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Bjorn
16 Oct 2015, 07:59
Firstly, let's agree on some terms. These are definitions I generated from Google.

ATHEISM: lack of belief in god(s)
NIHILISM:(since there is a philosophy as well as a historical movement, let's stick with the philosophy) rejection of religious and moral principle, extreme skepticism that suggests that nothing in the world is real or meaningful


Last night (with the help of my da boyfran) I realized that I was a nihilist. Mind you, I've been a nihilist for longer than I realized, so after the epiphany last night, all of a sudden ideas started to define themselves more clearly. The definitions of everything became sharper. I'd always known what nihilism was but never paid much attention to it because of, admittedly, the negative connotations that allowed my brain to brush the philosophy to the side while simultaneously using it to water all my thoughts.

Also, there's the added perk of having a clearer word with which to describe my (lack of) beliefs. YAY LABELS. I'm a writer. I like 'em. :3

Anyway, like a fool I had lumped atheism and nihilism in with one another, as if the two were kind of interchangeable (mind you, this was not a conscious decision, merely a matter of happenstance). It just didn't make any sense that someone could lack belief in god(s) but still potentially believe in spirits, ghosts, aliens, etc. It was an overly simplistic, solipsist view of things, admittedly.

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QUESTIONS: AS AN ATHEIST...

1. do you believe in anything supernatural (ghosts, spirits, magic, etc)?
2. do you consider yourself a nihilist?
3. do you think that atheism and nihilism are similar? Explain.
4. do you think that atheism leads to nihilism?

IF YOU ARE ALSO A NIHILIST...

1. do you think that the meaninglessness of life is actually a bad thing?
2. do you feel like you 'reject moral principle?' Explain
3. was nihilism something you decided upon, or had you always thought similarly and simply discovered that the shoe fit, so to speak?
4. do you think nihilism is simply intense skepticism, or do you believe that it is the belief in nothing?


Let's start there.

ThePaganMafia
16 Oct 2015, 08:09
Nihilism is a scary concept for humans as the brain naturally tries to create meaning or connection in everything. It also conflicts with the human notion that we are not in fact insignificant. The fear of these concepts is what drives most religion and longheld spiritual beliefs. Nihilism probably is a good describer of my worldview as well.

We are nothing. If there is any meaning in life it is what we as individuals give it but it will never be anything more than a small construction of a small mind in an infinite universe.

B. de Corbin
16 Oct 2015, 08:16
As an atheist:

1. Spirits? I am fairly certain there are things out there that are not quite entities in the way we are. I do not know what they are.

2. Nihilist? No - I'm an existentialist. Meaning is a thing one makes for one's self, not a thing inherent in the world.

3. Atheism similar to nihilism? No, they are not similar. One is a lack of belief, the other is a belief.

4. Can atheism lead to nihilism? Yes, if one expects to find absolute meaning outside of one's self, but not if one is willing/able to construct meaning, without also making the claim that such a meaning resides outside of one's self.
\

Good questions, My Fanny.

Bjorn
16 Oct 2015, 08:20
As an atheist:

2. Nihilist? No - I'm an existentialist. Meaning is a thing one makes for one's self, not a thing inherent in the world.

3. Atheism similar to nihilism? No, they are not similar. One is a lack of belief, the other is a belief.

Could you expound on #2 a bit further? How do nihilism and existentialism differ from one another, in your words?

In regards to #3, do you think that nihilism is actually a belief? I had always cataloged it as a philosophy, or perhaps more simplistically, universal disbelief.

DragonsFriend
16 Oct 2015, 08:21
If nothing is real, why the fear, pain, injury, compassion, love and lust? Why at death's door is it so common to fear - if it isn't real?

Nihilism has always raised paradoxes in real life. Even if none of this exists in another reality it does exist in this reality. Nature proves that existence is real. (OK, proof is a concept that may not apply but the evidence is certainly overwhelming.) If life and all of it doesn't exist then why does a splinter hurt? Why do we feel pain, anxiety, love, hate, compassion and all the other things we feel? If this is just a movie or a fictional story then why, when someone walks away they are considered mentally ill?

volcaniclastic
16 Oct 2015, 08:27
Oh, great thread! I'll answer later when I get home. :)

#nihilistrepresent

Medusa
16 Oct 2015, 08:31
QUESTIONS: AS AN ATHEIST...

