It is of course no secret to contemporary philosophers and psychologists that man himself is changing in our violent century, under the influence, of course, not only of war and revolution, but also of practically everything else that lays claim to being "modern" and "progressive." We have already cited the most striking forms of Nihilist Vitalism, whose cumulative effect has been to uproot, disintegrate, and "mobilize" the individual, to substitute for his normal stability and rootedness a senseless quest for power and movement, and to replace normal human feeling by a nervous excitability. The work of Nihilist Realism, in practice as in theory, has been parallel and complementary to that of Vitalism: a work of standardization, specialization, simplification, mechanization, dehumanization; its effect has been to "reduce" the individual to the most "Primitive" and basic level, to make him in fact the slave of his environment, the perfect workman in Lenin's worldwide "factory.
Dalin must have whiffed the anarch in me, a man with no ties to state or society. Still, he was unable to sense an autonomy that puts up with these forces as objective facts but without recognizing them. What he lacked was a grounding in history. Opposition is collaboration; this was something from which Dalin, without realizing it, could not stay free. Basically, he damaged order less than he confirmed it. The emergence of the anarchic nihilist is like a goad that convinces society of its unity. The anarch, in contrast, not only recognizes society a priori as imperfect, he actually acknowledges it with that limitation. He is more or less repulsed by state and society, yet there are times and places in which the invisible harmony shimmers through the visible harmony. This is obviously chiefly in the work of art. In that case, one serves joyfully. But the anarchic nihilist thinks the exact opposite. The Temple of Artemis, to cite an example, would inspire him to commit arson. The anarch, however, would have no qualms about entering the temple in order to meditate and to participate with an offering. This is possible in any temple worthy of the name.
I am no nihilist. I am not even a cynic. I am, actually, rather romantic. And here's my idea of romance: You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it's tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you'll be old. And then you'll be dead.
Westerners think that all that is negative and positive is only caused from outside of themselves. They materialize and externalize their experiences, never understanding the connection between outer and inner phenomena or interdependent phenomena, looking for explanations only from objects through nihilist habit instead of from the subjective experience of their own minds.
My readers are surprisingly mixed. I have conservative readers - for instance, women with headscarves - but also many liberal, leftist, feminist, nihilist, environmentalist, and secularist readers. Next to those are mystics, agnostics, Kurds, Turks, Alevis, Sunnis, gays, housewives, and businesswomen.
The world has become sad because a puppet was once melancholy. The nihilist, that strange martyr who has no faith, who goes to the stake without enthusiasm, and dies for what he does not believe in, is a purely literary product. He was invented by Turgenev, and completed by Dostoevsky. Robespierre came out of the pages of Rousseau as surely as the People's Palace rose out debris of a novel. Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose.
You are putting yourself in serious danger... ' I think that I preferred to put myself in serious danger rather than confront my shame. My shame at not having become someone, the shame of not having made my parents proud after all the sacrifices they had made for me. The shame of having become a mediocre nihilist.
You are putting yourself in serious danger...' I think that I preferred to put myself in serious danger rather than confront my shame. My shame at not having become someone, the shame of not having made my parents proud after all the sacrifices they had made for me. The shame of having become a mediocre nihilist.
The man of the future who will redeem us not only from the hitherto reigning ideal but also from that which was bound to grow out of it, the great nausea, the will to nothingness, nihilism; this bell stroke of noon and of the great decision that liberates the will again and restores its goal to the earth and his hope to man; this Antichrist and anti-nihilist; this victor over God and nothingness - he must come one day.
I am no ecological Pollyana. I have borne, and will continue to bear, feelings of wholehearted melancholy over the ecological state of the earth. How could I not? How could anyone not? But I am unwilling to become a hand-wringing nihilist, as some environmental 'realists' seem to believe is the more mature posture. Instead, I choose to dwell, as Emily Dickinson famously suggested, in possibility, where we cannot predict what will happen but we make space for it, whatever it is, and realize that our participation has value. This is grown-up optimism, where our bondedness with the rest of creation, a sense of profound interaction, and a belief in our shared ingenuity give meaning to our lives and actions on behalf of the more-than-human world.
