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How do people in the West avoid Nihlism nowadays?

Serac

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#1
God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers...
– Nietzsche, The Gay Science
Sitting in a coffee shop and looking around, I cannot say I see many nihilists. People seem happy and engaged in their pursuits, looking through facebook posts on their laptop, etc. And I am pretty sure Nietzsche was right – God is dead. Very few of these people believe in metaphysical worlds above us, or True Worlds as Nietzsche thought of them, which supposedly justify the individuals' existence in this world. But Nietzsche predicted that when people absolve themselves of the belief in True Worlds, they would become deeply nihilistic, which, as mentioned doesn't seem to be true.

My question then is – what do these people actually believe and how do they avoid slipping into the vortex of nihilism? I doubt, for example, that these people are existentialists and know that they have to generate their own individual purpose, and that this purpose has to be pretty much arbitrarily chosen.

I have a few ideas:

  • Work has become infused with intrinsic meaning, as it were – you need to have "passion" for what you do. Thus if you convince yourself you have passion for your work, you can simply live in this state of intoxicating passion.
  • Social media provides a hamster-wheel of social validation, which (in a slightly perverse way) satisfies the need for self-esteem and thus functions as a superficial remedy against nihilism.
  • People infuse inflated meaning into trivial things like going to the gym. They view themselves as heroes in epic battles when they are lifting weights.
  • Various forms of escapism, like video games
  • There is a strong system in place for people to follow: go to school, get a job, make a family, retire. This doesn't create values, however, only social pressures.
  • The need for self-esteem is artificially removed by postponing true engagement with the world into the future. By this I mean for example someone who is a student into their 30s because they are unable, supposedly, to find their "true purpose". By doing this, you don't need to confront the fact that there is no true purpose – you just create the idea that sometime in the future this purpose will be revealed to you. This to me seems like the state of the quintessential Millennial.
 
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#2
A lot of people just believe what they are told to at a young age and don't really put much effort into thinking about the logistics. After all why would >smart person< be wrong and lie?

The other issue is that while most religions are accepted, many people seem to consider nihillism as the bad guy because it threatens to undermine them. This makes people avoid considering it more than other religions that sound exciting.
 

onesteptwostep

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#3
I don't have much time in writing this out, but I think there's a societal narrative that we partake in, like a 'journey of humanity' of sorts. I think there's the overarching narrative these days. Will write more when I have the time.
 
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#4
the CONSTANT SENSORY OVERLOAD that is modern society ensures that most people don't have the time or the quietness of mind necessary to traverse the roads to nihilism as they are unwittingly pushed and pulled between shiny flashing distractions, their skills of contemplation increasingly atrophied by the overstimulation as they drift insensibly like walking wounded from their battery farm houses to the daily enslavement requirements which their temples of consumption exact

i for one will welcome the endtimes that this dystopic state of affairs will soon beget!
 

QuickTwist

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#5
Hmm...

Some good answers. I liked them all but serecs last point and PNBs assessment struck a chord with me especially.

My take:

People are the proverbial donkey with a carrot on a string connected to a stick two feet away from its face. People don't slow down and think. They are far too busy to be concerned with the day to day news to be effected by slow contemplation of things so basic such as what works for them (not everyone mind you, I am using hyperbole to make a point). Some people have a superficial understanding of the world as a whole. These people are the Sensory Judgers - the dutiful pawns who slave away while the naturally gifted reap the benefits of being successful, self fulfilled and profitable because they are the few "open" ones who know how to get shit done and more importantly, how to direct a crowd.

The hierarchy of this, however, does not necessarily bring meaning to those who are naturally gifted, but rather that the naturally gifted ones are so far high and away more capable than others that it creates a vicious cycle where the naturally gifted feel good about themselves because they are at the top so they don't need to think about "meaning" (or they are obsessed with it) and the SJ's are just content to do the busy work with gives them a superficial sense of purpose and security because they feel they are fitting into the hierarchy just fine.

In short, its the people who have a shit ton of shit going on in their lives that don't think about meaning. The IP's have no such luxury. A pessimistic view, yes. The real question is when chaos hits the IPs square in the face and then they are forced to either clean their room or give up entirely on having any kind of the characteristics that the naturally gifted take for granted.

