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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    I disagree.

    "Importance" and "significance" relate to rank. They do not implicitly represent value judgements, e.g. "What are the most important/significant factors contributing to global warming?" "What is the evolutionary purpose of the peacock's tail?" Such things can be objectively determined (in theory). They do not rely on subjective impressions in the way that "meaning" does.

    Of course, you can dismiss this all as semantics, but not without dismissing your own argument, which is purely a semantic one.
    Yes, again "importance" and "significance" have non-emotional definitions. "Meaning" can be synonymous with "definition', a non-emotional use of the word. But how do those definitions relate to nihilism? There are definitions of those terms that do relate to nihilism (living is important to me, my life is significant, I have a purpose in life now, having kids is my priority, I have meaning in my life...).

    What I've been saying, probably without much clarity, is that those particular definitions are based on emotion, and are things denied by particular forms of nihilism.

    The other type of nihilism related to meaning (so ignoring denial of truth and other unrelated forms of nihilism) denies certain non-emotional definitions of those terms. It's one of the main types being used in the original text.

    It's not that this nihilism denies the existence of "meaning" as in "definition", or "significance" as in the way you used it with global warming. It denies specific physical scenarios, like an afterlife or a god, as well as many more. My claim, is that those physical/objective scenarios that it denies, are only put under the definition of "meaning" or "significant" etcetera because of their relation to emotion. For example, the idea of an all-loving god or eternal bliss makes people happy usually. If everyone was saddened by those ideas, rather than comforted, they would never have been described as "meaningful" or providing "purpose". By extension, someone who finds happiness in the idea of no god, or a temporary life, is someone who will not describe such an existence as "pointless" or "meaningless", but rather "meaningful". As such, I see all the forms of nihilism in the original text, as expressions of emotion alongside expressions of physical reality.

    The other nihilism I see in the original text is the "everything should die/I should die" nihilism, which is separate and speaks for itself as a value judgement plain and simple. At least he doesn't use the "there is no truth" or "nothing exists" forms of nihilism.

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Yes, again "importance" and "significance" have non-emotional definitions. "Meaning" can be synonymous with "definition', a non-emotional use of the word. But how do those definitions relate to nihilism? There are definitions of those terms that do relate to nihilism (living is important to me, my life is significant, I have a purpose in life now, having kids is my priority, I have meaning in my life...).

    What I've been saying, probably without much clarity, is that those particular definitions are based on emotion, and are things denied by particular forms of nihilism.

    The other type of nihilism related to meaning (so ignoring denial of truth and other unrelated forms of nihilism) denies certain non-emotional definitions of those terms. It's one of the main types being used in the original text.

    It's not that this nihilism denies the existence of "meaning" as in "definition", or "significance" as in the way you used it with global warming. It denies specific physical scenarios, like an afterlife or a god, as well as many more. My claim, is that those physical/objective scenarios that it denies, are only put under the definition of "meaning" or "significant" etcetera because of their relation to emotion. For example, the idea of an all-loving god or eternal bliss makes people happy usually. If everyone was saddened by those ideas, rather than comforted, they would never have been described as "meaningful" or providing "purpose". By extension, someone who finds happiness in the idea of no god, or a temporary life, is someone who will not describe such an existence as "pointless" or "meaningless", but rather "meaningful". As such, I see all the forms of nihilism in the original text, as expressions of emotion alongside expressions of physical reality.

    The other nihilism I see in the original text is the "everything should die/I should die" nihilism, which is separate and speaks for itself as a value judgement plain and simple. At least he doesn't use the "there is no truth" or "nothing exists" forms of nihilism.
    I wasn't addressing his, yours, or anyone else's definition of nihilism. I was addressing this statement of yours:
    Since emotions exist, meaning exists.
    Which I read as "Life has meaning because emotions exist".
    My disagreement was with the necessary truth of that argument.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    I wasn't addressing his, yours, or anyone else's definition of nihilism. I was addressing this statement of yours:

    Which I read as "Life has meaning because emotions exist".
    My disagreement was with the necessary truth of that argument.
    Wait, so let me get this straight.

