Confrontation With Nihilism


Humans live in dual worlds: an inner world and an outer.

The inner world contains a model of the outer world, and allows us to understand it, but can also obliterate reality if our own thoughts or those of other humans over-write the reality-based information.

The outer world contains a model of the inner world, as seen by others, and can be used to manipulate that inner world. This manipulation feels like inner thought, but represents a surrender of moral and intellectual agency to the appearance of our selves to others.

Nihilism is a form of extreme realism with a twist: its goal is the purging of the false inner world, which is actually the outer, and the restoration of the inner as a means of discovery of truth in coordination with external experience. It is denial of human impulses by subordinating them to reality.

Why might this be useful? you might ask. It is the only path toward truth, because only through joining intuition and intellect can we discern the patterns of reality and therefore, what is likely to be true. Without that, we are dependent on material proof of details, and the conclusions we draw from those will be based on those details in isolation and miss the bigger picture.

What is nihilism like? Here, let a grieving woman tell you:

After what seemed like an eternity, the police officers told me plainly, “Aletha is dead.” What followed that stark statement was a sudden moment of lucidity in which only one thing mattered: the truth.

I had to be honest. I had to tell the truth.

That sudden moment of lucidity is nihilism. Ideas have consequences. Illusions are ideas. Act produce results. We are responsible for the consequences of our acts. We have a duty to find out what is true so that our acts turn out well, or at least as we have intended.

Most human activity is designed to promote a myth that human feelings, thoughts and judgments (moralizations) are more important than results in reality. That way, if you wanted an A on the test but got a C instead, you can say, “Oh well, at least I’m more interesting/moral/sexy/friendly than the people who got As.”

This leads to illusion, because the goal is replaced by sour grapes, a scapegoat, a superstition or some other mental pitfall. With goal replacement, purpose is lost, and people become dependent on external worlds for guidance, since they have sabotaged their inner worlds.

Nihilism is beautiful.

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35 Responses to “Confrontation With Nihilism”

  1. crow says:

    “Nihilism is beautiful.”

    Hmmm. Not from what I have seen.
    Nihilists seem to hold the view that everything in life is meaningless and without purpose. Including anybody present within it.
    Not an ideal recipe for anything useful to result from the living of a life.

    I tend to view nihilism as – at best – a rung on the long, long ladder to someplace worthwhile. An aid, perhaps, to dispensing with preconceptions and delusions, but then what?

    • -A says:

      I would have to read more about nihilism as a philosophy (source philosophers first) and the etymology of the word being used.

      If it turns out that nihilism is just the pursuit of objective truth, I can agree with it. If it turns out to have indeed meant that because there is no human meaning there is no inherent meaning, then I am against it.

      Brett’s ending statement on nihilism reminds me of another statement that should get just as much disapproval, even from him:

      “Cruelty is noble.”
      -I Don’t Remember…

      • If it turns out that nihilism is just the pursuit of objective truth, I can agree with it. If it turns out to have indeed meant that because there is no human meaning there is no inherent meaning, then I am against it.

        It means both. There is no inherent meaning. We have to choose what we pursue. Even if something exists in the real world, it is a choice to pursue it, and it does not convey meaning in itself, although the choice does.

        • -A says:

          When I say meaning, I mean why something is the way it is. There is always a source to something, even if it does not fit a certain paradigm. It is just as ludicrous (though very Gothic) to assume that utter nothingness is the source of all things. We only meet that stone in the path once we get to the whole big bang argument. Even then…

          • Dualist says:

            ‘Utter nothingness is the source of all things’

            Well, as it happens….maybe….


            If the ‘big bang’ blows your mind, even ‘standard’ quantum mechanics will push you over the edge for good, old chap! If you actually told most people (especially those who call themselves Realists) how Nature ACTUALLY works – they probably wouldn’t believe you.

            Peter Rowlands is one of the deepest thinkers in the world today. But he does not follow the herd-instincts and fashions of today’s academic orthodoxy. And so he has been punished. Believe it or not, ArXive actually refused to print any more of his papers, saying they were too ‘out there’ (read: original). I only came across his ideas by accident, fortunately for me. I’ll send you a PDF if you want, to check it out first.

