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22513Re: Intellectual Dishonesty

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  • Mary Jo Malo
    Oct 1, 2003
      C.S.

      "Nihilism is not only despair and negation, but above all the desire
      to despair and to negate." - Albert Camus

      "If we are to fail, it is better in any case to have stood on the
      side of those who choose life than on the side of those who are
      destroying." - Camus

      Mary Jo

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@t...>
      wrote:
      > The following statement is technically inaccurate:
      >
      > > Christ, even bacteria have
      > > a greater will to live than nihilists.
      > >
      > > Jo
      >
      > A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for
      > destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that
      > humanity will peak and then descend into chaotic existence. The
      peaks
      > and valleys of this pattern move mankind forward, until a final
      > descent -- thousands of years from now, in theory.
      >
      > When capitalized, Nihilism is a cousin to Anarchy. It was a
      political
      > movement throughout Europe and found a center in the Slavic nations.
      > Eventually, Nihilism even counted as a true force in the Russian
      > Revolutionary Movements.
      >
      > Nihilism, noun. the beliefs and practices of a revolutionary party
      in
      > Russia in the middle 1800's, which advocated destruction of the old
      > order by violence and terrorism to make way for reform.
      >
      > On the other hand, nihilism (lowercase) is more a rejection of order
      > than an assertion that everything is terrible and we should all die.
      >
      > ni·hil·ism n
      > 1. the general rejection of established social conventions and
      > beliefs, especially of morality and religion
      > 2. a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless
      > 3. the belief that there is no objective basis for truth
      > 4. the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be
      > destroyed in order to rebuild a just society
      > 5. Ni·hil·ism: a political movement in late 19th-century Russia that
      > sought to bring about a just new society by destroying the existing
      > one through acts of terrorism and assassination
      >
      > (from, of all places: Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999)
      >
      > I could use any number of dictionaries and texts for longer
      > definitions, but let us use these simplified definitions.
      >
      > The first two easily fit into the Existentialism of early Sartre,
      > which is why many consider the two related. The idea that social
      > values should be redacted and replaced by internal motivations,
      > intrinsic values, is common to many Continental Philosophical
      schools
      > of thought.
      >
      > Item 3 is closer to later movements. I hate to sound negative, but
      > American "moral relativists" and "cultural relativists" often fall
      > under the spell of the "no objective truth" assertion of nihilism.
      > Personally, I think there are a few objective truths -- starting
      with
      > mankind is an animal that seeks to survive.
      >
      > Items 4 and 5 are Sartre's weakness. In fact, Sartre admired and
      > embraced Russian Nihilism as a romantic notion. Camus did the same,
      in
      > "The Just Assassins" -- but he observed a clear distinction between
      > Nihilism and nihilism. Dostoevsky and other Russian writers did the
      same.
      >
      > "Nihilism" and "nihilistic" are too often misused,
      like "Existential"
      > and "existentialism."
      >
      > - C. S. Wyatt
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