    Are you just saying "meaning" isn't necessarily an emotion, therefore "Life has meaning because emotions exist" isn't necessarily true?

    If so I agree. I never meant it as a stand alone statement but a conclusion to a certain line of thought (existentialism).

  4. #94
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    I am going to regret writing this, for it will force me to come back and object to all the following criticism. I am doing it anyway, because, although I know it is pointless, I feel the urge to justify my judgements. Very reflexive of the nature of life, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Nicodemus, I find it hard to believe that you actually believe that life can be definitively proven to be meaningless.

    It is as idiotic an endeavor as attempting to prove that God exists.
    You are quite mistaken: It is as impossible as to prove that god does not exist, whereas the contrary is idiotic: attempting to prove that it does exist.

    All one has to do to establish the absolute meaninglessness of life as truth is to falsify supposed meanings on this scale. I am not saying that people cannot have delusions of a meaning of life. Most thinking people have conceived it in one way or another; most stupid people have received it from somewhere. They all believe, to differing degrees, that their lives have meaning and, in this sense, they have indeed. So why am I writing this?

    Surely I write not for the hopeful young,
    Or those who deem their happiness of worth,
    Or such as pasture and grow fat among
    The shows of life and feel nor doubt nor dearth,
    Or pious spirits with a God above them
    To sanctify and glorify and love them,
    Or sages who foresee a heaven on earth.

    For none of these I write, and none of these
    Could read the writing if they deigned to try.

    It write -

    To show the bitter old and wrinkled truth
    Stripped naked of all vesture that beguiles,
    False dreams, false hopes, false masks and modes of youth.

    I am writing not to show that whatever meaning of life one holds to be true is false, but to show that they are all illusions and that they come to be because life, the cage in which humans concoct their purposes, is itself without any end, purpose or meaning. Life is self-perpetuating nonsense.

    Imagine a hamster in his wheel. He is running, constantly running, even in his sleep he is still in his wheel. He does that because he thinks that one day he may reach the finish line and rest eventually. Others of his kind just like to run. They are the happiest creatures in wheels. But now tell me: Must he run? Would it be such a shame if he stopped and slept forever? Constant running, intermitted only be the necessary drinking and eating, is arduous: he might die in his wheel from exhaustion before he has reached his goal.

    Someone once said that we are asking for the meaning of life because we do not know it. Indeed, we do not. As Victor never grows tired to say: Human beings are meaning creating animals. There is none before we create it. Life itself - and not only humans live - has none.

    If life were not meaningless, it would have meaning even in its darkest moments. So the joy of living, the purpose of it must be felt in every state of life regardless of where, when and how it is situated. The joy of living, then, is the joy of ten hours of waking in impervious silence and impenetrable darkness, or nothing at all.

    But we all know that life is meaningless, that we can only enjoy it when we distract ourselves from the pure state of being. Only because of that do we see the need to make our own meaning of life. Since we cannot make meaning out of solid stone and mud, we weave it in thoughts. What we do in thoughts may feel true, like all emotions, even those out of touch with reality do, but their sole reality is within the mind: they are illusions; and to think them real makes them delusions.

    I can go on and point out how Hume's law, applied to the general scheme of things, says us that there is no objective value in this world: that, in fact, there cannot be any such value. Cioran says: The tragedy is not that there is no meaning of life, but that there cannot be.

    The will to life makes us stay. We do the best we can to make it a good stay; for that, we need a purpose. So we are happy if we can deceive ourselves to find one. Are those who find none but blind or stupid? Was Mitchell Heisman?

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    It should not be taken at its purest form as a personal philosophy because it has no other end that self-destruction. It doesn't seek to answer any questions about our existence.
    Then nihilism was first thought of so as to justify suicide? Of course not. Nihilism marks the end of a long road. It is where science will one day have led all of us. When everything is illuminated, nothing is interesting anymore. In this sense, nihilism is the result of already having the answers; until we do have them all (which will never happen), however, it is the anticipation of this state, concluded from a long history.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    Instead, it jumps to a conclusion that life is inherently meaningless without proving or providing quantifiable reasons why it is so.
    All we can do in our pursuit of truth and knowledge is to jump to conclusions, if you need to call it so. You certainly know that we have no better way of finding truths than inductive reasoning and that it is fallible. For more, see above.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    Also, to prove nihilism correct would be to disprove the philosophical ideas that oppose nihilism and questions such as why some people experience joy and happiness. Life has meaning for them. Why? Nihilism has no answer for those questions. Which is why it shouldn't be taken in it's purest form.
    Nihilism does not imply that nobody can experience joy and happiness. I know nihilists who are, at the same time, bizarre hedonists; they have the mindset to be very happy in this world, yet they do not believe it to have any meaning beyond simple emotional stimulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    Nihilism has been useful as a philosophical stepping stone to other schools of thought that have taken the best from it and built upon it. Existentialism, for instance, has traces of nihilism in it and I'm sure other schools of thought have taken the best from existentialism and so on and so forth.
    O, progress. Do you believe in Hegel's Weltgeist? I do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    Ultimately, we are trying to find answers to the unanswerable. But to treat any "ism" as fact is unwise. It breeds fanatical devotion. Or worse, intolerance to any new information or different but potentially better solutions to the same questions. This is where Heisman erred and why the credibility of his manifesto suffered. He assumed.
    Or you simply do not like the answers. Then it is pretty irrelevant whether they are correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    Honestly, I don't feel you have expressed your opinions on how you disagree with me. You say you disagree but you don't say on what grounds you disagree.
    I thought I made clear that I did not indend anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    That's what I've been trying to gain from this. I don't seek to change your opinions but to understand them and so far I do not have a clear sense of where you stand.
    I thought I had reached a point where there was nothing more to gain for me. Thus I tried to cut our discussion short. But here we go...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I've had the same issues with N's posts in this and other threads. I've been curious as to understand the basis of his disagreement(s), but so far he's been unwilling to explain the details of his objections... which is bothersome.
    You just need to read more carefully. I reject normativism because there is no foundation for it whatsoever (to explain all that is too boring for the little fun it provides me; whoever is interested in the subject can surely read up on it for themself), and I reject free will as an transcendental truth because there is enough reason for me to doubt it (I presented a link to further information and, so I fancied, interesting cookies for thoughts).

  5. #95
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    You just need to read more carefully. I reject normativism because there is no foundation for it whatsoever (to explain all that is too boring for the little fun it provides me; whoever is interested in the subject can surely read up on it for themself), and I reject free will as an transcendental truth because there is enough reason for me to doubt it (I presented a link to further information and, so I fancied, interesting cookies for thoughts).
    I appreciate you addressing things in more detail and putting yourself out there. (Discussion is a dirty business, but ... that's just the nature of the beast.) I can tell you're highly intelligent, I just would like to see the processing that goes into it; I can't accept what you're saying just because you said so.

    I checked out your links yesterday, but I think maybe now it's a communication error: You're not realizing how vague your explanations are. I read those pages and learned something from them about the general topic; but I still had no idea what specifically YOU believed or how specifically it applied in your mind to the topic being discussed (or why you thought it was applicable), especially if I still believed they did not. Why do you think those arguments are relevant? They're not self-evident in their application to the specific topic under discussion.

