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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:25 am

When Satyr started his topic on Nihilism <> Realism; I thought I was already aware of all the things he was saying... the metaphysical and philosophical Nihilism that N. had already addressed.
But when I tried to dwelve more into the topic, I have come to realize this is an issue that's not at all been explored as visible and obvious as it appears to us, or as it did to me. I've been complacent to absorb his writings as a "matter of fact" instead of exploring this as a real contemporary phenomenon. The more I tried to search for books or authors dealing on these metaphysical inversions and abstraction of words with no correspondence to any real referrants today, just circulating empty simulacra,... I couldn't find any authors, books, links dealing in this massive subject.

If we can all agree that this is the most critical Inversion at the root of feminization, I request all members here to contribute to whatever they can find towards this topic. More heads, the better.

Thanks.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:01 pm

First Contribution:

---Nihilism, the word referring to a concept, is detached from its most popular usage as a philosophical idea dealing with the absence of morals or a teleos, or a universal meaning.
I submit the idea that the term must be rescued form the very nihilism it has been hijacked by to imply the opposite of what it intends.
In this case nihilism refers to a human construct, an ideal, an abstraction, which finding no corresponding reference outside human minds, calls this a nil.

I redefine nihilism as that which rejects what is perceived, what is experienced, what is past(nature), and not what rejects human constructs trying to fill a void, based no need.

If the absolute is absent then reaffirming this is not nihilism, but a reaffirmation of existence, offering potentials for creativity, for becoming.
If there is no universal moral standard, outside of evolved social behavioural necessities, and no universal meaning, outside the delusions of religious fanatics, and infected, by nihilism, secular humanists seeking comforting, then this positive reaffirmation of the absent is, in fact, not a nullification but a position opening up possibilities: space/time.

---

The word "nihilism" simply means to annul, or it is a doctrine of annulling, negating.

In modern times it is only used to indicate a negation of human constructs, which have no reference to anything outside the human condition.
In other words those who negate existence, as being just that, void of meaning, a finality, a moral standard, a universal, absolute, have twisted the word to mean a positive, simply because it is positive to human needs.
The insinuation here is that reality must be positively inclined towards human life, and not that human life stands in a state of antagonism, resistance, to a reality which also gives rise to life.

This reversal of meanings is typical of nihilism and its methodologies.
Not only was the "word" first, in this self-serving paradigm, but humans are the centre of existence, which must conform to human needs, hopes, and projections.  
The organism, in this case the human species, is not burdened with adapting to the world, but the world must adapt to human constructs, defined and symbolized with words.

Language has one function: to symbolize a mental abstraction.
A mental abstraction, an idea, being the product of sensual data, collected and processed by the brain, and then simplified/generalized, into an image, at first in its most primitive form, or a concept, attaining the height of a numerical value.

This is where it can acquire a secondary function:
To detach, dismiss, avoid, correct, detach, from the sensual input used to construct it.
This is solipsism at is rawest form. A self-reference begins, as the word, symbolizing an abstraction, can now be looped back to refer to another abstraction.
The real, collected as input, and interpreted (simplified/generalized) as mental-models (abstractions), falls into the background.
Baudrillard refers to this process as a simlacrum of a simualation.
I go further and connect it all the sway back to the Bible, and its obsession with the word.
It's not that there is a God (an absent absolute, referring to an absolute order, a complete past), but that with the bible the word IS God.

The word is authoritarian because it demands total obedience to its shared definition.
It is determining because ti shapes and limits human thinking.
It demands loyalty because the sensual must be denied power - it is cast as the Devil.
The word is malleable and so it is comforting, it offers salvation from the real, to minds who must escape their past/nature.

The only possibility for eliminating the sensual, the experienced, the perceived, is to shame it, turning it into a "sin," or, like in the east, into an "illusion."
It's not that the word fails to adequately describe the real, but that the real is totally false, leaving the word in the void.

---

Orwell hints, to us, what we need to know.

Orwell, George wrote:
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
The first quote hints at the contradictions produced by nihilism.
The word, taken literally, rather than figuratively, creates this schism between the noetic and phenomena.

To deal with it the mind compartmentalizes its standards for evaluating what is real and what is not.
This creates the rift, a schisms, which I consider a natural byproduct of modernity.

Orwell, George wrote:
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
The second quote hints at the reversibility of human constructs, since they are now detached form the anchoring, determining, sensual, and become self-referential, and based on human emotional reactions and fabrications, and desires.
With the concept of war, the idea that all life is an agon, a struggle, a battle, a fight, against dissimulation is not explored.
It is posited as only a human practice, making peace a concept promising relief from existential struggles.
the only peace, is death - one "rests in peace" only when the struggle to remain alive is done with.
But now, with the word detached from reality, it becomes an idea(l) implying, with vagueness, what is nowhere in evidence: a state of living death; to be alive and at peace, at the same time.  
A paradox resolves with selective reasoning or compartmentalization.

Orwell, George wrote:
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
In this third, and last, quote, we find a hint at the power of the word.
Once the past has been forgotten, denied, or reinterpreted, by detaching it from experience and connecting it to mental constructs and emotional sensations, the work of human husbandry is almost done.
What remains is to rip identification from perception, so as to reattach it, to human artifices.
This is difficult since the organism, in this case the human being, is a becoming, and most of its processes are unconscious, automatic; one can erase human conscious memory but not genetic memory.

The word, by limiting human conception to the immediate, detaching it from reality, is part of the solution.
Shame, indoctrination, morality, also contribute is slandering self, and turning ego into a vice.

The rest is dealt with using inebriation, and distraction: fatigue (excessive work), sexual obsession (preoccupation with the sex organ), and numbing methods (drugs, alcohol, religion).

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:31 pm

Economy



Previously a term which referred to a 'careful management of available resources'. In times when language and perception were less degraded tools one could observe economies on a natural level, even when human culture is not the specific subject. The adapted behaviour of organisms in their natural habitat could be described as economic in this way: using what they need, sustaining natural balances and relationships.

In our time it has come to refer almost strictly the monetary system which propagates the exact opposite ideal (perpetual growth model). Not only is the 'economy' driven by reckless greed and insatiable largesse, but it also is re-injected with fresh capital whenever it reaches critical levels of imbalance (quantitative easing etc). Using the mangled and manipulated methods of measurement (RPI, CPI, growth targets), all of which prove to be, upon closer inspection, self-referential abstractions with no basis in reality, the concept can be said to exhibit the properties synonymous with the sort of nihilistic inversion which is in abundance in modern discourse.
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:32 pm

Economy -
"from oikonomos, manager of a household"

The organization and management of various resources within a system.
While before it was about the management and organization of the physical reality it has by now become a psychological end in itself.

While before society was organized for the ends of organizing physical reality, which, because nature had still teeth at the time formed a feed-back-loop between the organization and the less-artificial reality out there - by now, the management is mostly reduced to the management of the psychology of the members within the artificial environment. And so, yes, most words have become 'self-referential' in the sense that it's about the collective mindset and its management.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:08 pm

Anfang wrote:
Economy -
"from oikonomos, manager of a household"

The organization and management of various resources within a system.
While before it was about the management and organization of the physical reality it has by now become a psychological end in itself.

While before society was organized for the ends of organizing physical reality, which, because nature had still teeth at the time formed a feed-back-loop between the organization and the less-artificial reality out there - by now, the management is mostly reduced to the management of the psychology of the members within the artificial environment. And so, yes, most words have become 'self-referential' in the sense that it's about the collective mindset and its management.

Quite right. The confines of the 'household' no longer impose limitations upon it's own organization. These days the problems of the inner management of the home (business, nation state, banking system) can be resolved by looking outward for more. Print more money, bring in immigrants with higher reproductive rates etc. Solutions relate not to a balancing but to short-term quick-fix numbers games.

Similarly the word consumption (latin: consumere - altogether take up) is not an accurate term for the wasteful spending patterns observed today. To consume or devour entirely (as with food and water) does not reflect modern commercial economics where products with increasingly short shelf-lives are hurriedly purchased and then discarded as they fade into redundancy. Things are not used up in their totality but rather sought in order to satisfy social expectations and conform to fads. In this way they are not absorbed within the individual, but rather, exist as external trinkets and toys to 'add' to the individuals social/external worth for increasingly short periods of time with an increasingly meaningless and dysfunctional 'utility'.

'Buy the Ipad 65.4(bii): A revolution in technology!'

Unsurprisingly women are alleged to be driving this market with 80% of retail purchases. Everything new, fresh and trivial. Keep 'consuming' or you'll be socially alienated.
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:25 pm

A home is a place of habituation, a habitat, a habit.
Ethos is the Greek term for tradition, an inherited habit.
Oikos, leads to oikios, the familiar one.
A home is a place, in space/time, where a mind feels familiarity - family.

An abode also indicates a closing-off, a place (space/time) which is held in exclusion ...it excludes, drawing within it what is values.
This is not a detachment, but a separation, a discrimination.
 
Self-referential, solipsism, is the same function only it proceeds to a total detachment.
The movement from partial, discrimination, to total detachment (delusion, solipsism) is only dependent on a power that maintains, excluding, in regards to the external, and organizing, internally.
Find that power in modernity and you've got the underlying power, the directing will.

SuperOrganism, consuming organisms.
The meme devouring genes.


---------------------------------------------------  

Modernity as Consumerism
To consume is to deconstruct, to destroy, and to then assimilate the parts into a new organization.
Life is this consuming self-organizing part of reality.
To life is to destroy what is alive, and to then be destroyed and assimilated, by another.

Nihilism is this method of internal reorganization of what has been destroyed, cut into pieces, and then selectively devoured.

It is an internal digestive process of a Superorganism, feeding on organisms.
The destruction of identity, the detachment of the organism from its past, from nature, from reality, mirrors the process of killing, masticating, and then swallowing the ground up into fine pieces.
Digestion is the creation of a fine, uniform paste, from where the new organism draws nutrients from – reorganizing the pieces in accordance to its own internal structures.  


It in an internal digestive process.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:51 pm

The area to explore is how the absence of an absolute, a telos, a purpose, an arche defined as 'nihilism' itself is Nihilistic.


To this end, I want to exhaust all the relevant Nietzsche passages. Starting with, the herd belief in Certainty - in Faith - is what prompts this perception of the absence of any absolute as nihilistic...




Nietzsche wrote:
"Believers and their need to believe. - The extent to which one needs a faith in order to flourish, how much that is 'firm' and that one does not want shaken because one clings to it - that is a measure of the degree of one's strength (or, to speak more clearly, one's weakness). Christianity, it seems to me, is still needed by most people in old Europe even today; hence it still finds believers. For that is how man is: an article of faith could be refuted to him a thousand times; as long as he needed it, he would consider it 'true' again and again, in accordance with that famous 'proof of strength,4 of which the Bible speaks. Metaphysics is still needed by some, but so is that impetuous demandfor certainty that today discharges itself in scientific-positivistic form among great masses - the demand that one wants by all means something to be firm (while owing to the fervour of this demand one treats the demonstration of this certainty more lightly and negligently): this is still the demand for foothold, support - in short, the instinct of weakness that, to be sure, does not create sundry religions, forms of metaphysics, and convictions but does - preserve them.

