Of course. Romanticism is history. And Milton's Satan didn't end well. I think Blake's twist on it is deeper, better. Ultimately we are social beings.
However, there is something to be said for the burning of idols, and this self-as-god romanticism is a potent brew. Consider the ethical questions that plague the young in this chaotic age. We are mortal beings...and if there is no one in charged except for an evolved prudence, this is quite a bit of rope to swing on.
I agree. Perhaps you assumed I was arguing a position when I was merely describing a seductive variety of Romanticism. (Satanism /Byronism).
Ethically I myself have moved (to oversimplify in terms of German Foolosophy) from Nietzsche to Hegel. Also Blake whose general idea is that true religion is just the love of great humans...and loving the greatest humans best. For me, "god" is completely incarnate...., "Humanism", I guess, is a fair word.
Greetings Reconstructo, my apologises for the belated reply - I seemingly missed your reply when scanning this thread the other night.
I assume you are talking of William Blake, the epileptic and Gnostic mystic - if not, I apologise for this digression. William Blake's poetry embodies the humanistic, I can very much agree with such if we are talking of the same academic (if not, well it is relevant nonetheless). The dialectical manner in which William Blake wrote his poetry was profound and, ultimately, existential. He went through this seemingly Socratic discourse to remedy the turmoil plaguing his mind, his dislike of the emerging society and its seemingly amoral state that perpetuated egoistic hedonism as opposed to this free love - if you read the poem "London" by William Blake there lies an honest depiction of the times he lived, the rottenness of the approximate Industrial Revolution and the emergence of capitalistic societies. Every natural order succumbs to the corrupted "mind forged manacles" of, presumably, the societal mandates evolving at the time - this institutionalisation of humanity.
In the "Preface to Milton" Blake writes with profound veracity - or what I firmly believe is some of the most truthful outpourings of his personal views. He speaks of the symbolic divinity and the messiah of biblical proportions in profound detail and seemingly questions a higher order if the holy land ever resided on the pastoral heaths of England where now satanic mills and industrialised waste now exists. I love Blake's writing with a passion, although I admit I have a limited knowledge of even them. However, what I gleaned of the work of his I have read, he was existential, he was a figure of immense superstition although had a flagrant dislike for organised religion - he however was a man of visions, which would logically inference epilepsy or some other malady (not the pathologize creativity or his works as a whole), and had a passionate belief in a higher order. This order therefore ordained intrinsically a set of absolute principles, take for instance free love, that were axiomatically the solution to the surrounding amorality or moral decadence.
Now I can see where you infer this "rope", or we will call "The Noose" (embodying the depressive trap hole of youth ;-) ), but I feel this nihilistic belief is not inherently wrong - all irony aside. The belief that we can reject an absolute authority, drawing back to Blake's belief in some form of a deity, is not necessarily a depressing conclusion. If we see society as merely the mangled and dishevelled order it can be a depressing truth and one that can propagate negativity. Conversely, we can overcome this "abandonment" from a higher order and recognise the development of value systems that embody pragmatic virtues - that is what is socially determined to be "good" and grow a vehement distaste for what is socially "bad".
At an ultimate level, I think nihilism reflects reality's indifference to our existence or non-existence, as I have previously mentioned. At a societal level we function because our primitive tendency drives toward survival, the preservation of oneself and specie. This hard to ignore and it is a sad truth that some feel they never find their niche in this world. These are the ones who are prone to take nihilism out of the sphere of being ultimately true but into their everyday life - "I am mere dust, the vibration of cosmological matter"; although true fundamentally, it ignores the monolithic emergence, or endowment, of subjective cognition - our means to construct and evolve more effectively with the universe. Nietzsche, I feel at least, recognised the effect this would have at a personal level (which also seems to be your concern) - that is the ones who are prone to think at the ultimate level and overlook the immediacy of the situation, our finest accolade of subjective cognition and the ability to make virtues and vices out of the primordial lust to continue just "being".
I do not believe this is Satanism, as I think cohesion is our goal - to find a niche (that is preserve ourself and our loved ones [specie]), to find our place where we can prosper despite the entirety of the world seemingly issuing an ultimatum against such. This does not mean ones will vilify all pre-existing principles - I view that as pragmatically stunted in viability. The rest of society would not agree with such a proposition - why should they ignore their own belief that they too are the ultimate authority? We need to supersede this egoism and adopt the pragmatic to obtain this aforementioned niche - we exist in a world with more than one sentient and sapient being and therefore will adopt a value system which may feel is not intrinsically so - indeed the variability of morality suggest values are dynamic and personal. My only nuance with nihilism is it ignores primitive drive being intrinsically a part of us - although I agree value is merely a subjective concoction spawned from pragmatic necessity to further that "drive"; our existence necessitates we hold value for self.
Perhaps that will clarify things.
well that is true. But you can easily get to a place of thinking 'what is the point?'. I don't know if you are familiar with Camus. He was acutely aware of the predicament of modernity in that regard. To Camus, heroism was to be able to impart some sense of purpose to a universe were there was really none at all. But it is pretty hard to sustain, isn't it? I mean, depression and suicide are real social problems in modern society. Nihilism, heroic or not, does not strike me as an effective philosophical basis on which to combat these maladies.
Perhaps a sound alternative is provided by Viktor Frankl whose book Mankind's Search for Meaning retains an existentialist perspective while articulating a sense of higher purpose.
But as far as I am concerned, nihilism is simply an affliction, pure and simple. It has no redeeming features in my book.
I think if you read the above reply to recon, you will find I agree with this primitive drive but ultimately, if we presuppose no higher order, value is necessitated by this drive to continue to live - for pragmatic reasons. I disagree with nihilism on that point, but the ultimate sentiment that nihilism purports, that is value is subjective, I agree with. I think I also address the issue of modernity as well. I think I ultimately agree with your statement that it can be an affliction but this recognition of value being only pragmatic is not necessarily a burden.
Hopefully that all makes sense,