Nihilism

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Reply Fri 14 Jul, 2006 12:22 am
I know the general concepts of it but can someone tell me exactly what it is in "Simple English".

How was it misinterperated by the Nazis?
 
Justin
 
Reply Fri 14 Jul, 2006 10:39 am
@K-master,
This is a philosophical position that derives from the Latin word nihil, meaning nothing.

The philosophy of Nihilism or the Nihilist is that life is without meaning, objective, or purpose. The Nihilists believe that since there is no resonable proof of an existence of a creator, then life really has no meaning or truth. "Nothing" is what it basically amounts too. Some Nihilists believe that "nothing" has resulted from the death of God. This philosophy was first introduced by Friedrich Heinrich and made popular by Ivan Turgenev in the mid to latter 1800's.

Friedrich Nietzsche continued this journey in Nihilism and had a some writing which were put together in a book form of various notes called "Will to Power" which was incomplete.

Quote:
A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos—at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.(The Will to Power, section 585, trans. Walter Kaufmann)

This philosophy was misinterpreted not only by the Nazi's but also by many others. Nazis seen it as the removal of morality/mankind by killing. Removing morality and Christian philosophy altogether. - Genocide.

In my humble opinion, this philosophy is off the wall. Not only was it missinterpreted by many but it was also something that Nietzsche didn't understand. The man spent the last decade of his life completely insane.

It's an off the wall philosophy that was defined by wackos for wackos. None of which made much sense but to those who embrace terrorism and the killing of all mankind in order to improve the future.

Quote:
[INDENT]'To the clean are all things clean' — thus say the people. I, however, say unto you: To the swine all things become swinish! Therefore preach the visionaries and bowed-heads (whose hearts are also bowed down): 'The world itself is a filthy monster.' For these are all unclean spirits; especially those, however, who have no peace or rest, unless they see the world FROM THE BACKSIDE — the backworldsmen! TO THOSE do I say it to the face, although it sound unpleasantly: the world resembleth man, in that it hath a backside, — SO MUCH is true! There is in the world much filth: SO MUCH is true! But the world itself is not therefore a filthy monster!
[RIGHT]— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra[/RIGHT]
[/INDENT]

Does anyone else have a greater knowledge of how the Nazi's misinterpreted this completely off-the-wall philosophy of Nihilism which in itself is incomplete and in and of itself is a misinterpretation?
 
ms anthropist
 
Reply Tue 18 Jul, 2006 05:01 am
@Justin,
it is not nihilism that was used by the third reich, it was the concept of the superman and that of the slave and master mentalities. This was in spite of NIetzsches dispise of the german culture and his love of the Jews, which he considered the only intellectual race in Europe. It is said that Hitler was inspired by "beyond good and evil". However, the guy that shot JOhn Lennon, was also reading a book, and i don't see the connection. Another unfortunate factor that has served to link NIetzsche with the nazys is that his sister, elisabeth, was married to a german official. When Nietzsche lost the plot, she tergiversed his works in order to suit nazy ideology.

But likesay, not just nietzsche was not an antisemite, he liked the jews and disliked the germans
 
ms anthropist
 
Reply Tue 18 Jul, 2006 05:02 am
@K-master,
the will to power was not compiled by nietzsche, but by elisabeth, and that is why its ideology is a bit dodgy.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:39 pm
@K-master,
ms anthropist

"the will to power was not compiled by nietzsche, but by elisabeth, and
that is why its ideology is a bit dodgy."

That would be Nietzsche's sister right?

About Nihilism,actually it is right on the mark,but you have to have a braveheart to enter here,sometimes truth is painful and if your afraid of getting hurt just write it off as so much tripe.