Indeed, around all these positivistic systems hover the fumes of a certain pessimistic gloom, something of a weariness, fatalism, disappointment, fear of new disappointment - or else self-dramatizing rage, a bad mood, the anarchism of exasperation and whatever other symptoms or masquerades there are of the feeling of weakness. Even the vehemence with which our cleverest contemporaries get lost in pitiful nooks and crevices such as patriotism (I refer to what the French call chauvinisme5 and the Germans 'German'), or in petty aesthetic creeds such as French naturalism (which enhances and exposes only the part of nature that simultaneously disgusts and amazes - today one likes to call it la verite vraie6 - ), or in Petersburg-style nihilism (meaning faith in unbelief to the point of martyrdom), always indicates primarily the need for faith, a foothold, backbone, support . . .

Faith is always most desired and most urgently needed where will is lacking; for I will, as the affect of command, is the decisive mark of sovereignty and strength. That is, the less someone knows how to command, the more urgently does he desire someone who commands, who commands severely - a god, prince, the social order, doctor, father confessor, dogma, or party conscience. From this one might gather that both world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, may have owed their origin and especially their sudden spread to a tremendous sickening ofthe will. And that is actually what happened: both religions encountered a demand for a 'Thou Shalt' that, through a sickening of the will, had increased to an absurd level and bordered on desperation; both religions were teachers of fanaticism in times of a slackening of the will and thereby offered innumerable people support, a new possibility of willing, a delight in willing.

For fanaticism is the only 'strength of the will' that even the weak and insecure can be brought to attain, as a type of hypnosis of the entire sensual-intellectual system to the benefit of the excessive nourish­ ment (hypertrophy) of a single point of view and feeling which is now dominant - the Christian calls it his faith. Once a human being arrives at the basic conviction that he must be commanded, he becomes 'a believer'; conversely, one could conceive of a delight and power of self­ determination, afreedom of the will, in which the spirit takes leave of all faith and every wish for certainty, practised as it is in maintaining itself on light ropes and possibilities and dancing even beside abysses. Such a spirit would be thefree spirit par excellence." [JW, 347]


Alternate translation;

Nietzsche wrote:
"How much faith a person requires in order to flourish, how much "fixed opinion" he requires which he does not wish to have shaken, because he holds himself thereby is a measure of his power (or more plainly speaking, of his weakness).  Most people in old Europe, as it seems to me, still need Christianity at present, and on that account it still finds belief.  For such is man: a theological dogma might be refuted to him a thousand times, provided, however, that he had need of it, he would again and again accept it as "true" according to the famous "proof of strength" of which the Bible speaks.  Some have still need of metaphysics; but also the impatient longing for certainty which at present discharges itself in scientific, positivist fashion among large numbers of the people, the longing by all means to get at something stable (while on account of the warmth of the longing the establishing of the certainty is more leisurely and negligently undertaken): even this is still the longing for a hold, a support; in short, the instinct of weakness, which, while not actually creating religions, metaphysics, and convictions of all kinds, nevertheless preserves them.  

In fact, around all these positivist systems there fume the vapours of a certain pessimistic gloom, something of weariness, fatalism, disillusionment, and tear of new disillusionment or else manifest animosity, ill humour, anarchic exasperation, and whatever there is of symptom or masquerade of the feeling of weakness.  Even the readiness with which our cleverest contemporaries get lost in wretched corners and alleys, for example, in Patriotism (I mean what is called chauvinisme in France and "deutsch" in Germany), or in petty aesthetic creeds in the manner of Parisian naturalisme.  (which only brings into prominence and uncovers that aspect of nature which excites simultaneously disgust and astonishment they like at present to call this aspect la verite vraie), or in Nihilism in the St Petersburg style (that is to say, in the belief in unbelief, even to martyrdom for it): this shows always and above all the need of belief, support, backbone, and buttress.  

Belief is always most desired, most pressingly needed, where there is a lack of will: for the will, as the affect of command, is the distinguishing characteristic of sovereignty and power.  That is to say, the less a person knows how to command, the more urgent is his desire for that which commands, and commands sternly, a God, a prince, a caste, a physician, a confessor, a dogma, a party conscience.  From whence perhaps it could be inferred that the two world religions, Buddhism and Christianity might well have had the cause of their rise and especially of their rapid extension in an extraordinary collapse and disease of the will.  And in truth it has been so: both religions lighted upon a longing, monstrously exaggerated by malady of the will, for an imperative, a "Thou shalt" a longing going the length of despair; both religions were teachers of fanaticism in times of slackness of will power, and thereby offered to innumerable persons a support, a new possibility of exercising will, an enjoyment in willing.  

For in fact fanaticism is the sole "volitional strength" to which the weak and irresolute can be excited, as a sort of hypnotising of the entire sensory-intellectual system in favour of an excessive nuorishment (hypertrophy) of a single point of view and a particular feeling which then becomes dominates - the Christian calls it his faith.  When a man arrives at the fundamental conviction that he requires to be commanded he becomes "a believer".  Conversely, one could imagine a delight and a power of self determining and a freedom of will whereby a spirit could bid farewell to every belief, to every wish for certainty, accustomed as it would be to support itself on slender cords and possibilities and to dance even on the verge of abysses.  Such a spirit would be the free spirit par excellence.  [JW, 347]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:53 pm

Active Nihilism:

Nietzsche wrote:
"One may admit the truth to oneself to the point where one is sufficiently elevated no longer to require the disciplinary school of [moral]," error - When one judges existence morally, it disgusts.

One should not invent unreal persons, e.g., one should not say "nature is cruel." Precisely the insight that no such central responsible being exists is a relief!

Evolution of man.

a. To gain power over nature and in addition a certain power over oneself. (Morality was needed that man might prevail in his struggle with nature and the "wild animal. " )

b. If power has been attained over nature, one can employ this power in the further free development of oneself: will to power as self-elevation and strengthening." [WTP 403]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:56 pm

To a slave, freedom is terrifying, and he prefers to be in chains, to be Led, to be Herded, and hence the absence of a 'God' - nihilism takes on a Nihilistic meaning...

Nietzsche wrote:
"Toward a critique oj the herd virtues. - Inertia operates

(l) in trustfulness, since mistrust makes tension, observation, reflection necessary;-

(2) in veneration, where the diITerence in power is great and submission necessary: so as not to fear, an attempt is made to love, esteem, and to interpret the disparity in power as disparity in value: so that the relationship no longer makes one rebellious;-

(3) in the sense of truth. What is true? Where an explanation is given which causes us the minimum of spiritual effort (moreover, lying is very exhausting);-

(4) in sympathy. It is a relief to count oneself the same as others, to try to feel as they do, to adopt a current feeling: it is something passive com- pared with the activity that maintains and constantly practices the individual's right to value judgments (the latter allows of no rest);-

(5) in impartiality and coolness of judgment: one shuns the exertion of affects and prefers to stay detached, "objective";-

(6) in integrity: one would rather obey an existing law than create a law oneself, than command oneself and others: the fear of commanding-: better to submit than to react;- (7) in toleration: the fear of exercising rights, of judging. [WTP, 279]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:00 pm

One begins to consume otherness, only when this hunger has already fed upon itself.
The organism begins to consume itself, to the point where pain/suffering commences.
Then it is driven, so as to not eat itself alive, to seek nutrition elsewhere.

Have not modern minds been deprived of nutrition to the point where they’ve eaten themselves alive?
Almost dead, they stumble into the world, sniffing for something to fill them up.

Need is how a hungry mind is lead to the slaughterhouse.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:01 pm

Absence of Telos and any abs. Agent is Liberating:

Nietzsche wrote:
"In relation to the vastness and multiplicity of collaboration and mutual opposition encountered in the life of every organism, the conscious world of feelings, intentions, and valuations is a small section. We have no right whatever to posit this piece of conscious- ness as the aim and wherefore of this total phenomenon of life: becoming conscious is obviously only one more means toward the unfolding and extension of the power of life. Therefore it is a piece of naivete to posit pleasure or spirituality or morality or any other particular of the sphere of consciousness as the highest value -and perhaps even to justify "the world" by means of this.

This is my basic objection to all philosophic-moralistic cosmo- and theodicies, to all wheretores and highest values in philosophy and theology hitherto. One kind of means has been misunderstood as an end; conversely, life and the enhancement of its power has been debased to a means.

If we wished to postulate a goal adequate to life, it could not coincide with any category of conscious life; it would rather have to explain all of them as a means to itself-

The "denial of life" as an aim of life, an aim of evolution! Existence as a great stupidity! Such a lunatic interpretation is only the product of measuring life by aspects of consciousness (pleasure and displeasure, good and evil). Here the means are made to stand against the end-the "unholy," absurd, above all unpleasant means-: how can an end that employs such means be worth anything! But the mistake is that, instead of looking for a purpose that explains the necessity of such means, we presuppose in advance a goal that actually excludes such means; i.e., we take a desideratum in respect of certain means (namely pleasant, rational, and virtuous ones) as a norm, on the basis of which we posit what general purpose would be desirable-

The fundamental mistake is simply that, instead of understand- ing consciousness as a tool and particular aspect of the total life, we posit it as the standard and the condition of life that is of supreme value: it is the erroneous perspective of a parte ad tatum" -which is why all philosophers are instinctively trying to imagine a total consciousness, a consciousness involved in all life and will, in all that occurs, a "spirit," "God." But one has to tell them that precisely this turns life into a monstrosity; that a "God" and total sensorium would altogether be something on account of which life would have to be condemned-

Precisely that we have eliminated the total consciousness that posited ends and means, is our great relief - with that we are no longer compelled to be pessimists-

Our greatest reproach against existence was the existence of God-"
[WTP, 707]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:03 pm

The Active Nihilist is beyond pleasure/pain hedonism:

Nietzsche wrote:
"The "predominance of suffering over pleasure" or the opposite (hedonism): these two doctrines are already signposts to nihilism.

For in both of these cases no ultimate meaning is posited except the appearance of pleasure or displeasure.

But that is how a kind of man speaks that no longer dares to posit a will, a purpose, a meaning: for any healthier kind of man the value of life is certainly not measured by the standard of these trifles. And suffering might predominate, and in spite of that a powerful will might exist, a Yes to life, a need for this predominance.

"Life is not worthwhile"; "resignation"; "why the tears?"- a weakly and sentimental way of thinking.

"Un monstre gai vaut mieux qu'un sentimental ennuyeux."" [WTP, 35]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:05 pm

Schopenhauer's nihilism:

Nietzsche wrote:
"Schopenhauer as throwback (state before the revolution):

Pity, sensuality, art, weakness of the will, catholicism of spiritual cravings-that is good eighteenth century au fond.'·

Schopenhauer's basic misunderstanding of the will (as if craving, instinct, drive were the essence of will) is typical: lowering the value of the will to the point of making a real mistake. Also hatred against willing; attempt to see something higher, indeed that which is higher and valuable, in willing no more, in "being a subject without aim and purpose" (in the "pure subject free of will"). Great symptom of the exhaustion or the weakness of the will: for the will is precisely that which treats cravings as their master and appoints to them their way and measure." [WTP, 84]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:06 pm

Lack of Self-Organizing Will in the face of an absent absolute:

Nietzsche wrote:
"The question of "happiness," of "virtue," of "salvation of the soul" is the expressiou of physiological contradictoriness in these types of decline: their instincts lack a center of gravity, a purpose." [WTP, 435]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:07 pm

Nietzsche wrote:
"Our presuppositions: no God: no purpose: finite force. Let us guard against thinking out and prescribing the mode of thought necessary to lesser men! ! "[WTP, 595]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:10 pm

Nietzsche wrote:
"From time immemorial we have ascribed the value of an action, a character, an existence, to the intentionJ the purpose for the sake of which one has acted or lived: this age-old idiosyncrasy finally takes a dangerous turn-provided, that is, that the absence of intention and purpose in events comes more and more to the forefront of consciousness.

