Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [existlist] Re: Nihilism and "democratic liberalism"

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 6 , Oct 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      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.


      Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT

      Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
      (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

      TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
      existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


      ---------------------------------
      Do you Yahoo!?
      The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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 2 of 6 , Oct 1, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        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.


        Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT

        Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
        (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

        TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
        existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


        ---------------------------------
        Do you Yahoo!?
        The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


        Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT

        Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
        (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

        TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
        existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



        ---------------------------------
        Do you Yahoo!?
        The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • 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 3 of 6 , Oct 2, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          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



          Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT

          Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
          (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

          TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
          existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


          ---------------------------------
          Do you Yahoo!?
          The New Yahoo! Shopping - with improved product search

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.