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Do you have a Nihilist view on life?
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26 / M / Born here = Toron...
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Posted 2/21/08
Nope im a christian so i believe and god and a higher power and the whole nine yards only thing is i dont practice it as much as i should
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28 / M / California
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Posted 2/21/08

Regulus133 wrote:
"In philosophy, an objective fact means a truth that remains true everywhere, independently of human thought or feelings. For instance, it is true always and everywhere that '2 and 2 make 4.'" (Wikipedia on Objectivity)

apply to:

"life is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value" from the start of the thread.

So I'm arguing more along the lines of meaning, purpose, and value than comprehensible truth, since I'm not entirely certain what is meant by a life without it. Maybe it's facing the fact that the things you mentioned are not absolute truths, at least not in a way that we can know, i.e. a human could give birth to a lizard. This flies against my own ideas, but, as I said, I'm not even going into the truth aspect.


It doesn't seem to me that it much matters what one doesn't know, when one defines something with what one does know. For instance, it'd be impossible for a human to give birth to a lizard, as we can't arbitrarily change our genetic code, unless I were to transform into a lizard before birth, or the baby were transformed into a lizard after birth, but in both situations, the statement that a human gives birth only to humans holds true. Were something to change, perhaps humans gaining the ability to become a lizard at will, they would no longer be human as we define it. In this manner, we regard things that will always hold true as objective fact. Examples; gravity will always create a pull on objects. This is an objective fact. Our gravity could somehow change due to some unforeseeable situation in the future though, and invert itself, pushing objects away from the ground instead of pulling -- but this would then no longer fit under the definition of gravity. In the same way, one rejects certain religious beliefs because it has been shown that there exists no god as is described, and this is absolute truth. It remains so, even were there to be some other god-like entity, 'cause this entity would be unlike the God described in say, Christianity (merciful, empathetic, etc). I'm not sure how clear the idea I'm trying to communicate is, but bear with me.

It seems to me that the idea of objective purpose and value remains valid, in view of the definition you provided, i.e. a truth that remains true independent of human thought or feeling.


Regulus133 wrote:
You're placing it within a context: society. There is no necessity to care for children, prohibit murder, or communicate truthfully in and of themselves, but they are obviously important for society.


These are truths that remain true despite human thought or feeling for the simple reason that were it not true, there would be no life or society. That there is, validates this claim. Again, I use society in the context of interaction between a minimum of two entities or individuals. It is necessary to have these values for continued survival of life -- this is fact.


Regulus133 wrote:
Well, that's your opinion. Just because it is "natural" to do something does not mean it satisfies the notion of an objective purpose. Here again you are (understandably) placing it within the context of desiring life or something similar. Besides, suicide is an option that is taken at times.

So, at this point, you might be asking: what constitutes an objective/absolute rule outside of context? I suppose the answer would be that such a rule is impossible because we can choose to not follow them.


The context doesn't matter as life requires that this be the truth. Looking back at the definition for objective fact again, I think it's clear that life sustains itself everywhere, regardless of human thought or feelings.

So, train of thought.

a) All life is currently alive.
b) To remain alive, said purpose and value must be held as true.
c) If this were not the case, life would cease.
d) thus, All life that has not ceased holds said purpose/value as true.

So in the same way that one is defying gravity when flying, suicide or similar is simply defying the objective purpose of life. Gravity and life both still exist despite the contradiction because they are objective. If one chooses not to follow the rule of life, one would cease to exist and become irrelevant (and so, all living things cannot choose to disobey the rule of life, just as they cannot choose to disobey gravity (as in true anti-gravity, not planes)). Expanding on this analogy, think of life as the earth and it's gravity, and death as space. You could force your way out of gravity (life) into space (death), where it's rule no longer applies to you. But the rule still holds in it's domain.

I have a feeling I'm not being as clear as I could and/or redundant, but I'm in sore need of sleep and can't pin-point it. Hopefully you'll understand the concept I'm trying to explain (whether you agree with it or not).
Posted 2/21/08

Regulus133 wrote:

Well, stress/suffering is a product of impermanence/change. Since basically everything except a few things like space-time and nibbana are subject to change, that would make stress an absolute. The elimination of stress would be an absolute goal then, but not everyone will have that as their goal. The goal exists and would be absolute though. So "no action is objectively preferable to any other" would be false, making Buddhism not nihilistic. Even beings who don't want to totally end stress typically would want to reduce it by becoming rich, etc.