Thus there seems to be in preparation a universal disvaluation: "Nothing has any meaning" - this melancholy sentence means "All meaning lies in intention, and if intention is altogether lacking, then meaning is altogether lacking, too." In accordance with this valuation, one was constrained to transfer the value of life to a "life after death," or to the progressive development of ideas or of mankind or of the people or beyond mankind; but with that one had arrived at a progressus in infinitum of purposes: one was at last constrained to make a place for one- self in the "world process" (perhaps with the dysdaemonistic·· perspective that it was a process into nothingness).

In this regard, "purpose" requires a more vigorous critique:
one must understand that an action is never caused by a purpose; that purpose and means are interpretations whereby certain points in an event are emphasized and selected at the expense of other points, which, indeed, form the majority; that every single time something is done with a purpose in view, something fundamentally different and other occurs; that every purposive action is like the supposed purposiveness of the heat the sun gives off: the enormously greater part is squandered; a part hardly worth considering serves a "purpose," has "meaning"; that a "purpose" and its "means" provide an indescribably imprecise description, which can, indeed, issue commands as a prescription, as a "will," but which presupposes a system of obedient and trained tools, which in place of indefinite entities posit nothing but fixed magnitudes (i.e., we imagine a system of shrewder but narrower intellects that posit purposes and means, in order to be able to ascribe to our only known "purpose" the role of the "cause of an action," to which procedure we really have no right: it would mean solving a problem by placing the solution in a world inaccessible to our observation-).

Finally: why could "a purpose" not be an epiphenomenon in the series of changes in the activating forces that bring about the purposive action - a pale image sketched in consciousness beforehand that serves to orient us concerning events, even as a symptom of events, not as their cause?- But with this we have criticized the will itself: is it not an illusion to take for a cause that which rises to consciousness as an act of will? Are not all phenomena of consciousness merely terminal phenomena, final links in a chain, but apparently conditioning one another in their succession on one level of consciousness? This could be an illusion-" [WTP, 666]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:13 pm

Nietzsche wrote:
"One speaks of the "profound injustice" of the social pact; as if the fact that this man is born in favorable circumstances, that in unfavorable ones, were in itself an injustice; or even that it is unjust that this man should be born with these qualities, that man with those. Among the most honest of these opponents of society it is asserted: "we ourselves, with all our bad, sick, crim- inal qualities, which we admit to, are only the inescapable consequences of a long suppression of the weak by the strong"; they make the ruling classes responsible for their characters. And they threaten, they rage, they curse; they become virtuous from indig- nation-they do not want to have become bad men, canaille, for nothing.

This pose, an invention of the last few decades, is also called pessiriJism, as I hear; the pessimism of indignation. Here the claim is made to judge history, to divest it of its fatality, to discover responsibility behind it, guilty men in it. For this is the rub: one needs guilty men. Th underprivileged, the decadents of all kinds are in revolt on account of themselves and need victims so as not to quench their thirst for destruction by destroying themselves (-which would perhaps be reasonable). To this end, they need an appearance of justice, i.e., a theory through which they can shift the responsibility for their existence, for their being thus and thus, on to some sort of scapegoat. This scapegoat can be God- in Russia there is no lack of such atheists from ressentiment---or the social order, or education and training, or the Jews, or the nobility, or those who have turned out well in any way. "It is a crime to be born in favorable circumstances; for thus one has disinherited the others, pushed them aside, condemned them to vice, even to work- How can I help it that I am wretched! But some- body must be responsible, otherwise it would be unberable!"

In short, the pessimism of indignation invents responsibility in order to create a pleasant feeling for itself-revenge-"Sweeter than honey" old Homer called it.-



That such a theory is no longer rightly understood, that is to say despised, is a consequence of the bit of Christianity that we all still have in our blood; so we are tolerant toward things merely because they smell somewhat Christian from a distance- The socialists appeal to the Christian instincts, that is their most subtle piece of shrewdness.

Christianity has accustomed us to the superstitious concept of the "soul," the "immortal soul," soul-monads that really are at home somewhere else and have only by chance fallen, as it were into this or that condition, into the "earthly" and become "flesh"; but their essence is not held to be afiected, to say nothing of being conditioned, by all this. Social, family, historical circumstances are for the soul only incidental, perhaps embarrassments; in any event, it is not produced by them. With this idea, the individual is made transcendent; as a result, he can attribute a senseless importance to himself.

In fact, it was Christianity that first invited the individual to play the judge of everything and everyone; megalomania almost became a duty: one has to enforce eternal rights against everything temporal and conditioned! What of the state! What of society! What of historical laws! What of physiology! What speaks here is some- thing beyond becoming, something unchanging throughout history, something immortal, something divine: a soul!

Another Christian concept, no less crazy, has passed even more deeply into the tissue of modernity: the concept of the "equality of souls before God." This concept furnishes the proto- type of all theories of equal rights: mankind was first taught to stammer the proposition of equality in a religious context, and only later was it made into morality: no wonder that man ended by taking it seriously, taking it practically!-that is to say, politically, democratically, socialistically, in the spirit of the pessimism of indignation.



Wherever responsibilities have been sought it was the instinct of revenge that sought. This instinct of revenge.has so mastered mankind in the course of millennia that the whole of metaphysics, psychology, conception of history, but above all morality, is im- pregnated with it. As far as man has thought, he has introduced the bacillus of revenge into things. He has made even God ill with it, he has deprived existence in general of its innocence; namely, by tracing back every state of being thus and thus to a will, an intention, a responsible act. The entire doctrine of the will, this most fateful falsification in psychology hitherto, was essentially invented for the sake of punishment. It was the social utility of punishment that guaranteed this concept its dignity, its power, its truth. The originators of this psychology-the psychology of will - are to be sought in the classes that administered the penal law, above all among the priests at the head of the oldest communality: they wanted to create for themselves a right to take revenge--they wanted to create a right for God to take revenge. To this end, man was conceived of as "free"; to this end, every action had to be conceived of as willed, the origin of every action as conscious.

But these sentences refute the old psychology.
Today, when Europe seems to have entered upon the opposite course, when we halcyonians especially are trying with all our might to withdraw, banish, and extinguish the concepts of guilt and punishment from the world, when our most serious endeavor is to purify psychology, morality, history, nature, social institutions and sanctions, and even God of this filth-whom must we recognize as our most natural antagonists? Precisely those apostles of revenge and ,essentiment, those pessimists from indignation par excellence, who make it their mission to sanctify their filth under the name of "indignation. "

We others, who desire to restore innocence to becoming, would like to be the missionaries of a cleaner idea: that no one has given man his qualities, neither God, nor society, nor his parents and ancestors, nor he himself-that no one is to blame for him.

There is no being that could be held responsible for the fact that anyone exists at all, that anyone is thus and thus, that anyone was born in certain circumstances, in a certain environment.- It is a tremendous restorative that such a being is lacking.

We are not the result of an eternal intention, a will, a wish: we are not the product of an attempt to achieve an "ideal of per- fection" or an "ideal of happiness" or an "ideal of virtue"-any more than we are a blunder on the part of God that must frighten even him (an idea with which, as is well known, the Old Testament begins). There is no place, no purpose, no meaning, on which we can shift the responsibility for our being, for our being thus and thus. Above all: no one could do it; one cannot judge, measure, compare the whole, to say nothing of denying it! Why not?- For five reasons, all accessible even to modest intellects; for example, because nothing exists besides the whole-

And, to say it again, this is a tremendons restorative; this constitutes the innocence of all existence."[WTP, 765]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:15 pm

Nietzsche wrote:
"Our new "freedom." - What a feeling of freedom there is in feeling as we freed spirits do, that we are not harnessed to any system of "purposes"! Likewise, that the concepts "reward" and "punishment" do not reside in the essence of things! Likewise, that the good and the evil action cannot be called good and evil in themselves, but only in the perspective of what tends to preserve certain types of human communities! Likewise, that our assessments of pleasure and pain have no cosmic, let alone a metaphysical, significance (- that pessimism, the pessimism of Herr von Hartmann, who claims to put the pleasure and displeasure of existence itself on the scales, with his arbitrary incarceration in the pre-Copernican prison and field of vision, would be something retarded and regressive unless it is merely a bad joke of a Berliner.)" [WTP, 789]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:01 pm

Satyr wrote:
Have not modern minds been deprived of nutrition to the point where they’ve eaten themselves alive?
Almost dead, they stumble into the world, sniffing for something to fill them up.
Self, determined by the past, and blossoming through selective, increasingly self-aware, discrimination of influences, is replaced by an universal blueprint. The blueprint cannot provide substance, it can only try to block the formation of an individual-self which would be connected to the past. The innate substance cannot be replaced, it can only be numbed. The emergence of hunger, because of that felt void, the numbed seed of self, is temporarily appeased by materialism/consumerism/morals.

This leads to a continuous hunger, a need, which can be directed and controlled.


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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:02 pm

An organism has no conscious while the Superorganism it is part of lives.  Self awareness arises from detachment, the severance which is the effect of the death of the Superorganisms ego.  Nihilism therefore is the organism self aware, but lacking confidence in itself.  Hopeless, terrified, it is unable to cope with the certainty that its existence as ego must too come to an end.  

The secularist/humanist/atheist perspective has turned death into an end where the affirmative perspective sees it as a door.  It becomes a passage way to new life and greater ends, self defined by the deed.  This fear of death is man’s chief fear and so it is the beginning of all questions.  Indeed all laws, all policies and moralities are formed to maximize existence in the present.  

This is why the masses need religion and why once the artifice was torn down by rationalists for their own selfish reasons, man has been in free fall ever since.  
True religion is not the dictates of the word but of the deed and the only true religion places the continuance of life at the beginning and ending of all questions.  All is referenced not from the view point of our own eyes, but from the eyes which yet have come to be.  Economy is nothing but the awareness that a part of life does continue, the constantly arising new generations brought to fruition by the formative power of nature are not seen detached from the self.  From this perspective a nobler outlook arises, traditions and laws reflect the interest of the unborn.  Like the slumbering plant which shoots out its first leaf in early spring in anticipation of the blossom so too does the blossom anticipate the flower and the flower the seed, the Ar-man turns all of his creative energies to the anticipation of his own becoming.  

A people which reject the past also reject the future.  For this future bears with it the inevitable death of the egocentric view.  The present they do find themselves in, being fleeting, becomes a source of resentment, this gives rise to complaint and discontent.  Man today is completely devoured by time, helpless, his principle character is one of the constant critic.      


Life, and the affirmation of life is not found in postulation or critique nor is it examination or dissection for this phenomenon is not explained by words or concepts and to cut it up into pieces is to obliterate the whole, to fall into the trap of reduction.   It exists beyond in the intuitive and sensual perceptions.   This in itself is the pure joy one experiences when they overcome the concrete boundaries of the mind for the unlimited horizons of sensory experience.  This view, destroys all nihilistic tendencies, it gives rise to daring and the pursuit of dangerous activity.  It is the voice which says with true magnanimity,

“Fear not death, it cannot kill you!”      

We could say, the Nihilist fears life precisely because it will kill them.
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:41 pm

If you consider it carefully then an organism , on the conscious level of a human, with a still developing identity (self-consciousness) would have to be deconstructed, detached from reality, from nature (past), and refocused upon the immanent, the yet to be, the still to come, the future.