Lyanda Lynn Haupt
As far as you are able to gather from hints scattered through these letters, Apocryphal Power, riven by internecine battles and eluding the control of its founder, Ermes Marana, has broken into two groups: a sect of enlightened followers of the Archangel of Light and a sect of nihilist followers of the Archon of Shadow. The former are convinced that among the false books flooding the world they can track down the few that bear a truth perhaps extrahuman or extraterrestrial. The latter believe that only counterfeiting, mystification, intentional falsehood can represent absolute value in a book, a truth not contaminated by the dominant pseudo truths.
My interest in Sufism began when I was a college student. At the time, I was a rebellious young woman who liked to wrap several shawls of '-isms' around her shoulders: I was a leftist, feminist, nihilist, environmentalist, anarcho-pacifist... I wasn't interested in any religion and the difference between 'religiosity' and 'spirituality' was lost to me. Having spent some time of my childhood with a loving grandmother with many superstitions and beliefs, I had a sense the world was not composed of solely material things and there was more to life than I could see. But the truth is, I wasn't interested in understanding the world. I only wanted to change it.
It was sometimes feebly argued, as the political and military war against this enemy ran into difficulties, that it was 'a war without end.' I never saw the point of this plaintive objection. The war against superstition and the totalitarian mentality is an endless war. In protean forms, it is fought and refought in every country and every generation. In bin Ladenism we confront again the awful combination of the highly authoritarian personality with the chaotically nihilist and anarchic one. Temporary victories can be registered against this, but not permanent ones. As Bertold Brecht's character says over the corpse of the terrible Arturo Ui, the bitch that bore him is always in heat. But it is in this struggle that we develop the muscles and sinews that enable us to defend civilization, and the moral courage to name it as something worth fighting for.
Tegularius was a willful, moody person who refused to fit into his society. Every so often he would display the liveliness of his intellect. When highly stimulated he could be entrancing; his mordant wit sparkled and he overwhelmed everyone with the audacity and richness of his sometimes somber inspirations. But basically he was incurable, for he did not want to be cured; he cared nothing for co-ordination and a place in the scheme of things. He loved nothing but his freedom, his perpetual student status, and preferred spending his whole life as the unpredictable and obstinate loner, the gifted fool and nihilist, to following the path of subordination to the hierarchy and thus attaining peace. He cared nothing for peace, had no regard for the hierarchy, hardly minded reproof and isolation. Certainly he was a most inconvenient and indigestible component in a community whose idea was harmony and orderliness. But because of this very troublesomeness and indigestibility he was, in the midst of such a limpid and prearranged little world, a constant source of vital unrest, a reproach, an admonition and warning, a spur to new, bold, forbidden, intrepid ideas, an unruly, stubborn sheep in the herd.
In 1965, a psychologist named Martin Seligman started shocking dogs. He was trying to expand on the research of Pavlov-the guy who could make dogs salivate when they heard a bell ring. Seligman wanted to head in the other direction, and when he rang his bell, instead of providing food, he zapped the dogs with electricity. To keep them still, he restrained them in a harness during the experiment. After they were conditioned, he put these dogs in a big box with a little fence dividing it into two halves. He figured if the dog rang the bell, it would hop over the fence to escape, but it didn't. It just sat there and braced itself. They decided to try shocking the dog after the bell. The dog still just sat there and took it. When they put a dog in the box that had never been shocked before or had previously been allowed to escape and tried to zap it-it jumped the fence. You are just like these dogs. If, over the course of your life, you have experienced crushing defeat or pummeling abuse or loss of control, you convince yourself over time that there is no escape, and if escape is offered, you will not act-you become a nihilist who trusts futility above optimism. Studies of the clinically depressed show that they often give in to defeat and stop trying... Any extended period of negative emotions can lead to you giving in to despair and accepting your fate. If you remain alone for a long time, you will decide loneliness is a fact of life and pass up opportunities to hang out with people. The loss of control in any situation can lead to this state... Choices, even small ones, can hold back the crushing weight of helplessness, but you can't stop there. You must fight back your behavior and learn to fail with pride. Failing often is the only way to ever get the things you want out of life. Besides death, your destiny is not inescapable.