1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Nietzsche's Nihilism (Warning - Takes alot of thinking, deeply philosophical)

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by hellwithhugewounds, Dec 28, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. hellwithhugewounds

    hellwithhugewounds Well-Known Member

    If you live your life using rational logic, believe in the value "be truthful", and believe in the value "be good", and try to follow these 3 things in your life, you should read this.

    Nietzsche is a philosopher who discovered the fundamental flaw with rational thought and a value system. I'm sure many of you have heard about this. The value system contradicts itself. He said that the 2 teachings of value systems are “be truthful” and “be good”. However, these contradict each other because being good ultimately does not serve any rational purpose. By rational, I mean consistent with logic and reason. All the reasons in being good: getting ahead in life, not hurting others, are not consistent with logic. In trying to justify being good using logic, one would come upon this kind of reasoning.

    "Why be good? So I won't hurt people. Why is hurting people bad? Because I don't want them to get hurt. Why don't you want them to get hurt? Because they're important to me/because I'll feel bad/ because I just don't."

    You can see that in this line of reasoning, the justification for being good is ultimately irrational. There is no true cold logic behind the emotion of guilt, or the bond we feel to others. You cannot explain these feelings rationally. Thus, in trying to find a purpose for being good using logic, we come to an illogical answer.

    Thus, being good is not logically justified, so in order to be truthful, you must not be good. This contradicts itself, destroying the values system. It also destroys the use of rationale, showing that logic and values cannot truly coexist. People can only pretend that they coexist, and try to be consistent up to the point where irrational emotions take over.

    This brings us to the state of nihilism, where a person finds that the values that they have been taught as children to believe in, that they tried to live their whole lives based on, doesn't function. They're left in a state of emptiness, of a complete loss of meaning in their lives, where life doesn't mean anything anymore, since the fabric of values that they built their lives around has now collapsed. This is total nihilism. No meaning to life whatsoever.

    I think that the last part of Nietzsche's theory is a tiny bit of a stretch, but apart from that, I agree with him on the inconsistency of logic and values together. What do you people think about this?

    :sf: :sf: :sf: :sf:
  2. GabrielConroy

    GabrielConroy Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert but I think Nietzsche believed in conquering nihilism. He wasn't an advocate of it.
  3. JohnADreams

    JohnADreams Well-Known Member

    I don't see how it is illogical. The fact that you can not explain your feelings rationally, does not remove them from being worthy of value.

    If you are required to behave in a certain manner in order to fulfill a set goal then it isn't illogical to do so. I want Y, I need to do X action to get Y, therefore I will do X.

    You could also use a social contract argument and say that you don't hurt others because of the likelihood that you, yourself may come to harm.
  4. hellwithhugewounds

    hellwithhugewounds Well-Known Member

    Wow these 2 posts are all very insightful :biggrin:

    I'll answer them in the order that they came.

    You're right, Jimmy, Nietzsche did advocate conquering nihilism, so here's now, well, according to him.

    Nietzche believes that the fundamental problem that leads to nihilism is the attempted existence of a rational values system (impossible as proven above).

    the only way to not fall into nihilism is to reject those set values (truth, good) and make and adopt your own values. He says that life only has meaning because humans give it meaning. So by seizing the power to create values for yourself, you will be empowered to escape nihilism by changing your values. This solves the inconsistency between logic and values because he also advocates against attachment to any set of values, even if they are made by you. Logic will ultimately catch up and find its inconsistency with your new values, so you must be ready and willing to cast aside these values.

    Not only that, but the parts of the world that the old values system rejects (lies, bad, and anything related) should all be embraced under your new state of empowerment. Rejection of parts of the world cause suffering, since even though we deny those parts of the world, they are all around us (lies), so denying them yet seeing them all around us only causes us suffering. Affirm the world as it is and accept everything in it. That's Nietzche's solution in a nutshell.

    Wow Jimmy thanks for reminding me to post the rest I'd forgotten :laugh:

    :sf: :sf: :sf: :sf:
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2008
  5. hellwithhugewounds

    hellwithhugewounds Well-Known Member

    I think you maybe mistaking the meaning of value. By value I mean morals, like a set of rules people live by, not as in something that should be cherished.

    But it is in discovering that your goals and the motivations behind those goals are irrational that you find that the values of "be good" and "be truthful" logically contradict. This creates a dilemna to which leads to nihilism. Of course, people can think that they're living rationally and according to their values up to a certain point, doing x to get y like you said, but without really thinking about the logic of why you want y. But this is only up to a certain point, after which you either figure out that y is worthless and plunge into nihilism, or an event triggers that realization.

    The classic example of this is - would you allow 5 people to die to save 100 people? Many people would answer yes, and purely based on logic, that's the correct answer. Based on your morals it's also correct, since you didn't do any action that was not good. You did nothing. Nothing is neutral.

    But if you ask the question - would you kill 5 people with a chainsaw to save 100 people? almost everyone would switch their vote to no. Yet this is simply illogical. Logically, the end result in both cases is 5 people dead and 100 people alive, so logically the vote would be 2x yes, since both times result in the same thing. But people's values would prevent them from voting yes, since killing people with a chainsaw is not only disgusting (illogical reaction), but also inconsistent with the "be good" value.

    Thus, where logic would vote yes 2 times, values would probably only vote yes 1 time. Thus the inconsistency between logic and values is revealed.

    Here we're back to the same thought process.

