Simple acts of subversion work

Vigilantes have thwarted speed traps across three continents over the past two weeks. In south Essex, UK a speed camera located next to Canvey Fire Station was set alight with a gasoline-soaked tire. The £40,000 (US $60,000) device on Long Road in Canvey was destroyed, despite its proximity to firefighters who eventually managed to put out the blaze. Just one week before another camera was torched on the A127 in Southend bringing the total number of south Essex cameras destroyed in the past year-and-a-half to eight, according to the Echo newspaper.

In Queensland, Australia, members of the public grew outraged over a plan to install a new laser-based speed camera technology designed to be hidden behind bushes. During testing of the device on the Maroondah Highway in Croydon on November 5, vigilantes covered the camera in spray paint. On November 15, a three citizens tied a chain to the replacement camera and tore it from the ground with their white Subaru station wagon, according to the Herald Sun newspaper. Police have run out of replacements.

In Scott Township, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, vigilantes grabbed speed trap equipment from the side of the road at around 3:45pm. Officer Joseph Gillott was using an Enradd speed measuring system on Route 347 that day. After finishing writing a ticket to a motorist, Gillott turned around to find that one of his Enradd sensors was gone

The Newspaper

We either have cooperation, or control.

Cooperation requires rational people with rational desires. Control allows you to live “I wanna do only what I wanna do,” but there’s going to be rules to keep the mob within the barriers. Cooperation means you have a nice society; control means the clock over your head is ticking down to third world, authoritarian status.

When you’re in a control society, direct revolution gets you branded a Commie or a Nazi and thrown in jail.

But retarding the Nanny State and its sister, the Police State, can occur through creative but simple everyday acts that make it want to move from your local area to another. Let it find a place where the inhabitants are so clueless they deserve abuse.

This enforces natural selection on the police state in turn, meaning that communities with a clue rise above ghetto-ridden, investigation-blighted, downward-heading places.

Why Britain is failing

BRITISH men and women are now the most promiscuous of any big western industrial nation, researchers have found.

In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

The researchers behind the study say high scores such as Britain’s may be linked to the way society is increasingly willing to accept sexual promiscuity among women as well as men. They also believe that, among certain age groups and at certain times, men and women are equally liberal.

The Times

Good European liberals hate this, and American evangelicals love it, but I’m going to say it anyway because in my experience it’s the truth:

    A lot of sexual partners =

  • You can’t make up your mind.
  • Family, friendship and love are not sacred to you.
  • You have low self-esteem.
  • You are more likely to be a conniving bitch or bastard.
  • Fewer sexual partners, or even only one for life =

  • You make up your mind and take a firm stand.
  • You back up your ideals with action.
  • Family, friendship and love — as well as life itself — are sacred to you.
  • You are more likely to be conservative personally but generous, sincere, earnest and forthright.

Again, this is in my experience.

There are exceptions — if you’ve been raped as a child, or otherwise sexually abused before age 8, you will be promiscuous until your 40s when you start to figure yourself out. Otherwise, there are no exceptions.

Many people like to think “oh well I‘m an exception” but statistically it’s very unlikely.

See also Are you first world, or third world, in bed?

The best anti-Macintosh rant ever

1984 – The Mac is friendly, it’s the future, lalalala. Reality: 128k machine with 4 pieces of known software.

1987 – The Mac is more efficient than IBM PCs, it’s the future. Reality: It’s four times as expensive and people quickly learn Windows.

1995 – The Mac is a better operating system than Windows, it’s the future. Reality: holding down the mouse button suspends the entire operating system.

2000 – The Mac is superior, it uses PowerPC chips and custom hardware. Reality: it’s slower and Apple starts making Intel boxes.

2008 – The Mac is superior, it’s “green.” Reality: it’s still a hunk of plastic you chuck in the landfill, and being made by the world’s most neurotic computer company, it’s more likely to break.

I used to believe in Apple; eventually I saw that, like most things hyping “hope” and “change,” they were marketers and not revolutionaries. They sold a lie.

/.

