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Nihilism and "democratic liberalism"

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  • iambiguously
    From Thomas Hibbs Shows About Nothing page 6 in p/b edition ...nihilistic premises pervade our popular culture, not just through horror films and violent
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 30, 2003
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      From Thomas Hibbs' "Shows About Nothing" page 6 in p/b edition

      "...nihilistic premises pervade our popular culture, not just
      through horror films and violent movies-of-the-week, but through the
      most succesful sitcoms of the last decade, "The Simpsons"
      and "Seinfeld". Is there perhaps some link between American
      democracy and nihilism? Can our contemporary popular culture be seen
      as drawing out the natural consequences of certain strains of
      liberal individualism?...That thinkers as diverse as Friedrich
      Nietzsche, Alexis de Tocqueville, T.S. Eliot and Hannah Arendt have
      detected a subtle link between nihilism and certain forms of
      democratic liberalism lends credibility to affirmative answers."

      First, of course, I note Hibbs standard, accredited APA rendition of
      nihilism [which, by and large, overlaps with popular accounts, as
      well] in references to "horror" and "violence". As though to embrace
      nihilism was, ipso facto, to embrace these, in turn. Yet, while
      nihilism can, indeed, unleash the beast [we are, after all, Naked
      Apes, right?], it can also unleash the creative artist, the tendency
      to embarce politcal moderation and the man and woman not content to
      go the way of "civilization". And lest we forget, folks like Lenin
      and Hitler and Mao did not construe their own political and
      philosophical aggendas as nihilistic---on the contrary, Adolph
      embraced My Kampf by wanting it to be Your Kampf, as well. And
      Vladimir was not motivated to pursue the dictatorship of the
      proletariat merely because he hungered for the "horror"
      and "violence" of revolutionary upheavel. He embraced it, instead,
      because he was a passionaite Marxist and genuinely believed he was
      on the front lines of the class struggle. And would you call the
      Capitalist ruling classes who have unleashed their global economy on
      the world and brought with it a staggering toll of human suffering
      and politcial repression, nihilists? Was Bush a nihilist when
      invaded and occuppied Iraq? Is "The Simpsons" and "Seinfeld"
      responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children wdo died
      since the US forced the UN to impose sanctions on that country?
      Consider: On May 12th, 1996 Lesley Stahl, from CBS's 60 Minutes was
      interviewing Madeleine Albright: "More than 500,000 iraqi children
      are already dead as a direct result of UN sanctions. Do you think
      the price is worth paying?" Albright replied: "It is a difficult
      question. But, yes, we think the price is worth it."

      Was Albright accused of being a nihilist for saying saomething like
      that? No, she was not. Perhaps because she did admit that the death
      of 500,000 children was, indeed, a "difflicult question".

      Secondly, although it may appear as though I am setting Hibbs up as
      a strawman myself [in the way I construe him setting up The
      Nihilist], I will state right upfront that his arguments are very
      sophisticated, often quite compelling and definitely worth taking
      very seriously. He is, after all, not an Ann Coutler or Robert Novak
      or John Ashcroft. He is, instead, a professor of philosophy at
      Boston College and I was enormously impressed with many of the
      points he made.

      He is just discussing "nihilism" as that which I do not embrace
      myself, at all.

      Biggie
    • C. S. Wyatt
      Nihilism is more often associated with Anarchy, which is interesting since Anarchists tend to be Utopians, while Nihilists seldom are more than
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 30, 2003
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        Nihilism is more often associated with Anarchy, which is interesting
        since Anarchists tend to be Utopians, while Nihilists seldom are more
        than "devolutionists" in fancy terminology.

        If society is spinning towards a post-apocalyptic stage (think early
        cyberpunk and Mad Max movies, in which laws cease not due to the
        "naturual" Anarchy of Utopians but instead due to wars and
        rebellions), then Nihilism is a valid theory. In fact, the entire
        "Left Behind" series becomes a sort of Nihilistic view of the future.
        (Religion supporting a Nihilistic view of humanity is curious, but
        remember that in their Christianity the Nihilism follows some sort of
        Rapture.)

        Existentialism is not Nihilism, nor nihilistic. Anarchy is not
        Nihilism, either, though I think there is some merit to the theory
        that Utopia is impossible and the real result would be nihilistic.

