NIHILISM

Nihilism is a philosophical doctrine according to which everything is inherently meaningless and futile. Life is an absurdity. It is completely valueless. We are thrown in this world against our will and we have no other alternative than to live it as it is or to commit suicide. Acoording to a nihilist, suicide is the only meaning ful act which a man can commit.
The above description represents popular understanding of nihilism. But it is too simplistic to be worthy of philosophical discussion. Nihilism is not only a belief or doctrine. It is a way of life. It is a mode of existence, which is exclusively human. Its genesis lies in the human being's capability too see the inevitability of their deaths. Thought of death generates a sense of anguish in human beings. To be a nihilist means to see starkly into the bottomless abyss of human existence. Nihilism has become pervasive in the modern age. Because modernist ideology has succeeded in marginalising religion from public life which was giving meaning and worth to people's lives till then.

Two philosophers which has grappled with the question of nihilism are Nietzsche and Heidegger. The former proclaimed the death of GOD and the latter made us see the reign of technology as the epitomes of nihilism.
Now the question arises that why are we discussing such a disgusting and negative thing. The answer is this:
WE ALL ARE TODAY LIVING UNDER THE SHADOW OF NIHILISM MORE OR LESS.
What is reigning the world today is not capitalism or liberal democracy but it is the technology or the technological understanding of being as Heidegger puts it. Technology today has engulfed the entire globe. The reign of technology means that human beings are slowly being divested of their humanness. they are being treated as mere resources for economic production. In the future they will be most probably treated as waste materials.
One fallout of this phenomenon is that human beings are slowly becoming incapable of collective action. they are becoming more like isolated units. so, the question arises : what is the wayout for a community like SIKH PANTH whose every activity can only be done collectively? The ghost of nihilism must be subdued before PANTH can act in chardikala.
GURU RAKHA




Comments

  1. Nice topic. Im not well versed in philosophy, but i get what you're saying. We're nothing more than machines today. Our only goal , in this life, is to work,earn.pay. The cycle continues. If even one of the three is taken away, our destruction is ensured.We've become so materialistic, that even our religious leaders, have hopped onto the political bandwagon, fed by greed, ego and material attachment.We have nowhere to turn to, so as to speak. However, not many people understand this. Most have already been brainwashed, from birth, so they cease to see all these problems.Their mission is, to be a good doctor/lawyer, get a good wife, have kids,retire,die.It is so materialistic, that it's meaningless, but we're all trapped in this illusion. The few who are aware, like what you say, adopt nihilism and take the easy way out.


    LIFE HAS BECOME TOO COMPLICATED FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

    If we get in touch with our spirituality, we can solve these problems. Regardless of religions, the basic message is the same, to live in peace and harmony.Spirituality brings out the simplicity in us, so, things like wealth, status, will not matter anymore.Technology feeds the lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego in us.If we embrace the true teachings of our religions, we have the understanding that technology is useless, it's just an illusion.We know what matters more than that.Our problems will be solved.

    this is just my humble opinion. i apologise for the simplicity of my language and thinking, and i hope you forgive me if i had said anything wrong.

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  2. Its interesting that our conversation is made possible due to the same technology that is a product of Nihilism.
    How does the technological/nihilistic understanding of life, differ from say the yogi's negation of the world- as a non-existent and unworthy of his attention (isnt his retreat into the mountains a long and thorough suicide); or the Boddhi's samsaric understanding of the world- as suffering & falsehood? Isnt this negativity towards life, itself a human condition, as it is found in numerous parts of the world much before it emerged in Europe? And does it also not contain within itself its solution, its other?