People who buy Macs are like people who bought Chryslers because Mercedes briefly owned the company. They need a cause. We should just set them up with gloves and trash bags and have them scour North America for litter.

Hollywood does not share our moral values, Say Americans

Woe to all from abroad who think Hollywood “equals” America… or reality, in any form.

A majority of Americans say Hollywood doesn’t share their moral values, according to a poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League.

– 61% of respondents agree that “religious values are under attack in this country,” while 36% disagree with that statement.

– 43% said that Hollywood and the national media are waging an organized campaign to “weaken the influence of religious values in this country.”

– 63% disagree with the statement that “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” while only 22% agree with that point. When ADL conducted its first survey on anti-Semitic attitudes, in 1964, nearly half of the respondents believed that the television and film industries were run by Jews.

– Nearly 40% support the notion that “dangerous ideas should be banned from public school libraries,” and nearly the same number disagree with the statement that “censoring books is an old-fashioned idea.”

– Nearly half of those surveyed — 49% — believe that the United States is becoming “too tolerant in its acceptance of different ideas and lifestyles; 47% disagree with that statement.

HWRP

They’ve sold you on a pluralism, and only now are you realizing what that means: no central culture or values, only different flavors. Want to try being evangelical today? How about anal bondage? Mere sanity is not an option. Get freaky or get reactionary.

The anti-Semitism data is interesting.

At the heart of my research and theory is the “Social Intuitionist Model,” which lays out an account of how moral reasoning and moral emotions work together to produce moral judgments. In brief, the model says that moral judgments are like aesthetic judgments — we make them quickly and intuitively. We know what is right and wrong in much the same way we know what is beautiful. When called on to explain ourselves we make up reasons after the fact. Moral reasoning does affect judgment, but this happens primarily in between people, as they talk, gossip, and argue (hence the “social” part of the model). The model lays out the beginning of a theory in which five innate psychological systems form the foundation of “intuitive ethics,” but each culture constructs its own sets of virtues on top of these foundations. The current American culture war can be seen as arising from the fact that Liberals try to create a morality using only the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity modules; conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all five modules, including Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity. (See publications marked [MP] below). I strive for a complete explanation of morality, including its evolutionary origins, brain basis, development within cultural context, and cognitive mechanisms. I have been particularly interested in moral judgments about harmless yet offensive situations, often involving sexuality or food taboos, for these topics allow us to see moral judgments that cannot be said to be about protecting innocent victims.

Jonathan Haidt

Haidt tracks moral diversity and posits that when a society is more than 20% of a differing morality — whatever the majority morality and minority moralities are does not matter — it runs the risk of disintegrating.

This is apropos because if the most powerful media regime in history differs from its people on morality, it becomes an effort to dominate and control them with its morality — some would say that’s the counterculture.

Getting mature and realistic about history

I have come to really enjoy Ron Rosenbaum’s reality-based critiques of history. Unlike the emotionally out-of-control people who bloviate on historical topics, he tends to stick to the facts and realistic interpretations. I think if we approach politics and history with this viewpoint, it becomes less of this baffling array of wildly divergent opinions that are basically products — designed to be “unique” enough to merit their fifteen minutes of e-fame.

Isn’t it obvious by now what this is about? Our need to prove that Hitler was not “normal,” thus not like us, normal human nature thereby exculpated from producing a Hitler. It fills a need to reassure ourselves there is no Hitler potential in human potential. We’re off the hook.

{ snip }

Downfall purports to offer the “inside story” of the last days of Hitler in his Berlin bunker and implicitly makes the case that the Holocaust wasn’t the fault of the German people—no, they were victims, too!—but rather of one man, Hitler, and the small coterie of madmen and evil women surrounding him. Nothing to do with Germany’s eager reception of exterminationist anti-Semitism.

{ snip }

There’s no excuse now for this incessant dwelling on Hitler’s sexuality, as if it tells us anything about the true nature of his evil. No, all the obsession can tell us about is the way the culture as a whole exhibits a refusal to face the profundity and complexity of evil and instead—with some honorable exceptions—prefers to escape responsibility for Hitler and the Holocaust by blaming it all on ludicrously unserious and ahistorical sexual mythologies, and the Freudian-influenced notion that all behavior has a sexual explanation at heart.