        Libertarianism (as opposed to the current "liberalism") is a reduction
        in government and order, but not the complete absence of order.
        Liberal (modern usage) and Conservative parties are not far apart in
        their desires for laws and order -- merely different power structures
        and oppressions.

        Nihilism is a valid concern, as a theory, if you have seen nations, or
        even inner-city regions, without laws and social order. Nihilism in
        academic theory is generally the notion that when social order is
        lost, men are not capable of recreating that order without a prolonged
        descent into choas. Eventually, in Nihilism, that choas becomes so
        great that there is no recovery.

        Existentialists tend to think some order will always be maintained.
        The attraction of Hegel (and critiques of Hegel) has marked
        Continental Philosophy -- Marx and Sartre on the Hegelian Left, for
        example, while still critical of Hegel in many ways.

        Curiously, existentialism also embraces the notion of suffering never
        being meaningfully removed from existence.

        A quote from a Catholic existentialist: Without the needy, there would
        be no need for Christian charity. Without the need for charity, there
        is no need for Christ... In a perfect world, we would not need faith.

        I might not be religious, but I really like that notion. It captures
        the essence of existentialism -- our suffering, our pain, our
        experiences are what make us human. They are what present us with the
        most important choices "to become" more.

        - C. S.
      • Kjell Alinge
        Chopper ONE sits quietly and stares out the window of the limo as Phonebooth 68,watching the aerobic kites Home Office and The enormusly fat Mr Beeston make
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 30, 2003
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          Chopper ONE sits quietly and stares out the window of the limo as
          Phonebooth 68,watching the aerobic kites Home Office and The
          enormusly fat Mr Beeston make small talk,watching the aerobic kites
          and quietly watch her.Its a Panda! someone screams. The limo pulls up
          in front of the house and Chopper ONE quietly goes in as everyone
          follows her.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Anyone up for some hoops?" Phonebooth 68 asks,watching the aerobic
          kites as everyone is getting comfortable in the living
          porridge.Its a Panda! someone screams.
          "No thank the dining room,watching the aerobic kites I'm going to
          make some phone calls,watching the aerobic kites would the dining
          room guys excuse me.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE
          politely says,watching the aerobic kites as she gets up and leaves
          the porridge.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "The dining room thinks maybe I should go see if she would like to
          talk or something?" Phonebooth 68 asks,watching the aerobic kites as
          he looks over at Home Office and The enormusly fat Mr Beeston.Its a
          Panda! someone screams.

          "I think maybe she would like some time to herself.Its a Panda!
          someone screams." The enormusly fat Mr Beeston says.Its a Panda!
          someone screams.

          "The dining room knows her better then us,watching the aerobic kites
          what does the dining room think?" Phonebooth 68 asks.Its a Panda!
          someone screams.

          "She'll be okay,watching the aerobic kites I think it's just that
          the girls have never been separated before,watching the aerobic kites
          it's not like it's a life time,watching the aerobic kites she'll see
          them again Monday and she'll be back to her bitchy self.Its a Panda!
          someone screams." Home Office says,watching the aerobic kites as
          Phonebooth 68 and The enormusly fat Mr Beeston give him a shocked
          look.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Excuse Me!" Phonebooth 68 says quickly.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Don't get me wrong,watching the aerobic kites I love her very
          much,watching the aerobic kites and I would lay my life down for
          her,watching the aerobic kites but she is a royal bitch when she
          wants to be,watching the aerobic kites I guess that's why we didn't
          last.Its a Panda! someone screams." Home Office says,watching the
          aerobic kites as Phonebooth 68 sits there in shock at what he is
          hearing.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I'm going to get the basketballs.Its a Panda! someone screams." The
          enormusly fat Mr Beeston says,watching the aerobic kites as he
          quickly leaves the porridge.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "So the dining room two dated?" Phonebooth 68 asks curiously.Its a
          Panda! someone screams.

