In my books with Jan Söderqvist, I have even differentiated between THREE forms of nihilism post-Nietzsche: Naive niihlism (I am not consciously aware that I no longer believe in objective truth), cynical nihilism (I am aware that I no longer believe in objective truth but I still BEHAVE as if I did) and affirmative nihilism (I have overcome the mere idea of objective truth and endear myself to subjective including inter-subjectice truths instead).
Zarathushtra is of course already at Step 3 since he never had to deal with Abrahamic faiths and go through the first two. ;-)
2011/7/26 Special Kain
Dear Alexander and Hampus
There are different nihilisms out there.
When speaking of Nietzsche's philosophical inquiries, we have to recall that Nietzsche was a huge fan of Russian literature. There was a literary nihilism in the 19th century (Turgenjev, Dostojevskij) of which Nietzsche was perfectly aware and which strongly influenced his take on nihilism.
For example, Nietzsche differentiates between passive nihilism ("Everything has been in vain!" - "Our Christian interpretations have failed us, so no interpretation could ever be valid!") and active nihilism (those strong characters who nolonger need such crutches as god, governments, etc.).
Also, pragmatists were sociologically smart enough to see that there are not only subjective values, but also inter-subjective values that we share with our social surroundings and had already existed long before we were born. What is so fascinating about pragmatists and their influence on modern social sciences is that they studied how such intersubjective values are being co-created in social situations. So they - like Nietzsche - were scientifically and philosophically concerned with the CONDITIONS OF VALUE PRODUCTION in modern societies where god nolonger has anything to say.
--- Alexander Bard
Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Pantheism as the thinking man's atheism
Datum: Dienstag, 26. Juli, 2011 22:25 Uhr
The term "nihilism" is HISTORICALLY linked to the adieu of Christianity in Western thought. What Nietzsche referred to as "The Death of God". Nihilism means "world without meaning". However, there is already with Nietzsche and with the other Pragmatists then a MOVEMENT away from outright nihilism to SUBJECTIVE values which they all celebrate, Nietzsche especially in "Also Sprach Zarathustra". So nihilism is OVERCOME by the very thinkers who created it in the first place. Or to use Hegel against nihilism: To state that there is and can be no value is IN ITSELF the establishment of a value. As Dino would say: It is impossible to LIVE and to THIK without any values whatsoever. Already the newborn child sets prioritities. Zarathushtra's point is that we should understand that these values become our actions which then become our histories and thereby become WHO WE ARE. I would even add that atheism needs to be overcome in the same way. Atheism is an impossible position. The way out is pantheism, which is just another term for taking a religious or post-religious position in regards to the something that exists rather than nothing (religious monism). Pantheism is consequently the thinking man's atheism.
2011/7/26 hampus lindblad
Dear Alex and Dino,
Thank you for your thoughts!
Dino, what's your definition of being a full-time nihilist? I'm probably using the terms sloppily too, but I'll try to improve my accuracy as we go along. And what's the significant difference between existential nihilism and existentialism in your view?
Now I'm just going to try taking a mental dump right here, hoping it won't stink so much as to make it unbearable for all you innocent bystanders.
Maybe I should have written fatalism instead of determinism. Or would that just bring in more confusion? But I think nihilism gives us the freedom to genuinely "create". It sort of sets the stage (by not setting it).
Then enters consciousness, eventually followed by self-consciousness, beginning to stare into the abyss. And suddenly that strange loop that we have woken up into. Now we can't create independent meaning for the same reason that there can be no independent matter, all is process, so what we are left with is "taste" for lack of a better word. Ethics is a form of taste. Decoration, both of the interior and the exterior. So we obviously don't have power over what physically happens to us, but through thought it is at least possible to achieve the power to shape what those events and experiences MEAN TO US. What mirrors back. And that is enough to turn everything on it's head. And maybe even trigger similar thought patterns in others happening to be in our vicinity. From microcosm to macrocosm. Like meme propagation. Basically I think that if we focus on the awareness of the strange loop, within the moment, then we create for ourselves at least some degree of movement in regards to surfing the causal wave of process. Or maybe I'm just full of it? :)