What Is Nihilism, What Does It Do?


Nihilism is a philosophical view that people do not value anything and even tend to destroy it for this reason. Although he is referred to together with Nietzsche, let’s take a closer look at what nihilism is actually emerging among Russian intellectuals and let’s Decipher what it stands for and who its representatives are in full detail.

Let’s face it, we all think from time to time how worthless and meaningless everything is. However, this thought often occurs after a bad event or when we are depressed. Nihilism, on the other hand, treats this idea as a philosophical opinion. In nihilism, people tend to fundamentally reject the value of everything, and even some radicals destroy them.

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We are sure that many people will think of Friedrich Nietzsche first when it comes to nihilism, because he has often used nihilistic themes in his works. However, Nietzsche was not exactly a nihilist, he even thought that these thoughts would bring about the end of the world. The most strict nihilists were the Russian intellectuals. Let’s take a closer look at what nihilism is and see the interesting details that are being wondered about.
Let’s start by making a basic definition; what is nihilism?

Latin Turkish nihilism, also called nothingness and nothingness, nihilism is a philosophical view derived from the Latin word nihil, meaning nothing. Although there are different subtopics, nihilism in general argues that all known values are groundless in fact, that nothing can be known and transmitted.

What do you mean, what exactly does nihilism mean?

Nihilists are generally pessimistic people. They value nothing and believe in nothing. Some even have a tendency to destroy what they consider to be worthless. Everything that is considered valuable in philosophy, especially the existence of God, such as family, love, loyalty, happiness, free will, the existence of knowledge, is actually rejected by nihilism.
So how did nihilism come about?

Ivan Turgenev

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The word nihilism has actually been used for many years in the sense of annihilation, but the first person to use it as a radical idealism, close to the meaning we know today, was 18. Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was a German philosopher who lived in the century. The person who gave the full meaning of nihilism was the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev. The rude scientist attitude of the Bazarov character in the novel Fathers and Sons has made nihilism popular among the public. Dec.

The moral approach that would pave the way for the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia later became nihilism. Mikhael Bakunin, considered the founder of anarchism, spoke about the rejection and destruction of existing values in his writings. It is known that at the end of the 1870s, many anarchist or communist groups in Russia united in an understanding of morality based on nihilism.

Of course, if we want to go to the deepest depths of nihilism, we have to go to Ancient Greece and encounter Demosthenes, the father of skepticism. Decosthenes, who lived between 371 and 322 BC, is known as a skeptical philosopher, but actually laid the foundations of epistemological nihilism when we look at today.

The person who worked as a philosophical thought of nihilism in the sense we know was the German philosopher Max Stirner. Stirner argues that in order to achieve individual freedom, the state must be destroyed and abstract concepts must be rejected. Going even further, Stirner says that even existence is a war of everyone against everyone. Of course, these are radical anarchist ideas.
Nietzsche’s view of nihilism is a little different:

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Of course, one of the most important names that comes to mind when it comes to nihilism will be the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche actually says that there is no order in the world, that we created this order. Saying that all values are unfounded, he argues that every true nihilist should radically reject all known values.

Going even further, Nietzsche says that nihilism will constitute the greatest destructive force in history. Because when all the values and belief systems imposed on people by western traditionalists are rejected and destroyed, we will face one of the greatest crises in history. According to him, with such destruction, reality will be revealed without being hidden anymore.

This idea of Nietzsche was studied by many philosophers and artists in the following years. The German philosopher Oswald Spengler, in a study of destroyed cultures, discovered that values and beliefs really disappear first. A culture that had lost its values and beliefs was really doomed to collapse, so Nietzsche was right.

Helmut Thielicke, a German theologian, said that according to nihilism, a world in which nothingness reigns would be meaningless. Going even further, Thielicke also said that such senselessness would pave the way for monstrosities of the kind committed by the Nazis. In other words, the revolution that will take place together with nihilism may not always be a flowering insect revolution.

  1. nihilism in the century focused on more individual problems:

Jean-Paul Sartre

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  1. like many things in the war-filled world of the century, philosophy became human-oriented and existential nihilism emerged. A writer named Alan Pratt, in his 1994 work, actually says that existentialist nihilism is an integral part of the western intellectual tradition. Pratt has focused too much on the following sentence of Empedocles: “The life of mortals is so meaningless as to be almost non-life.”

This sentence reminds many people of the danger of Hegesias’s idea that we should commit suicide because the pains are more than the pleasures. So actually existentialist nihilism is 20. it is not a concept that has emerged in the century. It is seen that such approaches are often mentioned even in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
Sartre and Camus are mixing things up a lot:

Albert Camus

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Existentialist nihilism has become much stronger in France by merging with atheism. Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the most popular names of the period, rejects all values except the human self, saying that existence comes from the essence. It is also a view that is advocated at this time that everything around us is an illusion and that when we reject them, a whole nothing will come out in front of us.

Also during this period, the Legend of Sisyphus was written by Albert Camus. His struggle, which lasts forever and does not work at all, is actually a great metaphor for today’s person. In other words, a person is in a meaningless struggle from the day he is born until he dies, and the only thing he has achieved is nothing. So existence is nothing.

We have mentioned the important details you need to know by answering the curious questions such as what is nihilism, a philosophical view that rejects all existing values, and what does it stand for. Of course, nihilism is like a deep ocean in which you will get lost when you dive into it, but in this article we aimed to give a basic information to those who are introduced to this philosophical view for the first time.

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