Slate

I’ve always thought it was stupid to blame Hitler’s acts on his upbringing, medical issues, sexuality, or anything but his thought. He was an autonomous being like ourselves; even more, he was acting on what he thought was the right thing to do, just like today’s green and civil rights activists, as Will Smith tried to tell us:

In a story published Saturday in the Daily Record, Smith was quoted saying: “Even Hitler didn’t wake up [saying], ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’ “

The quote was preceded by the writer’s observation: “Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good.”

CNN

Interpreting this one level further:

It’s stupid to blame the German people at all.

The forces of history created an opportunity, and Hitler fulfilled it.

WWI had forced upon people a dislike of the nation-state and the empires that, inspired by colonial wealth, formed alliances against one another to jockey for dominion of Europe.

The threat of disunity in a time for national unity made outsiders like Jews a target. They, after all, were not of the heritage, religion, language and some would say values of native Germans.

As Theodor Herzl, a Jew and Zionist, pointed out:

The Jewish question persists wherever Jews live in appreciable numbers. Wherever it does not exist, it is brought in together with Jewish immigrants. We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution. This is the case, and will inevitably be so, everywhere, even in highly civilised countries—see, for instance, France—so long as the Jewish question is not solved on the political level. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.

In other words, until there was a Jewish nation with a fixed geographical boundary — like Israel — Jews would always be subject to anti-Semitism, because they would always be outsiders in a world of nation-states.

While many leftists think the answer is multiculturalism, there is zero historical evidence to show multiculturalism can exist for long, and in the long term, it seems to do nothing but help dying cultures collapse inward.

A better solution is Zionism, so that Jews are always protected within a homeland. Of course, the left opposes this and the right is divided over the issue, so I always get in trouble when I say it, but it seems to me the obviously best way to prevent against future Holocausts.

Some philosophical tidbits

The main principle of Pyrrho’s thought is expressed by the word acatalepsia, which connotes the ability to withhold assent from doctrines regarding the truth of things in their own nature; against every statement its contradiction may be advanced with equal justification. Secondly, it is necessary in view of this fact to preserve an attitude of intellectual suspense, or, as Timon expressed it, no assertion can be known to be better than another. Thirdly, Pyrrho applied these results to life in general, concluding that, since nothing can be known, the only proper attitude is ataraxia, “freedom from worry”. (“By suspending judgment, by confining oneself to phenomena or objects as they appear, and by asserting nothing definite as to how they really are, one can escape the perplexities of life and attain an imperturbable peace of mind.”)

The Mob’s Encyclopedia-analogue

Sounds a lot like a nihilist.

Conservatives agree that history is the appropriate starting point, but some of them believe that it is not a contingent fact that certain political arrangements have historically fostered good lives, while others have been detrimental to them. Conservatives who believe this think that there is a deeper explanation for the historical success or failure of various arrangements. There is a moral order in reality, political arrangements that conform to this order foster good lives, those that conflict with it are bound to make lives worse. These conservatives are committed to a “belief about the nature and scope of rational understanding, which, on the one hand, confines it to the promulgation of abstract general propositions and, on the other hand, extends its relevance to the whole of human life – a doctrine which may be called ‘rationalism’. And there is as much difference between rational enquiry and ‘rationalism’ as there is between scientific enquiry and ‘scientism’, and it is a difference of the same kind. Moreover, it is important that a writer who wishes to contest the excessive claims of ‘rationalism’ should observe the difference, because if he fails to do so he will not only be liable to self-contradiction (for his argument will itself be nothing if it is not rational), but also he will make himself appear the advocate of irrationality, which is going further than he either needs or intends to go.”2

Rationalistically inclined conservatives are willing to learn from history, but only because history points beyond itself toward more fundamental considerations. That these considerations center on a moral order is agreed to by all of them. But they nevertheless disagree whether the order is providential, as it is held to be by various religions; or a Platonic chain of being at whose pinnacle is the Form of the Good; or the Hegelian unfolding of the dialectic of clashing forces culminating in the final unity of reason and action; or the one reflected by natural law, which, if adhered to, would remove all obstacles from the path of realizing the purpose inherent in human nature; or some further possibility.