Actually nihilism can be made understandable in just a few lines.If ones realises that there is nothing in the world which has meaning and/or value in and of itself.Pickup,point to anything,of itself there is no meaning.Did you ever hear the story about the buddhist teacher who holds up a flower in front of his students?He asks them what is the meaning of a flower-------silence falls upon the group.Suddenly one student indicate to the master that he understands.What he understood was,there is no meaning,the flower simply is,just as your own being simply is,that knowledge is nihilism.Nihilism is a wall over which it takes some courage to look,its courtyard is the feared abyss,but from here one might more greatly appreciate relativity.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 12:18 am
@boagie,
Very Happy No need to thank me,it was NOTHING!!

Justin,you need to do a bit more reading on the subject,an authoritarian voice just doesn't cut it.:p

Sorry for the prod,trying to get this topic up and moving again,I would most appreciate hearing from you on this again.Wink


Off topic,logic 101:There is something profoundly wrong with this proof by analogy.Perhaps someone with a sharper logic than my own could point the flaw out.:rolleyes:

"In the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist -in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning." :confused:
- Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis---------------------:eek: !!
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 04:01 pm
@boagie,
Contrary to popular opinion Nietzsche wasn't a nihilist. He thought nihilism a salutary phase culminating in the philosophy of power.

Lewis is saying nothing more than human nature is intelligible via the human virtues which are related to god's meaning for us. Lewis is an exact opposite of Nietzsche who sees that human intelligibility lies within the forceful expressions of the will to power.

Lewis here is implicitly accusing atheists of anti-intellectualism. (Looks like he scores big-time.)

I just think it's difficult to easily dismiss him.


--Pythagorean
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 06:05 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
Contrary to popular opinion Nietzsche wasn't a nihilist. He thought nihilism a salutary phase culminating in the philosophy of power."

To be considered a nihilist one must have some other characteristics,beliefs and/or some behaviours which make him a nihilist.I do not see where having the realization of nihilism is that problematic,though it would profoundly alter any previous philosophy one might have developed to that point.

"Lewis is saying nothing more than human nature is intelligible via the human virtues which are related to god's meaning for us. Lewis is an exact opposite of Nietzsche who sees that human intelligibility lies within the forceful expressions of the will to power."

I can not say I fully understand this critque,the human virtues which are related to god's meaning for us? I believe I understand the rest,lies within the innate nature of man,to discern the truth?

Lewis here is implicitly accusing atheists of anti-intellectualism. (Looks like he scores big-time.)

I just think it's difficult to easily dismiss him.


--Pythagorean


Interesting observations,I agree,there was just something a little dishonest about that piece, I could not put my finger on it.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 08:57 pm
@boagie,
Quote:
Boagie wrote,

To be considered a nihilist one must have some other characteristics,beliefs and/or some behaviours which make him a nihilist.I do not see where having the realization of nihilism is that problematic,though it would profoundly alter any previous philosophy one might have developed to that point.




The entry of Nihilism in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy begins with these words:

"Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history."

Nihilism, according to Nietzsche is something that (from his vantagepoint in the late 19th Century) will overtake western civilization in the future.

In this sense of a political and social prophesy Nihilism is similiar to Marxism in that they were both held up as the possibilities of what the future would become.

In order to understand the scope of the problem of the coming of Nihilism we must consider exactly what it is that Nietzsche sees that will be lost to humankind. In other words we must understand the importance of metaphysical and transcendent meanings in order to understand what the loss of those meanings would entail. For example, what does it mean that "God is dead"?

Because ironically, the deeper that we contemplate the death of our metaphysical principles, and the death of our spiritual ideals, then the closer we come to a Nihilistic state of utter distress and tempt our own psychological implosion. (The very existence of humanity could rest upon a lie.) Nietzsche is literally trying to force a recognition of new Gods upon humanity that will come into being by the will-power and estimations of his new type of philsopher.

We need to understand the necessary role in human life of: ideals, purposive metaphysics, and values. And we need to understand the historical revolutionary process that has led now to the death of traditional human meaning.

