A nihilist is a person who denies the importance of generally accepted values, both moral and cultural. The term "nihilist comes from the Latin" nihil "and means" nothing. " The nihilist rejects all principles, does not recognize a priori authorities. In addition to disagreeing 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 peculiarly reacts to events in the world around him, showing a defensive reaction as disagreement. Denial from a nihilist often comes to mania. For him, all human ideals are like ghosts that limit the individual’s free consciousness and prevent him from living properly.
In this world, a nihilist recognizes only matter, atoms that form a certain phenomenon. Among the main causes of nihilism are selfishness , as well as a sense of self-preservation that does not know the feeling of spiritual love. Nihilists claim that everything creative is unnecessary and pretentious nonsense.
In psychology, a nihilist is seen as a person who despaired of searching for the causes and meaning of existence on earth.
In the conceptual provisions of E. Fromm, nihilism is presented as a mechanism of psychological defense . Fromm believed that the main problem of an individual who did not come to this world of his own free will is the natural contradiction between being, as well as the fact that a person, possessing the ability to know himself, others, the present and the past, goes beyond nature. According to E. Fromm personality develops in the pursuit of freedom and the pursuit of alienation. And this development takes place by increasing freedom, but not everyone can use this path correctly. As a result, negative states and mental experiences lead the individual to alienation and the loss of his self. A protective mechanism “flight from freedom” appears, leading the individual to destructivism, nihilism, automatic conformism , the desire to destroy the world so that the world does not destroy it.
V. Reich, analyzing the appearance and behavior of nihilists, characterizes them as arrogant, cynical, daring with an ironic grin. These qualities are the result of the action of nihilism as a protective mechanism. These features have become “character armor” and are expressed as “character neurosis ”. V. Reich claims that the nihilist traits are the remnants of strong defense mechanisms in the past, separated from their initial situations and become permanent character traits.
A nihilist is a person who has become disillusioned with life and conceals the bitterness of this disappointment under the guise of cynicism . But it was precisely at the turning points in the history of mankind that the nihilists were the driving force behind changes and events, and the majority of the carriers of nihilistic views were young people with their desire for maximalism.
The views of nihilists
The doctrine of nihilism arose in the twelfth century, but was soon regarded as heretical and anathematized by Pope Alexander III.
The nihilistic movement in the 19th century in the West and in Russia gained particular scope. He was associated with the names of Jacobi, Nietzsche, Stirner, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin and others.
The very 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 truth in the world, and his existence is an illusion of pro-Christian thinkers.
Another famous nihilist O. Spengler promoted the idea of the decline of European culture and the destruction of previous forms of consciousness.
S. Kierkegaard believed that the crisis in the Christian faith is the reason for the spread of the nihilistic movement.
In Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century there appeared more supporters of nihilism, denying the existing 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 I. S. Turgenev “Fathers and Sons”. A bright representative of his time, he expressed the social as well as political changes that took place then in society. He was a "new man," a rebel. Student Bazarov described by Turgenev as a supporter of the most "ruthless and complete denial." First of all, he opposed autocracy, serfdom, religion - this is all that gave rise to national poverty, lawlessness, darkness, community, patriarchal antiquity, family oppression. Undoubtedly, this denial was revolutionary in 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 from the inconsistency of laws with the interests of citizens, people's disagreement with many scientific concepts.
Moral nihilism is a metaethical position that 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 views, habits and lifestyle of adults and seeks to protect itself from the negativity of real life. This type of nihilism is often inherent not only to young men, but also to emotional people of all ages and is expressed in various fields (in religion, culture, rights, knowledge, public life).
Mereological nihilism is quite common today. This is a philosophical position that insists that objects made up of parts do not exist, but only basic objects that are not made up of parts. For example, a nihilist is sure that the forest does not exist as a separate object, but as a multitude of plants in a limited space. And that the concept of "forest" was created to facilitate human thinking and communication.
Geographic nihilism began to stand out relatively recently. Its essence lies in the denial and unreasoning of the illogical use of geographical features of parts of the world, the substitution of geographical directions north - east - south - west and geographical parts of the world by cultural ideological idealism.
Epistemological nihilism is a form of skepticism that asserts doubt about the possibility of attaining knowledge. It arose as a reaction to the ideal and universal goal of ancient Greek thinking. Sophists were the first to support skepticism. After some time, a school was formed that denied the possibility of perfect knowledge. Then the problem of nihilism was already clear, consisting in the unwillingness of its supporters to obtain the necessary knowledge.
Popular nihilism today is cultural. Its essence is the denial of the cultural trends of all spheres of society. Russo, Nietzsche and the other founders of the counterculture completely denied the whole of Western civilization, as well as bourgeois culture. The biggest criticism fell on the cult of consumerism of mass society and mass culture. Nihilists are sure that only the vanguard is worthy of development and preservation.
Religious nihilism is a rebellion, rebellion against religion, a negative attitude to spiritual social values. Criticism of religion is expressed in a pragmatic attitude towards life, in spirituality. Such a nihilist is called a cynic ; nothing sacred to him.
Social nihilism is expressed in a variety of manifestations. This is hostility to state institutions, reforms, social protests against various transformations, innovations and shock methods, disagreement with various political decisions, rejection of a new way of life, new values and changes, denial of Western patterns of behavior.
Among the negative aspects of nihilism is the inability to go beyond one’s own views, lack of understanding among others, categorical opinions, which often harm the nihilist himself. However, it is positive that the nihilist shows his individuality, defends his own opinion, seeks and opens up something new.