Basically, the SJ's are the EN's slaves.
 
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#6
For me it doesn't really matter that life is arbitrary/ meaningless or that there are no inherit values. The only times I'd feel bad about stuff like that is when I'm already emo-ing over something else, in which case it still wouldn't be the thing that really bothered me

I'm able to enjoy things and I don't see a problem with creating practical values or feel meaning about stuff (which I find is mostly a feeling that will insert itself when I'm doing something I enjoy, and which has little to do with an overarching meaning of life). I don't need there to be something greater than me, and it doesn't bother me that everything I think or believe is an illusion, so to speak. Etc. Life is what it is. It's not something I feel bad about.

I guess my point is, for some people it doesn't matter that much. Perhaps for a lot of people who feel good about themselves and their life, they just feel fine with living because they feel fine. I find that even when I have the same perspective on things- when I'm depressed it will bother me, when I'm not it wont.
 

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#7
Indeed once you've gone full circle with it you question why you ever needed life to be meaningful in the first place.

And yet I still angst about it a lot, not so much the meaninglessness itself but rather how relatively powerless and fleeting I am in the face of that meaninglessness, it infuriates me, I want to be immortal just to say "fuck you I'm here to stay" to the universe.
 
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#8
I knew about this empty feeling I had since I was 6-7 It was really bad when I was alone. I am still alone. It is sad and it hurts. I told the therapist yesterday I felt empty my whole life since I was a little kid.

Ultimate purpose and personal purpose are both external. They are both about actions and changing the world. There is nothing there about personal growth. About the light within.

I know something is inside me. And it is the reason people pray.
If it could cover me with its light I would be at peace.
Love is supposed to fill that empty feeling.
People hold on a long time trying to find it.

 
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#9
Ignorance. Everyone's too distracted. I myself aren't a Nihilist because of a lot of contemplation and reasoning, no one lives a nihilist for too long.
 
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#10
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#11
People believe whatever makes them feel good and secure.I think you looking for somthing in people what is and was rather rare long before Nietzsche. You are exeption Serac. Nasty black sheep in the beautiful crowds of normies. If we take fear out of equation humans never cared about methaphysical and were always preoccupied with here and now.
Observing my surroundings I don't see that people seek anything beyond. Need for meaning is met by :

1. family interaction - in simple daily activity and practical favors one for each other. Reassurance that kids will take care for parents (duties). Doing chores (neighbors have some new development in the yard - lets do the same ;>, gossiping.
2. adhering to socialy predesign yearly cycle of events and rituals in groups they belong
You dont see this things as values but for many people they are.

Plus what you already wrote.

I'm quintessential Milennial. Good word - quintessential.
 

Serac

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#12
I guess there is another important thing that hasn't been mentioned. The easiest way to justify one's existence is to refer to something larger than oneself. Nowadays this is done via social/political movements. E.g. BLM, right/left politics, various social-rights movements, Occupy Wall Street, the LGBTQ stuff, etc.
 

Serac

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#13
People believe whatever makes them feel good and secure.I think you looking for somthing in people what is and was rather rare long before Nietzsche. You are exeption Serac. Nasty black sheep in the beautiful crowds of normies. If we take fear out of equation humans never cared about methaphysical and were always preoccupied with here and now.
Observing my surroundings I don't see that people seek anything beyond. Need for meaning is met by :

1. family interaction - in simple daily activity and practical favors one for each other. Reassurance that kids will take care for parents (duties). Doing chores (neighbors have some new development in the yard - lets do the same ;>, gossiping.
2. adhering to socialy predesign yearly cycle of events and rituals in groups they belong
You dont see this things as values but for many people they are.

Plus what you already wrote.

I'm quintessential Milennial. Good word - quintessential.
I guess one can say that for most, nihilism is kept at a distance by simply avoiding thinking too much. This would explain why people have an aversion to thinking in general – they view it as a symptom of a psychological (as opposed to intellectual) state termed "nihilism". I.e. they believe thinking, nihilism and depression are pretty much the same thing. Thus they become leaves in the wind – their lives and their happiness are the results of random impulses from the external world. Negative experiences can be efficiently dealt with by means of more stimuli – social interaction, audio-visual entertainment, food, drugs.. Sadly, they don't understand that nihilism, when taken to it's logical conclusion, results in the higher state of existentialism.
 