It is important to note that Nietzsche's alternative philosophy of perspectivism and his philosophy of power were essentially positive in nature. Nietzsche was a thinker who above all said "YES" to life. I might say that objectively speaking Nietzsche could be considered a Nihilist, but subjectively speaking he was ravishingly positive in that he 'justified' man's existence especially upon his (man's) ability to make values and to assert identities.

Historically, modern western civilization began with the philosophy of reason in the Englightenment and then began to 'degenerate' to a series of progressive revolutionary ideologies, some "right-wing", some "left-wing". Nietzsche was a "right-wing" revolutionary in the sense that he saw that what was coming was the end of all transcendent values and he wished to hasten the arrival of nihilism in order to construct his bare-knuckles "YES" saying philosophy of power.

Nietzsche wields the power of Nihilism in order to destroy all traditional human ideals, all existing human values and says that Nihilism basically is the destructive principle that, "if it does not kill you it will make you stronger". He uses the destructive power of Nihilism to bring down 'false idols'.

(But what's perhaps most interesting about Nietzsche is the fascinating ways that he goes about doing it. He is a warrior-artist, with a deep appreciation and understanding of the classical Greek mind, and to read him is to be intoxicated by the moving power of his art.)

Quote:
Pythagorean (me:)) wrote,

"Lewis is saying nothing more than human nature is intelligible via the human virtues which are related to god's meaning for us. Lewis is an exact opposite of Nietzsche who sees that human intelligibility lies within the forceful expressions of the will to power."

Boagie wrote,

I can not say I fully understand this critque,the human virtues which are related to god's meaning for us? I believe I understand the rest,lies within the innate nature of man,to discern the truth?


Boagie, you have a very find and subtle mind! (I'm not sure if I can reply as precise but it's certainly worth the try.)

When I say that, according to Lewis, "the human virtues are related to god's meaning for us" I guess I mean that human virtue is related to "justice" (which is the word Lewis used) just as the human individual is necessarily related to god and potentially understood by both.

They make an understandable or an intelligible match or fit, i.e. there thus obtains a complex teleology of man, which is or can be rendered intellectually.

--Pythagorean
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 09:15 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:

"In the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist -in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning." :confused:
- Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis---------------------:eek: !!


Meaning is a concept, dark is a quality. Apples and oranges.

It is a simple trancendental argument, where he is trying to argue that if we are to argue that there is no meaning, we must first preassume meaning, and therefore contradict ourselves.

EDIT: If light were to exist as a concept, we could identify that no light existed, while having a coherent concept of dark as the negation of that concept.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 09:49 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power,

Interesting point.

But answer me this: if the world had no meaning how did he formulate and make understandable to himself such a concept as his justice concept? Or how can you prove that the world has no meaning?

He is basically saying that he has found sense and meaning in the world, just as eyes find things that are lighted up. And that if the world had no inherent meaning then he wouldn't be able to understand himself on this point.

Conversely, if the world were totally dark he wouldn't have been given eyes, therefore the meaning of his eyes are a metaphor for the understanding...he finds sense and intelligibility in the world so he posits that such a world exists.

It seems that an atheist could disagree with his apprehension or the existence of his 'justice' concept, but his analogy or metaphor is valid at least.

There is, practically speaking, nothing wrong with negating the concept of justice or human virtue, or a human good, but the metaphor is elegant and valid in my humble opinion.

--Pythagorean
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 11:11 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Pythagorean,Mr Fight the power,

Great stuff guys,much food for thought.I am afraid though it is late and I have to be up early,I shall respond later-----really good stuff!!!
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 06:02 pm
@K-master,
CS Lewis did not find meaning, he deduced it.
 
boagie
 
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 06:51 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr Fight the power,Pythagorean

"In the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist -in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning." :confused:
- Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

