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The Origins of Nihilism

  • Nihilism originated during 300 B.C.E. where certain discussions by the Buddha related to our actions having no meaning or consequences in this world.
  • The Greek statesman Demosthenes also contributed to its origins.
  • The modern understanding of nihilism is associated with Friedrich Nietzsche, who said all aspects of life are subjective, not objective, also adding that this belief will lead to the destruction of all value structures.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Nihilism is a thought process that argues that all aspects of life lack a specific meaningful essence.

Apart from life, Nihilism rejects meaning in beliefs, value structures, state power, or other systems, portraying all aspects of life as meaningless.

Types of Nihilism

  1. Moral Nihilism says true morality does not exist, and that good or bad actions are not different by the law of nature, but only by our understanding.
  2. Existential Nihilism says all goals, aspirations, influences and actions ultimately become meaningless.
  3. Metaphysical Nihilism tells us that the physical world is an illusion, and our senses just manipulated sensations and signals going into our brain.
  4. Political Nihilism goes against all kinds of political establishments and government laws.

Modern nihilism goes against western culture and values, saying that it has no roots and is meaningless.

Modern nihilism tries to take on tackling poverty, discrimination and the value of increasing happiness, as a way to increase meaning.

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RELATED IDEAS

How we perceive philosophy

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

In reality, philosophy is likely more useful and important to the average person today than any other time in history.

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IDEAS

  • ‘A’ Meaning is the fluid, ever-present and ongoing mechanisms of cognition, behaviour and life-cycles.
  • ‘The’ Meaning, on the other hand, is concerned with the integrated reference point inside the individual, helping him or her navigate life.
Relativism

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to the perspective. This idea can be applied to morality or truth, where some argue that there are no moral facts or absolute truths.

Cultural relativism is the idea that the morality of two different cultures cannot be compared.