Tagged: nihilism

Too Embarrassed to Live

We do not know why we are here. Hence, every expression of disinterest — and worse, every dismissive certainty – about this question bespeaks a detachment from life itself. There is no life without definition. There is no definition without essence. There is no essence without purpose. “Why are we here?” To the extent that this question has become a laughingstock, a joke...

Where We Are Headed (As If You Didn’t Know)

The likelihood that the current pandemic was manufactured in a laboratory, by researchers working under totalitarian rulers but funded by tax dollars from the supposed vanguard of the free world, is a neat little reminder of what should be glaringly obvious to every thinking person in the modern world at all times: We are going to annihilate ourselves with progress. This is not...

The Meaning of Life

Meaning is definition. The meaning of life is therefore essentially the definition of life. Hence, the search for the meaning of life is a search for a definition that will tell us what we are really doing when we live, or (if we believe in freedom of the will) what we ought to be doing. I emphasize the point that meaning is definition...

Random Thoughts: Life, Death, the Living, the Dead

A student sent me a text message today consisting of the following questions: “Why is it important to try to think and find the existence of my soul? Why do you live?” Interestingly, the second question implies that the terms of the first question — thinking and finding the existence of the soul — are coextensive with the question of why I live....

The Irony of Nihilism: Mortal Dread

One of the paradoxes of this age that has forfeited all belief in a reality beyond immediate sense perception, and all humanity beyond the material mechanism, is that people, though no longer believing they exist, have become hysterically obsessed with prolonging their “life” (i.e., their illusory appearance of self-moving unity) regardless of the cost. No price is too high to pay for a...

Observing Things

If there were no world, there would be only me — and therefore I would not exist. From this, it might also follow, contrary to the modern moan about man’s insignificance within the vastness of time and space, that my own existence is broadened, expanded, and deepened, precisely in proportion to the breadth, expanse, and depth of the world’s existence. The relevant question...

Notes from the End of the World

I am taking a short break from my boatload of work, as I try to design inescapable e-classes on the fly, all the while knowing that this form of education is inherently second-rate. And how better to enjoy a few peaceful moments away from the grind than to reflect on the accelerating descent of civilization in the grip of the most suicidal mass...

Philosophical Beginnings, Civilizational Endings

One of my most resonant childhood memories is from elementary school, perhaps third or fourth grade. I was walking home for lunch (my school was near my house) with a few friends. One of them, Jimmy, had gotten much lower scores than the rest of us on his recent tests. While we were talking about our scores, Jimmy said, with insouciant bravado, “I...

Nietzsche, Nihilism, and Us

Those of us who believe we are living through a moment of final civilizational decline — to be clear, that’s “final” as in “last stage,” not “the absolute end of everything” — often cite late modernity’s fall into nihilism as either a symptom of the decline, a cause of it, or both. Nihilism — broadly, the belief in nothing (nihil), i.e., the rejection...

Romantic Nihilism, Pop Culture, and Suicide (oh, and Merry Christmas)

A major star of Korean pop music (or K-pop) has committed suicide, seemingly due, in part, to a long-term bout with depression. The Korean and international media response is divided between pitying tributes to Kim Jonghyun the artist and pseudo-serious consternation over mental health issues. Meanwhile, almost everyone is evading the greatest concern at the center of this story: suicide. Kim, 27, was...