            I wonder how many of those intelligent, ‘intuitive’ writers on the Alt-Right, who like to talk about Reality so much but whose writings on the subject are invariably meaningless verbiage, could even understand one chapter of this work, never mind offer their own insights into the structure of Reality? (I’m referring to writers not commentators, -A) Now THIS guy has some serious intuition…

            • crow says:

              It helps to actually have some intuition before defining – for others – what intuition is.
              Which simple observation goes a long way towards explaining why nothing works any more: everything has come to be defined by people who don’t know anything about what they are defining, and who ridicule and seek to destroy anyone who does.

              All this is ancient history-to-come, as mentioned in The Book of Revelations.

              All perfectly normal.

              • Dualist says:

                Agreed. But I didn’t quite get the 1st sentence. Were you saying that I myself have no intuition? Or were referring to the people who have sidelined Peter Rowlands?

                If you’ve noticed a change in tone in my comments under this article from my usual polite self that’s not aimed at you, it’s because Brett seems to take politeness as a sign of weakness. He has been including several attacks in each recent article about what he (incorrectly) thinks as ‘my type’. For a long time now, I’ve only commented whenever I wanted to lend my agreement or develop a point further – even though I often disagree with much that he says. I even gave Noah the time of day! (Even though my intuition obviously told me he had ‘evil intent’, there were other sensible reasons for answering him directly,though I also do understand why you never ‘took the bait’). I came to the decision that having some unity in the ‘movement’ was more important at this point. But if Brett wants to be candid, that’s fine too.

                • Brett seems to take politeness as a sign of weakness. He has been including several attacks in each recent article about what he (incorrectly) thinks as ‘my type’.

                  In my view, this is not correct in either assertion. I do not view politeness as weakness, but the contrary, and if I have something to say to someone directly, I say it.

                  Most of these “types” are from general observation of the alternative right social group (ARSG).

                  • Dualist says:

                    That’s cool then, please accept my apologies.

                    It seemed several of your recent articles were directed my way, so when I started reading this one and it started off ‘Humans live in dual worlds etc’ I thought you were mocking the very idea of Dualism – which is fine, but I REALLY hate anything underhand, so I could no longer bite my tongue (the irony being I am far from certain about Dualism, anyway).

                    So if you weren’t aiming it at me personally, and I will trust your honesty that you weren’t, no probs. I don’t tend to smoke pot anymore (it makes it VERY difficult to retain new information) but as I’ve just taken a holiday and a mate had some unbelievable-quality hash I thought ‘why not…’ Well, maybe I can now add paranoia to the long list of reasons why I should continue avoiding it :)

                    • In my experience, the paranoia — especially the “death dream” — is why most long-term users quit eventually. Food for thought, not an advocacy position at this time.

                      I will address points that people bring up, here or out in the world, but these articles are not targeted at specific people. Perhaps their arguments. They do target certain trends as in the alternative right.

                      For example, the idea that we either go full Tradition or we’re back at this mess seems a really big point to me too, and it is too often missed. Modernity is death, all of it, and it regrows from a seed. Hence my balanced — think architectonic, or cat’s cradle style — formula of aristocracy, nationalism, capitalism and a transcendental goal.

    • Nihilists seem to hold the view that everything in life is meaningless and without purpose.

      Not quite. I hold that there is no inherent meaning to life and no subjectivity. We are ranked by our choices, because reality is consistent, but we must decide to make those choices on a realistic basis, and that is far from innate.

      • Dualist says:

        What do you mean when you say there is ‘no subjectivity’?

        As for the second sentence, ‘-A’ refered to ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’ in his question. But you then reply: ‘we are ranked by our choices, because reality is consistent’. Are you saying that the act of choice itself is the only thing that imparts meaning? If so, I can’t imagine a more individualistic notion.

        • What do you mean when you say there is ‘no subjectivity’?

          Nothing is subjective. There is a cause for every effect, including each of our perceptions. We do have the facility of choice, but it is not subjective: we act according to our goals, based on our abilities. What most call “subjective” is the difference in abilities. It is brainspam and nothing more.

          ‘we are ranked by our choices, because reality is consistent’

          This is the counterpart to the above: nothing is subjective, so our choices can be ranked objectively, with anyone at a level above us able to see our weaknesses.

          • Dualist says:

            In that case, I agree. I was thinking of a different meaning of ‘subjective’.

            • Ah. Another way to phrase my comment: esotericism is the opposite of the subjective/objective divide.