John Kekes

A Platonic conservatism; intelligent.

For the man who has once stooped to consider such questions, and to reckon up the value of external things, is not far from forgetting what manner of man he is. Why, what is it that you ask me? Is death preferable, or life? I reply, Life. Pain or pleasure? I reply, Pleasure.”

“Well, but if I do not act, I shall lose my head.”

“Then go and act! But for my part I will not act.”

“Why?”

“Because you think yourself but one among the many threads which make up the texture of the doublet. You should aim at being like men in general—just as your thread has no ambition either to be anything distinguished compared with the other threads. But I desire to be the purple—that small and shining part which makes the rest seem fair and beautiful. Why then do you bid me become even as the multitude? Then were I no longer the purple.”

Epictetus

I believe in tragedies… and I believe in aesthetics as a guide. Nature is logical; what is beautiful is most often good. And an action matters more an an idealistic sense, of its contribution to this order, than in a material sense.

Human beings exist in a meaningful world. When we use terms such as “mind” and “mental” we are referring to some aspect of this world. But this is not something internal, locked away inside a physical body. Think of a painting by Picasso: the famous “Guernica,” perhaps. How do we understand and appreciate this? The type of pigment is important, as are the brushstrokes used. So too are the colours and the shapes of the figures. But to understand what the painting means and the genius of its creator we reach beyond the canvas itself to the context in which it was created. This entails historical, political, cultural, and personal dimensions. Without engaging with its context, we could never appreciate “Guernica” as a work of genius. Its meaning does not reside in the pigment or the canvas but in the relation between these and the world in which it was created and now exists. Similarly, we will never be able to understand the various elements of our mental life such as thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and values if we think of them as located inside the brain. Trying to grasp the meaningful reality of sadness, alienation, obsession, fear, and madness by looking at scans or analysing biochemistry is like trying to understand a painting by looking at the canvas without reference to its wider world.

BMJ

In other words, context defines meaning by defining the tokens of meaning.

Meaning is a response to reality, not an abstraction independent of it.

So when we look for meaning, we look for things that effect changes in the context of ultimate existence that we call reality.

Philosophy rediscovers de-ontological morality

The aretaic turn is a movement in contemporary moral philosophy and ethics to emphasize character and human excellence or virtue, as opposed to moral rules or consequences.

The Mob’s Encyclopedia-analogue

As usual, with Wikipedia, you get the people who have nothing better to do filling in the blanks, so you get the C+ papers repeated as “fact.” They get part of everything right and they’re so convenient, so we all rely on them at some point or another.

In this case, they partially understand something. Let’s look at another one of their kwalitee “definitions”:

Deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek δέον, deon, “obligation, duty”; and -λογία, -logia) is an approach to ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of intentions or motives behind action such as respect for rights, duties, or principles, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions.

The Mob’s Encyclopedia-analogue

What this and the “aretaic turn” have in common is this:

The idea that there’s a right way to do things that exists outside of rules and measurement of public opinion, or condemnation if a good idea goes wrong. For example, you often get punished for doing the right thing, because others prefer that we all do the wrong thing, so that way their wrongs don’t get noticed as much.

Keeping an abstract goal is always good; it makes even more sense if it includes a natural correspondence to reality, which is why their definition of de-ontological morality is flaky. The idea is to do what’s right and not what’s convenient, or socially defined as right. And that is the hidden truth between the lines of these wackypedia entries.

Nihilism: in search of a working definition

Nihilism

I’ve always defined nihilism not as “believing in nothing” but “not believing in the value of anything.” Subtle difference. You can’t not believe in reality and exist for long. You can however claim, like the Russian nihilists did, that nothing has any meaning and you might as well just do whatever. Then there’s the Vijay Prozak definition, which is that we should just do away with belief in judgments made by others, and stick to strict logic and the clear differences between stupid and genius actions.

