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Is existential Nihilism necessary?

Hiu
Posts: 974
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6/5/2016 6:24:49 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
I was wondering what people thought on this subject. Upon reflecting the relationships I've had, I'm starting to think my life really has no value when it comes to the universe. I believe that we exist and carry relationships but I believe that our temporal existence does not have intrinsic value. So it would seem nothing matters and we do things for the sake of doing them.

Thoughts?
albertack
Posts: 4
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6/6/2016 4:28:14 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Isn't existential Nihilism by definition the notion that nothing has intrinsic value? Sartre's famous "existence precedes essence" line suggests that meaning is created subjectively, thus affording practical value, but not intrinsic. I think in order to uncover intrinsic value you would have to shift your general worldview regarding your overarching metaphysical belief system.
That being said, I consider myself a soft existentialist, and I reject Nihilism. I believe there is ultimate and objective meaning or Truth, but it will not be established during life. Part of our Earth-lab experience is open-ended, which allows for a lot of subjective interpretation and differentiation. Ultimately (I believe a part of us will continue on after death), Truth will be established and we will see how closely our lives have aligned with it.
Did that make sense? Questions?
Syko
Posts: 393
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6/6/2016 7:43:09 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/5/2016 6:24:49 AM, Hiu wrote:
I was wondering what people thought on this subject. Upon reflecting the relationships I've had, I'm starting to think my life really has no value when it comes to the universe. I believe that we exist and carry relationships but I believe that our temporal existence does not have intrinsic value. So it would seem nothing matters and we do things for the sake of doing them.

Thoughts?

The topic does not make sense. Necessary cannot be a property of a concept unless you add something else, such as 'necessarily entailed.' If you mean to say that nihilism is necessarily entailed, then no it isn't. You can say that life has no value, but nihilism is a very strong and absolute philosophical position that denies value itself.
For Mother Russia.
Hiu
Posts: 974
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6/6/2016 10:07:44 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/6/2016 7:43:09 AM, Syko wrote:
At 6/5/2016 6:24:49 AM, Hiu wrote:
I was wondering what people thought on this subject. Upon reflecting the relationships I've had, I'm starting to think my life really has no value when it comes to the universe. I believe that we exist and carry relationships but I believe that our temporal existence does not have intrinsic value. So it would seem nothing matters and we do things for the sake of doing them.

Thoughts?

The topic does not make sense. Necessary cannot be a property of a concept unless you add something else, such as 'necessarily entailed.' If you mean to say that nihilism is necessarily entailed, then no it isn't. You can say that life has no value, but nihilism is a very strong and absolute philosophical position that denies value itself.

Essentially I am saying that considering what I've experienced in my life, I recognize it really doesn't have meaning or value, and that all that I have experienced, or will experience, is senseless nothingness. In essence I live in the anguish of nothingness.
Hiu
Posts: 974
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6/6/2016 10:14:57 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I want to clarify that I may have misspoke when I said necessary. I probably meant are my thoughts of meaningless, necessarily related to my own existential nihilism?
keithprosser
Posts: 1,895
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6/6/2016 11:58:28 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I am fairly sure not everyone gets the same set of mental images from the term 'Existential nihilism'. Camus is often called an existentialist, but he said he wasn't so obviously it's not a simple matter to say what is and what is not 'existentialism', still less what Hiu means by 'existential nihilism'. I've seen Neitzche, Kierkegaard and Camus all called 'existenetial nihilists'.

So, Hiu, can you go jargon free for a post so we know exactly what it is you mean so we can all start on the same page? I don't object to using the term 'existential nihilism' at all afterwards, provinding we all use it to mean the same thing.
Hiu
Posts: 974
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6/7/2016 1:32:22 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/6/2016 11:58:28 AM, keithprosser wrote:
I am fairly sure not everyone gets the same set of mental images from the term 'Existential nihilism'. Camus is often called an existentialist, but he said he wasn't so obviously it's not a simple matter to say what is and what is not 'existentialism', still less what Hiu means by 'existential nihilism'. I've seen Neitzche, Kierkegaard and Camus all called 'existenetial nihilists'.

So, Hiu, can you go jargon free for a post so we know exactly what it is you mean so we can all start on the same page? I don't object to using the term 'existential nihilism' at all afterwards, provinding we all use it to mean the same thing.

Here is the most basic thing I can post with respect of my beliefs I hope this helps:

"Existential nihilism is the philosophical theory that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism posits that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose and unlikely to change in the totality of existence. According to the theory, each individual is an isolated being born into the universe, barred from knowing "why", yet compelled to invent meaning.The inherent meaninglessness of life is largely explored in the philosophical school of existentialism, where one can potentially create his or her own subjective "meaning" or "purpose". Of all types of nihilism, existential nihilism has received the most literary and philosophical attention."
keithprosser
Posts: 1,895
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6/7/2016 7:20:54 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Straight out of wikipedia!

For an existentialist (nihilist or not) there is no intrinsic value in 'having relationships' - there are no intrinsic values in existentialism. However having a relationship creates its own value - 'existence precedes essence' should be understood in terms of time-order, not importance.

in other words, over-thinking 'what's the good of relationships' seems to lead nowhere, or can lead the conclusion relationships ( and everything else) are pointless in the face of the vastness of time and space. But, according to existential thought, once a relationship exists, its value becomes manfest.

That is an aspect of what existentialists call 'the absurd'. The absurd in this special context does not mean something that is logically flawed, rather it means 'futile'. What is absurd/futile is trying to make sense of such things as relationships in an abstract over-rationalised way separate from the existence of a relationship.

Perhaps absurd is a good word anyway, because it suggests that existence is a huge joke being played on us by time and space and maybe we should learn to enjoy the joke rather than despair at being the butt of it! That way we avoid suicide - avoiding suicide is a major concern of existentialists, romantic fools that they are!