              • Dualist says:

                Personally, I don’t get what you see in esotericism. Every example I have ever seen has been meaningless mumbo-jumbo. And this isn’t on ‘rationalistic’ grounds either, far from it, I speak as one who reveres the great mystics of the Middle Ages. But by it’s nature esotericism is diverse and occult, so maybe you’ve seen aspects or strains of it with more substance. Did you have anything in mind in particular?

                As for ‘subjective’ that was just crossed wires. I actually agree that, yes, all judgments are not equally valid, but it sounded like you were saying something completely different: that percepts of objects WERE the Things-in-Themselves, kind of along the lines of Berkley. I suppose it’s yet another example of why short comments on blogs don’t really lend themselves to metaphysics :)

                And carrying on what you were saying about pot (no reply-tab appeared above), marijuana and mathematics don’t mix, so these days I only blaze if I’m free for a week or two. But I’ve noticed something worrying over the years. It seems people can smoke it daily for years when they are younger and notice little negative effects at the time (as I did). But if they then stop for a good while, and start again much later, it now has an anxiety-inducing effect. In the past I’d always put this down to the newer strains having so much THC compared to CBD, but the stuff I had this week was an old-time hash, so it can’t be that. Which is why I’m making this my last blast. The main thing I’ll miss is the intensity of listening to favourite pieces of music. If only heroin was so easy to quit….but that’s another story….

                • Esotericism is a method: people are only able to absorb truth in successive steps, with each step depending on having understood the one preceding it, and not all people can go all the way — everyone has some place in the hierarchy of what they can learn. Thus some are plumbers, some are lawyers, some are wizards…

                  • Dualist says:

                    Every example I have seen of followers of the esoteric paths have universally consisted of one single personality-type: that of the person who lacks the intelligence to understand physical reality at the deepest, most abstract levels (levels the great geniuses of history have led us to) and who also only has a ‘bluffers’ understanding of the questions of philosophy. Yet who still wants to be seen as wise (maybe
                    is even sincere in their quest but just oblivious to their own lack of understanding) and are so full of hubris that they convince themselves that really THEY are the wise ones. Crowley, LaVey etc all fit this bill perfectly.

                    • I would look to Plato and Evola. Pop culture is all pale imitations of the greats! If you must pick a Satanist, David Myatt is the only one worth respecting.


                    • Dualist says:

                      As I can’t comment below, I’ll do it here. Do you know why the reply-tab keeps not coming up?

                      I was actually going to write another sentence under the last comment saying ‘but I bet you will be using a slightly different definition of esotericism than is commonly understood’. Obviously if you’re calling Plato’s ideas an example of an esoteric ‘method’ then most right-thinking people are esotericists. I do know you’ve always been impressed been impressed by Evola, but although he is to be applauded for getting the anti-egalitarianism correct, he doesn’t deserve to be the darling of the alt-right like he is. Herd instinct again. My comments above apply to absolutely all of his writings on the spiritual or mysticism. His theories about the Kali Yuga etc. are exactly the type of thing I was referring to above.

                    • crow says:

                      It’s a grave mistake, young deathmetal vandal, to label as rubbish anything you lack the means to understand.
                      There is a reason you are unable to penetrate the mysteries that have persisted since Man lived in damp caves. That reason is you.
                      Lacking the tools to grasp what a smidgen of intellect could never hope to explain, you demolish, for yourself, any chance of ever understanding the very thing you could most use.
                      While ridiculing every pioneer of those uncharted lands you are unable even to conceive of.
                      I find this sort of thing beyond pathetic, but then, I also see clear signs of your incipient mental breakdown, so maybe there is a cause and effect going on for you.
                      I’d get some help, for that, if I were you, before it becomes permanent.

                    • Dualist says:

                      Well, Crow, I can’t reply again below so I’ll do it here. I HATE talking like this, especially to strangers (it makes me cringe), but we need get this out of the way now, to draw a line under it and move on.

                      Pick any comment I’ve made in the last 30 articles. Can you find one, single, example of me saying anything ‘attacking’. I’ve bit my tongue so, so many times when commenting in order to try and maintain unity (and common courtesy), yet you yourself personally attack anybody who disagrees with you under almost every article. So if anybody would rather I never commented, it is soley because they know that I am quite capable of calling bullshit on any examples of feigned philosophical wisdom in their arguments (otherwise, they’d just ignore my comments). Yet I always choose not to do so – I feel that as long as they have the ‘bigger picture’ correct, that is the most important thing, for now. Would such people rather be surrounded only by others whom they can successfully bluff? If so, my presence must REALLY threatens their fragile, insecure egos.