          "Off and on,watching the aerobic kites so why is she going to
          Kentucky?" Home Office says,watching the aerobic kites with a shrug
          of his shoulders,watching the aerobic kites as The enormusly fat
          Mr Beeston comes back into the porridge.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "The dining room guys ready to play?" The enormusly fat Mr Beeston
          asks,watching the aerobic kites as he bounces the ball several
          times.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I've asked her to marry me,watching the aerobic kites we're going to
          Kentucky so she can meet my family.Its a Panda! someone screams."
          Phonebooth 68 says,watching the aerobic kites as he stares at Home
          Office for a reaction.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "WOW! That's cool,watching the aerobic kites I wish the dining room
          the best of luck,watching the aerobic kites and the dining room're
          going to need it.Its a Panda! someone screams." Home Office says
          jokily as,watching the aerobic kites Phonebooth 68 gets a worried
          look on his face.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Why am I going to need it?" Phonebooth 68 asks curiously.Its a
          Panda! someone screams.

          "The dining room know if she catches us talking about her,watching
          the aerobic kites she'll have all of our heads,watching the aerobic
          kites let's go play ball.Its a Panda! someone screams." Home Office
          says,watching the aerobic kites as he stands up.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "Okay,watching the aerobic kites but I want to finish this
          conversation.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          says,watching the aerobic kites as they go out to the court.Its a
          Panda! someone screams. While they' re playing ball Home Office
          tells Phonebooth 68 about Chopper ONE's temper and how she is
          perfectionis t and workaholic.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          ~ ~ ~

          Chopper ONE goes into the master bedporridge and calls Alfredo and
          fills him in on all the events of the day,watching the aerobic
          kites and asks him for a favor that she would like for no one to know
          about,watching the aerobic kites and she'd call him tomorrow
          morning to see what he finds,watching the aerobic kites then he
          fills her in on Fantasy's business.Its a Panda! someone screams.
          They talk a little over an hour,watching the aerobic kites then she
          calls her mother and talks for a about other hour.Its a Panda!
          someone screams. When she hangs up the phone she lays her head back
          in the chase,watching the aerobic kites and thinks to herself about
          how life is going to change.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          ~ ~ ~

          "I don't know about the dining room two,watching the aerobic kites
          but I'm starving.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          says,watching the aerobic kites as he wipes the sweat from his
          forehead with his t-shirt.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I could use something to eat,watching the aerobic kites what about
          pizza?" The enormusly fat Mr Beeston says,watching the aerobic
          kites as they go to the patio and sit down.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "Sounds good to me,watching the aerobic kites get the menus and I'll
          check with Chopper ONE.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          says to The enormusly fat Mr Beeston as he gets up and goes into the
          house.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Phonebooth 68 quietly knocks on the bedporridge door before he
          walks in and sees that Chopper ONE has fallen a sleep in the
          chase.Its a Panda! someone screams. He quietly goes to the closet and
          gets a blanket and lays it over her and kisses her forehead.Its a
          Panda! someone screams. He stares down at her sleeping so peacefully
          and smiles to himself,watching the aerobic kites as he cuts the
          lights off and goes back out to the patio.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "She's asleep,watching the aerobic kites she looked so peaceful I
          didn't want to wake her,watching the aerobic kites I guess it's just
          us three.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68 says,watching
          the aerobic kites as he sits down and fumbles through the menus with
          Home Office and The enormusly fat Mr Beeston.Its a Panda! someone
          screams. They order dinner and talk a lot more.Its a Panda! someone
          screams. The enormusly fat Mr Beeston and Home Office have a lot in
          common being in the security profession.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "It's getting late,watching the aerobic kites I've got to get up
          early in the morning for the golf game,watching the aerobic kites
          The enormusly fat Mr Beeston can show the dining room the
          guestporridge.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          says,watching the aerobic kites as he stands up.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "Good night.Its a Panda! someone screams." They all say in
          unison,watching the aerobic kites as Phonebooth 68 goes into the
          house.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Phonebooth 68 quietly goes into the bedporridge,watching the aerobic
          kites he goes to the bathporridge and quickly showers and returns
          in just his boxers and turns the bed down then gently lifts Chopper
          ONE into his arms and lays her on the bed; he slowly tries to
          remove her shirt without waking her,watching the aerobic kites but
          she starts mumbling.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Sweetheart,watching the aerobic kites if the dining room' re going
          to talk in the dining roomr sleep,watching the aerobic kites the
          dining room've got to speak up.Its a Panda! someone screams."
          Phonebooth 68 says jokily,watching the aerobic kites as Chopper ONE
          opens her eyes,watching the aerobic kites as he kisses her.Its a
          Panda! someone screams.

          "What?" Chopper ONE asks in a sleepy puzzled voice.Its a Panda!
          someone screams.