Nihilism, in my view, is the removal of all value to things except what I will call the inherent, leaving that term for later definition. When people wail about Satan, or the war against terrorism, or the great quest for equality, you can look those straight in the eye and say, “These have no value except what we impose upon them.” By the same token, when people tell you how important it is to see the latest movie, go to that exclusive party, or own a fancy car, you can similarly dismiss the concerns. Nihilism is a removal of all except the inherent.

It is a gateway philosophy, as I see it, meaning that it is the initial realization on a course of learning. In contrast to the “devotional” philosophies such as Christianity, where all who come and recite an oath are considered to have received wisdom, the philosophies of life that are not a charade embrace esoteric views. Esotericism says that wisdom comes to those who seek it, and in varying degrees; there is no magic threshold to cross after which one can write the holy sign on one’s forehead and be considered knowledgeable. Infinite learning and infinite potential pitfalls instead await. When one embraces nihilism, one has undertaken the first step of this initiation, by removing all value externally imposed, including by other humans. Herein begins discovery.

Nihilism

He also tries to define it elsewhere:

Rejection of all inherent value frees us from a fascination with both materialism and moralism. These beliefs assert that what exists has ultimate value, and therefore that it is an end in itself and not a means to a life process. Nihilism asserts the opposite, and thus begins a path which leads us past fear of death to a heroic worldview.

In a diseased time, such as the current era, the individual is constantly assaulted by a barrage of imaginary reality, including morality, politics, economics and social factors. Any mind which wishes to become aware beyond this barrage must find a persistent means of removing this, and the best method is nihilism: denying all value except the meaning of experience and outcome.

{ snip }

Most belief systems operate by establishing some form of “objective” linear truth by which adherents must abide, and thus proscribe nihilism as a destruction of all that holds such belief systems together. The proper name for this form of belief system is politics, as it operates by inducement and coercion to create uniform behavior among a disparity of people.

{ snip }

From the point of view of such systems, there are two realms for the human individual, the subjective (mind) and objective (body), so divided because the subjective is limited wholly to the perceptions of the individual, and the objective to physically verifiable events such as the realm in which the body exists.

The derivation of truth, and attainment of goals in the language of truth, is a process of uniting mind and body that transcends subject/object division. These perceptions are not objective in that they originate and end in the individual, but are stimulated by and acted upon within objective space. The individual, and its thoughts, are part of the mechanism of life.

For this reason, moral distinctions such as “mind your own business” and “thou shalt not kill” are meaningless, since they presuppose the barrier between subject and object, and mind and body, to be absolute.

{ snip }

In the modern (post-liberal) view, at this point humanity would diverge into as many different goalsets as exist individuals, but to an idealist, because all values are based on adaptation to the same objective reality, what is present are many viewpoints with the same basic values interpreted according to the ability of each individual.

“Rationality” is a word used to express the degree of correspondence between an intended course of action (mind) and its consequences (body). Much as a highly refined mind can describe the structure of an idea, or predict the results of an experiment, or throw an unhittable pitch, rationality varies with intelligence, experience and discipline of the individual.

This line of thought shows the idealist how there is only one reality, often called “ultimate” reality, based in the physical world, including the workings of each mind with its specific degree of rationality. It is known to us through metaphor, meaning the consistency of its operation according to abstract rulesets, and therefore whether its mechanism is mind or body is irrelevant; its operation can be measured and predicted without knowing its composition.

Love and Nihilism

In this piece, he differentiates between human judgments which are subjective and designs, patterns, mechanisms which are objective. His point is that a nihilist reduces the value of everything so he can re-assess it all, saving the latter and pitching out the former.

Interestingly, this piece also describes nihilism as an esoteric philosophy. It’s a gateway to other ideas that removes the human illusion, lets us see “ultimate reality,” and then see how the world is mind-correlative or “idealistic,” (see The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, whose entry for “idealism” is excellent). Then, the logic goes, once we’ve seen that physical reality and thoughts use the same abstract organizational system — what Plato refers to as “forms” since they are neither material, nor judgment, but composed of matter and recognized by judgment — we become realists, or those who see reality and want to make it function on its own terms, because we realize that addressing reality on anything except its own terms is delusional activity.