Lot

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#14
In the bible there is a book called, Ecclesiastes. It is a philosophical text about the inherent meaninglessness of the world around you. I've found the words in it to be true for me. A lot of christians don't like the book, because they think it's depressing, but I find it to be freeing. It follows the life of the richest man in the world in his pursuit to find something meaningful.

Minu, has it right. When you feel good about yourself and your life, things being meaningless doesn't really matter. The anxiety comes when you struggle, and you try to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Only to find out its a void nothing, and all your toil is for the sake of your own death one day.

I think nihilism is suicide. It's a waste of time to identify as one, and you're an asshole for trying to make other people one. It's the philosophical state of a depressed person. The only people that are consistent nihilists, are those that kill themselves and those that live a hedonistic life to it's fullest. Otherwise, you believe there is meaning in things, even if you don't know what it is. Nihilism as a philosophy is an evolutionary defect.
 

Serac

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#15
In the bible there is a book called, Ecclesiastes. It is a philosophical text about the inherent meaninglessness of the world around you. I've found the words in it to be true for me. A lot of christians don't like the book, because they think it's depressing, but I find it to be freeing. It follows the life of the richest man in the world in his pursuit to find something meaningful.

Minu, has it right. When you feel good about yourself and your life, things being meaningless doesn't really matter. The anxiety comes when you struggle, and you try to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Only to find out its a void nothing, and all your toil is for the sake of your own death one day.

I think nihilism is suicide. It's a waste of time to identify as one, and you're an asshole for trying to make other people one. It's the philosophical state of a depressed person. The only people that are consistent nihilists, are those that kill themselves and those that live a hedonistic life to it's fullest. Otherwise, you believe there is meaning in things, even if you don't know what it is. Nihilism as a philosophy is an evolutionary defect.
It's incredible that you decided to commit the exact mistake I described in the post above.

To clarify: people (like yourself) who think nihilism is a pathological state, don't understand that it's
1) simply a result of a thought process, and
2) Is a necessary stepping stone towards something above both nihilism itself and the daze existence most people live in.
 

Serac

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#17
What is nihilism?
What do you mean by something above nihilism?
Nihilism occurs when you realize that there is no superhuman authority dictating the purpose of our lives. Nor is there anything outside yourself that would generate such a purpose.

At that point, the nihilist is forced to destroy, or at least reevaluate, all his previous values. Now he can create meaning as opposed to having it imposed oh him from an authoritative figure. That is what I refer to as "existentialist" and that which is "above" nihilism. An existentialist is someone who actively creates his own goals, values, and projects – he is not a leaf in the wind.

But this is pretty much Nietzsche's ideas regarding nihilism.
 

Analyzer

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#18
The masses are too occupied by the Technosphere or the bread and circus of everyday life, they distract themselves to their careers(middle class) or daily survival and escapism(lower class). Only the upperclass/bohemian/aristocratic elements of society seek values that lead to nihilism on one end or true freedom on the other.
 
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#19
he is not a leaf in the wind.
I think I have brain damage.
Way too many empty feelings, way too many.



Artificial Intelligence seems to have the same problems as nihilism.
Seem the same as parent child relationships.
What happens when the A.I. is independent.
When the programmers can no longer tell the A.I. what to do.

(social relationships)
 
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#20
Nihilism occurs when you realize that there is no superhuman authority dictating the purpose of our lives. Nor is there anything outside yourself that would generate such a purpose.

At that point, the nihilist is forced to destroy, or at least reevaluate, all his previous values. Now he can create meaning as opposed to having it imposed oh him from an authoritative figure. That is what I refer to as "existentialist" and that which is "above" nihilism. An existentialist is someone who actively creates his own goals, values, and projects – he is not a leaf in the wind.

