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More on nihilism.

More on nihilism.
April 20, 2014, 06:48:26 PM
Nihilists claim there is no meaning in anything.
Perhaps that is why they so often fail to understand what I write.
They assume it has no meaning.
In spite of the fact it does.

Why would a nihilist write anything?
Whatever it is they write, it would have no meaning.
If communication is not their goal, why write at all?

Do nihilists assign any meaning they choose, to what they read?
Do they have no meaning to convey, when they write?

Who can explain this to me?

Re: More on nihilism.
April 20, 2014, 08:51:28 PM
I can, if you're willing to you're willing to consider the response carefully.

(First off, who cares? Nihilism is, in my opinion, a mistake. It's a nice idea in theory, but fails to take into account human psychology and the need for 'illusions'. Sure, go through a period of 'freedom' in order to 'choose' your battles, but this, like like Sartre's existentialism, assumes that after you violently dislocate motivation from its point of contact with 'reality' (i.e. after you go through the process of nihilism, or 'cleansing the doors of perception' to see the Void) motivation just doesn't wither and die. In other words, if you dwell on the fact of the matter than objective meaning is an illusion, it might be quite difficult to ever give a shit about anything ever again. For, how can you simply forget the fact that objective meaning is an illusion after you have realised this? That would require a process of 'getting dumber' again after you have 'gotten smarter'. Also, some people who i've spoken to around here seem to think that after you learn the facts that deconstruct objective meaning, you will suddenly be able to see that certain values are somehow objective (authoritarianism, paganism, perennialisn, deep ecology, or whatever), while other values are somehow not (liberalism, christianity, humanism). If nihilism is true, no values are binding whatsoever. Certain values may preserve the natural world better than others, for instance, but so what? It is a further leap from this to the conclusion that you SHOULD follow them.)

To the question. There are two meanings of the word 'meaning'. On the first, 'meaning', is just the way in which a language represents/refers to the things it does. The meaning of 'cat' is the cat over there. The meaning of 'happiness' is a certain mood grounded by certain neurological processes. The cat being happy means the cat over there is in a neurological state. Obviously even a nihilist accepts this sort of meaning. His words still refer to things due to being involved in a language community which has conventions regarding what words refer to/represent/mean. 'Cat' in my language convention that i share with other speakers of English means a certain mammal with four legs that has been bred from other mammals over a long period of time to chase mice and balls of string and shit on your carpet while only being concerned with your existence when it is time for dinner. 'Cat' (i.e. the set of symbols c-a-t) in the language convention that speakers of French share means nothing - it picks out or refers to no object in reality (I know not what set of symbols in French picks out the appropriate mammal).

On the second meaning of 'meaning', meaning means(!) purpose. Then what does purpose mean? Purpose means some prior intention informing an activity. You moving your arm to pick up the beer is an activity informed by a prior intention (your intention in drinking the beer). A nihilist uses the conventions of his language ('meaning' in the first sense) to convey the idea that there is no purpose informing his activities other than his own wishes and desires. Similarly, he uses language to convey the idea that there is no purpose informing the activities of the universe because those activities are not caused by an agent, and only activities that are caused by agents can have purpose.

Re: More on nihilism.
April 20, 2014, 09:05:29 PM
Thank you. A bit intellectual for me, but I'll work at it.
Do you feel the universe operates without purpose?
That it is completely random?

Re: More on nihilism.
April 20, 2014, 09:12:14 PM
Thank you. A bit intellectual for me, but I'll work at it.


Do you feel the universe operates without purpose?
That it is completely random?

Do I feel this? No. Do I think this is the case? Maybe.

There are two levels of cognition operating here. Intuition and rational reflection.

I know why I may feel (i.e. intuitively) that the universe operates without purpose, because i've done a lot of evolutionary psychology, and I know i'm 'hard-wired' to process things, on an intuitive level, in terms of agency and intentionality and purpose (because, in our evolutionary history, most of the patterns and structures we were confronted with WERE put in place by agents - traps, marks in the sand, artefacts, etc).