One more aspect of the Prozakhian definition:

Nihilism remains one of the most controversial topics of the modern era, for a good reason: science has supported a form of nihilism by steadily revealing more of the underpinning behind natural processes, making things that once seemed to be unique objects appear as a collaboration of different effects. Slowly the post-animist ideas of the things we refer to with nouns being unique and of a consistent content are being exposed as structures of granular objects intersecting according to natural laws and constraints. This process threatens many of the social and emotional constructs used commonly in human society with a destabilization based not in the threat to the concept in question, but to the concept archetype from which those concepts emerge.

Despite this recent condition, nihilism is an eternal question in the human experience. As the definition above illustrates, there is a split in the meaning of the word. The most common meaning in our current society is a conflation of the lack of inherent value with a fatalism and aimlessness in intellectual choice-making; the second meaning is one in which an epistemological sandblaster is applied to all new input to remove social, mental, moral, emotional and political conditioning from the meaning, perception and differentiation of objects. It is the second meaning in which the word is used here, since fatalism and passivity are so well known as separate phenomena there is no need to confuse them with what can be revealed as a separate phenomena.

{ snip }

As research probes further into the complexities of the human mind, it becomes clear that the mind is far from being a composite thing which is an actor upon its world through thoughts; rather, thoughts compose the mind, in the form of connections and associations wired into the tissue of the brain, creating circuitry for future associations of like stimulus. The schematic of this intellectual machine builds separate routing for situations it is likely to encounter, based on grouped similarities in events or objects. In this view of our computing resources, it is foolish to allow pre-processing to intervene, as it creates vast amounts of wiring which serve extremely similar purposes, thus restricting the range of passive association (broad-mindedness) or active association (creativity) possible within the switching mechanism of the brain as a whole.

{ snip }

The “positive” effects of nihilism on the mind of a human being are many. Like the quieting of distraction and distortion within the mind brought about by meditative focus, nihilism pushes aside preconception and brings the mind to focus within the time of the present. Influences which could radically skew our perceptions – emotions, nervousness, paranoia, or upset, to name a few – fade into the background and the mind becomes more open to the task at hand without becoming spread across contemplations of potential actions occurring at different levels of scale regarding the current task. Many human errors originate in perceiving an event to be either more important than it is, or to be “symbolically” indicative of relevance on a greater scale than the localized context which it affects, usually because of a conditioned preference for the scale of eventiture existing before the symbolic event.

Nihilism as a philosophical doctrine must not be confused with a political doctrine such as anarchism; political doctrines (as religions are) remain fundamentally teleological in their natures and thus deal with conclusions derived from evidence, where nihilism as a deontological process functions at the level of the start of perception, causing less of a focus on abstracting a token ruleset defining the implications of events than a rigorous concentration on the significance of the events as they are immediately effecting the situation surrounding them. For example, a nihilistic fighter does not bother to assess whether his opponent is a better fighter or not that the perceiving agency, but fights to his best ability (something evolution would reward, as the best fighter does not win every fight, only most of them). As a result of this conditioning, nihilism separates the incidence of events/perceptions from causal understanding by removing expectations of causal origins and implications to ongoing eventiture.

This may seem like a minor detail; it is. However, it remains a detail overlooked by the Judeo-Christian “Western” nations, and as a result, our cognitive systems are bound up in conditioned preconception and moral preprocessing, separating us all too often from a pragmatic recognition of the course of change brought about by events, and thus hamstringing our ability to give these events context in processing. Consequently, forms of social and political manipulation remain unchecked because to people conditioned in this form of perceptual preprocessing, the error of this poor mental hygiene is not only invisible but essential for cognitive process.

Nihilism

And then there’s the (related) site Nihil.org which has this definitional spectrum:

Nihilism is the theory that meaning beyond the immanent is irrelevant.

Nihilism is the foundation of objectivism. Through removing external value one sees what is actually there, which, given the workings of the universe, has equal value and is thus equally impermanent.

Nihilism is beauty.