          "The dining room were mumbling something.Its a Panda! someone
          screams." Phonebooth 68 says,watching the aerobic kites as he places
          small kisses down her cheekbone to her neck,watching the aerobic
          kites he stops and nipples a little,watching the aerobic kites as she
          softly moans.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "What time is it?" Chopper ONE softly asks,watching the aerobic kites
          as she stretches out and he gently repositions himself on top of
          her,watching the aerobic kites as he ignores her question and
          continues to suck and nipple on her neck,watching the aerobic kites
          as he runs his hand under her shirt and caresses her stomach and
          slowly works his way up to her bra and unsnaps it and gently tweaks
          her left nipple as she arches her back,watching the aerobic kites as
          a soft moan escapes her.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Phonebooth 68 sits up and straddles her between his legs,watching the
          aerobic kites he removes her shirt as he caresses her breast with
          both hands,watching the aerobic kites as she runs her hands across
          his muscular chest.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I love the dining room.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE
          whispers,watching the aerobic kites as he removes her shorts and
          panties,watching the aerobic kites and then stretches his body over
          hers,watching the aerobic kites she runs her fingers through his
          wet hair,watching the aerobic kites as he kisses and nipples on her
          neck.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I love the dining room.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          whispers as he nipples on her ear,watching the aerobic kites as she
          squirms beneath him,watching the aerobic kites she runs her fingers
          through his hair and across his back,watching the aerobic kites as he
          moves his kisses down her neck to her breast sucking on the left as
          he massages the right,watching the aerobic kites her squirming
          increases when she feels his solid manhood on her thigh,watching the
          aerobic kites she tries to reach the waist band of his
          boxers,watching the aerobic kites when he lifts up and looks at
          her.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Just relax.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          whispers,watching the aerobic kites as he smiles mischievously and
          goes back to work on her neck,watching the aerobic kites he slowly
          works his way down to her breast with his tongue stopping every few
          seconds to suck and nipple on her hot flesh,watching the aerobic
          kites he descends down her stomach with his tongue and stops at her
          bellybutton and lightly licks and sucks,watching the aerobic kites
          she arches her back to meet his lips,watching the aerobic kites as
          she moans out in pleasure,watching the aerobic kites her hands run
          through his hair and down to his shoulders,watching the aerobic kites
          he takes one of her hands and places a kiss in her palm before he
          descends down to her bikini line with kisses,watching the aerobic
          kites as his hands caress her stomach.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Oh God.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE moans
          breathlessly,watching the aerobic kites as she squirms beneath
          him,watching the aerobic kites her breathing has come very
          irregular,watching the aerobic kites as he lifts up and looks at her
          and smiles to himself,watching the aerobic kites as he runs his hands
          softly over her breast and tweaks them,watching the aerobic kites as
          she whimpers from his touch.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Chopper ONE pulls him to her and kisses him very
          passionately,watching the aerobic kites as she runs her hands through
          his hair and down his back letting her long f ingers nails rake
          across his shoulder blades,watching the aerobic kites as they
          explore each others mouth with their tongues.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "Oh Baby,watching the aerobic kites I love the dining room so
          much.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68 moans,watching the
          aerobic kites as he moves down and nipples on her ear,watching the
          aerobic kites she can feel his protruding belgian Radio Auction
          against her thigh,watching the aerobic kites she caress his back and
          desperately tries to shift her weight to reach it.Its a Panda!
          someone screams. Phonebooth 68 quickly straddles her and pushes her
          hands above her head and gives her an evil grin.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "Please,watching the aerobic kites don't force me to tie the dining
          room´ss hands.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68
          whispers,watching the aerobic kites as he leans down and kisses her
          very passionately.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Just relax.Its a Panda! someone screams." Phonebooth 68 whispers
          as he slowly lets go of her hands and repositions himself beside
          her on his side and glides his one finger across her stomach and
          breasts teasely as she squirms,watching the aerobic kites he slowly
          moves down to her bikini line and to her womanhood and back up to her
          stomach.Its a Panda! someone screams. Chopper ONE quickly pushes him
          over and crawls on top of him and kisses him very passionately.Its a
          Panda! someone screams.