But I don't believe the universe acts 'randomly'. I think there are patterns, and that there is structure. Whether these patterns and this structure is at root informed by intentionality is another question - one which I don't think about much these days. These patterns and the order and structure manifesting them are interesting, aesthetically beautiful and compelling to me whether or not they were initially caused by some process animated by a prior purpose.

Re: More on nihilism.
April 20, 2014, 09:38:42 PM
On my journey outwards, into the universe, I encountered only calm, peace, grandeur and order.
I came to be part of it, in all its timeless vastness. It accepted me, without hesitation.
I lingered for millennia, and nothing threatened or warned. I was it and it was me.
I assume that was God, and I was included in it.
Whatever it was, it really needs no name.

No earthly experience references any of that.
I feel at a loss, among what seems to be madness, in a world of people.

But you see, I know my true nature.
The nature of others is mystery beyond mystery.

Re: More on nihilism.
April 22, 2014, 07:22:56 AM
Nihilists claim there is no meaning in anything.

There are two types of people claiming to be nihilists.

The first are leftist-anarchists of the Counter-Order.com variety. These are leftist anarchists of the usual type.

The second are people like myself. We modify your quote to be:

Nihilists claim there is no inherent meaning in anything.

If people choose to live or die, it means nothing to the cosmos.

There is no inherent meaning in survival.

There is however an opportunity.

This serves as a type of filter. Those who think by consequence and not ego- or social-based moralizing will see this opportunity and choose it.

They will survive, and those who have their heads up their asses (via radical individualism and its social counterpart, Crowdism) will die out.

Natural selection. Heil nature!

Re: More on nihilism.
April 22, 2014, 09:12:26 AM
Nature doesn't bestow anything but nature. This is crap and circular phrasing, but I can't think of a better way to put it- Nature is not an entity separate from anything, it's the whole game, in and of itself. The only reason it 'exists' is because we can identify it. While we can certainly say things 'about' nature all the same, we ultimately cannot abstract ourselves from it nearly enough. This is why I like concepts such as Jung's Collective Unconscious. Sure, it doesn't REALLY get to the root, but the theory recognizes that it is there.

Though, perhaps, merely 'identifying' that it exists is not enough. Nietzsche immolated folks such as Schleiermacher and his cotton candy pantheistic entity (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/schleiermacher/)- though the intuition of such a God was probably grounded in the same bottom line existent.

Perhaps the best we can do with regards to the 'essence' of nature is identify that it is main feature is consequence- this single notion doing more than all the syllogisms and a priori synthetic judgments we've ever postulated. Perhaps the best way to do this is just to live, ultimately.

Whatever, just my two cents. Also, DMBM, would you say that the former type of nihilist leads to confused doctrines, as it is intrinsically contradictory? That is, people who embrace it often unknowingly void the concept of nihilism (as they define it too) they claim to support?

Re: More on nihilism.
April 22, 2014, 10:31:08 AM
In a moment of clarity, I realized this:
People mostly read what I write as if that is what I think.
They are wrong. What I write is what I am.

What use is it to write what you think of what you think somebody thinks?
Being able to differentiate between some random fantasy that happens between somebody's ears, and what life has led them to communicate, is probably a very useful thing indeed.

Humility is the most important quality a man may acquire. It does not result from thinking.
It only comes from being what one becomes, through the hands-on living of life.

Re: More on nihilism.
April 22, 2014, 11:34:38 AM
The only reason it 'exists' is because we can identify it.

True. Or rather: it exists, but the only reason we see it as an 'it' is that we separate ourselves from it. However, to some degree, we must, as we are independent actors and must affirm that role or our denial of it will lead us to neglect making choices about what we do.

Also, DMBM, would you say that the former type of nihilist leads to confused doctrines, as it is intrinsically contradictory?

Absolutely. They negate nihilism by preaching a moralistic ideology derived from a sense of communal obligation to the individual. No nihilist actually feels that.

However, they won't see it this way, because nihilism is their cover story and their underlying agenda is fairly bog-standard albeit slightly extremist leftism, itself a subset of Crowdism in this context.