The brand of nihilism that we advocate is not merely a flippant rejection of societal norms or an angry reaction caused by being powerless under the weight of a capitalistic society whose leaders alone determine values, potentials and human futures based on their economic reward to those in power. Rather, our nihilism is a cautious and studied result in which every value asserted by society has been inspected and has never failed to ring hollow.

Nihil

So that’s how nihilism is defined in Prozakhistan. What are other definitions?

Wikipedia

Although this dictionary is notoriously plagiarized from the research notes of graduate students and blighted by basement-dwellers, they offer a very generic and plodding definition:

Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position that argues that existence is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Nihilists generally assert that objective morality does not exist, and that no action is logically preferable to any other in regard to the moral value of one action over another.

Wikipedia

This conflicts with the Prozakhian definition in two ways:

  1. Nihilism does not deny existence is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value; it denies that existence is without anthrocentric “objective” (subjective, moral judgment) meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value (moral value, from moral judgments). Nihilism denies the should/ought in favor of the is/could be.
  2. While the article makes a good point that nihilists deny that any action is morally preferrable to another, the big point that it misses is that nihilists deny morality (should/ought) in favor of practicality. Nihilists can believe in the value of life so long as it is not anchored in human judgments, but in logic and immanent values (Platonic forms).

Wikibloviation continues:

Nietzsche noted the “death of God” and the atrophy of traditional absolutist morality in his time. However, he never advocated nihilism as a practical mode of living and was typically quite critical of what he described as the more dangerous nihilism, the rejection of the material world in favor of a nonexistent “heaven”.[7][6] His later work displays a preoccupation with nihilism.

Nietzsche characterized nihilism as emptying the world and especially human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. He hints that nihilism can become a false belief, when it leads individuals to discard any hope of meaning in the world and thus to invent some compensatory alternate measure of significance. Nietzsche used the phrase ‘Christians and other nihilists’, which is consistent with Christianity in general as Nietzsche describes nihilism, though as nihilism is now commonly construed, Christian philosophy is its opposite.

God, as separate from material life, was what replaced the traditional morality, which was a form of moral attention and not a moral binary, mirroring dualism of heaven and earth, of good and evil.

The word nihilists use for Nietzsche’s nihilism is “fatalism,” meaning people who believe life is pointless and need to reward themselves with little uplifts: pity, material rewards, religious promises, political identities. Fatalists are common and show up in just about all forms.

We could divide nihilism into two categories:

  1. Negative Nihilism: Removal of all value, including the ability to have value.
  2. Positive Nihilism: Removal of all non-inherent valuations (judgments, categories, social logic) so that immanent values can be perceived and reconstructed.

Positive nihilism is found in agnostic, atheist, Hindu, Buddhist and pagan value systems.

Counter-Order

Freydis at counterorder.com offers us another view of nihilism:

We so need the lie drug.

The collective desperation for myth is palpable… send us a savior to correct our behavior!

Anyone who can live without the lie drug is a true nihilist. A nihilist can interface reality with all its beauty and unpleasant consequences with their personal sense of the tangible because the two are the same.

Freydis

The search for collective myth, in the Joseph Campbell sense, is a cornerstone of postmodernism. People cannot connect the past to the future, so have no idea what to do in the present.

I think what Freydis is describing, however, is what Prozakhians would refer to as “social reality,” or the network of social half-truths we use to describe reality in quasi-euphemism, hiding that which threatens the human individual so we can all just get along. It’s formed of good intentions; it has the worst results, like all good intentions not mated to hard, scientific-philosophical reality.

History of Political Philosophy

Nihilism has both a metaphysical and a moral meaning. Metaphysically, it means that nothing is, i.e., not that there is absolutely nothing, which would be absurd, but that there is no unchanging ground, no eternal God or Being such as the Western tradition since Plato has imagined to underlie the flux of experience. Thus, the innumerable things that according to our experience so evidently “are,” in fact only seem to be and are actually constantly changing, constantly becoming something other than what they are in a chaotic and utterly unpredictable way. Without some unchanging ground or foundation to this flux, however, it is difficult to see how truth, justice, and morality are possible.