This refocusing, after the mind has been detached from its own past, is how a SuperOrganism would assimilate and integrate, an organism, like the human organism does with the simpler life-form, the cell.
The term "brainwashing" describes this cleansing, this socially produced tabula rasa, which we can associate with the detachment of a mind from itself...its own spirit.

Spirit is defined not as something mystical, but as the past which manifests as a presence.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 am

When we speak of Active Nihilism, we need to focus on two things.

1. The case put forward by many like Detienne/Vernant of the severance of Myth and Logos - the modern abstraction of metaphorical world views, where philosophy and mythology once co-mingled.

2. The absence of any absolute instead of stimulating an Order, veering off into a cultural and existential postmodern Relativism of which Derrida is a classic example.

I intend to look into these two.

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:23 am

Quote :
"The important moment in the history of mythology comes for Detienne not in Xenophanes’ critique, however, but in the defense of the Homeric tradition given by the rhapsodists, the performers of Homer’s epics. Detienne is particularly interested in the rhapsodist Theagnes’ defense of Homer, as it gives the first interpretation of the Iliad, using a form of hermeneutics Porphyrus will eventually label “allegory.” The war between the gods in the Iliad is not meant as a literal account, but as a way to express the opposition between the elements as described by the philosophy of nature: “between the dry and the humid, between the hot and the cold.” Homer merely expresses in poetic meter what philosophers describe using different words.

Detienne marks this defense of Homer as a critical point in the Ancient Greek understanding of mythology, for the simply reason that to interpret Homer, Theagnes must assume the existence of a stable work of Homer’s that can serve as the model for different interpretations, ie. a text fixed in writing. For Detienne, this defense marks the historical origin of the distinction between exegesis and interpretation. Detienne argues that exegesis consists of the ongoing usage of elements within myth and their adaptation to new circumstances. Exegesis gives symbols new and greater meaning by applying them to different situations, such that their signification continually shifts.

Exegesis is the practice whereby myths interact with experiences in a process of mutual enrichment: symbols within myths are used to give significance to experiences, and the specificities of those experiences are added on to the meaning of that symbol. Myths are given meaning through exegesis in “living traditions,” whereas interpretation is the way myth is understood when a group of individuals gain critical distance from the myth. In interpretation, interpreters attempt to grasp the original meaning of a myth beyond the literal grasping of the words within them: as Lévi-Strauss says, “One does not discuss the myths of the group, […] one transforms them in the belief one is repeating them.” (Lévi-Strauss, quoted in Detienne, 68). Theagnes is the first interpreter of Homer rather than an exegete: instead of applying stories, images, and other elements of Homer to illuminate particular situations, he determines the “true” meaning of Homer’s “fictional” narrative by taking recourse in natural philosophical doctrines.

It is therefore Theagnes, not Xenophon, who is the true critic of Homer. Xenophon still accepts the “literal” version of Homer and its exegesis throughout a diffuse tradition of art, whereas Theagnes argues that the words of Homer, what Xenophon worries corrupt the youth, are not Homer’s true meaning, and that the true meaning of Homer’s words are to be found outside of his text in the doctrines of natural philosophy. Theagnes thus inaugurates critical distance from the Homeric tradition, based on written interpretation rather than oral dissemination of the epics. At this time, however, reading and writing are still technologies available only to an elite group of intellectuals. For the vast majority of still illiterate people, interpretation based on a readable text is not an option, so oral transmission remains the norm throughout Greece.

A curious middle ground, however, appears between oral exegesis and written interpretation in figures such as Hecataeus, a “fabricator of accounts (logopoios),” individuals ignored in the comparativist account of Ancient Greek intellectual development (70). The literate Hecataeus collects different versions of traditional stories and compares them, consciously redacting accounts and creating new versions of stories “as they seem true to him.” (Aelian referring to Hecateus, quoted in Detienne, 73). He then recites his new, more probable version of the old story, simultaneously engaging in exegesis, the application of old stories to explain new situations, and interpretation, the finding of the true version of a story based on his own understanding of physics, geography, and human action. Like Theagnes, Hecataeus engages in interpretive practices, but avoids the anxiety surrounding having to defend the morals of old mythology by simply altering it as he sees fit, preserving the elements of tradition he chooses according to rational principles of interpretation. While Theagnes struggles to defend the Homeric tradition in such a way that will eventually petrify it, cutting off the ability to improvise necessary to oral transmission and exegesis, Hecataeus is a “logographer who smiles” (back to the title of this chapter – that Marcel’s a clever one ain’t he?), using the rational tools of hermeneutics to create new myths and orally transmit them, a practice that Plato will attempt to make use of in the Republic."

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:47 am

The change in the semantics of the word "chaos" itself before dwelling on nihilism...

Quote :
"Understanding the semantic metamorphosis that “chaos” has undergone requires some historical perspective. The word “chaos” might have first been appeared in Western culture in Hesiod’s Theogony (ca. 700 BC): “At the beginning there was chaos, nothing but void, formless matter, infinite space.” Within the Western tradition, chaos was associated with the unformed, the unthought, the unfilled, the unordered (Chaos Bound 19). At this point in history, chaos was not understood as the opposite of order; chaos simply did not have any relationship to order at all. (Weingart and Maasen 479)

According to Katherine Hayles (Chaos Bound), the tradition that identified chaos as that which existed when the world did not continued at least through the Renaissance. All through the Renaissance, chaos continued to be identified with the lack of differentiation. Over time, the classical suggestion that Chaos is the most ancient of all Gods, the companion of Eros, and the stuff from which the world was made grew gradually obscure.

By the mid‐nineteenth century, the classical view of chaos was replaced primarily by the “thermodynamic” view of chaos, so named because the discovery of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (which dealt with entropy) cast chaos in an unfavorable light. Order and chaos were set up as binary opposites, with chaos being the inimical phenomenon to be avoided wherever possible. Situated in the same semantic network as entropy, chance, and randomness, chaos carried a negative connotation well into the twentieth century.

From the 1960s onward the work of scientists and mathematicians studying the nonlinear processes at the heart of complex systems began to transform the perception of chaos. In the eyes of chaos theorists, chaos fuels the engine that drives nonlinear, dynamical systems toward more complex forms of order. Chaos straddles the interface between predictable, deterministic order and unpredictable, stochastic randomness. Living organisms exist poised at “the edge of chaos,” where the components of a living system never quite lock into a rigid structure, yet never quite dissolve into turbulence, either.

The science of chaos reveals a broad range of phenomena that cannot be categorized neatly under the rubrics of “order” and “disorder.” Where quantum mechanics introduced a fundamental “uncertainty” inherent in our attempts to understand micro‐phenomena, chaos theory uncovers an ineradicable “unpredictability” inherent in our efforts to comprehend behaviors at the macro‐ phenomenal level.

As the preceding overviews of nihilism and chaos suggest, cultural constructs like nihilism and chaos are not static, monolithic essences... nihilism and chaos as emergent, evolving cultural entities." [Julio Varela, Vortex to Virus-Myth to Memes]

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"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:58 am

Quote :
"The emergence of nihilism and chaos in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries offers us a case study in how memes work. Memes are bundles of cultural information that display viral properties, sowing the seeds of reality in the individual minds that make up a culture, sub‐culture, or counterculture. In the case of nihilism and chaos, the ongoing epistemological and ontological revolution initiated by the likes of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the collapse of myth as a totalizing source of meaning, and the transition from a Newtonian, deterministic worldview to a quantum‐relativistic, chaotic worldview transformed the Western cultural landscape, paving the way for the “viral” spread of nihilism and chaos to different intellectual and cultural strata.

According to the model, culture evolves when memes (viral bundles of cultural information) flow from the sociocultural matrix (the evolving aggregate of paradigms and epistemes that define a culture) to individual agents (authors and subjects, in this case).

In negating metaphysically stable foundations (nihilism) and confirming scienceʹs ineradicable inability to predict the behavior of chaotic phenomena, nihilism and chaos have played an significant role in shaping the twentieth centuryʹs aesthetic sensibilities.

The embryonic nihilism that Nietzsche proclaimed in the latter half of the nineteenth century would reach maturity in the twentieth century critical theory of Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, and Baudrillard. Their body of work highlights the extent to which nihilism and chaos have become ingrained in the postmodern cognitive fabric. Beginning in the late 1960s, Jacques Derrida took up where Nietzsche had left off, mounting a critique of philosophy and language that proved to be fatal to totalizing, logocentric systems. Derrida broke with structuralism and Saussurean linguistics, rejecting the possibility of arriving at general laws that govern all discourses or formal universals that reflect the nature of human knowledge.

For Derrida, the fixed, foundational logos is a ʺmythʺ that has pervaded western thinking. The history of metaphysical thought records the futile attempt to link a ʺtranscendental signifierʺ with a secure, stable ʺtranscendental signifiedʺ (i.e., a logos), yielding fixed, universal meaning in the process. The futility stems from the différance, traces, and supplements that destabilize language and delocalize meaning.

Deleuze and Guattari advocate the primacy of free‐flowing, unfettered desire as a postmodern extension of Nietzschean will to power. The whole western metaphysical tradition, in their estimation, is an exercise in paranoiac libidinal investment, where individual and institutional energies are devoted to the preservation of codes that serve despots and capitalists. Deleuze and Guattari emphasize that there is no ʺTruth,ʺ but rather the building up and tearing down of codes by institutions and individuals. Individuals as ʺdesiring machinesʺ are endlessly engaged in the embrace of or flight from such codes.

Baudrillard maintains that we have entered an unprecedented historical period where signifiers obliterate signifieds and are wholly self‐referential. According to Baudrillard, postmodernity is characterized by the proliferation of models and codes that have lost touch with their referential origins and foundations. In Baudrillardʹs words, ʺit is the map that precedes the territory . . . it is the map that engenders the territoryʺ (Simulations 2). The power of images and simulacra is such that in postmodern society, even the Absolute becomes just another simulacrum, disconnected from its referent.

For Claude Shannon, information and entropy were not opposites; they were identical. Shannonʹs equation for information bore a striking similarity to Ludwig von Boltzmannʹs (1909) equation for entropy. In equating information with entropy, Shannon anticipated the postmodern view that proliferating information is associated with the production of entropy. In retrospect, identifying entropy with information allowed entropy to be reconceptualized as the thermodynamic motor driving systems to self‐organization rather than as the heat engine driving the world to heat‐death. Chaos went from being associated with decline and disorder in the modernist sense to being associated with increasing complexity and new life in the postmodernist sense.

The ʺnewʺ interpretation of chaos emerged from twentieth‐century developments in nonlinear dynamical systems theory. Nonlinear dynamical systems are all around us: from dripping faucets to waterfalls to macro‐scale climate changes, the world is populated with systems whose behaviors are unpredictable. The unpredictability stems from the fact that in practice we can never precisely specify the initial conditions of these systems. Small errors made in specifying the initial state of such systems are magnified exponentially, what Edward Lorenz called the ʺbutterfly effect.ʺ These errors, no matter how small, grow rapidly and dominate the future behavior of systems. Consequently, the slightest ignorance about the state of the system at any one time will make prediction of the future behavior impossible.

While prediction of future system behavior is impossible, multidimensional (defined as three or more dimensions), nonlinear systems display a kind of ʺboundedʺ indeterminacy. Feedback mechanisms within the system constrain the effects of perturbations on the system, causing the system to turn back onto itself.

Historically, classical myths and logocentric philosophy served as basins of attraction that ordered and stabilized western cultural systems. The depreciation of myths and subversion of philosophical foundations that characterized the twentieth century represent a phase transition toward a more dynamic, turbulent cultural system.

