Some of these definitions of Nihilism are complete rubbish.
--A Brief Introduction To Nihilism
"Every belief, every considering something-true," Nietzsche writes, "is necessarily false because there is simply no true world" (Will to Power notes from 1883-1888
). Nihilism is the philosophy
of total negation. In short, it states that all values are baseless and meaningless. Nothing in the universe can truly by known or communicated. The nihilist believes in nothing, has no loyalties and has no purpose in life. Some are left with only an impulse to destroy. Though, Friedrich Nietzsche is the philosopher most associated with nihilist, he is not a nihilist. Nietzsche
was an existentialist
who made nihilism infamous by helping shape and define it. He believed that the corrosive effects of nihilism would end up destroying all moral constructs, religions, and metaphysical convictions. Nietzsche believed that nihilism would be the most destructive force in history. Nihilism will attack reality itself and cause the greatest crisis humanity has ever seen. A study of several failed of civilizations by Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West (1926) confirmed Nietzsche’s fears. Spengler has observed that nihilism has acted in history to undermine political, religious, and artistic traditions leading to that civilization’s collapse. After Nietzsche’s compelling critique, nihilism has preoccupied artists, social sceptics and philosophers. The type of art usually produced from the inspiration/horror of nihilism often deals with coping with nihilism emotionally. Trent Reznor
comes to mind when I think of existentialist/nihilistic music. Some of his songs like “Terrible Lie” or “Happiness In Slavery” definitely carry nihilistic overtones. Dada
was a cultural/art movement which endorsed nihilistic themes. It described itself as the anti-art.
There are many types of nihilism, and I do no justice to this philosophy by attempting to summarize it in one paragraph. Existential nihilism deals with extreme pessimism and scepticism. In short, it states that life is meaningless or without purpose. For an existentialist, abandoning all illusions of meaning or worth in life is the source of ultimate freedom at the price of existential horror and despair. Jean-Paul Sartre stated: “existence precedes essence.” He believes that we are thrown into an absurd world with no way to know why, yet we’re forced to create meaning. We exist, and we attempt to figure out why afterwards. Moral nihilism states that there is no true moral code. It states that there is no such thing a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and abandons the moral constructs of any society. Once one starts the process of asking “Why? - What are morals based upon? What is the meaning of it all?” they come but to one end: the collapse into despair when they realize there is no real answer. From cosmic purposeless to pathological destruction nihilism is truly a terrifying un-belief.
"Nihilism is . . . not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one's shoulder to the plough; one destroys" (Will to Power - Friedrich Nietzsche).
I can really hear the nihilism in T. Reznor's music.