Yes he deduced it, but not with much crediabilty.He first sets it up to infer that a component of reality is justice."He was forced to assume that one part of reality,namely his idea of justice,was full of sense."How indeed did he get there.It does not even do a good job of begging the question.On this, he bases that atheism is too simple---really.The analogy is cute though is it not."If there were no light thus no creatures with eyes,we should never know it was dark," Of course not, there is nothing without consciousness,"Dark would be a word without meaning."So, if there is no meaning,there would be no mind,and meaning would be a word without meaning---------say good night Gracey!!Very Happy
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 02:44 am
@boagie,
The essential feature of deduction is the necessary character of the connexion between the antecedent or premises and the consequent or conclusion. Granted the truth of the antecedent judgments, the consequent must follow; and the firmness of our assent to the latter is conditioned by that of our assent to the former. The antecedent contains the ground or reason which is the motive of our assent to the consequent; the latter, therefore, cannot have greater firmness or certainty than the former.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 04:03 am
@K-master,
Nothing says that our deductive powers are correct. To assume they are commits the is-ought fallacy.

We deduce what we must see, what ought to be, and assume that it is what is real, what is, without providing basis for the assumption.

This is the original basis for transcendental arguments for God in the first place, the attempt to base no God as an impossibility free of human deduction. Hence the failure of the argument.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 06:36 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power:

That's a solid argument Mr. Fight the Power! But you haven't refuted the transcendental argument for the existence of god. I must point out that according to the argument non-theistic reasoning itself leads to self-contradiction, not only from a theistic point of view, but from a non-theistic point of view as well.

In other words it's not necessarily the Christian God at stake in the transcendental argument, but also the very possibility of metaphysics, human knowledge or any human experience at all.

Also it seemed already crystal clear to me that Lewis is positing an "ought" with his "idea of justice".

You are the one who brought deduction into the framework, so you're essentially refuting your own argument. Lewis himself does not say that he deduced it but rather he announces that he was "forced" to "assume" his position:

Quote:

"In the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist -in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense."


This is not intended as a necessary connection per se (considering also that there may be no such thing as necessary connections) but an intellectually compelling one, and he presents it as such. Just because the world has a meaning, according to Lewis' reasoning, doesn't logically entail that "justice" is part of its meaning. His concept of justice is a personal intellectual affirmation, as he says "my" idea of justice.

He is up front about the ought component, essentially characterizing atheists as lacking in nerve.

It was Nietzsche who said that those who are strongest naturallly assert their own values. Maybe Lewis is calling atheists individual cowards because they lack the strength to assert their own values!? One could argue that such values will be imposed upon humanity eventually, one way or another; i.e. it may not be possible for humans to exist without spiritual ideals(?) It seems like an open question, no??


--Pythagorean
--------------------------------
"Man can be sovereign only because there is no cosmic support for his humanity. He can be sovereign only because he is forced to be sovereign." --Robertson
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 10:00 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean,Mr Fight the power,

It seems I have opened Pendora's box here with the introduction of this little analogy.It would seem to that,the conclusions arrived at are much in line with the individuals predispositions.I guess there really is no escaping that part of being human.

No one has taken me up on considering what nihilism lays bare,that the nature of all reality is in its relational genesis,could this be the saving factor of a nihilistic world?
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 11:42 am
@boagie,
Quote:
It would seem to that,the conclusions arrived at are much in line with the individuals predispositions.I guess there really is no escaping that part of being human.



Boagie, I am wondering...in what way would you characterize my predispositions?

Quote:
No one has taken me up on considering what nihilism lays bare,that the nature of all reality is in its relational genesis,could this be the saving factor of a nihilistic world?


Could you perhaps develop the idea of this relationalism?

Thank you
--pythagorean
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 12:13 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
Boagie, I am wondering...in what way would you characterize my predispositions?



Could you perhaps develop the idea of this relationalism?

Thank you
--pythagorean



Pythagorean,

No offense intended,it may be more a feeling on my part than an actuality but I think you resist going down the road of nihilism,and perhaps lean towards the religious.

Relationalism,sure,sure throw it back in my backyard! Actually I was being lazy and wishing for it to unfold of itself through discussion.I will give it some more thought,and see if I cannot present it here in a straight forward ---read simple---way.
 
 

 
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