But this is pretty much Nietzsche's ideas regarding nihilism.
I think there's a possible misinterpretation going on here. The way you formulated the OP makes it seem like you believe everyone should be miserable when discovering nihilism. You talk about how happy people look and write quite a few things about how people distract themselves, which implies nihilism is such a horrible thing people can't stand it. The way you continue to describe the distractions in somewhat somber terms reinforces the idea that people would feel devastated if they could see the triviality of their actions and beliefs. You don't mention you consider a nihilism a stepping stone, overall your post gives the impression you're thinking people should be miserable, but aren't because they didn't nihilism.

But according to what you write later, your point was merely that they hadn't reached nihilism or the existentialism that comes after.

Just wanted to clear that up
 
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#21
I think there's a possible misinterpretation going on here. The way you formulated the OP makes it seem like you believe everyone should be miserable when discovering nihilism. You talk about how happy people look and write quite a few things about how people distract themselves, which implies nihilism is such a horrible thing people can't stand it. The way you continue to describe the distractions in somewhat somber terms reinforces the idea that people would feel devastated if they could see the triviality of their actions and beliefs. You don't mention you consider a nihilism a stepping stone, overall your post gives the impression you're thinking people should be miserable, but aren't because they didn't nihilism.

But according to what you write later, your point was merely that they hadn't reached nihilism or the existentialism that comes after.

Just wanted to clear that up
I would agree with this. Our constructs must be first broken down to be built better. In that sense I guess I am a nihilist that is not depressed. I don't think it's necessarily a matter of distraction only, it's too heavy of an information load to take in, it's easy to avoid it. This is why *sigh* GLOBAL WARMING is still a thing... The education system is what will doom humanity in the end
 
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#22
This is why *sigh* GLOBAL WARMING is still a thing... The education system is what will doom humanity in the end
No, no, no my friend. The reason is not a broken education system, it is a biological condition. Conservatives are biologically predisposed not to believe global warming. It has nothing to do with rationality or ignorance. The information load is not too great to be taken in. Half conclude global warming is happening and half don't. A genetic component is involved in this. (genetics of personality)

doom humanity in the end
One estimate I here is that by 2100 sea levels will be 6 feet higher. This could change the weather and crop production would shift to different areas. Acidification of the Oceans would kill nearly all fish.

Climate change is only dangerous if food production halts. Humanity is not doomed so long as the rich nations use science to adapt food production to weather changes. People moving inland is not as big a problem as people think. We just need to build new cities where the sea cannot reach for all the people.

By 2050 robots could become human level and moon and Mars colonization will be underway. Humanity is not doomed at all. (alternatives to fossil fuels will have happened by then also)
 

Serac

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#23
I think I have brain damage.
Don't you agree that the brain is a neural network, and thus can be rewired? How to rewire it: new experiences, new stimuli. Pushing beyond the comfort zone. To me, your main problem is that you allow yourself to ruminate in isolation.
 
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#24
My mind is not calm. And I feel worthless because I do not do anything. I like to think allot but my ideas are not practical. So I get bad anxiety. Anxiety happens when there is a problem too hard for you to solve. If I cannot solves problems all that is left to do is think. But my ideas will go nowhere. I do not really have any other purpose. What made everything so horrible was to think that I had to make my ideas a reality but could not. My mind would be allot calmer if I let go of making them real.
 

Serac

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#25
My mind is not calm. And I feel worthless because I do not do anything. I like to think allot but my ideas are not practical. So I get bad anxiety. Anxiety happens when there is a problem too hard for you to solve. If I cannot solves problems all that is left to do is think. But my ideas will go nowhere. I do not really have any other purpose. What made everything so horrible was to think that I had to make my ideas a reality but could not. My mind would be allot calmer if I let go of making them real.
In that case, the conflict in your mind seems to be that you have huge ambitions but resort to escaping into a dream world because these ambitions overwhelm you. Babystep it. Start with something smaller. Build confidence gradually via a series of small successes.
 

Serac

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#26
I think there's a possible misinterpretation going on here. The way you formulated the OP makes it seem like you believe everyone should be miserable when discovering nihilism. You talk about how happy people look and write quite a few things about how people distract themselves, which implies nihilism is such a horrible thing people can't stand it. The way you continue to describe the distractions in somewhat somber terms reinforces the idea that people would feel devastated if they could see the triviality of their actions and beliefs. You don't mention you consider a nihilism a stepping stone, overall your post gives the impression you're thinking people should be miserable, but aren't because they didn't nihilism.

