Due to mother nature and my completely hectic schedule, I was unable to attend any of the deliberations. I was looking forward to some of them so I am incredibly upset that I couldn’t attend for one reason or another. So to make up for it, I will discuss the main topic of my last blog: philosophy.
Nihilism is one of my favorite philosophical ideas. It has been around for a long time, and like many philosophical ideas, is wonderfully thought out. It is both often applied when philosophers discuss the meaning of life/the question of what humans need to fulfill to live a “successful” life. In many of the online forums that I’ve been apart of, it is one of the most heavily discussed topics.
You’ve probably met a nihilist at some point in your life, you just didn’t know it. That “the world has no meaning,” pessimistic individual that you are familiar with is a nihilist. The nihilistic belief is that accepting nothingness can result in realizing what is of actual value and uphold it, bypassing denial and illusion. Nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless–or extreme skepticism that anything in this entire world has any real existence. This is different than solipsism (the belief that one’s conscious is the only that actually exist) because this acknowledges other people’s existence. It just doesn’t think it matters.
To make it easier, it rejects belief, faith, wishful thinking, ideology, morality and socialization as being a a form of reality. They believe that these are human projections. They hold the idea that all potential actions are choices we can make. However, nihilists are not relativists. They do not say all choices are equal, because equality is also a human projection. All choices are simply whatever their results are, because intentions that exist only within the human mind are not important
Nihilists have an interesting view on intentions. Some believe this view creates a free reign type society. This, of course, is untrue. They believe that the statement “Nothing matters, so do whatever you want” is broken, because nihilism avoid using the yes/no question of matters, since even having something matter at all is a choice. Nihilism also avoids the “do whatever you want” because to advise that is to give it a value. The only statement nihilism makes is that nothing is real except reality. Human projections are irrelevant because they are unrelated to outcomes.
Nihilists take an interesting opinion on morals. Morality would give some sort of meaning to anything but reality. By that, I mean they don’t have morals. No, I don’t mean that by saying they’re just going to kill this person or steal from that person. Instead of using morals, they consider the consequences of the action that they are about to do. Take stealing for example. Instead of thinking “stealing is bad” they think “If I steal this, the person is going to have to work many more hours to replace it, and I will only be seeing a small amount of the real value. Plus, if I steal this, other people will follow my lead.” While they are technically moral-less, they still consider what will happen before they act on it.
Now it’s time to introduce you to the most famous nihilistic individual in pop culture: The Joker. In a scene in “The Dark Knight,” he burns money and says “crime is not about money, it’s about sending a message: everything burns”. That right there is a nihilistic point of view. He is taking all value away from money, and signifies and everything, literally or metaphorically, burns. Throughout the movie, he had a mission. He sought to disrupt civilized society’s sense of “illusory superiority” and to humble it by bringing it back down to its savage roots, basically something a clinically insane nihilist would do. In order to do that, he plants bombs on ferries, murders government officials, attempts to corrupt Batman among other things.
It seemed all of it just randomly happened, but there is a method behind his madness. The Joker only gets credit for being “an agent of chaos,” but that’s not true. Corrupting the city (that great symbol of civilization) by bringing it down to a primal state, devoid of any meaning or rules, is what the Joker is after. His perceived non-plan is the work of a mastermind nihilist. It is anything but chaotic or meaningless. It is logical, clear, and has definite purpose. It just so happens to employ an element of randomness. The end result is that the Joker personifies a philosophical argument taken to its extreme, supporting his nihilistic plan with the chaos that results from his actions.
As a philosophy, nihilism recognizes that rejection of all values negates itself because it is in itself a value. Instead, nihilism views all values as choices. When these values are based on aspects of reality, they are nihilistic, but the creation of values like morality is dangerous because it removes people from thinking about reality. Instead, it has people thinking about the words, symbols and relationships that comprise those values. A nihilist would suggest that the healthiest human system is one where we look at consequences alone.