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  3. Technology is not a product of nihilism but nihilism gets a boost from the reign of technology. it thrives under the shadow of technology. i have suggested that nihilism has its origins in man's inability to face death and the terror of existence. only scared men take refuge in tchnological attitude.
    what i am terming technology is not the name of sophisticated gadgets like computers, cellphones or internet. it is the name of man 's disposition towards life. when he refuses to or simply feels unable to live in harmony with his surrounding natural environment and his own physical and psychic drives. out of this frustration , he tries to master nature with the help of technology. today ecological crisis is the fallout of this attitude.
    you ve talked about yogic and buddhist nagation of life. of course, these are not healthy ways of life. but they differ from western nihilism that they have not tried to dominate nature and other peoples.we can term it eastern nihilism but it is not that harmful as its western counterpart.
    my intention was not to condemn the west but to understand the present human condition which is thoroughly under the influence of western thinking.i believe every community alive today is influenced by west in one way or another. so, nihilism is today mankind's common problem. only through a serrious engagement with nihilism, a new world order can be envisioned.
    your comment is really thoughtful
    thank you.

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  4. Prabhsharanbir,
    You said, "Now the question arises that why are we discussing such a disgusting and negative thing."

    Why call it negative and disguisting? For obvious reasons, the moralist, theist, postivist, metaphysician, and religionist despises nihilism. But this is an imposing framework to evaluate (and rebuke) nihilism from, just as the Modernist worldview in the colonial period was imposing in its interface with Sikhi. Your general philosophical project involves destroying philosophy with philosophy, from the inside out. Likewise, it seems the only way to destroy this nihilism is to blow it up from the inside. Nihilism being a void of philosophy, it seems this project is doomed to fail. How can one contradict one's self is one is mute?

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  5. Previous post by Randeep Singh

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  6. The problem here is this that there is no one philosophy. Rather there are various philosophies. Simply see the difference between analytical and continental streams. They are entirely different. i believe that nihilism is not an ordinary kind of cultural phenomenon. it is always already there waiting for human beings to come and face it. it has the potential for transforming the life of a person who dares to confront it. if philosophy tries to think it seriously then she herself is transformed considerably. for example, look at the development of both Nietzsche and Heidegger. they have been transformed by this fateful encounter and so is philosophy through them. nihilism is disgusting because it robs life of its wonder and beauty. but it is significant in that it also provides an oppertunity to human to transcend their routinized and mechanical day-to-day life. have not you heard fairy stories in your childhood. they teach us that everything precious in life gained through a lot of risk and danger.
    i have not yet charted a project to overcome nihilism. there can not be any such project. because nihilism is uncanny. you cannot come to terms with it that easily. it demands a leap in thinking. and i believe , with heidegger , such leap is beyond the preview of merely human efforts. something impossible must happen to conquer it. perhaps it demands a fighting which is done by holding one's head in palm. i mean that we will have to enter that realm where philosophy collapses. where intellect is struck dumb and silence speaks to one's self. do you believe me if i say that silence is the best medium to communicate with one's own self?

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  7. a diffrent question dear,
    presently i am reading dante's devine comedy. the way he deals with mohammad sahib. another example is rabindernath tagore , the way he deals with dasam nanak.
    what do u think is the problem of an intelectual mind when he deals with a prophit.even this mind does not use its basic qualities reason and logic( even with these you cannot measure prophithood).some other examples are also there. so what u will say about this sort of intelect. and if such practices are likely to be appeared in sikhism.
    i think i tried my best to give words to my questions

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  8. a diffrent question dear,
    presently i am reading dante's devine comedy. the way he deals with mohammad sahib. another example is rabindernath tagore , the way he deals with dasam nanak.
    what do u think is the problem of an intelectual mind when he deals with a prophit.even this mind does not use its basic qualities reason and logic( even with these you cannot measure prophithood).some other examples are also there. so what u will say about this sort of intelect. and if such practices are likely to be appeared in sikhism.
    i think i tried my best to give words to my questions

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  9. Hi anonymous,
    You are absolutely right in stressing the fact that intellect cannot know the ways of prophets. There is no doubt about it. if you scriptures of any religion , you will easily find such statement which daclare inability of intellect in the face of spiritual experience. But it does not mean that we abandon philosophical reflection of religious themes.
    You have expressed your concerns about the coming of such intellectual exercise in sikhism. But there is plenty of such scholars alresdy who want to judge sikhism an the basis of rationality. It is major problem for sikh panth today. As unjust violence should and must be checked with the help of just violence(sikh way of war), bad intellectual exercises should be countered with deeper reflection which can do justice to the study of religion.

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