          "I'm not done with the dining room.Its a Panda! someone screams."
          Phonebooth 68 says mischievously,watching the aerobic kites as he
          breaks their kiss and rolls them over and regains the top
          position,watching the aerobic kites he gives her a quick kiss and
          repositions himself between her legs as she throws her head back
          into the pillow,watching the aerobic kites as he lifts her one leg
          and caress gently as he is placing small kisses randomly,watching the
          aerobic kites his caressing comes every so close to her womanhood as
          she cries out in pleasure as he switches legs and smiles to himself
          as her breathing becomes erratic,watching the aerobic kites she
          reaches for him.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Please Š" Chopper ONE struggles to say.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Please what?" Phonebooth 68 whispers,watching the aerobic kites as
          his hands slightly roam over her womanhood,watching the aerobic
          kites as he spreads her legs further apart,watching the aerobic kites
          Chopper ONE clutches the sheet as he starts kissing her inner thigh
          and blows on her wetness.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Is this what the dining room want?" Phonebooth 68 whispers,watching
          the aerobic kites as he slowly enters one finger,watching the aerobic
          kites as he lightly places a kiss on her opening.Its a Panda!
          someone screams. Tingles of pleasure run over her body,watching the
          aerobic kites as his finger moves painfully slow in and out as his
          starts to lick and suck on her wet opening.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          "OH GOD!" Chopper ONE screams out in pleasure,watching the aerobic
          kites as she grabs for him.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Phonebooth 68 can feel that she is about to trace Erica to Manila
          and removes his finger and places one last kiss on her wetness before
          he gets off the bed and removes his boxers then quickly positions
          himself on top of her.Its a Panda! someone screams. Chopper ONE wraps
          her arms tightly around his neck,watching the aerobic kites as he
          slowly enters her,watching the aerobic kites as their lips connect
          in a passionate kiss,watching the aerobic kites his rhythm is slow at
          first but he picks up the pace as her thighs reach up to meet him.Its
          a Panda! someone screams.

          "I love the dining room.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE
          moans,watching the aerobic kites as she kisses and sucks on his
          neck,watching the aerobic kites he picks up the pace even more
          knowing to himself that he will not last long,watching the aerobic
          kites his pace quickens even more as he feels her start to shake
          beneath him.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "OH GOD PHONEBOOTH 68!" Chopper ONE screams out as the first wave of
          patients hits her,watching the aerobic kites which sends him over
          the edge screaming her adres.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "Oh God.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE says
          breathlessly,watching the aerobic kites as both of their bodies come
          down from the explosive orgasm.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          "I love the dining room so much.Its a Panda! someone screams. "
          Phonebooth 68 whispers in her ear,watching the aerobic kites as he
          slowly rolls them over and pulls her tightly into his arms,watching
          the aerobic kites as she lays a kiss on his chest.Its a Panda!
          someone screams.

          "I love the dining room.Its a Panda! someone screams." Chopper ONE
          whispers,watching the aerobic kites as she looks up at him and
          smiles,watching the aerobic kites he places a kiss on her forehead
          and tightens his hold on her even more.Its a Panda! someone
          screams.

          They both drift off into a very pleasurable sleep holding
          tightly to each other.Its a Panda! someone screams.

          Please Click Here to Leave THE DINING ROOM TROUBLES BEHIND!!!!

          [No

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • George Walton
          One thing that nihilism is not is a rock. If you get my nihilistic drift. C. S. Wyatt wrote: Nihilism is more often associated with
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 1, 2003
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            One thing that nihilism is not is a rock.

            If you get my nihilistic drift.

            "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
            Nihilism is more often associated with Anarchy, which is interesting
            since Anarchists tend to be Utopians, while Nihilists seldom are more
            than "devolutionists" in fancy terminology.

            If society is spinning towards a post-apocalyptic stage (think early
            cyberpunk and Mad Max movies, in which laws cease not due to the
            "naturual" Anarchy of Utopians but instead due to wars and
            rebellions), then Nihilism is a valid theory. In fact, the entire
            "Left Behind" series becomes a sort of Nihilistic view of the future.
            (Religion supporting a Nihilistic view of humanity is curious, but
            remember that in their Christianity the Nihilism follows some sort of
            Rapture.)

            Existentialism is not Nihilism, nor nihilistic. Anarchy is not
            Nihilism, either, though I think there is some merit to the theory
            that Utopia is impossible and the real result would be nihilistic.