That's within a context, though. Some people may not wish to eliminate stress, so that goal would not be an absolute desire.

Maybe, I'm not sure. There seems to be, for any given organism, something that counts as painful for that organism. Amoeba will move away from a concentration of salt for example. So it seems like living things universally move away from painful things and toward pleasurable things, though what is painful and what isn't is kind of subjective. But the subjective stuff does seem to be biologically constrained, so perhaps the nature of it being subjective is actually physical, which would make it sort of objective or tied to something objective.

Generally things flee from harm and death and toward survival. That's kind of objective, since a knife will kill you no mater whether you find it scary-looking or not. If they run toward death, it might be considered mental illness, no different than any other illness leading toward death.



There seems to be a good chance that you know more about it than I do, though I was taught by a self-proclaimed Buddhist. Nevertheless, why aren't they "supposed to be" (we'll ignore the imperative nature of this phrasing) severing attachments? Doesn't that help lead to a kind of mindset where one can abandon all attachments and (I guess) enter nirvana/become free?

I'm not sure which word is being translated to "attachment." Usually the words used are craving and clinging. I think that "attachment" is probably craving (tanha):



"There are these three cravings. Which three? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. These are the three cravings."

There are these four kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rituals and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

"And what is the cause by which stress comes into play? Craving is the cause by which stress comes into play.

(Craving causes clinging.)

Anyway, the thing is that this is mental. So you could be working to obtain new material things without necessarily craving or clinging to those things, but this is kind of hard, and as you stop craving you have less reason to want various material things.

Monks are basically practicing "extreme Buddhism" where they can give up all their things and responsibilities to avoid distractions. This makes it easier for them to eliminate craving, but laypeople can't take this attitude or they'd starve. Laypeople have to have normal jobs. So laypeople still have lots of material things, they just try not to crave them and cling to them.

And, of course, note the fact that there's also craving for and clinging to ideas of various sorts.



Anyway, I think meaning is probably subjective by definition.
Purpose, I think we could argue that all living things have the objective purpose to survive and reproduce.
Some complex social beings seem to be able to override individual survival concerns for the sake of social survival concerns.
Pleasure/pain seems to be linked to survival and reproduction. Painful things probably tend to hinder survival, pleasurable things tend to aid in it.
Stress, I'm not sure, since it seems like you can have both pleasurable and painful stress. Both types might cause your body to break down faster and you to live a shorter life though, so that would put stress at odds with survival. But then again, some creatures commit suicide in order to mate, which might be social survival overriding individual survival.
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Posted 2/21/08

Regulus133 wrote:


krnsoldierofGod wrote:

#1 hm if moby dick grew legs and started healing the disabled maybe I'd stop and listen to him

#2 you forget God gave us free will


*sigh*

#1: That's not the point. You haven't proven that Jesus actually did heal the disabled, so there's no reason for me to believe he did.

#2: I may disagree with that, but I'm not forgetting it in my discussion. It doesn't change anything because, free will or not, certain actions (usually of a "selfish" nature; that is, actions that affirm the self) have punishments.




didn't you say that eeven if you did see it you wouldn't belelieve anyway
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28 / M / Rhodesia
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Posted 2/21/08
yea of course... no 1 believer right here...
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29 / M / Planet Novus: Any...
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Posted 2/21/08
Hmm maybe Im not a nihilist. Coz if you try to picture our existence.. Did we just pop out and holla theres human beings.. Isn't it kinda wrong? Though we had different views about this.. Theres nothing wrong to believe theres someone behind our existence..

If you don't have a reason why you exist then make one.. Making parents happy. Treasuring friends.Isn't that more than 1 reason to exist and theres plenty of them..
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Posted 2/22/08

DKangN3 wrote:

I have a feeling I'm not being as clear as I could and/or redundant, but I'm in sore need of sleep and can't pin-point it. Hopefully you'll understand the concept I'm trying to explain (whether you agree with it or not).


