A nihilist is a person who denies the importance of generally accepted values, both moral and cultural. The concept of “nihilist comes from the Latin“ nihil ”and means“ nothing. ”The nihilist dismisses all principles, does not recognize a priori of authorities. In addition to disagree with generally accepted values and ideas, he also denies the meaningfulness of human existence. Nihilists are prone to critical thinking and skepticism.
Who is a nihilist
The explanatory dictionary contains information that a nihilist is an individual who:
- denies the meaning of human existence;
- overthrows all recognized authorities from pedestals;
- rejects spiritual values, ideals and common truths.
The nihilist reacts in a peculiar way to events in the surrounding world, displaying a defensive reaction as a disagreement. A nihilist's denial often reaches mania. For him, all human ideals are like ghosts that restrict the free consciousness of the individual and prevent him from living the right way.
The nihilist recognizes only matter in this world, the atoms that form a certain phenomenon. Among the main causes of nihilism - selfishness, as well as a sense of self-preservation, not aware of the feeling of spiritual love. Nihilists assert that all creative is unnecessary and false nonsense.
In psychology, a nihilist is regarded as a person who despaired of the search for the causes and meaning of existence on earth.
In the conceptual provisions of E.From, nihilism is presented as a psychological defense mechanism. Fromm believed that the main problem of an individual who came to this world against their will was the natural contradiction between being and the fact that a person, possessing the ability to know himself, others, present and past, goes beyond nature. According to E.Fromma personality develops in the pursuit of freedom and the desire for alienation. And this development occurs by increasing freedom, but not everyone can take this path correctly. As a result, negative states and mental experiences lead the individual to alienation and the loss of his self. A defensive mechanism “escape from freedom” appears, leading the individual to destructiveness, nihilism, automatic conformism, the desire to destroy the world so that the world does not destroy it.
W. Reich, analyzing the appearance and behavior of nihilists, characterizes them as arrogant, cynical, bold with an ironic grin. These qualities are the result of the action of nihilism as a defense mechanism. These features became the "armor of character" and are expressed in the form of a "neurosis of character." V. Reich argues that the features of nihilists are the remnants of strong defense mechanisms in the past, separated from their initial situations and becoming permanent features of character.
A nihilist is a person who is disillusioned with life and hides the bitterness of this disillusionment under the guise of cynicism. But it was precisely at the turning points in the history of mankind that nihilists were the driving force of change and events, and the majority of carriers of nihilistic views were young people with their desire for maximalism.
The views of the nihilists
The doctrine of nihilism appeared in the twelfth century, but was soon regarded as heretical and anathematized by Pope Alexander III.
The nihilistic movement in the XIX century in the West and in Russia received a special scope. He was associated with the names of Jacobi, Nietzsche, Stirner, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin and others.
The concept of "nihilism" was introduced by the German philosopher F. G. Jacobi. The most prominent representative of nihilism was F. Nietzsche. He believed that there is no true thing in the world, and his existence is an illusion of pro-Christian thinkers.
Another well-known nihilist O. Shpengler promoted the idea of the decline of European culture and the destruction of the former forms of consciousness.
S. Kierkegaard believed that the reason for the spread of the nihilistic movement was the crisis in the Christian faith.
In Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century, more supporters of nihilism appeared, denying the established foundations of society. They ridiculed religious ideology and preached atheism.
The meaning of the word nihilist is most revealed in the image of Yevgeny Bazarov, the hero of the novel by Igor S. Turgenev Fathers and Sons. A prominent representative of his time, he expressed the social as well as political changes that were then taking place in society. He was a "new man", a rebel. Student Bazarov described Turgenev as a supporter of the most "merciless and complete denial." First of all, he spoke out against autocracy, serfdom, religion - this is all that gave rise to people's poverty, lawlessness, darkness, community, patriarchal antiquity, family oppression. Undoubtedly, this denial was of a revolutionary nature, such nihilism was characteristic of the revolutionary democrats of the 60s.
Among the main types of nihilism in modern society, there are several.
Legal nihilism is the denial of laws. This can lead to inhibition of the legal system, illegal actions, as well as chaos.
The reasons for legal nihilism can have historical roots, it also arises due to the inconsistency of laws with the interests of citizens, and people’s disagreement with many scientific concepts.
Moral nihilism is called a meta-ethical position, which states that nothing can be moral or immoral. Nihilists suggest that even murder, regardless of its circumstances and reasons, cannot be regarded as a bad or good deed.
Youthful nihilism, as well as youthful maximalism, is expressed by vivid emotions in the denial of everything. The growing personality often disagrees with the attitudes, habits and lifestyle of adults and seeks to protect themselves from the negative of real life. This kind of nihilism is often inherent not only to young men, but also to emotional people of all ages and is expressed in various spheres (in religion, culture, rights, knowledge, social life).
Mereological nihilism is quite common today. This is a philosophical position that insists that the objects consisting of parts do not exist, but there are only basic objects that are not composed of parts. For example, a nihilist is sure that a forest does not exist as a separate object, but as a multitude of plants in a limited space. And that the concept of "forest" is created to facilitate human thinking and communication.
Geographical nihilism began to stand out relatively recently. Its essence is in the denial and unreasoning of the illogical use of the geographical features of parts of the world, the substitution of geographical directions of north-east-south-west and the geographical parts of the world by cultural ideologicalism.
Epistemological nihilism is a form of skepticism that claims doubt about the possibility of attaining knowledge. It arose as a reaction to the ideal and universal goal of ancient Greek thinking. Sophists first supported skepticism. After a while, a school was formed, denying the possibility of perfect cognition. Then the problem of nihilism was already clear, which consists in the unwillingness of its supporters to obtain the necessary knowledge.
Popular nihilism today is cultural. Its essence is in the denial of cultural trends in all spheres of social life. Rousseau, Nietzsche and other founders of the counterculture completely denied all Western civilization, as well as bourgeois culture. The biggest criticism has fallen on the cult of consumerism of mass society and mass culture. Nihilists are sure that only avant-garde is worthy of development and preservation.
Religious nihilism is a revolt, a revolt against religion, a negative attitude towards spiritual social values. Criticism of religion is expressed in a pragmatic attitude towards life, in non-spirituality. Such a nihilist is called a cynic, nothing sacred to him.
Social nihilism is expressed in a variety of manifestations. These are hostility to state institutions, reforms, social protests against various transformations, innovations and shock methods, disagreement with various political decisions, the rejection of a new way of life, new values and changes, the denial of Western patterns of behavior.
Among the negative sides of nihilism is the impossibility to go beyond one’s own views, lack of understanding among others, categorical judgment, which often causes harm to the nihilist himself. However, it is positive that a nihilist shows his individuality, defends his own opinion, seeks and discovers something new.