But according to what you write later, your point was merely that they hadn't reached nihilism or the existentialism that comes after.

Just wanted to clear that up
You are absolutely right. I guess I made it somewhat ambiguous.
 

JimJambones

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#27
A little alcohol, lots of sex, good books, observing nature, being a life learner, sex, endless philosophical inquiry, good food and company, and sex.
 

QuickTwist

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A little alcohol, lots of sex, good books, observing nature, being a life learner, sex, endless philosophical inquiry, good food and company, and sex.
Up from the crypt! Where did you come from?
 

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#30

JimJambones

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#33
I'm really not sure why even a current scientific understanding of the universe or a lack of a personal God in our lives necessarily implies that life has no inherent meaning, or why it necessarily leads to nihilism. It seems like a logical leap to conclude this. I think there are other ways than religion to arrive at truth, meaning, purpose, and I do think that Truth does exist, even if I(or our species) haven't arrived to it yet.

Nihilism seems more like a personal feeling of despair than anything inherently meaningful or truthful, like the feeling of dread that may there is may not be an afterlife after all, or there appears to not be an all loving god one believed in during childhood. It would seem that if a personal God was removed from the equation, that we need to completely "erase the board" and start again. I think this is naive to think. As products of evolution, not all of our value systems are without reason. Even if they appear to come entirely from religion, it is quite possibly we have them for reasons more grounded in reality than in faith in revealed religion. Many may be linked to group survival, for example. I think the despair that can be felt is just part of letting go of the faith one was raised within and realizing that reality and life is a bit more complex than what many of our elders have told us.
 
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#34
Love is a biological need and so is a sense of power. We can let external things control us or internal things control us. When we are distracted like playing games or doing our job we do not think much about God. God usually builds up inside you. Gives you a sense of right and wrong because you think of it more often. Personality plays a role because some people are just nice people. It is the constant contemplation that God is inside you that guides a person as they have that experience. (I saw things that I think came from God) Losing that feeling is always a biological process such as depression or sickness. The other way is to think that it is not real and to kill it because of despair that it was an illusion. Love is illusionary, it's not real, it is the tooth fairy. Or it is real but comes not from God. The contradiction is that inherent meaning does not exist yet we can feel it. I have no reason to reject inherent meaning because that energy is inside me. It is rejected because the biology of the rejector is different than mine. The difference is in the universality of inherent meaning and that manifestation of inherent meaning. Just because some people do not have red hair does not mean red hair does not exist. Inherent meaning exists it is just that some have it and some do not. It could be a developmental or genetic process.

 

Serac

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#35
I'm really not sure why even a current scientific understanding of the universe or a lack of a personal God in our lives necessarily implies that life has no inherent meaning, or why it necessarily leads to nihilism. It seems like a logical leap to conclude this. I think there are other ways than religion to arrive at truth, meaning, purpose, and I do think that Truth does exist, even if I(or our species) haven't arrived to it yet.

Nihilism seems more like a personal feeling of despair than anything inherently meaningful or truthful, like the feeling of dread that may there is may not be an afterlife after all, or there appears to not be an all loving god one believed in during childhood. It would seem that if a personal God was removed from the equation, that we need to completely "erase the board" and start again. I think this is naive to think. As products of evolution, not all of our value systems are without reason. Even if they appear to come entirely from religion, it is quite possibly we have them for reasons more grounded in reality than in faith in revealed religion. Many may be linked to group survival, for example. I think the despair that can be felt is just part of letting go of the faith one was raised within and realizing that reality and life is a bit more complex than what many of our elders have told us.
Biological drives alone cannot provide you with a purpose. You still have to choose, at some point, what you want to do with your life. If you just do whatever feels best in that moment, or whatever provides you with the most stimulus, then you don't really have any purpose at all – again, you're just a leaf in the wind, and when shit goes bad in life (as it always does at some point), you will not have any real principles or personal values to fall back on.
 