According to Baudrillard, the ʺviral contamination of things by imagesʺ constitutes the signature characteristic of postmodern culture. For Baudrillard, the genetic code has usurped the religious and metaphysical codes of previous eras. As a consequence, the postmodern identity no longer finds stability in religious or secular/philosophical values. As a virtual mutant, the postmodern subject undergoes ceaseless transformation via seduction by the endless blitz of simulacra.

Derridean deconstruction uses the trace and the supplement to emphasize the susceptibility of philosophical systems and textual codes to the mutating power of metaphor. As an undecidable presence/absence built in to the very fabric of language, the trace subverts the apparent stability of texts, triggering a play of signifiers that opens the text to multiple interpretations. Perceived meanings are the by‐products of traces from previous experiences, which, in turn, where shaped by traces of yet other previous experiences, ad infinitum. The trace network paradoxically appears solid on the one hand, yet ephemeral on the other.

Equally paradoxical, the supplement is an entity that both adds to and replaces elements in the text. For Derrida, the supplement escapes the textual system and at the same time installs itself within it, derailing any attempts to arrive at a facile, monovalent reading of the work in question. Working in concert, the supplement and the trace undermine any sort of Modernist/Vorticist vision of the artist as the still point of the vortex. Poundʹs ʺprimary pigment,ʺ indeed the Modernist quest to arrive at a pure essence, is reduced to a fiction when seen from the Derridean perspective.

Différance is the source of all difference, but it is not an origin in the traditional theological sense because it is not fixed (it is never entirely knowable or identifiable as a single point of authority because the moment we think we have it pinned down it is no longer différance but its logocentric inscription) . . . it can never be reached but is instead constantly deferred, always just out of reach. (McQuillan 18)

Derrida posits that the concept is only meaningful through its expression as a signifier; because the signifier is arbitrary and conventional, the concept itself is unstable. In the eyes of Derrida, the instability of the Sausurrean signifier/signifiedsign is a product of différance. No fixed distinction between signifiers and signifieds exists because the structure of the sign is determined by what Derrida calls traces. Neither simply present nor simply absent, the trace occupies a liminal space. The trace is what loosely binds any system of signs, so that at any one moment, a given sign works by referring to other signs not now present. The relay of differences between signifiers depends upon a structural undecidability, a play of presence and absence at the origin of meaning (Collins and Mayblin 70). In Speech and Phenomena, Derrida elaborates:

The trace is not a presence but is rather the simulacrum of a presence that dislocates, displaces, and refers beyond itself. The trace has, properly speaking, no place, for effacement belongs to the very structure of the trace. Effacement must always be able to overtake the trace; otherwise it would not be a trace but an indestructible and monumental substance. In addition, and from the start, effacement constitutes it as a trace‐‐‐effacement establishes the trace in a change of place and makes it disappear in its appearing, makes it issue forth from itself in its very position.

The play of the trace is a kind of deforming, reforming slippage which gives rise to an instability that language cannot escape. For Derrida, full, replete presence is impossible because of the traceʹs constant sliding between presence and absence. The sign must be studied ʺunder erasure,ʺ always already inhabited by the trace of another sign which never appears as such (Sarup 34). The semantic flux produced by différance and traces represents a defining symptom of the language virus that William Burroughs (chapter 4) and Derrida explore in their respective works.

Derrida: The virus is in part a parasite that destroys, that introduces disorder into communication . . . it derails a mechanism of the communicational type, its coding and decoding. (Brunette and Wills, Deconstruction and the Visual Arts 12)

Différance continually delocalizes meaning along a chain of signifiers; we cannot be precise about its exact position because it is never tied to one particular sign. Meaning will never stay the same from context to context; the signified will be altered by the various chains of signifiers in which it is entangled.

Derridaʹs project of deconstruction, while not a formal, critical analysis of mythology (like the projects of a Frazer or a Levi‐Strauss), did attack western philosophy, revealing logocentrism to be a myth inherent in the very fabric of western philosophy. According to Derrida, the history of western thought records the longing for a ʺtranscendental signifierʺ which would directly correspond to a secure, stable ʺtranscendental signifiedʺ (i.e. a logos), yielding fixed, universal meaning in the process. Throughout his body of work, Derrida deconstructs concepts such as God, Idea/Form, Essence and Truth in his attack on western thought.

Différance precludes the possibility of transcendental signifieds and signifiers.

In his ʺIntroductionʺ to Deconstruction: A Reader, Martin McQuillan elaborates on how différance inhabits the tissues of language and renders it unstable: ʺdifférance structures language (or any other system of difference) and makes the idea of structure impossible because structures depend upon a fixed point of originʺ (18).

Différance operates according to a logic of supplementarity that enables différance to create differential relations in language while interrupting any simple idea regarding the stability of these relations. For Derrida, the supplement is that which escapes the system and at the same time installs itself within the system to demonstrate the impossibility of the system. Metaphors and metaphorical language put this supplementarity on display.

Metaphor is not a discrete unit of rhetoric but the general condition of language and thus of thought itself because thinking only ever takes place within language. If all thought is metaphorical (and there is no fixed limit to the field of metaphor), then there is no anchor of stable origin for any concept (beauty, fate, war, drugs, etc.), but merely a chain of metaphors constantly referring to other metaphors. (McQuillan 20)

If no point of origin for any concept exists, no metaphysical presence in language, then the linguistic representation of a fundamental, immutable ʺrealityʺ is impossible. Language, as Derrida conceives it, would amount to an unbounded set of metaphors referring only to one another, a free‐for‐all of signifiers playing in the absence of a metaphysical foundation. In short, Derridean deconstruction reinforces the Nietzschean perspectivism that first appeared in the late nineteenth century. By way of différance, the trace, and the supplement, Derrida presents his postmodern audience with ideas that resonate with Nietzsche’s vision of a dynamic, groundless abyss and extend his nihilistic tenor into the realm of literary analysis. As a result, language represents a turbulent mélange of traces and supplements that leads to polysemic discourses and hermeneutic chaos.

In The Transparency of Evil (1993), Baudrillard expounds upon the emergence of fourth order or fractal simulacra in our contemporary society. We live embroiled in a semiotic free‐for‐all, characterized by the implosion of meaning and the conversion of signification “into an uncontrollable metonymic and ‘viral’ proliferation in all directions to infinity” (Genosko Baudrillard and Signs XVI).

At the fourth, the fractal (or viral, or radiant) stage of value there is no point of reference at all, and value radiates in all directions, occupying all interstices, without reference to anything whatsoever, by virtue of pure contiguity. At the fractal stage, there is no longer any equivalence, whether natural or general. Properly speaking, there is now no law of value, merely a sort of epidemic of value, a sort of general metastasis of value, a haphazard proliferation and dispersal of value. (The Transparency of Evil 5)

Baudrillard glosses on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle when he describes the difficulty inherent in making value judgments in the postmodern age: “it is as impossible to make estimations between beautiful and ugly, true and false, or good and evil, as it is simultaneously to calculate a particle’s speed and position.” (The Transparency of Evil 5‐6).

A crucial turn (for the purposes of this study) comes when chaos is envisioned not as an absence or void but as a positive force. Between 1960 and 1980, cultural fields were configured so as to energize questions about how stochastic variations in complex systems affected the evolution and stability of these systems. In the assigning of a positive value to chaos, information theories and technologies played central roles. In addition to creating the necessary technological landscape, they laid the theoretical foundation for conceptualizing chaos as a dynamic presence rather than an absence.

Information theory, which first emerged in the late 1940s, posits that to understand nature one must examine not only matter and energy, but information as well. Information represents a universal principle at work in the world, specifying the particular character of living and non‐living forms and helping to determine the patterns of mind and human thought.

A significant step in the change of perspective regarding chaos came with the separation of information from meaning. Once this distinction was made, the way was open for information to be defined as a mathematical function that depended solely on the distribution of message elements, independent of whether the message had any meaning for a receiver. This step in turn made it possible to see chaotic systems as rich in information rather than poor in order. The more chaotic a system is, the more information it produces. This perception is at the heart of the transvaluation of chaos, for it enables chaos to be conceived as an inexhaustible ocean of information.

In his Theory of Heat (1871), James Clerk Maxwell created a thought experiment where he envisioned a microscopic being that could separate fast molecules from slow molecules in a closed system. “Maxwell’s Demon,” as the thought experiment came to be known, posited that the “Demon” is a liminal figure who stands at the threshold that separates “an ordered world of will from the disordered world of chaos.” (Hayles Chaos Bound 43)

If the demon could unmix the mixed molecules of a gas, sorting fast ones into one compartment and slow ones into another by opening and shutting a perfect, frictionless door, he could achieve the result ruled impossible by thermodynamics and reverse an irreversible process. For the sake of argument, the demon was supposed not to use any energy when opening or shutting the sliding door. (Campbell Grammatical Man 48)

As conceived by Maxwell, the “Demon” was in principle capable of violating the second law of thermodynamics, generating order rather than increased entropy in its sorting exercise. For several decades, “Maxwell’s Demon” intrigued generations of scientists who attempted to answer the question: “Is information by itself enough to reduce the entropy of a system and make its energy accessible and useful again?”(Campbell 48)

In a 1929 paper entitled “On the Decrease in Entropy . . . by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings,” Leo Szilard observed that to do his work the “Demon” needed to remember where the fast and slow molecules were stored. Szilard showed that the “Demon,” simply in the act of obtaining information about molecules, creates at least as much entropy as would be eliminated by sorting the molecules into separate compartments. Szilard’s crucial insight, that there exists a relationship between information and entropy, would not receive much attention until French physicist Leon Brillouin resurrected Szilard’s paper in his own work (1951).

In reexamining Szilard’s paper, Brillouin declared that information is defined as “negentropy,” a real, physical commodity with as much concreteness as work, heat, and energy. Brillouin’s conclusion pitted information against entropy as an entity that could combat the encroachment of disorder.

Where Brillouin had envisioned information and entropy as opposites carrying opposite signs, Shannon saw these two entities as identical. Shannon anticipated the contemporary view that proliferating information is associated with the production of entropy. Shannon’s definition of entropy allowed randomness to be reconceptualized as maximum information and chaos to be envisioned as the source of all that is new in the world.

In “Science and Method” (1908), Poincaré wrote:

If we knew exactly the laws of nature and the situation of the universe at the initial moment, we could predict exactly the situation of that same universe at a succeeding moment, but even if it were the case that the natural laws had no longer any secret for us, we could still only know the initial situation approximately. If that enabled us to predict the succeeding situation with the same approximation, that is all we require, and we should say that the phenomenon had been predicted, that it is governed by laws. But it is not always so; it may happen that small differences in the initial conditions produce very great ones in the final phenomena. A small error in the former will produce an enormous error in the latter. Prediction becomes impossible, and we have the fortuitous phenomenon.

Several decades later, Edward Lorenz would draw similar conclusions when he tried to model the earth’s weather. Lorenz thought that he could capture the essence of how weather changes through three nonlinear differential equations. Benefiting from an instrument that Poincaré did not possess (the computer), Lorenz was able to tinker with the data he put into the system and noticed that small discrepancies in the initial values introduced to the equations led to patterns that were quite different from the original computation. In his 1963 paper “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow,” Lorenz arrived at what would thereafter be known as the “butterfly effect”: a dynamical system that exhibits sensitive dependence on initial conditions will produce markedly different solutions for two specifications of initial states that are initially very close together.