I am not a full-on existentialist - if I have a philosophy at all it is a mix-and-match drawn from here and there - but from existentialism I draw the idea that maybe the 'meaning of life' is an unreachable goal, and the purpose of life is to seek the meaning of life, even in the full knowledge that it is ultimately unknowable - the meaning of life is the intellectual journey, not its supposed end-point.

So your thoughts are not meaningless, even if that is how they seem. Their meaning is derived from the fact of their existence - the fact you are thinking is what matters.

DDO tends to a far more analytic and rationalist view point - we love our logic based arguments and reducing things to syllogisms, but I don't think there are any syllogisms in Satre or Camus! A paradox is anathema to a rationalist, but a paradox can joyfully embraced by an existentialist who appreciates the absurd.

The only thing really wrong with existentialism is that it is associated with cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Otherwise I'd like it.
Axonly
Posts: 1,801
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6/7/2016 1:13:25 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/7/2016 1:32:22 AM, Hiu wrote:
At 6/6/2016 11:58:28 AM, keithprosser wrote:
I am fairly sure not everyone gets the same set of mental images from the term 'Existential nihilism'. Camus is often called an existentialist, but he said he wasn't so obviously it's not a simple matter to say what is and what is not 'existentialism', still less what Hiu means by 'existential nihilism'. I've seen Neitzche, Kierkegaard and Camus all called 'existenetial nihilists'.

So, Hiu, can you go jargon free for a post so we know exactly what it is you mean so we can all start on the same page? I don't object to using the term 'existential nihilism' at all afterwards, provinding we all use it to mean the same thing.

Here is the most basic thing I can post with respect of my beliefs I hope this helps:

"Existential nihilism is the philosophical theory that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism posits that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose and unlikely to change in the totality of existence. According to the theory, each individual is an isolated being born into the universe, barred from knowing "why", yet compelled to invent meaning.The inherent meaninglessness of life is largely explored in the philosophical school of existentialism, where one can potentially create his or her own subjective "meaning" or "purpose". Of all types of nihilism, existential nihilism has received the most literary and philosophical attention."

Good point.
Meh!
Hiu
Posts: 974
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6/7/2016 10:29:53 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/7/2016 7:20:54 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Straight out of wikipedia!

For an existentialist (nihilist or not) there is no intrinsic value in 'having relationships' - there are no intrinsic values in existentialism. However having a relationship creates its own value - 'existence precedes essence' should be understood in terms of time-order, not importance.

in other words, over-thinking 'what's the good of relationships' seems to lead nowhere, or can lead the conclusion relationships ( and everything else) are pointless in the face of the vastness of time and space. But, according to existential thought, once a relationship exists, its value becomes manfest.

That is an aspect of what existentialists call 'the absurd'. The absurd in this special context does not mean something that is logically flawed, rather it means 'futile'. What is absurd/futile is trying to make sense of such things as relationships in an abstract over-rationalised way separate from the existence of a relationship.

Perhaps absurd is a good word anyway, because it suggests that existence is a huge joke being played on us by time and space and maybe we should learn to enjoy the joke rather than despair at being the butt of it! That way we avoid suicide - avoiding suicide is a major concern of existentialists, romantic fools that they are!

I am not a full-on existentialist - if I have a philosophy at all it is a mix-and-match drawn from here and there - but from existentialism I draw the idea that maybe the 'meaning of life' is an unreachable goal, and the purpose of life is to seek the meaning of life, even in the full knowledge that it is ultimately unknowable - the meaning of life is the intellectual journey, not its supposed end-point.

So your thoughts are not meaningless, even if that is how they seem. Their meaning is derived from the fact of their existence - the fact you are thinking is what matters.

DDO tends to a far more analytic and rationalist view point - we love our logic based arguments and reducing things to syllogisms, but I don't think there are any syllogisms in Satre or Camus! A paradox is anathema to a rationalist, but a paradox can joyfully embraced by an existentialist who appreciates the absurd.

The only thing really wrong with existentialism is that it is associated with cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Otherwise I'd like it.

I used Wikipedia because I had a few people confused on my title and my subsequent reasoning so I thought using the simplest Wikipedia definition (which I hate using considering I would never use Wikipedia for research), assuming it would help. I admit its been awhile since my undergraduate days in majoring in philosophy (I double majored in Philosophy and Psychology) that I've indulged in philosophical analytic thinking.

Upon reading some of the writings of empiricists like David Hume and continental rationalists like Spinoza, I've come to a liking to existentialism (I liked certain readings by Nietzsche) especially it involving nihilism which I've come to apply to my own life. But I am curious when you stated the following:

"maybe the 'meaning of life' is an unreachable goal, and the purpose of life is to seek the meaning of life, even in the full knowledge that it is ultimately unknowable - the meaning of life is the intellectual journey, not its supposed end-point."

That is interesting. I would likened this to a fisherman (being the meaning of life) holding a fishing rod with bait (the purpose of life) over the head of an Asian carp (A jumping fish). However my question to your statement is what if I am exhausted to even seek the meaning of anything due to my idea in believing that what that "thing" I seek is of no value to me? Even as you say my thoughts mattered because I am thinking which brings them into existence, what determines their value (drawing on the inference from you that my thoughts mattered which I believe would infer value)?
keithprosser
Posts: 1,895
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6/8/2016 12:54:33 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
what determines their value
Maybe that is what we are fated to forever seek but not find.
I would recommend 'The Myth Of Sysiphus' by Camus. Camus was a very un-nihilistic existentialist - Sisyphus is all about such absurd (in the existential sense) tasks.

http://dbanach.com...

It's only few pages long but it should keep you thinking for a while....