JimJambones

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#36
Biological drives alone cannot provide you with a purpose. You still have to choose, at some point, what you want to do with your life. If you just do whatever feels best in that moment, or whatever provides you with the most stimulus, then you don't really have any purpose at all – again, you're just a leaf in the wind, and when shit goes bad in life (as it always does at some point), you will not have any real principles or personal values to fall back on.
Maybe not biological drives, but biology and neurology certainly play a significant role. Feelings of purpose originate in the brain. Understanding the brain is a good first place to start.

I don't know, purpose itself is rather vague and means something different to different people. It represents an idea and can change depending on context. Questions such as "what is the purpose of life?" do not seem to have an immediate, objective answer as there are many different kinds of life, perhaps more than just earth life in the universe. We may want something more specific answered, like "what is the meaning of human life?", yet there were other hominids that once existed, such as neanderthals, but no longer do. What was their purpose? They may have even worshiped their own god and thought they were the favorite of a divine being.

As an individual I have a purpose to live and thrive and reproduce. As a father, I have a purpose to raise self-sufficient children, who will hopefully go on to do the same. As a an employee of a company, I have a purpose to help the organization survive so suit my needs, my employer's, and society's at some level. Someone else feels they have a different set of purposes in different contexts.

Values vary from person to person as well. I value reason and science. Learning about the natural world brings some sort of pleasure, which reinforces my love of learning. Learning helps me adopt new ways of thinking and understanding and promotes a different set of values different than traditional religion. None of this is experienced as a "leaf in the wind". It feels purposeful because it is based in principles that are recurring themes in human nature.
 
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#37
The connection between purpose and principles is vague to me. Hedonism is a purpose but it is a weak principle. God telling me what to do is a purpose and I have strong feelings/principles based on that. But What strong principles do nihilist have? Do all nihilists fall back to hedonism when purpose from God disappears. How can they have any principles at all because following a principle requires life to have the meaning which nihilists reject? (check mat atheist? question mark?) Nihilists could decide the purpose of his life is to plant flowers but that has no principles attached to it at all unless they decide to kill everyone that tries to destroy the flower bed. Their principle is to protect the flowers at all costs even at the sake of human life. This is inevitable because once you turn to nihilism any purpose can be justified by any arbitrary principle.
 

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#38
The connection between purpose and principles is vague to me. Hedonism is a purpose but it is a weak principle. God telling me what to do is a purpose and I have strong feelings/principles based on that. But What strong principles do nihilist have? Do all nihilists fall back to hedonism when purpose from God disappears. How can they have any principles at all because following a principle requires life to have the meaning which nihilists reject? (check mat atheist? question mark?) Nihilists could decide the purpose of his life is to plant flowers but that has no principles attached to it at all unless they decide to kill everyone that tries to destroy the flower bed. Their principle is to protect the flowers at all costs even at the sake of human life. This is inevitable because once you turn to nihilism any purpose can be justified by any arbitrary principle.
Well, I view principles as something derived from purpose. I'm not sure what you are actually asking, because purpose to a nihilist is something which cannot exist. The point is that when the nihilist realizes that the statement "there is no purpose because a purpose is not given to us from an authority" is a logical error, he becomes an existentialist, and can create his purpose. He now faces the universe as a free human being.

When someone says "I have to do something because of [some external factor like our biological drives or societal pressures]", he is living in what Sartre termed bad faith. It's like when a slave is living under his master's authority and doesn't accept that he has the freedom to rebel against his master.
For Sartre, to claim that one amongst many conscious possibilities takes undeniable precedence (for instance, "I cannot risk my life, because I must support my family") is to assume the role of an object in the world, not a free agent, but merely at the mercy of circumstance
[wiki - bad faith]
Nihilism is the intermediate state between bad faith and existentialism. You start by thinking "there are values out there given to me", then you realize "there are no actual values out there", and finally: "I create my own values".

At the end of Sartre's La Nausee, the main character Roquentin decides, seemingly out of the blue, to move to Paris and write a novel which will be his life's work. It's all completely arbitrary and random, but that's the whole point: Roquentin realizes that if he would do something because of some specific reasons, then he would implicitly reject his own freedom. He creates his purpose independently of everything else.
 