It implies that two states differing by imperceptible amounts may eventually evolve into two considerably different states. If, then, there is any error whatever in observing the present state, and in any real system such errors seem inevitable, an acceptable prediction of an instantaneous state in the distant future may well be impossible. (“Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow” 133)

N. Katherine Hayles (Chaos Bound) makes the case that two main schools of thought exist which use distinct modes of analysis and support different views regarding the meaning of chaos theory.

In the first, chaos is seen as order’s precursor and partner, rather than as its opposite. The focus here is on the spontaneous emergence of self‐organization from chaos; or, in the parlance of the field, on the dissipative structures that arise in systems far from equilibrium, where entropy is high. The realization that entropy‐ rich systems facilitate rather than impede self‐organization was an important turning point in the contemporary reevaluation of chaos [. . .] The second branch emphasizes the hidden order that exists within chaotic systems. Chaos in this usage is distinct from true randomness, because it can be shown to contain deeply encoded structures called “strange attractors.” Whereas truly random systems show no discernable pattern when they are mapped into phase space, chaotic systems contract to a confined region and trace complex patterns within it. (9‐10)

Theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, a pioneer in the study of complexity, believes that a robust theory of evolution must encompass the roles of both self‐organization and Darwinian natural selection. Interested in the emergence of order in evolutionary systems, Kauffman maintains that self‐ organization is a natural property of complex genetic systems: “There is ‘order for free’ out there, a spontaneous crystallization of order out of complex systems, with no need for natural selection or any other external force” (Lewin 24‐25). While self‐organizing networks arise spontaneously and naturally because of the laws of complexity, natural selection finds its role as the shaper of “order for free” (Kauffman 90‐91), molding the structures of these systems so that they are poised on “the edge of chaos.”

Kauffman believes that Darwin was not wrong as much as there are things he simply could not have known, like the self‐organizing properties of complex systems and the role of genetics in evolution. In the postmodern period, other scientists have modified Darwinian orthodoxy in light of Post‐Darwinian findings and discoveries." [Varela, Myth to Memes]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:02 pm

Wow!!

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:04 pm

Language as a Memetic Virus.

Quote :
"The literary universe that Burroughs inhabits has forsaken the idea of the almighty Author relying on the power of language to arrive at some essential truth about the human condition. The structural integrity of the vortex is gone, replaced by the postmodernist view of language as an unruly, mutating entity whose power to signify lies beyond the control of the author.

"We are all tainted with viral origins. The whole quality of human consciousness [. . .] is basically a virus mechanism." (Cities of the Red Night 25)

"I have frequently spoken of word and image as viruses or as acting as viruses, and this is not an allegorical comparison. It will be seen that the falsifications in syllabic Western languages are in point of fact actual virus mechanisms. The IS of identity is in point of fact the virus mechanism [. . .] The categorical THE is also a virus mechanism, locking you in THE virus universe. EITHER/OR is another virus formula. It is always you OR the virus, EITHER/OR. This is in point of fact the conflict formula which is seen to be an archetypical virus mechanism."(Word Virus 312)


For William Burroughs, identity is ultimately a symptom of parasitic invasion, the expression within the subject of forces originating from outside: ʺlanguage is a virus from outer space.ʺ Long before Richard Dawkins theorized about ʺselfish genesʺ and coined the term ʺmemesʺ to describe units of cultural transmission, William Burroughs understood that words were viruses.

And what then is the written word? My basic theory is that the written word was literally a virus that made spoken word possible. The word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host. (ʺThe Electronic Revolution, Part One: Feedback from Watergate to the Garden of Edenʺ 2)

Burroughsʹs word virus and Dawkinsʹs meme share a trait. Like the meme, the purpose of Burroughsʹs word virus is not to indicate or communicate any particular content, but merely to replicate itself. Word viruses and memes are reproductive machines, containing all the information needed for their own replication.

In novels such as Cities of the Red Night, The Ticket That Exploded, Naked Lunch, and The Place of Dead Roads, Burroughs frequently writes about viruses as ʺsimply very small units of sound and imageʺ (Word Virus 301) that ʺcan be made to order in the laboratoryʺ (Word Virus 303), a fictional foreshadowing of the meme concept that Dawkins would later develop.

In The Ticket That Exploded, Burroughs speculates that word viruses may once have been healthy neural cells, but now are parasitic organisms that invade and damage the central nervous system (49). The novel portrays language as an infectious agent, penetrating consciousness, often causing unspeakable horror and death. Words come to represent everything that is alien or artificial to the human organism.

Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting your sub‐ vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word. In the beginning was the word. (49‐50)

Burroughs asserted that as parasitic organisms, word viruses impose ʺimage and soundtrackʺ (Word Virus 301) on susceptible hosts, against the will of the subjects. Summarizing Burroughs, Shaviro states:

"Our bodies are never ourselves, our words and texts never really our own. They arenʹt ʺus,ʺ but the forces which crush us, the norms to which we have been subjected." (ʺTwo Lessons from Burroughsʺ 38)

"A virus has no morals [. . .] and similarly the language virus has no meanings [. . .] It is not ʹIʹ who speaks, but the virus inside me." (42)

Burroughsʹ chilling memorandum, ʺTechnical Deposition of the Virus Powerʺ (Word Virus 275), suggests that unspecified, sinister forces have mastered and harnessed the power of the word virus, unleashing it upon the human population with enough ʺvarietyʺ to keep humanity forever guessing at the ʺmeaningʺ and ʺoriginsʺ of the virus. In this passage, Burroughs foreshadows the awesome power of twentieth century, sound‐and‐image‐driven communication technologies. Those who have the power over these technologies can spread thought and/or image contagions throughout a population because the information being disseminated is quasi‐animate and viral, fully capable of infecting their unsuspecting hosts. Burroughsʹs narrator tells us of the technologically‐induced mutations made to the already unstable word virus that make it exceedingly difficult to decipher, prompting scientists and critics to attribute the inscrutability to the ʺrichness of natureʺ and the polyvalence of texts.

Like Burroughs, Jean Baudrillard makes frequent use of biological metaphors to expound on the human condition. In The Transparency of Evil, Baudrillard concludes: ʺman is nothing but a dirty little germ‐‐‐an irrational virus marring a universe of transparencyʺ (61). The view that humanity is a virus is made possible because ʺthe religious, metaphysical or philosophical definition of being has given way to an operational definition in terms of the genetic codeʺ (The Ecstasy of Communication 50).

We are in a system where there is no more soul, no more metaphor for the body‐‐‐the fable of the unconscious itself has lost most of its resonance. No narrative can come to metaphorize our presence; no transcendence can play a role in our definition [. . .] This having been established, there are no more individuals, but only potential mutants. From a biological, genetic, and cybernetic point of view, we are all mutants. (The Ecstasy of Communication 50‐51)

The chaotic self is, according to Hofstadter, the most complex of all symbols in the mind, a renormalized, feedback‐driven entity in constant communication with the vast ensemble of symbols and subsystems stored in the brain (Gödel, Escher, Bach 385). By way of strange loops and tangled hierarchies, the “I” or self maintains a delicate, dynamic equipoise by locking‐in to its chaotic attractor. The welter of sensory data streaming in from the outside world and the constant feedback flowing between the symbols and ideas that make up the psyche serve as inputs in the self’s search for its most stable configuration.

"With each individual forming its own optimal self‐configuration based on cultural inputs and biological parameters, “reality” refers to a proliferation of processes in flux rather than a fixed objective concept for the whole human population. Argyros argues that the more sophisticated an entity’s capacities to receive, store, manipulate, and transmit information, the more world it has at its disposal." (A Blessed Rage for Order 131)

Memes influence dramatically the amount of world an individual has at its disposal. True polymaths, on the order of a Joyce, Beckett, or Pynchon, can perceive a more complex “reality” thanks in part to a memetic storehouse of varied cultural knowledge that far exceeds that of most individuals. This storehouse changes the way an artist like Joyce looks at the phenomenon of memory. The chaotic flow of perceptions and memories we encounter in Joyce’s characters amounts to a choreography of the dance taking place among and between the memetic attractors vying for a position within the characters’ streams of consciousness.

“Remembering” is no longer an act of volition carried out by a subject, but rather an event produced subconsciously by the interactions between memes and memeplexes in response to an environmental trigger."[Varela, Vortex to Virus:Myth to Memes]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:14 pm

I don't think the word, language, was a virus, or a virus carrier, to begin with.
It morphed into one over time, and it changed due to environmental conditioning.

Population explosions, due to sheltering, and the need to control and to establish centralized value, by constructing value standardization, on resources, is what made the word from a method of relating to reality into a method of detaching from it.

Language begins as an adaptation of the primate social grooming mechanism.
A way of reaffirming and establishing and maintaining internal relationships and hierarchies.
As the group grew towards the proportions we find in modern times (globalization) this grooming morphed to meet the challenge of integrating, and placating multiplicities into one stable whole.

The word, language in general, including math, became a carrier of monism, the all-uniforming, all-inclusive, lowest-common-denominator...the vague undefined, nowhere in evidence singularity.
The word had to detach from any real referential point because this singularity was nowhere to be found except within the human mind, where it remained so vague, and mysterious, that it had to become a Deity.

The christian trinity represents this mystifying unity which incorporates the mind/body and the connector, the spirit, which is nothing more than emotion.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:22 pm

Sensation morphs into emotion when self-consciousnesses is felt as a detachment form consciousness, as something other than it.
I think this is what Jaynes called his Bicameral Mind, and attributed it to a primitive form of emergent self-consciousness.

Emotion being this nexus between mind and body, becomes the perfect representation of the spirit...

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:22 pm

This is to describe the 2. point I was making - from Derrida to Burroughs, there is total divorce of word and reference,,, only differance, only a virus now that destabilizes everything, only a relativism to usher in the free-for-all abuse of 'perspectivism' into passive nihilism of the extreme leftist kind.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:24 pm

So on one extreme mythos and logos are separated through abstraction - extreme drying up - Modernity,,, and on the other extreme - everything is mythos or everything is equally logos - extreme fluidification - Postmodernity.

There's been a lapse into two extremes.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:32 pm

And this is what makes the schizophrenia of modernity a way of coping, without going insane, and without having to take a stand.

The modern can deny both sides because both participate in him, at one time or another.
He remains cynical because nothing touches him. He is safe within the social, which allows him to remain as schizophrenic as possible, if he pays the price for this "privilege", now called a "right".

His madness has no real-world consequences, beyond what can be corrected with the appropriate effort/work/commitment.
The system shelters him so as to allow him to remain as confused and internally fragmented as he wishes, gaining control over him through this internal absence of cohesion ...the only rule is that you do not disrupt, disturb, the internal fragmentation of others.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:36 pm

The disappearance of the Tragic culture relates to modern Nihilism...

Quote :
"The crucial question for those concerned with nihilism thus becomes: Is there still left in our practices some remnant of the nonobjectifying practices that were presumably extant in fifth-century Athens before the cultural collapse that is expressed and furthered by Socrates and Plato?” [Dreyfus]                                                                                            

One way to grasp this notion of nonobjectifying practices is through the image of the forms of life expressed specifically in great participatory cultural founding works of art. Following Heidegger’s lead, Dreyfus references the now-famous example of the Greek temple, which opened the world and earth for the ancients when they came to worship at the site of the god, as a paradigmatic work of art the temple

“[f]irst fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being” (Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, 42).

