Since the early days of Western decay, it has been popular to blame the downfall on "nihilism" or a lack of belief in innate truth, morality and language. After all, nihilism is usually introduced by scary definitions such as this:
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themes--epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness--have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the existentialists helped popularize tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential. By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.1A new book, written by infrequent contributor to this blog Brett Stevens, takes the opposite perspective: the problem with modern society is individualism, or people looking at their own desires, judgments and feelings based in the pretense and arrogance of the ego. Nihilism, Stevens says, is an antidote to this problem and possibly the salvation of Western Civilization.
The official synopsis of the book, which will be released on Manticore Press in 2016, contains the following:
Stevens, who blogs at Amerika.org, is a contributor to Alternative Right, Right On, Return of Kings, Counter-Currents, American Renaissance and other alternative viewpoint websites, as well as a founder of the American Nihilist Underground Society, NIHIL, CORRUPT and the now-deceased End Democracy blog. This is his first print publication.Most people see the world in binary categories. They believe that there is either an inherent moral good that we must all obey, or there are no rules and life is pointless anarchy. Nihilism argues for a middle path: we lack inherent order but are defined by our choices, which means that we must start making smarter choices by understanding the reality in which we live more than the human social reality which we have used to replace it in our minds.
A work of philosophy in the continental tradition, Nihilism examines the human relationship with philosophical doubt through a series of essays designed to stimulate the ancient knowledge within us of what is right and what is real. Searching for a level of thought underneath the brain-destroying methods of politics and economics, the philosophy of nihilism approaches thought at its most basic level and highest degree of abstraction. It escapes the bias of human perspective and instructs our ability to perceive itself, unleashing a new level of critical thinking that side-steps the mental ghetto of modernity and the attendant problems of civilization decline and personal lassitude.
While many rail against nihilism as the death of culture and religion, the philosophy itself encourages a consequentialist, reality-based outlook that forms the basis for moral choice. Unlike the control-oriented systems of thought that form the basis of contemporary society, nihilism reverts the crux of moral thinking to the relationship between the individual and the effects of that individual’s actions in reality. From this, a new range of choice expands, including the decision to affirm religious and moral truth as superior methods of Darwinistic adaptation to the question of human survival, which necessarily includes civilization.
Inspired by transcendentalist thinkers and the ancient traditions of both the West and the Far East, the philosophy of nihilism negates the false intermediate steps imposed on us by degenerated values systems. In the footsteps of philosopher Friedrich W. Nietzsche, who called for a “re-evaluation of all values,” nihilism subverts linguistic and social categorical thinking in order to achieve self-discipline of the mind. As part of this pursuit, Nihilism investigates thought from writers as diverse as William S. Burroughs, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Schopenhauer and Immanuel Kant. For those who seek the truth beyond the socially-convenient explanations that humans tell one another, nihilism is a philosophy both for a new age and for all time.