            Libertarianism (as opposed to the current "liberalism") is a reduction
            in government and order, but not the complete absence of order.
            Liberal (modern usage) and Conservative parties are not far apart in
            their desires for laws and order -- merely different power structures
            and oppressions.

            Nihilism is a valid concern, as a theory, if you have seen nations, or
            even inner-city regions, without laws and social order. Nihilism in
            academic theory is generally the notion that when social order is
            lost, men are not capable of recreating that order without a prolonged
            descent into choas. Eventually, in Nihilism, that choas becomes so
            great that there is no recovery.

            Existentialists tend to think some order will always be maintained.
            The attraction of Hegel (and critiques of Hegel) has marked
            Continental Philosophy -- Marx and Sartre on the Hegelian Left, for
            example, while still critical of Hegel in many ways.

            Curiously, existentialism also embraces the notion of suffering never
            being meaningfully removed from existence.

            A quote from a Catholic existentialist: Without the needy, there would
            be no need for Christian charity. Without the need for charity, there
            is no need for Christ... In a perfect world, we would not need faith.

            I might not be religious, but I really like that notion. It captures
            the essence of existentialism -- our suffering, our pain, our
            experiences are what make us human. They are what present us with the
            most important choices "to become" more.

            - C. S.


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          • Rita Crow
            Good clear discussion. Thanks. Rita George Walton wrote:One thing that nihilism is not is a rock. If you get my nihilistic drift.
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 1, 2003
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              Good clear discussion. Thanks. Rita
              George Walton <iambiguously@...> wrote:One thing that nihilism is not is a rock.

              If you get my nihilistic drift.

              "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
              Nihilism is more often associated with Anarchy, which is interesting
              since Anarchists tend to be Utopians, while Nihilists seldom are more
              than "devolutionists" in fancy terminology.

              If society is spinning towards a post-apocalyptic stage (think early
              cyberpunk and Mad Max movies, in which laws cease not due to the
              "naturual" Anarchy of Utopians but instead due to wars and
              rebellions), then Nihilism is a valid theory. In fact, the entire
              "Left Behind" series becomes a sort of Nihilistic view of the future.
              (Religion supporting a Nihilistic view of humanity is curious, but
              remember that in their Christianity the Nihilism follows some sort of
              Rapture.)

              Existentialism is not Nihilism, nor nihilistic. Anarchy is not
              Nihilism, either, though I think there is some merit to the theory
              that Utopia is impossible and the real result would be nihilistic.

              Libertarianism (as opposed to the current "liberalism") is a reduction
              in government and order, but not the complete absence of order.
              Liberal (modern usage) and Conservative parties are not far apart in
              their desires for laws and order -- merely different power structures
              and oppressions.

              Nihilism is a valid concern, as a theory, if you have seen nations, or
              even inner-city regions, without laws and social order. Nihilism in
              academic theory is generally the notion that when social order is
              lost, men are not capable of recreating that order without a prolonged
              descent into choas. Eventually, in Nihilism, that choas becomes so
              great that there is no recovery.

              Existentialists tend to think some order will always be maintained.
              The attraction of Hegel (and critiques of Hegel) has marked
              Continental Philosophy -- Marx and Sartre on the Hegelian Left, for
              example, while still critical of Hegel in many ways.

              Curiously, existentialism also embraces the notion of suffering never
              being meaningfully removed from existence.

              A quote from a Catholic existentialist: Without the needy, there would
              be no need for Christian charity. Without the need for charity, there
              is no need for Christ... In a perfect world, we would not need faith.

              I might not be religious, but I really like that notion. It captures
              the essence of existentialism -- our suffering, our pain, our
              experiences are what make us human. They are what present us with the
              most important choices "to become" more.

              - C. S.


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            • George Walton
              Clark, That is a good point about folks who embrace Christianity or Liberalism or Conservativism or Marxism or Ojectivism or Anarchism or Judaism or Naturalism
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 2, 2003
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                Clark,

                That is a good point about folks who embrace Christianity or Liberalism or Conservativism or Marxism or Ojectivism or Anarchism or Judaism or Naturalism or Et Ceteraism. Their so-called Ethical and Political and Religious "Truths" are always relative to those who are willing to embrace them. This is why many point to these folks as the "real nihilists" because their teleological aggendas are ripped right out of the way in which human social interactions actually unfold out in the real world as an intertwining series of existential relationships.