Dreyfus, drawing on Heidegger, also employs an example of Greek tragedy as serving a similar function for the Greeks in the fifth century. For example, in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, as opposed to conceptualizing an objective truth for the Greeks, which was given in terms of a mode of disclosure that gave the spectators actual truth about their existence, showing truth as explicit, as actual, i.e., already worked out in advance, the tragedy revealed implicitly the understanding of the Greeks’ various cultural practices by organizing and capturing them, and through a process of re-presentation, showed them as potential truth, which was communal and dynamically in transition, in the process of developing and evolving. Aeschylus did not want to “state propositions or justify their beliefs,” rather he produced a “drama in which they were participants,” which represented a “paradigm of their way of life,” and thus the tragic poet “helped them focus and preserve the practices of his age” (517). Tragedy served up cogent possibilities for acting in terms of the Greeks’ common experience of life, and this was not scant entertainment as the theater is today, conceived in its most vile and pernicious form as an exercise in rote escapism, rather the tragedies of the Greeks represented the aesthetic spectacle par excellence wherein

“[t]he battle of the new gods against the old gods is fought. The linguistic work, originating in the speech of the people, does not refer to this battle; it transforms the people’s saying so that now every living word fights the battle and puts up for decision what is holy and what is unholy, what is great and what small, what brave and what cowardly, what lofty and what flighty, what master and what slave” (Heidegger, PLT, 43).

The communal linguistic practices of the Greeks formed a complex mode of dwelling where meaning was furthered and shared without the drive to make it explicit, which would have destroyed their factical and lived cultural value, and this relates to what was stated earlier about Nietzsche and the drive to understand objectivity in terms that are fluid and malleable, which speaks authentically to the ambiguous nature of human existence. Clearly, dwelling in the state of perpetual questioning with respect to the human’s finite and limited access to knowledge presupposes the tragic consciousness. This is what Vernant refers to as “tension and ambiguity” in Greek tragedy and this might be directly related to Dreyfus’ notion of nonobjectifying practices, wherein our philosophical inquires produce more questions than answers. There is, Vernant argues, an essential ambiguity inherent to the extant practices in fifth century Athens, for “man’s relationship to the world was at once social, natural, divine, and ambiguous, rent with contradictions in which no rule appears definitively established, one God fights another, one law against another and in which, even in the contents of the play’s action, justice itself shifts, twists, and is transformed into its contrary” (32). For the most part, meanings in tragedy unfold in such a way that the main player is unaware of what is happening. The tragic reversal and downfall is “unsuspected by even those who initiated them and take responsibility for them, is only revealed when it becomes a part of an order that is beyond man and escapes man” (Ibid., 17)."

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Satyr wrote:


If the absolute is absent then reaffirming this is not nihilism, but a reaffirmation of existence, offering potentials for creativity, for becoming.
If there is no universal moral standard, outside of evolved social behavioural necessities, and no universal meaning, outside the delusions of religious fanatics, and infected, by nihilism, secular humanists seeking comforting, then this positive reaffirmation of the absent is, in fact, not a nullification but a position opening up possibilities: space/time.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - an example of the above and a proponent for Orthodox Xt.;

Quote :
"The Liberal, the worldly man, is the man who has lost his faith; and the loss of perfect faith is the beginning of the end of the order erected upon that faith. Those who seek to preserve the prestige of truth without believing in it offer the most potent weapon to all their enemies; a merely metaphorical faith is suicidal.
Liberalism is the first stage of the Nihilist dialectic, both because its own faith is empty, and because this emptiness calls into being a yet more Nihilist reaction--a reaction that, ironically, proclaims even more loudly than Liberalism its "love of truth," while carrying mankind one step farther on the path of error. This reaction is the second stage of the Nihilist dialectic: Realism.
The Realism of which we speak--a generic term which we understand as inclusive of the various forms of "naturalism" and "positivism"--is in its simplest form, the doctrine that was popularized precisely under the name of "Nihilism" by Turgenev in Fathers and Sons. The figure of Bazarov in that novel is the type of the "new man" of the C sixties' in Russia, simple-minded materialists and determinists, who seriously thought (like D. Pisarev) to find the salvation of mankind in the dissection of the frog, or thought they had proved the non-existence of the human soul by failing to find it in the course of an autopsy.
As opposed to Liberal vagueness, the Realist world-view seems perfectly clear and straightforward. In place of agnosticism or an evasive deism, there is open atheism; in place of vague "higher values," naked materialism and self-interest. All is clarity in the Realist universe--except what is most important and most requires clarity: its beginning and end. Where the Liberal is vague about ultimate things, the Realist is childishly naive: they simply do not exist for him; nothing exists but what is most obvious.

Up to this point, however, we have failed properly to distinguish the second stage of Nihilism from its first. Most Liberals, too, accept science as exclusive truth; wherein does the Realist differ from them? The difference is not so much one of doctrine--Realism is in a sense merely disillusioned and systematized Liberalism--as one of emphasis and motivation. The Liberal is indifferent to absolute truth, an attitude resulting from excessive attachment to this world; with the Realist, on the other hand, indifference to truth becomes hostility, and mere attachment to the world becomes fanatical devotion to it. Those extreme consequences must have a more acute cause.

Both Christian and Realist are possessed of a love of truth, a will not to be deceived, a passion for getting to the root of things and finding their ultimate cause; both reject as unsatisfying any argument that does not refer to some absolute that itself needs no justification; both are the passionate enemies of the frivolity of a Liberalism that refuses to take ultimate things seriously and will not see human life as the solemn undertaking that it is. It is precisely this love of truth that will frustrate the attempt of Liberals to preserve ideas and institutions in which they do not fully believe, and which have no foundation in absolute truth. What is truth?--to the person for whom this is a vital, burning question, the compromise of Liberalism and humanism becomes impossible; he who once and with his whole being has asked this question can never again be satisfied with what the world is content to take in place of truth."

...contd.

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:15 pm

Quote :
"Dostoevsky’s literary depiction of the nihilists in Demons is no less damning than his various comments on them in his corre- spondence. These comments reveal that, for Dostoevsky, the essence of nihilism lies (as it will for Heidegger in the 1930s) in unrootedness, a detachment from the homeland, the ‘native soil’. Furthermore, in his correspondence of the 1860s and 1870s, Dostoevsky makes no distinction between nihilists and socialists, and in this he anticipates right-wing appropriations of the term in Western Europe in the post-First World War period. In a letter of 25 April 1866 to M. N. Katkov, for instance, Dostoevsky declares:

The doctrine that ‘everything should be shaken up par les quatre coins de la nappe, so that at least there may be a tabula rasa for action’ – such a doctrine needs no roots. All nihilists are socialists. Socialism (especially in its Russian variety) specifically requires that all links should be cut. Why, they are absolutely convinced that, given a tabula rasa, they could at once build a paradise on it. (Dostoevsky 1987: 229)

In a letter of 25 March–6 April 1870 to A. N. Maikov, he writes:

Nihilism isn’t even worth talking about. Wait until the upper layer, which has cut itself loose from the Russian soil, rots through and through. And you know, it seems to me sometimes that many of those young scoundrels, those decaying youths, eventually will become real, solid poch- venniki, true Russians deeply attached to their native soil. As to the rest, let them rot away. They will be struck dumb by paralysis. Ah, but what a lot of scoundrels they still are! (333)

And, in a letter of 1 March 1874 to V. P. Meshchersky, he refers to ‘the nihilist scum’ (386; Dostoevsky’s emphasis).

It is, however, in a letter of 29 August 1878 to V. F. Putsykovich that Dostoevsky makes a claim that will recur in the later history of the deployment of the term ‘nihilism’ as part of a discourse that goes far beyond even Nechaev’s justification of extermination. We have seen that, already in Jacobi, a connection is made between nihil- ism and the Jews when he identifies Fichte as the king of the ‘Jews of speculative reason’. Dostoevsky goes much further in the letter to Putsykovich:

Incidentally, when will they finally realize how much the Yids (by my own observation) and perhaps the Poles are behind this nihilist busi- ness. There were a bunch of Yids involved in the Kazan Square incident, and then it was Yids in the Odessa incident. Odessa, the city of the Yids, is the center of our militant socialism. In Europe, it’s the same situa- tion: the Yids are terribly active in socialism, and I’m not speaking now about the Lassalles and the Karl Marxes. Understandably so: the Yid has everything to gain from every cataclysm and coup d’état, because it is he himself, status in statu, who constitutes his own community, which is unshakable and only gains from anything that serves to undermine non-Yid society. (461)

It is, then, precisely in what he takes to be the unrootedness of the Jews, their forming a community that is independent of any national homeland, that they are able to incarnate a nihilism directed against the existing socio-political order and its institutions. Dostoevsky’s claim here also returns us to the theological origins of the term in the Lombardian heresy denying the humanity of Christ. For, just as that ‘nihilist’ heresy denied the incarnation, so Dostoevsky finds nihilism in a people whose religion denies the Christian Messiah. The politi- cally reactionary, deeply Slavophile Dostoevsky here anticipates by some decades the connection made between nihilism, socialism, and ‘international Jewry’ by the ideologues of Nazism." [Shane Weller, Modernism and Nihilism]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:48 pm

Satyr wrote:
If you consider it carefully then an organism , on the conscious level of a human, with a still developing identity (self-consciousness) would have to be deconstructed, detached from reality, from nature (past), and refocused upon the immanent, the yet to be, the still to come, the future.

Yes, the detachment is a mutilation of time, a dissection of man into a past, a present and a future but really, there is no line by which we can ever discern when the past intersects the present nor when the present meets the future.  Time is seamless, the past is ever becoming the present, the present is ever becoming the past.  Man is not an observer of time nor a mere participant.  He is time and whether he looks back or forward, he never loses sight of his self.  It is only when he tries to stand outside time that he is swallowed up, only when he tries to see himself as separate from the past and the future when he tries to imagine a present isolated, then he loses himself.


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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:56 am

By Stanley Rosen, Leo Strauss' student:

Quote :
"The nihilist invokes us to destroy the past on behalf of a wish which he cannot articulate, let alone guarantee fulfillment. The classless society, the superman, the next epoch of Seinsgeschichte, so far as we in the present are concerned, are extreme revisions of the kind of wish described by Socrates in the Republic. Not even Plato's modern enemies have pointed out with sufficient emphasis that the just city, the city for which just men wish, depends for its actualization upon the destruction of the past. This is obvious from the need to expel everyone (with the unstated exception of the founding fathers) above the age of ten from the new city; it is also obvious from Socrates' criticism of the poets, especially of Homer. One cannot understand the Republic by means of popular political categories like "conservative" and "reactionary." Plato, like every philosopher, whatever his politics, is a revolutionary: he wishes to "turn men around" (Book VII, 518D: the famous 'periagoge'), to make them face in a direction different from that of tradition.

The difference between Plato and the nihilists, however, is this: whereas nihilism points us toward the historical future, Plato turns us neither backward nor forward in a historical sense. The Platonic 'periagoge' is directed upward. Plato wishes us to take our bearings in time by a vision that remains free of the transience of temporality. If such a vision is possible, then and only then has one acquired a "steadfast" or secure ground for the present. Only then may one overcome not merely the past, but the dangers inherent in the undefinable character of the future. The nihilist's future is a creation ex nihilo; the instructions for the overcoming of the past do not serve as the "matter" in which the new possibility is to be actualized. Differently stated, since temporality is the only substratum common to past and future, the one steadfast characteristic that may be attributed to the future is transience, negativity, or imminent worthlessness. The wished-for creation of new value, even as a wish, is on the way toward becoming a valueless past. What seems like the positive aspect of the nihilistic repudiation of the past arises not from a vision of the future, but from an illusion about the present. This illusion concerns the mode of presenta- tion of the present, that is, of present instructions for replacing the past by the future. For given the nonexistence of the future and the valuelessness of the past, how can a radically temporal present stand on its own, or signify in its own terms? What terms can the discontinuous temporal moment of the present call its own?