    Why don't I want to get hurt? Because I don't like suffering/pain. Why don't you like suffering/pain?

    You see, that cannot be explained logically. When you answer that question, the answer probably won't be

    "Because pain signals something physically wrong with my body that could possibly threaten my survival", and even then you can't answer the question "why survive?" logically.

    More likely, the answer will be "just because I don't like pain", completely without logic. Thus, a social contract is also illogical. You see, all reason goes back to those same emotions/feelings. All of them.

    Thanks for your reply :biggrin:

    :sf: :sf: :sf:
  6. JohnADreams

    JohnADreams Well-Known Member

    Aye, I know. I was just saying that (imo) statements like "because I'll feel bad" aren't illogical just because we can not accurately explain the reasoning behind emotions. It is normal and logical to avoid suffering.

    It sounds like you're making a regress argument. That I must justify my justification of my justification, ad nauseum. There comes a point in the chain where you reach a statement that is self-justifying. "I don't like pain because it doesnt feel good" Why? "Because it doesn't" You could explain how pain works in the body but that isn't necessary. If something outside of your own will causes you to react badly, you don't need to justify your reaction. You don't need to justify the actions of the natural world.

    Besides, why must I justify my dislike of my own personal suffering? What is illogical about someone saying they don't like pain? Surely it is enough for me to say that it is unwanted.

    Personally, I believe it's incorrect to say that nothing was done. You have to account for the judgment to take no action, to allow others to die. It isn't a neutral outcome, just the lesser of two evils.

    You're right that this is a purely emotional response but I think the difference is in the question of "what is right?" and "what would you do?".

    It's easy for people to recognize what is right using reason and logic, but it is hard to live up to that logic and morality when it impacts on your own emotional state.
  7. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I agree with a lot of nihilism.
    But I don't think I should make up my own values to replace my parents.
    I think this world is valueless, purposeless, and there is nothing in it that we want. I think the letting go of values will not leave you in an empty state but in a loving state. I think nihilism can go along with buddhism in the sense that you can find peace in non-attachment and that there is nothing in this world worth holding onto anyway. I don't know if that made any sense hopefully it did :heart:
  8. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    Not nihilism. A nihilist believes that all things are not real; ALL THINGS. Lacking purpose doesn't make you a nihilist. Nihilism is the philosophy that all things will be, sooner or later, be destroyed.
  9. hellwithhugewounds

    hellwithhugewounds Well-Known Member

    This is how Nietzsche characterized nihilism.
  10. hammockmonkey

    hammockmonkey Well-Known Member

    I'm still working on being the lion and moving on to the baby stage.

    When I can create for myself.
  11. Aeterna

    Aeterna Account Closed

    I believe you are stretching what Nietzsche actually said, and what Nihilism is.

    Nihilism advocates things are without an inherent purpose or value. However, nihilism doesn't rationalize that material objects are not real. Nietzsche argued that Nihilism would eventually destroy the religious, moral, and political foundations of Europe, but he did not say that all things are not real.

    And he didn't say all things would be destroyed either. In Will to Power, he only said all things deserve to perish. The world should not be real. He never really went forth and said they didn't exist. Whether or not the destruction actually occured, would be on the shoulders of the Nihilist.
  12. HappyAZaClaM

    HappyAZaClaM Guest

    maybe folk are confusing Nietzsche with Tim Leary. I know I always
    got them 2 mixed up :blink:
  13. hammockmonkey

    hammockmonkey Well-Known Member

    I always thought nietzshce was about how we need just to accept what is real, instead of making up stories about the world to make it something more pallatable for us.

    That's what an uberman (superman), or more directly translated, Overman. Someone who understands the world the way it is.

    These Ubermen are the creators of culture and define the world for others, that's why Jesus is an uberman-just like Cesare Borgia, someone Nietzsche thought was 1,000 times greater than Jesus. These men are not "good" or "evil" they are what they have understood the reality of the world around them.

    Conway likened Nietzsche's Ubermen to Emerson's "Self-Reliant" man, which to me is ridiculous because Emerson was writing about idealistic men in a transcendental sense and Nietzsche was argueing percisely against this point. Nietzsche's Ubermen would only differ because their greatness would not rely on any transcendental philosophy just on what the world was. These Ubermen wouldn't need people like Christ or Emerson to desrcibe the world in some vague term that obscures what it really is with a fairytale.
  14. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

  15. Aeterna

    Aeterna Account Closed

  16. hellwithhugewounds

    hellwithhugewounds Well-Known Member

    Aeterna how do you know so much about Nietzche?


    I believe the destruction of Europe comes from the eventual realization that the Platonic values of "be good" and "be truthful" contradict and cannot stand. Of course at that point the whole European moral system was basically built from Platonic views. Plato is the 1st one to say that when you look past all the distractions of the world by thinking, you'll find these 2 universal values.
  17. Aeterna

    Aeterna Account Closed

    I didn't see the reply, my bad.

    I've read most of his major works (Human, All too Human, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil [Best book he wrote, IMO], and The Antichrist), and took a course on Philosophy that covered Nietzsche for two weeks.

    The destruction of Europe had to have a second component: The removal of Christianity. Christianity provides an instant justification for "Be good" and "Be truthful" through the phrase, "Because God says so." With that, people could reconcile that the contradictions were not, in fact, contradictions, but rather so complex us mere mortals couldn't understand it.

    Remove that, and then Europe would fall.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.