1. do you believe in anything supernatural (ghosts, spirits, magic, etc)?
2. do you consider yourself a nihilist?
3. do you think that atheism and nihilism are similar? Explain.
4. do you think that atheism leads to nihilism?


1 nope
2 nope. I do consider myself a person with bi polar. So my judgement of the world probably looks nihilist in nature. But that's just bad brain chemistry joo joo.
3 nope. Atheists have a purpose of life in general. Along with a long list of their own morals.
4 nope. I think it just leads to a less stressful life for some. And not for others. Depends on your uptightedness I suppose.:p

B. de Corbin
16 Oct 2015, 08:40
Could you expound on #2 a bit further? How do nihilism and existentialism differ from one another, in your words?

In regards to #3, do you think that nihilism is actually a belief? I had always cataloged it as a philosophy, or perhaps more simplistically, universal disbelief.


Ok - the two answers are actually related, at least as Nietzsche's development of existentialism is concerned.

Nietzsche had a problem with the philosophers who came before him. As he saw it, they always began with an unprovable belief (morals are good, humans are bad, or humans are good, god exists, god does not exist, humans have a soul, etc.) and then based all their thinking on a shaky foundation. He wanted to develop a philosophy that made no unprovable assumptions.

He messed about with nihilism, but rejected it because the reality of objective meaning/non-meaning (like the existence of god) is unprovable. That means nihilism is based on a belief, and everything based on a belief (even a philosophy) is, itself, a belief.

So he rejected nihilism as a foundation for existentialism, and used solipsism (the realization that the ultimate reality of things is outside of our human perception) instead.

He saw nihilism as a kind of disease that would grow out of the realization that, to understand reality (as much as possible to REALLY understand it) science - which doesn't require god(s) - is more effective, which would lead to atheism, which could lead to nihilism.

So he constructed existentialism. Existentialism, to put it in short form, could be phrased like this: Because you can't know for sure if god exists, or even if there is a god, or if there is, what god wants you to do, or if there is a better, or worse, or same, or nonexistent afterlife, etc., etc., you can't base your actions on claims to knowledge of those things. You're on your own - no excuses come from juju. Pick what is important, or right, or good, based on the best reasoning and observation you can, and then go for it.

ThePaganMafia
16 Oct 2015, 08:43
If nothing is real, why the fear, pain, injury, compassion, love and lust? Why at death's door is it so common to fear - if it isn't real?

Nihilism has always raised paradoxes in real life. Even if none of this exists in another reality it does exist in this reality. Nature proves that existence is real. (OK, proof is a concept that may not apply but the evidence is certainly overwhelming.) If life and all of it doesn't exist then why does a splinter hurt? Why do we feel pain, anxiety, love, hate, compassion and all the other things we feel? If this is just a movie or a fictional story then why, when someone walks away they are considered mentally ill?

Emotions and feelings are chemical reactions in the brain conditioned by evolution.

Medusa
16 Oct 2015, 09:24
Emotions and feelings are chemical reactions in the brain conditioned by evolution.

but you feel them. So to you they real for you. I know we want to pretend we are all logic. The fact we don't stick our feet over the edge of the bed at night tells me different. :p

B. de Corbin
16 Oct 2015, 09:34
When it comes to feelings, if you feel them they are as real as real gets.

(Captain Obvious has left the building...)

Denarius
16 Oct 2015, 09:56
1. do you believe in anything supernatural (ghosts, spirits, magic, etc)?
2. do you consider yourself a nihilist?
3. do you think that atheism and nihilism are similar? Explain.
4. do you think that atheism leads to nihilism?

1: No. I can conceive of mysterious and seemingly magical phenomena, but I do not believe that they are beyond or above explanation.
2: Not really. I believe that subjective meaning has value and is in its own way real, just not physical or independent of consciousness. In other words, I reject irreality as a concept. If you can conceive of something then that thing exists, even if only briefly and as an abstraction.
3-4: I could see how one could lead to the other, through skepticism, but one does not necessitate the other.