The present as the moment of nihilistic decision is a transient version of the nonarticulated monad of Eleatic ontology. Hence the speech in which nihilism is formulated as a positive doctrine is in fact silence. The distinction between the positive and negative versions of nihilism cannot properly be expressed as a difference between two speeches or accounts; instead, the account must be one of the difference between two moods. For the positive nihilist, the genuine response to a transient, worthless, and silent world is courage or resolution; for the negative nihilist, it is dread or nausea. Since courage or resolution is itself rooted in dread or nausea, it is easy to see that the mediating term is not reason, but hope. The nihilist perseveres in the face of despair not because he has a reason for so doing, but because his ostensible comprehension of the worthlessness of all reasons is understood by him as freedom. The nihilist is freed by the instability of the world to find stability in his own despair. Like the arguments of modern mathematical epistemology, the nihilist is value-free. He is a fact. In one decisive respect, however, the nihilist is much more acute than the epistemologist. If "the world is everything that is the case," or the value-free fact of all facts, then the facticity of those facts has itself no value. Facticity is merely a synonym for transience. The significance of "what is the case" depends not on the fact that it is the case, but upon the peculiar fact of human consciousness, that is, of the (nihilistic) consciousness which grasps the intrinsic valuelessness of the factic. It is not the facts that count, but their significance; and their significance has nothing to do with their facticity. This is the paradoxical inference from the primacy of facticity: to persevere in the face of the value-free is to become free for the projection of value.

According to Hegel, modern philosophy is decisively characterized by giving primacy to the freedom of subjectivity. Nihilism in its full or positive version shares that characteristic and may perhaps be its last necessary consequence: despero ergo sum, or even spero quia absurdum est. Again, the nihilist despairs because he is fully enlightened (the ultimate consequence of the Enlightenment) or free from all illusions. His despair is the sign of his enlightenment or freedom, the seal of his integrity. One is tempted to say that the nihilist hopes for despair in order to be free for the possibility of hope. Value and significance, if they are the ground of facticity, restrict man's freedom by the chains of objectivity. The nihilist dissolves these chains by the acid of despair and resolves himself in the hope of hopelessness. This is the existential manifestation of his essential incoherence. In terms of an older vocabulary, nihilism is doomed to shipwreck because it sunders courage from wisdom, justice, and moderation. As we have seen, a reliance upon courage led Nietzsche to invoke the unleashing of the blonde beasts and wars of universal destruction as the negative prelude to the advent of positive nihilism. Similarly, Heidegger was led to mistake madness for courage in 1933 and to identify the destiny of the Third Reich with that of Being. This mistake would seem to be consequent upon the elimination of the divine, and hence of divine madness. The least one may say is that the courageous turn to Being, when unaccompanied by justice or moderation, raises political dangers of so great a magnitude as to cast a shadow on the wisdom of unmitigated hybris." [Nihilism]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:34 pm

Quote :
The nihilist perseveres in the face of despair not because he has a reason for so doing, but because his ostensible comprehension of the worthlessness of all reasons is understood by him as freedom. The nihilist is freed by the instability of the world to find stability in his own despair.

The mis-understanding of those with a declining health?

Nietzsche wrote:
“What must not be confused with [ the no of active nihilism or pessimism ]: pleasure in saying no and doing no out of a tremendous strength and tension derived from saying yes – peculiar to all rich and powerful men and ages.  A luxury, as it were; also a form of bravery that opposes the terrible; a sympathetic feeling for the terrible and questionable because one is, among other things, terrible and questionable: the Dionysian in will, spirit, taste”
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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:47 am

Rosen makes atleast one other interesting point, through the example of the libertarian and the communist; I like the presentation of how in the latter case, the erasure of the past, of historicism, entailing a loss of self and therefore of speech in deeds - that was communism. We have here the Goethean extreme - "In the beginning, was the Act" and No Word at all... to the other Xt. extreme - "In the beginning, was the Word".

If Xt. connoted extreme Abstraction of reality into inward bliss of "glad tidings", communism was about extreme Revolution, All Act... into outward justice of "happy saturnalia".

To resist every injustice in order not to act as was Xt. has at the other end of its own continuity - the Communist's inability to resist not reacting to the slightest of injustice...

The resistive mentality and the revolutionary mentality are two sides of the same coin.



Stanley Rosen wrote:

"Disaffected speech takes essentially two forms: solipsism and communism.

...The types correspond to isolation from deeds in speech (solipsism), and to a loss of self, and so of speech, in deeds (communism).

Speech is rational only if it preserves the continuity between itself and will or desire. As is especially evident in our own age, the fundamental feature of nihilism is discontinuity, and particularly so in the efforts to replace speech by immediate ecstasy or symbolic abstraction. The two moments or phases of time, coming-to-be and passing-away, are disjoined from each other as is remembering from forgetting. Let me give one final illustration of this by a brief consideration of what is today the central experience of "creativity." One cannot create except by forgetting the author- ity of the past; at the same time, one must remember how to create, or what it means to be a creator, and therefore a certain memory of the past is indispensable. In a healthy or non-nihilistic society, the discontinuity of remembering and forgetting is overcome by tradition. Tradition (traditio) is the "handing over" from past to present of the basis for a significant projection into the future; underlying this temporal transfer is the "surrender" of temporality, that is, of creativity itself, to the ideal of the completely rational speech as the eternal foundation for the creative manipulation of time. A living tradition is possible only through this double transference, only where philosophy is the lifeblood of the spiritual activity; otherwise, the aforementioned discontinuity occurs. We see this today not merely in the so-called dissolution of formal structure which seems to be a characteristic of contemporary art, but in the attempt to suspend or replace form altogether by the spon- taneity of "happenings."

To take a still more specific example from painting, the Cubist, the Surrealist, the Dadaist, even perhaps the Abstract Expressionist may distort the traditional forms in a way that makes it hard for most of us to see the continuity with the past as a sign of the transfer of meaning from the eternal to the temporal. But this continuity remains, in the extreme case if only in the artist's intention to restate every perception by means of more valid formal matrices. To express a mood or perception abstractly is to adhere to the notion of intelligent coherence as present not simply in the artist's consciousness, but in the world he experiences. In at least some phases of so- called abstract art, we see the influence, perhaps the excessive influence, of geometrical perception and related modes of math- ematical intuition. Elements of discontinuity, so-called quantum jumps, may be in the process of prevailing, as for example in the very turn to mathematical perception as dominant over natural perception. But continuity has not been suppressed. Or again, the artist may be communicating a perception of disor- ganization, but he does so with reference to criteria of order which may be seen, as it were, just outside the perimeter of the art work, and so as participating in its definition. Something quite different, however, is the denial of or indifference to order and organization, even as inversely reflected by a coherent portrait of disorder. People are not simply reduced to things, and human affairs to the contingent relations of things. Things themselves are "dismantled" or deprived of causal connection, and so of any rational significance.

To substitute a shoe salesman for a prince as a dramatic hero is one thing; to remove all perspectives by which we may see the difference between them is another. Of course, the advo- cates of art as spontaneous happening will say, and rightly so, that creative intention operates in the artist's selection and technical presentation of discontinuous events, that he is por- traying the contemporary world as it is, or as it is experienced by an enlightened (or at least up-to-date) sensibility, or by one which is free from the hypocrisy of dead traditions. But this is merely to assert the artist's nihilism, either as a project of his own will or as an acquiescence in the contemporary situation. In the active or passive acceptance of nihilism, the world is "held together" by nothing but man's refusal or inability to find value in it. One could perhaps argue that this posture, if rigor- ously maintained, is so contrary to our everyday inclinations as to constitute in itself a highly abstract formalization of experi- ence. I myself should be ready to suggest that we see in the "adopted" nihilism of intellectuals a kind of erotic perversion which is similar to the worship of machines. To the extent that passion may be detected in either, we may still find at least a negative taste for order.

Nevertheless, the artist or intellectual does not assume the posture of nihilism as a special or esoteric mood, except in response to, and as a defense against, popular or global nihilism. In past ages, individuals who suffered from world- weariness were immobilized by their condition and thus sepa- rated from normally functioning society. Only during the past one hundred years or less has it become fashionable on a global scale to say that it is abnormal to function normally. Philosophers and prophets have of course always criticized everyday, political, or "bourgeois" life, but always in terms of a higher vision, not a lower one. And this is to say that, with varying degrees of clarity, they have responded positively to the ever-present threat of active nihilism. Even in Dostoievski, the nihilistic protagonist is presented not as a hero, and therefore not as an anti-hero, but as a victim-one who has been disabled by the loss of vitality of traditional ideals. The remedy for nihilism is always evident: a restoration of the lost vitality, not an acquiescence in the consequences of that loss. By steady stages of decay, we have reached the present situation in which the nihilist protagonist is shown as the norm (even as an os- tensible eccentric or instance of "black humor"), and indeed as the paradigm or ideal type for coping with discontinuous reality.

The discontinuity of reality, and so the irrational fluctuation of remembering and forgetting; the acquiescence in and glorification of absurdity; a fastidious attention to the bodily Eros in all its imaginable forms, first, as a consolation for the disap- pearance of the psychic Eros, then as a kind of applied mechanics of the technicist anti-mind; more generally, an obsession with technique, whether as applied to bodies or in the empty formal systems of logic and mathematics; the concomitant praise of intoxication and sobriety as themselves discontinuous or indis- tinguishable manifestations of chaos: these are the easily iden- tifiable characteristics of the contemporary nihilist scene. But they in turn become intelligible only as consequences of a particular disproportion in the unending dialectic of the human psyche as desire articulated by speech. We might describe this disproportion by saying that man becomes discontinuous with nature, provided we add that the discontinuity is given by na- ture itself. It is true that, by nature, speech or reason is different from desire. But it is an error, and one which is basic to the modern world from its very inception, to attempt to suppress this difference. At first, the suppression takes the form of an identification between nature and desire, and freedom is understood as the freedom of reason to indulge in its highest desires. Unfortunately, the identification of nature and desire leads to the impossibility of distinguishing between high and low desires. It is then reinterpreted as the radical freedom or autonomy of human reason, or the replacement of nature by human work, through which the difference between the high and the low is reestablished. However, what reason gains in being freed from an external order is overcome by the negativity implicit in work or, more fundamentally, by time, which, as in the myth of Kronos, devours its own children." [Nihilism]


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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:48 am

perpetualburn wrote:
Quote :
The nihilist perseveres in the face of despair not because he has a reason for so doing, but because his ostensible comprehension of the worthlessness of all reasons is understood by him as freedom. The nihilist is freed by the instability of the world to find stability in his own despair.

The mis-understanding of those with a declining health?

Nietzsche wrote:
“What must not be confused with [ the no of active nihilism or pessimism ]: pleasure in saying no and doing no out of a tremendous strength and tension derived from saying yes – peculiar to all rich and powerful men and ages.  A luxury, as it were; also a form of bravery that opposes the terrible; a sympathetic feeling for the terrible and questionable because one is, among other things, terrible and questionable: the Dionysian in will, spirit, taste”

Right.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Active Nihilism

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Active Nihilism
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