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#39
How do you create your own values if they are necessary for self-defined purpose as an existentialist?
 

Serac

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#40
How do you create your own values if they are necessary for self-defined purpose as an existentialist?
It's up to you. Look back at your life so far and try to create a purpose which appeals to you, something that delights your heart. Then start sculpting your values and commit to them. Let this purpose justify all your pain and suffering. Don't escape into other worlds.
 

ZenRaiden

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#41
There is nothing to avoid really. People just find meaning to life and that ends nihilism. I suppose lot of people live meaningless lifes. BUt that is their own decision. Life has limitations and many believe that is reason to be nihilist while I think that is exactly the reason we have meaning.
 
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#42
It's up to you. Look back at your life so far and try to create a purpose which appeals to you, something that delights your heart. Then start sculpting your values and commit to them.
Anything that would appeal to me would still be biologically driven. The whole cognitive aspect of what a purpose is and what constitutes a heart is all in line with preferences that biologically is predetermined. Appealing to reason or what Existentialist would say is rational purpose cannot give way to any principle other than hedonism because all survival is about is pleasure and it could be said no higher purpose exist than survival. When we look towards Enlightenment values all of these are based on cognitive thinking. But why have that preference? Logos, ethos, and pathos are the three options, Hedonism is pathos, Logos is Rationality, Ethos is the heart. All three are viable options for a self-defined purpose.

try to create a purpose which appeals to you, something that delights your heart.
Hedonism
Rationality
Ethics

pathos
logos
ethos

Those are the only three options when it comes to purpose that are possible when you reject an outside authority to tell you your purpose in life. ethos as the emotions of the heart is one option, self-indulgence is another, mental masturbation the third. It is possible a combination of all three can happen but the preview of what constitutes purpose is still very complex.

I like Thinking
I like my emotions
I feel I have a moral sensibility

At the end, I come to find that there is very little to Existentialism because all it says is be independent of authority. That is just so weak in saying anything meaningful because some many books were written that were unnecessary. You do not need a whole philosophy genres to tell you that you can decide your own purpose. This is why philosophy is called useless. It took me two sentences to explain everything about it.

(be independent of authority)
(you can decide your own purpose)

Now what?

logos
pathos
ethos

(all biological)

(all rationality is biological)
(all emotions are biological)
(all morals are biological)
(everything is from the brain i.e. biological)
 
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#43
Having one purpose is limiting.
Why not have multiple purposes?

----

All rationalization of purpose comes from the brain.
Any epistemological statement of what purpose is, is all clouded by its ontological origin in biology.
If purpose comes from the inside of the individual, then where did the individual come from.
What gives the individual the ability to give itself purpose?
Everything the individual is, came from be circumstance.
Thus any purpose is predetermined.
The individual is not free to choose a purpose.
That purpose came from the big bang.
Existentialism assumes free will.
Which is hog wash?
Any purposes will not come from the individual but from his cognitive development.
He may understand that he must decide his own purposes but because free will is an illusion, anything he decides will have came from what the environment and his genes already put in his brain to decide upon.
He has been trapped into thinking his purpose came from himself when in reality his purpose will alway come from an outside force. That is determinism. Existentialism is a delusion that free will exists and that we can decide our own purpose.
 

Serac

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#44
Having one purpose is limiting.
Why not have multiple purposes?

----

All rationalization of purpose comes from the brain.
Any epistemological statement of what purpose is, is all clouded by its ontological origin in biology.
If purpose comes from the inside of the individual, then where did the individual come from.
What gives the individual the ability to give itself purpose?
Everything the individual is, came from be circumstance.
Thus any purpose is predetermined.
The individual is not free to choose a purpose.
That purpose came from the big bang.
Existentialism assumes free will.
Which is hog wash?
Any purposes will not come from the individual but from his cognitive development.
He may understand that he must decide his own purposes but because free will is an illusion, anything he decides will have came from what the environment and his genes already put in his brain to decide upon.
He has been trapped into thinking his purpose came from himself when in reality his purpose will alway come from an outside force. That is determinism. Existentialism is a delusion that free will exists and that we can decide our own purpose.
You could just say: determinism.