                      First of all, just because I’ve identified Crowley and LaVey as the charlatans they are, please don’t do your usual and say this is because I lack the intellect to understand them (as for Evola, he certainly IS a deep thinker, it’s just his purely mystical writings that are inferior to the true masters). Because if you want to talk like that, I’ll remind you that you are genetically incapable of understanding the ideas of Euler, Gauss,, Riemann, Cauchy, Hamilton, Goedell, Hilbert, Maxwell, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Dirac, Pauli …, also.

                      But they know nothing, of course. Anybody who sees anything you are incapable of seeing can’t be wise, can they? Let’s leave aside wisdom for now, because you brought up intellect. And you brought it up because my intellect makes you feel insecure. So, like all people who can’t admit to themselves that somebody else is superior to them in some aspect, you started trying the old ‘ah, maybe he’s clever in THAT way, but I bet he’s not….[insert something you feel you may have a chance of competing with]’. It’s exactly the same when, say, my mates who are plumbers/joiners/whatever say ‘ah, you may be good at all that arty-farty stuff but you’ couldn’t do THIS’. Or when ‘Artsy’ people say ‘ah yes, you may understand all that theoretical stuff, but you don’t have a clue about anything relating to the human’. And so on. Some of these criticism are actually true of many scientific types – but I am a rare one to whom they do not apply. And if that annoys you, perhaps too much of your self-esteem is derived from a belief that you see things that others do not.

                      Here’s where it gets more cringeworthy, but let’s get it out of the way now. Everything written below I give you my word of honour is true. And if you don’t trust that, I can provide proof for most of it, if you want:

                      I have an IQ of 158. Well I haven’t, actually, because I took both tests whilst stoned, so it’s much higher. But that means nothing.

                      I smoked weed every day from age 15 to 18 and never once revised for an exam, other than a quick read the night before (whilst stoned). I didn’t just get straight A’s in the subjects I officially took, I even had a bet with a teacher that I could pass the Futher Maths A level without even going to one single class. I got an A. But that means nothing.

                      I was only at Cambridge for about 2 weeks when one of my supervisors (tutors) said ‘I think you may be a genius’. By week 4-6 there were sessions were I was writing the answers on a white-board for HIM (and my supervision partner) – because he couldn’t do them! (Though his expertise was in nanotechnology, to be fair). Theoretical physics and maths are subjects that only a tiny, tiny proportion of people are genetically capable of understanding. But that means nothing, of course.

                      I never actually continued on to get a Master’s, and went off to do ‘other things’ for a few years. So how do I now have a place on a PhD at an elite institution? Is not such a thing unheard of in theoretical physics? The answer is that my reference from Cambridge was so ridiculously strong. My old maths supervisor was kind enough to include some of the comments that other supervisors had written on my end of term reports, as part of her reference (but she was only a Doctor of Maths at Cambridge – not up to your level, naturally). One supervisor (a knight of the realm, no less, and a man who invented much of the technology in the screen you are now looking at) wrote of me: ‘[He] often COMPLETES problems no other student could even BEGIN’. And to put that in context, the people I was competing with were the very brightest from our most elite private schools, classically educated, and who all worked very hard. I had no such education whatsoever and attended less than 10 lectures the whole time I was there.

                      And my referee also had to write were I stood (top 5%, top 10%’ top 25% etc) for certain mental facets, those being ‘General intellectual ability’, ‘depth of though’, ‘INTUITION’, ‘work ethic’, ‘maturity & social skills’ etc.. She put me in the top 5% for everything other than the last two I mentioned. So I was at the best college in the best university in the world, studying the most difficult subject and I put in no effort. And I was still in the top 5%. You’re welcome to see the reference if you would like (I imagine you won’t want to, however). Were would you have been rated?

                      There is much, much more I could say. Though, undoubtedly, you will say all this proves nothing about wisdom (though you yourself have never show any signs you are wise, though you may well be so, other than personally insulting every person who disagrees with you). But you suggested I may lack the INTELLECT to understand Evola, simply because I hinted there may be other figures who have come to deeper understandings of mysticism, and I am letting you know are quite wrong, to say the least.

