Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless
& that nothing can be known or communicated.
The idea is that life is meaningless and has no
intrinsic value.
It is often associated with extreme pessimism &
the radical skepticism that condemns existence.
A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no
loyalties, & no purpose other than the impulse to
"Nihilism" comes from the Latin “nihil”,
or nothing. It appears in the verb
"annihilate," meaning to bring to nothing, to
destroy completely.
There is often a distinction made between
ontological nihilism (the metaphysical claim
about the nothingness of reality) and
existential nihilism (makes claims about the
lack of meaning in human existence).
It is guided by the rejection of objective
moral values and the hope of the eternal.
Essentially, it is guided by the
rejection of PLATO’s Idealism!
While few philosophers would claim
to be nihilists, the movement is most
often associated with Friedrich
Nietzsche (1844-1900), who argued
that its corrosive effects would
eventually destroy all moral,
religious & metaphysical convictions,
precipitating the greatest crisis in
human history.
“God is dead. God
remains dead. And we
have killed him.“
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
The death of God is a way of saying that humans are no
longer able to believe in any such cosmic order since they
themselves no longer recognize it.
The death of God will lead, Nietzsche says, not only to the
rejection of a belief of cosmic or physical order but also to a
rejection of absolute values themselves — to the rejection of
belief in an objective and universal moral law, binding upon
all individuals.
In this manner, the loss of an absolute basis for morality
leads to nihilism.
This nihilism is what Nietzsche worked to find a solution for
by re-evaluating the foundations of human values. This
meant, to Nietzsche, looking for foundations that went deeper
than Christian values. He would find a basis in the "will to
power" that he described as "the essence of reality.“
Others are the French existentialist
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and
Albert Camus (1913-1960).
Both Sartre and Camus were affected
by the catastrophic world wars.
The two of them proposed the utter
hopelessness of life.
Camus compared life to the Greek myth of
Sisyphus who was eternally condemned by the
gods to push a heavy ball up a slope, only to
have them kick back down... rendering all of
Sisyphus’s actions pointless and useless… a
quintessential Nihilist point of view.
Sartre suggested that there was no purpose to
the “accident” of human existence.
This is the nihilist that has quit trying
to push the rock up the hill.
 Life has continued to give him lemons,
and spat out his lemonade.
 So, the passive nihilist “floats” through
life, doing nothing, because…what’s the
 Life is random: it doles out bad things
to good people and good things to bad
According to Nietzsche: