a great deal to chew over here and I can see how it will certainly help propel this thread conversation further. Thank you so much. Smile (HUGS)
Quote this message in a reply
04-06-2011, 10:31 AM
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
To GassyKitten - You are very welcome (Hugs Back!!!)

Quote:"Religion poisons everything." - Christopher Hitchens
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-06-2011, 06:37 PM
Thumbs Up RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(04-06-2011 09:47 AM)Stefania Wrote:  Nihilism has now been achieved (it does not stop there though) instead of it becoming a negative impact on the agent, it empowers the agent.

Yeah, that.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes GirlyMan's post
06-06-2011, 08:44 AM
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(03-06-2011 11:31 PM)Inexcused Wrote:  Is nihilism even existentially possible to live with integrity?

Yes.

(04-06-2011 12:06 AM)godofskeptic Wrote:  I think we should agree that Nihilists have a point, but then again its a philosophy, you can either agree with it or disagree with it.

Right. Just like you can agree or disagree with the theory of evolution. And with people who say that the Earth is round. You would just be wrong.

And that's how it is here, too. Nihilism isn't a matter of philosophy any more. It's fact. There is no objective moral code, or value to life, or meaning to existence.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Unbeliever's post
06-06-2011, 11:48 AM
 
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
I think neuroscience, especially the studies being done with behavioural MRI are facinating, and for me they have rendered philosophy obsolete. However, if this thread is about nihilism, a concept I haven't given much thought to (irony), I'm not sure I agree with what godofskeptic said: There is no objective Moral Code, or value to life, or meaning to existence. That view sounds like a psychopaths dream come true. Sure, in the absence of a dictated moral code one could argue that morality is a subjective construct. That doesn't prevent humanity from deciding what is moral with religion out of the picture. Like Sam Harris postulates in The Moral Landscape humans are capable of knowing what is moral (improves human wellbeing) and what is immoral (diminishes human well being). I know that humanity will have difficulty deciding who should be the participants in the conversation, but once it moves to an external dialogue instead of an internal one and what is decided is accepted by the group eventually humans will be born who don't ponder the issues and just accept the moral code as objectively right. We might have arrived there some time ago if religion hadn't got in the way. I know also that morality changes according to necessity so some system will need to be devised that allows the code to evolve rather than becoming rigid dogma. Take for instance (and forgive the gruesomeness of the following but I can't think of any other example at present), in two hundred years the planet has more people than it can feed. The current moral code might say it is not OK to process our dead to produce food. However, as in the movie Soylant Green, the future may offer us few alternatives if we want to feed ourselves, requiring a modification of the moral code.
I also can't see how nihilism can be reality if there is no value to life. I think the term "value" is problematic and perhaps my ignorance of philosophy is telling here. Am i placing a particular value construct to life, valuing my life, valuing the lives of others. For me i can reject the former, but the latter two I can't ever see me not valuing.
And lastly no meaning to existence. For me nihilism doesn't work here either. Perhaps I may not subscribe meaning to my own existance, after all I just am. However, that doesn't mean my view of meaning to anothers existance, or theirs to mine, isn't real. It all depends on what the others existence, and everything that was revealed to me by it, meant. It's about having someone witness that you once walked the earth, derived meaning about their own life from your existence, and missed you once you were gone.
Now if I have the philosophy wrong I apologize, but if nihilism is my future without religion you can have them both thankyou.
Quote this message in a reply
06-06-2011, 04:34 PM
 
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(06-06-2011 08:44 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(03-06-2011 11:31 PM)Inexcused Wrote:  Is nihilism even existentially possible to live with integrity?

Yes.

(04-06-2011 12:06 AM)godofskeptic Wrote:  I think we should agree that Nihilists have a point, but then again its a philosophy, you can either agree with it or disagree with it.

Right. Just like you can agree or disagree with the theory of evolution. And with people who say that the Earth is round. You would just be wrong.

And that's how it is here, too. Nihilism isn't a matter of philosophy any more. It's fact. There is no objective moral code, or value to life, or meaning to existence.

Nihilism, the loss of all meaning, existentially possible? With integrity? Hmm. It seems any evidence of meaning in one's life would be contradicting that worldview, no?
Quote this message in a reply
06-06-2011, 05:05 PM
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
I would argue that all human beings are nihilists, even the ones who claim that a god is the ultimate arbitrator of meaning in the fact that they project their own morals, values and meaning onto this god, creating him/her in their own image. So in fact theists are just as rudderless and we heathens. This is evident when we see that the theist's god always agrees with the believer.