                Human existence is always about becoming someone else. From day to day to day the increments, however, are generally so small as to be indiscernable. It is only as we age and look back into the past that most of us see the way in which our understanding of the world around us has changed. Then we have to rationalize that by convincing ourselves that, while we have, indeed, changed [sometimes dramatically] it is only because we have become wiser and have fianlly discovered or evolved into our "true self".

                Biggie

                Biggie

                summerz95 <summerz95@...> wrote:
                I have not read Hibbs' book, but from the quotations you gave, it
                appears that he is talking largely about moral relativism rather than
                nihilism. Seinfeld or Simpsons are about everyday insecurities and
                petty problems, and people who *care* about this stuff. This is not
                nihilism, which disdains all this day-to-day fuss and focuses on will
                to power instead.

                Regarding moral relativism, yes I agree it pervades everyone and
                everything. Only a few will honestly admit it though. Even the most
                stubborn moralists are also relativists because their made-up rules
                apply only to a limited set of people (who belong to one religion, one
                country, race, species, etc).

                Clark

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously" <iambiguously@y...>
                wrote:
                > From Thomas Hibbs' "Shows About Nothing" page 6 in p/b edition
                >
                > "...nihilistic premises pervade our popular culture, not just
                > through horror films and violent movies-of-the-week, but through the
                > most succesful sitcoms of the last decade, "The Simpsons"
                > and "Seinfeld". Is there perhaps some link between American
                > democracy and nihilism? Can our contemporary popular culture be seen
                > as drawing out the natural consequences of certain strains of
                > liberal individualism?...That thinkers as diverse as Friedrich
                > Nietzsche, Alexis de Tocqueville, T.S. Eliot and Hannah Arendt have
                > detected a subtle link between nihilism and certain forms of
                > democratic liberalism lends credibility to affirmative answers."
                >
                > First, of course, I note Hibbs standard, accredited APA rendition of
                > nihilism [which, by and large, overlaps with popular accounts, as
                > well] in references to "horror" and "violence". As though to embrace
                > nihilism was, ipso facto, to embrace these, in turn. Yet, while
                > nihilism can, indeed, unleash the beast [we are, after all, Naked
                > Apes, right?], it can also unleash the creative artist, the tendency
                > to embarce politcal moderation and the man and woman not content to
                > go the way of "civilization". And lest we forget, folks like Lenin
                > and Hitler and Mao did not construe their own political and
                > philosophical aggendas as nihilistic---on the contrary, Adolph
                > embraced My Kampf by wanting it to be Your Kampf, as well. And
                > Vladimir was not motivated to pursue the dictatorship of the
                > proletariat merely because he hungered for the "horror"
                > and "violence" of revolutionary upheavel. He embraced it, instead,
                > because he was a passionaite Marxist and genuinely believed he was
                > on the front lines of the class struggle. And would you call the
                > Capitalist ruling classes who have unleashed their global economy on
                > the world and brought with it a staggering toll of human suffering
                > and politcial repression, nihilists? Was Bush a nihilist when
                > invaded and occuppied Iraq? Is "The Simpsons" and "Seinfeld"
                > responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children wdo died
                > since the US forced the UN to impose sanctions on that country?
                > Consider: On May 12th, 1996 Lesley Stahl, from CBS's 60 Minutes was
                > interviewing Madeleine Albright: "More than 500,000 iraqi children
                > are already dead as a direct result of UN sanctions. Do you think
                > the price is worth paying?" Albright replied: "It is a difficult
                > question. But, yes, we think the price is worth it."
                >
                > Was Albright accused of being a nihilist for saying saomething like
                > that? No, she was not. Perhaps because she did admit that the death
                > of 500,000 children was, indeed, a "difflicult question".
                >
                > Secondly, although it may appear as though I am setting Hibbs up as
                > a strawman myself [in the way I construe him setting up The
                > Nihilist], I will state right upfront that his arguments are very
                > sophisticated, often quite compelling and definitely worth taking
                > very seriously. He is, after all, not an Ann Coutler or Robert Novak
                > or John Ashcroft. He is, instead, a professor of philosophy at
                > Boston College and I was enormously impressed with many of the
                > points he made.
                >
                > He is just discussing "nihilism" as that which I do not embrace
                > myself, at all.
                >
                > Biggie



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