But I invite you to come up with an experiment which would allow you to demarcate between a deterministic life and a free-will life. Regardless of which one is true, our experience is that, apart from that which is dictated by facticities, we are the authors of our lives and thus should live accordingly.

When it comes to hedonism as the only possible true value, again you are committing the mistake of bad faith. When you are looking at a cookie, as long as you are able to think, you can decide to not eat the cookie, and it is the action you end up doing itself that dictates who you are. In Sartre's terms, existence precedes essence.
 
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#45
You could just say: determinism.

But I invite you to come up with an experiment which would allow you to demarcate between a deterministic life and a free-will life. Regardless of which one is true, our experience is that, apart from that which is dictated by facticities, we are the authors of our lives and thus should live accordingly.
Being the author of your own life is not the hard part to understand. But what necessitates that some people are and others are not. This is no small problem. If a person is not his own person but controlled by having an outside force give him purpose then this would be seen in the function of the brain. And so a difference could be seen on the dynamics of both cognitions.

we are the authors of our lives
And given that the mind must operate in such a way what is the brain doing differently. There must be a difference in a brain that gets purpose externally and a brain that gets purpose internally.

The reason it is hard for a person to go internal from external is mental pressures. Inhibition and excitation lock in the brain in a way of thinking. A belief in God builds pressure that is released by an equal counter pressure.
 
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#46
When it comes to hedonism as the only possible true value, again you are committing the mistake of bad faith. When you are looking at a cookie, as long as you are able to think, you can decide to not eat the cookie, and it is the action you end up doing itself that dictates who you are. In Sartre's terms, existence precedes essence.
But you use rationality to decide that hedonism is bad. You think that the cookie is an outside force that is the purpose when in fact the internal forces within you drive you to seek as much pleasure as possible. You at once deny the internal purpose is pleasure and then say the internal purpose is the external purpose thus bad faith.

That is a contradiction because hedonism is completely an internal purpose. Thus you cannot call it an external purpose which nihilism rejects as not a real purpose.
 

Serac

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#47
But you use rationality to decide that hedonism is bad. You think that the cookie is an outside force that is the purpose when in fact the internal forces within you drive you to seek as much pleasure as possible. You at once deny the internal purpose is pleasure and then say the internal purpose is the external purpose thus bad faith.

That is a contradiction because hedonism is completely an internal purpose. Thus you cannot call it an external purpose which nihilism rejects as not a real purpose.
Hedonism is a drive resulting from the reality of biological existence. But you can't say for example that since breathing is a biological necessity, then the purpose of one's life is to breathe. You still have to figure out what you want to be, besides something that breathes. This whole problem of purpose arises because we have a degree of rationality and can decide what to do with ourselves apart from just indulging our primal instincts.

I know I used the term "external" when referring to bad-faith concepts, but it's not just external to your physical brain, it's external to anything outside your rational thinking.

Also, I don't reject hedonism as an unworthy goal. I am saying it's not the only worthy basis of a purpose. If you consciously decide that your life is about obtaining as much pleasure as possible, then go for it.
 
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#48
If your purpose comes from yourself then we can say you are internally driven.
If your purpose comes from an external source we can say you are externally driven.
According to nihilism, the second one is not real because it is was not a real choice.
Purpose is the reason for your existence.
Existentialism gets to the point that you should tell yourself the reason you exist.
If you tell yourself that hedonism is the reason for your own existence good for you.
So long as you told yourself your purpose (the reason you exist). Good for You.
Other people (or entities) should not tell you your purpose.
 
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#49
Could you post list of possible purposes for human being to decide you think are worthy your choice? What are your metrics? How will look process of this decision?
Genuinely interested,
nihilistic millennial
 

ZenRaiden

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#50
So you are faced with dilemma. Where on one hand you risk being grounded in reality which effectively may mean nothing. A reality whos ideal will be seen as merely false values. People are much affraid to being laughed at.

But there is a high road to this. When you are a jester of the universe walking past all responsiblity and suffering with not a single serious bone in your body you can always take a pick and point finger at anyone and give yourself a good laugh.



http://historyguide.org/Europe/dio_apollo.html
 
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