I don't disagree with what you have said. However, if we consider that language is a human system of ideas that doesn't change (it does, of course, but I speak of terms we have been discussing, like "lizard" and "gravity"), we can dismiss its pertinence to the observable world. Beyond that, I still think you're arguing within the context of biological life, which, while necessary (presumably) for the very thoughts of a nihilistic attitude, is not necessarily the focus of the nihilist. Also, while suicide may be written off as the result of a mental illness, that is just another term we have to describe behavior that does not fit into the vast majority. I think someone can come up with a rational or spiritual reason for committing suicide and remain mentally healthy.

You might call a despairing nihilist an idealist because he cannot find but nevertheless desires some inherent meaning to existence itself, sort of like the philosophical view of essentialism where what we observe is more than what we observe, where material has some indescribable "essence." You can dismiss this type of thinking as nonsense (as I mostly do), but it is just another perspective. In precise contrast, you seem very strong on science, which affirms what we observe.

If you aren't seeing the reasoning behind nihilism, try considering it as a feeling that may arise from facing the implications of freedom (that we are limited by our physical bodies and our environment is not an issue).

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25 / F / UK
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Posted 2/22/08
just no
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29 / M / Poland
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Posted 2/22/08
Yeah, but not completly
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36 / core
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Posted 2/22/08
its funny that nihilist believe in nihilism..
its kinda ironic when you think of it.. lol
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28 / M / Florida
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Posted 2/22/08

Regulus133 wrote:


zombiexmylove wrote:

For those who don't know:

Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position which argues that Being, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Nihilists generally assert some or all of the following:

* there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator,
* a "true morality" does not exist, and
* objective secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has, in a sense, no truth, and no action is objectively preferable to any other.


No objective meaning? Agreed.
No purpose? No objective, absolute purpose. We can make our own.
No comprehensible truth? I'm not entirely sure what this means. I suppose we can't have certainty in anything except mathematics, which only exists in terms of ideas.
No essential value? I'm more with Nietzsche on this one. We make our own through exercising our freedom. He actually criticized Western religion as nihilistic because it more or less asserts that what really matters is the afterlife, not the current life.
No reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or Creator? Agreed. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
No true morality? Agreed.
Objective secular ethics are impossible? Agreed.

Of course, this is all somewhat idealistic, thinking in terms of absolutes. Getting stuck on these things paralyzes the individual, but there is no need for such focus. Our lives are almost always in contexts where certain actions or truths or ethics are better than others, whether it be for the individual or some system.

So yes, I'm nihilistic in the sense that I do not believe in absolutes in and of themselves, but I am nevertheless down-to-earth and affirming of life.



pretty much the same here haha ppl need to love life g'damnit live like u'd die tomorrow
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25 / F / cebu
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Posted 2/22/08
i'm not a nihilist....
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28 / M / Ogre island, form...
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Posted 2/22/08
i can't fully grasp the discussion here, it's too intellectual for me for now XD ... anyway, does Objectivism and Nihilism have anything in common?
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29 / M / New York
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Posted 2/22/08

jan98x wrote:

its funny that nihilist believe in nihilism..
its kinda ironic when you think of it.. lol


What do you mean? It doesn't have to be a set of beliefs, in which case they would be positing as absolute that there are no absolutes. A sensible nihilist would say that he perceives no absolutes at the moment (not discounting the possibility that he might one day), therefore he has no reason to follow them. Another argument would be that the very concept of an absolute is empty.
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Posted 2/22/08

iheartshiina wrote:

i can't fully grasp the discussion here, it's too intellectual for me for now XD ... anyway, does Objectivism and Nihilism have anything in common?


Not necessarily. One can be objective and not nihilistic, nihilistic and not objective, neither objective nor nihilistic, or both nihilistic and objective. This is possible because being nihilistic does not require meeting every point presented at the start of the thread. Objectivity might be impossible, however, if you accepted every possible form of nihilism because it would reject objectivity in favor of the idea that nothing is knowable at all.
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