ThePaganMafia
16 Oct 2015, 10:12
I never said feelings were not real. But, we do know the mechanisms behind them.

Doc_Holliday
25 Oct 2015, 19:08
but you feel them. So to you they real for you. I know we want to pretend we are all logic. The fact we don't stick our feet over the edge of the bed at night tells me different. :p

I actually find my feet hanging over the edge more comfortable, does that make me a moral deviant?

Medusa
25 Oct 2015, 19:35
I actually find my feet hanging over the edge more comfortable, does that make me a moral deviant?

That or demons are your friends.


(backs away slowly)

DragonsFriend
26 Oct 2015, 14:59
I always start off going to sleep with my feet over the edge of the bed. I don't have any fear of demons but I never thought that having one's feet over the edge would attract them. As a youth I slept in a bunk bed. Sometimes on top sometimes on the bottom. The only demon I ever worried about was my dad. He wasn't a demon but he was a strict disciplinarian.

THANK...
01 Nov 2015, 01:05
Firstly, let's agree on some terms. These are definitions I generated from Google.
ATHEISM: lack of belief in god(s)
NIHILISM:(since there is a philosophy as well as a historical movement, let's stick with the philosophy) rejection of religious and moral principle, extreme skepticism that suggests that nothing in the world is real or meaningful

If you haven't already, I suggest giving a read through of nihil.org. It explains nihilism as no inherent meaning, we give things meaning, and the concepts of Choice and Consequence, a nihilist perspective of karma if you will - you make a choice, deal with the consequences, basically. With no inherent meaning, it doesn't mean a nihilist rejects religious and moral principle, but seeks the truth for themselves. A Christian can be a nihilist if they reject the idea that God means follow the bible or burn in hell and keeps to the teachings of being kind, because the consequence of the choice of kindness is usually others being kind to you. A nihilist is not a sociopath nor atheist nor against the idea of realism but defines morality and religious ideals as it works best for them on a practical level.



IF YOU ARE ALSO A NIHILIST...

1. do you think that the meaninglessness of life is actually a bad thing?

Not at all. I can put meaning into my life upon my choices through experience. For example, if I experience allopathic medicine as harmful to my body it is not because my anarchist associates tell me so but because I have been, or know others, that have been damaged or screwed over by the allopathic system. "What is true for you is true for you, and when you have lost that, you have lost everything" is a phrase my mom would always tell me when I was young and doubted myself (from L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology). That phrase is very powerful to me, not only because I was brought up with it, but because it allows one to be oneself no matter what others say is right or wrong, taboo or status quo. I have noticed a lot of the most pure spiritual teachings have a hint of nihilism. Buddhism is basically nihilism with a pinch of unconditional love and compassion.



2. do you feel like you 'reject moral principle?' Explain

Not at all. Morality has served me well in life. Without my morality I would be a very bad person associating with very bad people in very bad situations (which I used to do - drugs, violence, things of that sort), but because I have developed a deeper appreciation for loving kindness and compassion (for the most part, I am still a bit narcissistic at times, as everyone should be if they want to live a happy and balanced life), I live a happy life with a decent job and good friends.



3. was nihilism something you decided upon, or had you always thought similarly and simply discovered that the shoe fit, so to speak?

It just kind of fit. Before I rejected the idea of myself being nihilistic when I thought it just meant not caring about anything and nothing having meaning because it just felt apathetic and pathetic, so I tried on Anarchist and Satanist, but anarchism was too unreal for me and Satanism lacked the spiritual core I was looking for. It was actually the practice of chaos magic that led me to the labeling myself a nihilist. Nihilism has the rebellion, individuality, and revolutionary qualities of anarchism, the dark mystique of Satanism, the philosophical qualities of chaos magic, and the intellectual pursuit of Luciferianism.



4. do you think nihilism is simply intense skepticism, or do you believe that it is the belief in nothing?


Intense sceptism. Nihilism is about discovering truth for you that is grounded in reality. That reality doesn't have to be scientific, but it has to be grounded in some sort of practicality.