- Michael Gillespie, from “Martin Heidegger” in the History of Political Philosophy 3rd ed. pg. 888-889
AK

Postmodernism, after all, is the search for a narrative. In this flux, we have no center — like the sun rotating around the earth — on which to base our need for morality and truth, justice, etc.

Of course, we could just look at nature, see how it works, and then state our preference for which of the possible outcomes to our actions we would prefer. We might even find a “meta-value” better than truth, justice and morality.

Turgenev

“That comes from the Latin nihil, ‘nothing,’ so far as I can judge; consequently that word designates a man who who recognizes nothing.”

“Say, ‘who respects nothing,’ ” put in Pavel Petrovitch, and devoted himself once more to his butter.

“Who treats everything from a critical point of view,” remarked Arkady.

“And isn’t that exactly the same thing? ” inquired Pavel Petrovitch.

“No, it is not exactly the same thing. A Nihilist is a man who does not bow before any authority whatever, who does not accept a single principle on faith, with whatever respect that principle may be environed.”

“And dost thou think that is a good thing? ” interrupted Pavel Petrovitch.

“That depends on who it is, dear uncle. It is all right for one man and very bad for another.”

“You don’t say so. Well, I see that that is not in our line. We people of the old school assume that without principles it is impossible to take a step or breathe. . . . We shall content ourselves, therefore, with admiring these gentlemen — what do you call them? “

” Nihilists,” replied Arkady, with distinctness.

SHSU

A very basic definition. I like the statement of relativity (not relativism): “it is all right for one man, and very bad for another.”

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The venerable Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy shows us another aspect:

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.

{ snip }

Early in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Jacobi used the word to negatively characterize transcendental idealism.

IEP

Wait, transcendental idealism? Where did we last hear of that… oh, it’s what Vijay Prozak was endorsing. Why was he doing that? Because transcendental idealism, like Plato’s cave-dwellers seeing sunlight for the first time, is a scientific form of transcendentalism, one that denies values in favor of looking at reality itself, adapting to that reality, and finding beauty within it instead of projecting beauty or the human form upon it — and thus requiring its destruction (dominance of nature leading to ecocide).

Their definition is partially correct. All values are baseless — unless corresponding to reality. And here we come full circle with our definition of nihilism: in a dying time, when values are bad and have become divorced from reality, nihilism is like the wolves that gather to carry away the weak and diseased, to slaughter the unwary and oblivious, and in general to do horrible things to individuals that strengthen the population as a whole.

Clearly humanity — with seven billion people, and only a half billion capable of an occasional clear thought or sincere intention — needs nihilism now and urgently.

Freedom’s just another word… for commerce

For 20 years the Brownies have spread their festive cheer in the Marlowes Centre, aimed principally at the elderly and disabled. But this year there is a new tree and more mobile trade stalls, so the carols have had to be sacrificed.

It is increasingly apparent that ‘health and safety’ legislation is becoming a hazard to British customs, traditions and heritage. It contains the ‘catch-all’ regulations which can be zealously over-applied and exploited by those of the ‘liberal Left’ for distinctly illiberal purposes.

One wonders why the ‘mobile trade stalls’ were permitted to expand to such an extent that just 100 bodies in one area might block the fire escapes.

ACM

Freedom means the ability to do whatever you want.

Because that reduces society to a ruin, we keep it in check by insisting you pay for it.

In turn, that means we translate freedom as “the ability to conduct commerce — however sleazy, depraved, stupid or crass — wherever you want, whenever you want” and of course the ability to take advantage of that commerce.

Freedom’s just another word for commerce, because when we started overthrowing aristocracy, tradition, etc. we also overthrew culture, and in doing so, descended into chaos.

Industrial cuisine wrecks your taste buds

“Americans eat a pound of sugar every two-and-a-half days. The average amount of sugar consumed by an Englishman in the 1700s was about a pound a year,” said food historian Kathleen Curtin of Plimoth Plantation, a historical site that recreates the 17th-century colony. “If you haven’t had a candy bar, your taste buds aren’t jaded, and your apple tastes sweet.”

Wired

Wired continues to do a great job with this topic. Read the article.