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Monday, September 27, 2010

Response to Rorschach Redemption

I don't consider Nihilism and Absurdism to be mutually exclusive:

My Existential Crisis is Nihilistic in nature; specifically, I am alarmed and devastated by the fact that my life and existence have no objective purpose, meaning, or intrinsic value.

In the face of such an Existential Crisis, there are three classical coping methods:

1) Suicide - While it is appealing to end the despair immediately, I do not choose this option because I understand that I have the capacity for pleasure, so I might as well experience as much as I can before I die.

2) Religion - While it is appealing to have all the "truths" of the universe told to you, plus a higher purpose for your actions and an eternally blissful afterlife to boot, I do not choose this option because I am rational, so I only accept logical evidence as valid, and I see faith-based evidence as invalid. Basically, I would love to be religious but Scientific Positivism makes too much sense.

3) Absurdism - The final method is to BE A BADASS and laugh in the face of the existential crisis: if there is no greater purpose or meaning, then I am bound by nothing, so I can do whatever I want! I can rejoice in doing absurd things, and sometimes even successfully delude myself into thinking I have Free Will! Some people say that there is no real distinction between Religion and Absurdism.

However, Nietzsche understood these options and coined the terms "Passive Nihilism" and "Active Nihilism". An example Passive Nihilist is someone who gives up in the face of an existential crisis; the term has wimpy connotations. Nietzsche writes that Christianity is an example of Passive Nihilism (Christians accept the meek, and have a generally self-deprecating and inferiority-ridden mentality.). An Active Nihilist is someone who strives to be an Übermensch (super-man; badass) in the face of existential crisis. I see Active Nihilism and Absurdism as the same thing.

So, to clarify, I am an Absurdist because it is the most fun of the three aforementioned coping methods.

Today's Criticism:

Lots of people say "Everything happens for a reason" to imply that every event serves a greater purpose in the future. However, the phrase literally means "Everything that happens is caused by things that happened before it", implying Determinism, which, by philosophical extension to Nihilism, is the direct opposite of their intended meaning. The result is one of the most heinously ambiguous sayings in the English language.

Assigned reading: The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert Camus; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Sisyphus

Assigned watching: Harold and Maude by Hal Ashby; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_and_maude

23 comments:

  1. I fall in with the active nihilism mind set, but I'm so super badass that I couple it with a belief in God. Too long to go into detail in a comment

    Good post, it was very informative. I'm glad to learn more about nihilism.

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  2. Yeah get rid of your dog.....hahaha

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  4. Love how you recommended Camus, I tried reading him in French but unfortunately my French is not so good.

    I think choosing to be a badass is a great reaction to an existential crisis. I wonder how this translates in all practicality, for example, what are some badass things an individual could do to emphasize their badassity?

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  5. Oh my, I was just applying a little tongue-in-cheek-before.
    I can appreciate the absurdist response to an existenstial crisis, strictly because it is the lesser of three evils in my book.
    Chaotic Neutral and all that.
    No one will be acle to accuse you of not being thorough in your answers!

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  6. Sounds like Absurdism is the way to go. There are things you can go to change the way events are unfolding, at least that's the way I believe. Great insight.

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  7. Absurdism is the way to go .. nothing beats being a BADASS

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  8. Very interesting mate. I just recently declared myself a christian, not because I was converted but when I realized the existence of God then looked at my morals I realized I was christian(to be christ like) If you ever want to have a half-way intelligent debate about anything feel free to mssg me.

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  9. A little above my head.. I do enjoy the colorful links though :)

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  10. followin 'n' supportin 'n' fappin bro :)

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  11. interesting post, following you!

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  12. Nothing like a discussion of nihilism to give me a headache in the morning. Much appreciated! :D

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  13. Interesting. I love being nihilistic. :D

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  14. wow thanks for the philosophy 101

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  15. I don't see why people need to have a purpose in their life. I mean, life is like a sandbox. you do stuff to find out what happens in the future because of it. Actions yield consequences. Personally, I find that alone intriguing. Say, I'm studying physics now. Will I be a physicist and research shit? Will my degree be useless and will I end up cleaning streets?

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  16. He's a Nihilist, Donny, nothing to worry about.

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  17. Pretty interesting stuff man. Looking forward to more!

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  18. Would you say determinism cheapens life? If so, how much?

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