                      As an aside, it is interesting that you mentioned you see signs of mental breakdown in me. It’s interesting because I’ve actually always got the impression that you yourself once had something like a mental breakdown which resolved itself into your current state of ‘enlightenment’ (and I most certainly don’t mean that as an insult), But no, I’m fine, thanks for the concern, if it WAS genuine. Like I said, I smoke pot about twice a years at most, and I was only joking about the paranoia, anyway. Though I AM concerned about any long-lasting effects on memory etc., however, because I’m soon going to be competing against intellects who are, finally, a worthy challenge to me

                      As for me and you, the ball is in your court. We are probably never going to agree on the fundamentals but that does not mean we must be enemies (and much that you have written recently makes me think that our beliefs, if not our outlooks, are not as divergent as I once thought). You’ve told me what you think about me (unprompted) and I’ve let you know in return. I’m simply here because this site is a rare oasis of common sense in a mad world, and I have certain perspectives that will likely be of interest and use to other readers. Just like you yourself also do (and please remember how I reacted when you threatened to leave, once). Let this be the last of the personal drama, and the insults, and let us instead try and work together against the real enemies.

                • Dualist says:

                  And no, I’m not being serious in that last line ;)

                  • crow says:

                    You want to fix society. You want to fix your country. You want to fix the world. You want to fix me. But you haven’t fixed yourself.
                    And that makes you, and anyone like you, ‘the real enemy’.
                    Fix yourself. That’s how you get credibility.

      • MeToo says:

        On that link to the article about the girl who killed herself, on that same page was a link to an interview with the cartoonist who does Dilbert, Scott Adams. He explained why he thinks Trump will win the presidency:

        “People are not wired to be rational. Our brains simply evolved to keep us alive. Brains did not evolve to give us truth. Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence.”

        He (correctly, it seems) understands that it’s all biology: Nature wants us to stay alive and while he doesn’t expand on this, Nature really doesn’t care if we get to a creaky, comfy old age. Nature cares only that we stay alive long enough to reproduce ourselves and take care of our young ‘uns till they can turn around and do the same thing. Everything else is just gravy (or maybe a badtasting gravy, but gravy nonetheless).

        And if I may, I don’t think there is any free will in any meaningful sense. A belief in such a thing is one of those “movies” Scott Adams refers to, above, that keeps us motivated.

        • Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated.

          Seems accurate. Esotericism states however that not all brains are equal, which renders this nonsense. Our default state is to find some impulse which can guide us; an intermediate state is rationalism, which has fatal pitfalls; the other side is a reality-aware, truth-driven irrationalism.

          And if I may, I don’t think there is any free will in any meaningful sense.

          I agree, but would add: there is choice, and it depends on our abilities, our discipline and the steps we take to inform ourselves. Not all can do it. Most have the same choice ability as an amoeba, which is why they are thronging the bars, malls and televisions looking for something to keep them occupied. Like moths to the light.

          • Carnage says:

            “Reality-aware, truth-driven irrationalism,” – does this mean irrationality qua abandonment of Enlightenment mechanistic rationality for a more holistic perspective? I rather enjoy logic and analytical thinking, but this Enlightenment nonsense needs to be replaced with something better.

            That being said, I think that “holistic rationality” might be a better name than “irrationality.” We don’t want rationality in the narrowly-conceived Enlightenment sense of linear thinking and mechanistic deduction – or rather, we want that Enlightenment-style rationality to take its place in a broader context.

        • Dualist says:

          But even if you don’t believe Free Will exists fundamentally, there is at least one sense in which it ‘meaningfully’ exists: even if it IS an illusion (from a reductionist viewpoint), we nonetheless all have the unshakeable conviction that we possess it!

          • MeToo says:

            The illusion that we have free will was put there so that we would continue to reproduce and then care for our offspring till they could do the same. If we really thought that we had no free will, we would all kill ourselves on the spot. Some greater force (God) wants us to keep on going for some reason; I guess there is a much greater Plan taking place. Whoever says we understand everything that’s going on is deluded. One fine day I hope that scientists get a handle on what’s going on.

  2. Paul says:


  3. Jpw says:

    Nihilism seems like CTrl- ALT-DEL button. Everything is crashed and then you have to start anew.

  4. Dualist says:

    “Without that we are dependent on material proof of details, and the conclusions we draw from those will be based on those details in isolation and miss the bigger picture.”

    So what is the relationship between the Scientific Method and the Truth, to a ‘Nihilist’?

  5. […] and the secure state (1, 2). Ugly Americans. Stubborn infertility. Beware Hobbes. Talking nihilism (+). Reactionary books. The weekly […]

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