    Like it or not, when we each choose to espouse a particular philosophy, we become the focal point through which that general philosophy is being filtered into the discussion, so we need to explain why we think it's relevant. If it was self-evident, the discussion would be useless.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #96
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I checked out your links yesterday, but I think maybe now it's a communication error: You're not realizing how vague your explanations are. I read those pages and learned something from them about the general topic; but I still had no idea what specifically YOU believed or how specifically it applied in your mind to the topic being discussed (or why you thought it was applicable), especially if I still believed they did not. Why do you think those arguments are relevant? They're not self-evident in their application to the specific topic under discussion.

    Like it or not, when we each choose to espouse a particular philosophy, we become the focal point through which that general philosophy is being filtered into the discussion, so we need to explain why we think it's relevant. If it was self-evident, the discussion would be useless.
    The problem is, the more you say and the more controversial it is, the more you will have to defend it. Defending is exhausting and usually profitless. It is true that we all think within certain paradigms. That is often the reason why people disagree and start to debate, but is it seldom the case that one party convinces the other of something it did not believe beforehand - again because, as you implied, we - that is, our personal philosophies - become the focal point through which everything is filtered. So all we can achieve in a discussion is to rattle the paradigm. So I play the devil's advocate.

    I did not realize, though, that it was so hard to understand my objections.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    The problem is, the more you say and the more controversial it is, the more you will have to defend it.
    Totally agree... and this was one of my intuitions about where you might be coming from. I mentioned in the "Reasons why you haven't finished a post?" thread the other day that sometimes the commitment to defend my thinking on a particular topic is far too much energy than I care to invest on it.

    I've tossed out some ideas on other topics, but usually I feel it is not as rigorous as I like it to be. I guess I just try to say it, if that's how I feel about it.

    Defending is exhausting and usually profitless. It is true that we all think within certain paradigms. That is often the reason why people disagree and start to debate, but is it seldom the case that one party convinces the other of something it did not believe beforehand - again because, as you implied, we - that is, our personal philosophies - become the focal point through which everything is filtered. So all we can achieve in a discussion is to rattle the paradigm. So I play the devil's advocate.
    Which sometimes is effective.

    At this point, having reached the same conclusions you describe here, I'm more interested in just hearing why people believe certain things... I'll strongly debate a few particular issues, but since you were promoting a view I hadn't heard before, I actually just wanted to understand why you thought the way you did. Even if it seems to go in one ear and out the other, I am filing away comments people make in order to challenge myself later; I'll "push" back on statements that don't seem supportable to see if they are stronger under the surface than appears or if they really are soft after all.

    I did not realize, though, that it was so hard to understand my objections.
    That was how I experienced it. I'm not sure what others experience, although in this thread I saw at least one poster experiencing things the same way I did.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #98
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    This thread almost makes me want to slit my wrists.

    BTW, life is meaningless. It doesn't take a 1900 page thesis to work that out, and I've stared at the abyss more times than I care to remember. I almost let it engulf me once.
    It doesn't mean you live without purpose though. I guess this guy's life is a testament to that idea, he let him self live until his self assigned task was over.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireyPheonix View Post
    This thread almost makes me want to slit my wrists.

    BTW, life is meaningless. It doesn't take a 1900 page thesis to work that out, and I've stared at the abyss more times than I care to remember. I almost let it engulf me once.
    It doesn't mean you live without purpose though. I guess this guy's life is a testament to that idea, he let him self live until his self assigned task was over.
    Well, I'm honestly not too sure what purpose he served. One of my LiveJournal friends read further than I have and apparently got to "Barack Obama: Supernigger."

    I think it's possible this 1900 page tome is worse than an Ayn Rand novel.

    It's definitely no A Confederacy of Dunces.

    John Kennedy Toole...now THAT was a suicidal man with a real purpose. He wrote a great fucking book.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post

    "If no values are inherently valuable, then life has no inherent value."

    True.
    The premise is false and also paradoxical because values are essentially valuable.

    If you want to keep the conclusion, which seems to be the staple of his note, it should be revised to-

    "If nothing has inherent value, then life has no inherent value."

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