In my lifetime (50 years) I've seen an enormous shift in the collective morality of the fundamentalist churches I grew up in. As a child, no one gave a damn about gays or abortion, instead they busy preaching dress codes and against divorce and remarriage. Back then, they preached a gospel that helped the poor, while now they adore the rich and believe the poor are poor for their own shortcomings. Their morality has shifted substantially.

There is no ultimate meaning to anything, there is only the meaning, morality that we as a society and as an individual gives it. Personally, I find the whole supposed "meaninglessness" of life implied in the nihilism label to be both insulting and not like me at all. I find life exhilarating, enjoyable and full of meaning, much more so than if everything were here simply to fulfill the narcissistic needs of some creator deity.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-06-2011, 06:19 PM
 
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(06-06-2011 05:05 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  I would argue that all human beings are nihilists, even the ones who claim that a god is the ultimate arbitrator of meaning in the fact that they project their own morals, values and meaning onto this god, creating him/her in their own image. So in fact theists are just as rudderless and we heathens. This is evident when we see that the theist's god always agrees with the believer.

In my lifetime (50 years) I've seen an enormous shift in the collective morality of the fundamentalist churches I grew up in. As a child, no one gave a damn about gays or abortion, instead they busy preaching dress codes and against divorce and remarriage. Back then, they preached a gospel that helped the poor, while now they adore the rich and believe the poor are poor for their own shortcomings. Their morality has shifted substantially.

There is no ultimate meaning to anything, there is only the meaning, morality that we as a society and as an individual gives it. Personally, I find the whole supposed "meaninglessness" of life implied in the nihilism label to be both insulting and not like me at all. I find life exhilarating, enjoyable and full of meaning, much more so than if everything were here simply to fulfill the narcissistic needs of some creator deity.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm concerned about everyone's integrity on here who claim that they are either skeptics or nihilists. Skepticism is saying that nothing is clear, knowledge is not possible, right?

If nothing is clear, then there would be no distinctions between A and non-A.

We would not be able to distinguish computer from non-computer. The keyboard button of your choice from non-keyboard button of your choice. When you form sentences, you are distinguishing words/concepts from each other, letters from each other, spaces between words (word and non-word/spaces). Words are expression of our thought. We couldn't make any distinctions in our thoughts, no distinction between concepts we think about.

This leads to meaninglessness. We could not distinguish anything if it were the case that distinctions between A and non-A are not clear.

If there were no meaning due to the fact that there is no possibility of distinguishing A and non-A, thinking would not be possible. Can you go without distinguishing A from non-A? Yourself from not yourself? Your friend from not your friend? Being and non-being/nothing? These words from not these words?

And as a result of no thinking, there would be no talking as our speech expresses our thoughts.

If there are no distinctions, no meaning, and then no thinking and speaking, that would essentially lead to Nihilism - the loss of all meaning.

It isn't the case that Nihilism is existentially possible for man as we are thinking and speaking beings who will distinguish A from non-A as that is what makes thinking possible.

It is not the case that there are no distinctions between A and non-A.

Previously put, no distinctions lead to no meaning, which leads to no thought and speech, which essentially is Nihilism/silence of thought. In so far as we are thinking and speaking beings, Nihilism is not existentially possible and cannot be held with integrity.

Therefore, it is not the case that nothing is clear.

What do you all think of the argument?
Quote this message in a reply
06-06-2011, 08:32 PM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2011 08:46 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Atheism vs. Nihilism?
(06-06-2011 04:34 PM)Inexcused Wrote:  Nihilism, the loss of all meaning, existentially possible?

That ain't nihilism, that's clinical depression. Nihilism doesn't deny meaning, nihilism denies any ultimate meaning (or even the possibility of any). You want meaning? It's all around you. You go out and make it everyday just like the rest of us. You might not be able to see it yet because you're looking for something it ain't. But you can just grow a sack and realize that it's all local, artificial, and temporary (others have done it successfully before you). Enjoy, relish, and languish in it but for godssake don't deify it. Then you're a theist. Godel's already shown us logic won't save us.

(06-06-2011 05:05 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  Personally, I find the whole supposed "meaninglessness" of life implied in the nihilism label to be both insulting and not like me at all. I find life exhilarating, enjoyable and full of meaning, much more so than if everything were here simply to fulfill the narcissistic needs of some creator deity.

Me too. ... Although I don't find it particularly insulting, it's more like my dog giving me shit for using the toilet instead of just using the floor.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: