Chapter 2: Dead Men Tell no Tales – Life Without MeaningNovember 19, 2023 2024-01-15 23:58
Chapter 2: Dead Men Tell no Tales – Life Without Meaning
Chapter 2: Dead Men Tell no Tales – Life Without Meaning
The concept of nihilism has been around for quite a long time. It is obvious that the world has always been full of people who believe that neither serious efforts nor good deeds give results and do not change the overall situation in any way, moreover, all these efforts and deeds cannot in any way affect what will happen after death – simply because no one knows what is happening there. It was these people who joined the ranks of the nihilists.
Recently, nihilism has become especially popular: as it should be in an aging civilization that has discovered postmodernism and values subjectivism.
Some gave up trying to objectively comprehend anything in our chaotic and unpredictable world; for others, nihilism, on the contrary, has become a source of strength and opportunity, prompting them to create their own meanings and find their purpose.
Nihilism really simplifies the world order for active people. After all, if there is no objective morality, nor objective justice, then each of us can create his own morality and his own justice and follow ideals without looking back. Such a relativistic view of thing greatly disrupt the notion of the right of the state to establish its own laws.
Religion also underwent a decisive revision. Rejecting any objective truth or meaning, nihilists often viewed religion as a source of false comfort and a way to escape the harsh realities of life. This has led to a growing secularization of society as many people believe that religion is no longer needed to find meaning in life.
Finally, nihilism has influenced our perception of the world. Rejecting all meanings and values, nihilists often view the world as an indifferent, chaotic place where nothing mattered. This has influenced our politics as many have rejected the idea of a common moral or political framework and instead embraced a more individualistic, selfish view of the world. “Social contracts” and the “public good” – from the point of view of the nihilist, are empty artificial constructs that do not have the slightest meaning.
However, plunging a person into a chaotic, joyless world in which there are no foundations and points of support, nihilism at the same time gives this person a feeling of unprecedented freedom. You don’t owe anything to anyone, and nothing that is suggested by other people is a rule or the ultimate truth for you. You are independent of any views, points of view, and ideas. Only your own beliefs make sense, your own value system is the only thing you have to stick to. Isn’t it a much bolder and creative approach to life where everyone is free to pursue their passions and interests without feeling limited by societal expectations?
Of course, to follow nihilistic principles, you must have remarkable courage. After all, your principles are only yours, any other person is also not obliged to adhere to them, just as you are not obliged to observe any other principles except your own. You are left alone with the world and may feel alone, isolated, and cut off from others. It can also lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair as people struggle to find meaning in a world that seems meaningless.
Such a foothold is provided by a concept that is the opposite of nihilism: one that is often called continuity or the law of cause and effect. This concept assumes that there is an objective in the Universe, a once and for all established order which is governed by certain rules and principles. This view makes things very easy for many of us as it offers a sense of purpose and meaning to human actions and intentions.
Agree, this is damn convenient: here is Good, there is Evil, no chaos, no understatement and uncertainty. The world is beautiful in its orderliness and logic. There is only one truth, justice. Justice has no discrepancies, and it is as easy as possible for you to choose your side. Such an approach, as you already understand, is a reliable foundation for the state, the judiciary, and religion – which, in this paradigm, naturally act as the personifications of the universal Good that opposes the universal Evil.
This wonderful concept gives you the opportunity to find your place and your purpose in a clearly built and understandable world – with transparent evaluation criteria and clearly formulated moral imperatives. “Everything around works like this” – what could be better than having such clear instructions to the world and life?
It is obvious that the concept of continuity from the historical perspective must overcome nihilism, simply because no large system can exist without the unification of its constituent parts. And it is the concept of continuity that makes it possible to carry out such unification in the most efficient way. Nihilists find themselves pushed to the fringes of public life, where each of them continues to build his own reality. Big systems operating according to common rules are always stronger than motley gatherings of free-thinking nihilists. So, densely built and subject to common tactics, the Roman cohorts again and again defeated the discordant crowds of warlike barbarians.
The concept of continuity provides a sense of stability and purpose in a world that can all too often seem chaotic and unpredictable. This enables us to understand the order of the universe and our place in it. By accepting this idea, we can find meaning in our actions and intentions and strive to create a just and equal society in harmony with the natural order of the universe.
However, of course, only man himself can choose his path: in the ranks of the Roman cohort or among the free and violent Germans. Only you can decide for yourself what is dearer to you: smooth streets, straight columns, and written laws, or chaos, freemen, and the dangers of wild hills and forests.
This dichotomy is present everywhere in our world; and on a personal level as well. Obviously, weaker people are more comfortable in “civilization” – when there are established rules of the game, and you just need to follow them. However, these restrictions, which are not accepted by them and imposed on them without their consent, annoy strong people. The magnificent paradox is that the weak, united in a system, most often defeat the strong, each of whom prefers to act on his own. So, the weak win because they recognize their weakness and try to find a solution. The strong lose because they are too sure of their strength.
But what are “weak” and “strong”?
A weak man is one who lacks the basic qualities of strength, both physical and emotional, that are often associated with a man. This person can hardly make a decision on his own, he lacks self-confidence and self-respect, and he too often transfers responsibility for his decisions and their consequences to someone else. A weak person is susceptible to other people’s opinions, unable to stand up for himself or others, and has problems coping with difficult situations or making difficult decisions.
One of the most challenging things for a weak man to achieve is assertiveness. Expressing his needs and desires is often an overwhelming challenge for him, and he often finds himself in a situation where others take advantage of him. It is much more natural for a weak person to follow someone else’s rules and instructions, and in difficult situations, he prefers not to take the initiative, but to let things take their course or hope that someone else will raise a fallen banner and lead the others behind him.
Setting goals is also a difficult task for a weak person, but even if goals are set, an even more demoralizing situation comes when these goals need to be achieved; and then the weak person is completely lost and may feel depressed and hopeless.
Inadequacy and self-doubt are common features of a weak person. He constantly compares himself with others because he is not self-sufficient in his assessments and needs external criteria. But, since these comparisons are most often not in his favor, he is affirmed in the opinion of his “inferiority.” Self-flagellation is a common activity for a weak person, and he experiences a kind of perverse satisfaction in admitting to himself his inability to achieve success. This sacrificial complex ensures a weak person is already sure in advance of the inevitability of defeat, no matter what actions takes. He is doomed before he even takes the first step. Moreover, if, by some amazing chance, he still achieves success in some circumstances, then he is completely lost and feels extremely uncomfortable. There is only one way out: he begins to subconsciously destroy his victory so that it turns into defeat, and he can again feel that everything is going “right.”
In general, a weak man personifies the opposite of what it means to be a strong, self-confident, and independent person.
However, when he acts according to instructions and shifts responsibility for his actions to someone else, for example, to the state (“I just follow orders”), he is able to achieve remarkable results.
The destiny of weak people is to thrive in existing, stable systems. Such systems may initially look attractive and beautiful, but they always have an element of stagnation and future destruction. It is the strong personalities who reject the values and rules of the existing stable world who are the creators of the future.
Nihilism is good and useful only because it calls into question the ideas, laws, and orders of perceived reality. This opens the door to the future and gives daredevils the tools to create a new reality.
However, nihilism can be too destructive, too melancholic and hopeless. Why strive for the future if it turns out to be as bleak as the present? Why create a new reality if its values and rules will be as unsteady as the existing ones?
Friedrich Nietzsche tried to solve the nihilistic problem of refusing to be active. He believed that it was necessary to create a new mythology that would be consistent with the natural sciences and would glorify the world as it is, and not the ideal world of the future. Nietzsche proposed two concepts to help create this new mythology: Eternal Recurrence and Overhumanity.
Eternal Recurrence is the concept that all events in the universe repeat themselves in an endless cycle. Nietzsche believed that this concept would help create a more positive outlook on life as it drives people to embrace the present moment and make the most of it. He argued that the concept could help create a more life-affirming ideology encouraging people to focus on the present rather than worrying about the future.
Overhumanity is the idea that people can overcome their current limitations and become someone much more significant than they are now. Nietzsche believed that this concept could help create an ideology centered on potential and possibility that would replace the existing one – centered on suffering and guilt.
Consciousness determines Being. Any successful person who changes the world for the better has become so because he is convinced of his superiority over other people. Any successful nation that sets world trends and leads humanity has become such a power because it holds true to the concept of its superiority over other nations. It is the idea of one’s exclusivity, one’s chosenness that gives a person or a nation not only a willingness to ignore existing values and rules, nor only the ability to create their own values and rules, but also the moral right to impose these values and rules on other people and nations. Of course, in the name of changing the world for the better.
Thus, nihilism, supplemented by Nietzsche’s concepts, turns from an individualistic, pessimistic escape from reality into a tool for transforming this reality through the creation and dissemination of one’s views and principles.
These views and principles may be completely immoral in terms of the ideas of the existing society, but they create a new morality, according to which the next generations of people will live.
In any case, a new ideology based on Nietzsche’s concepts can inspire people to work for a better future instead of wallowing in despair.
Get back to homepage