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  #51  
Old 03-17-2020, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
People who get depressed by nihilism don’t understand it.

https://xkcd.com/167/

Nihilism means no intrinsic external meaning.

It *doesn’t* mean:

1) There is no internal meaning
2) There is intrinsic negative meaning

There is still personal meaning, which is as good or as bad as you want it to be. And there is still no intrinsic external meaning, which generally is neutral but the lack of intrinsic negativity is probably a good thing to keep in perspective.

Getting past nihilism, I know you’ve dabbled in Buddhism which does talk about dukkha, a sort of intrinsic unsatisfactoryness of reality, which sounds a little like nihilism, but again, it attributes the cause to striving, which is again an internal thing which can be overcome.
Actually there is no personal meaning that is still a dodge and not a logical endpoint to resolve nihilism. Personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it. The comic misses the point entirely.

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The point of writing such a book is to clarify a dilemma. On one hand, there are plenty of people prepared to embrace living without a point: living is warranted by the accumulation of interesting or pleasurable experiences. On the other hand, there are people who maintain that there are reasons for living, which are ethical, cognitive, political, or a combination of all three. My point was that in the former case the warrant is not rational, because it boils down to the valorization of sensation, and this requires the sacrifice reason; while in the latter case, the credibility of the reasons invoked is increasingly undermined by methods of explanation in the natural sciences, whose explanatory comprehensiveness renders appeals to meaning, purpose, and value redundant.
The point of the book was to point out the full extent of this aporia and to suggest that those who claim to have overcome it, whether by cheerfully embracing purposelessness or resolutely maintaining the irreducibility of value, cannot provide philosophically convincing grounds for doing.
Of course, the intelligibility of this aporia is supposed to point to the way in which thinking can make sense of the absence of sense, and in this regard the book not only endorses philosophical rationality but seeks to defend it.
The point of charting the full extent of the aporia is to try and generate the resources for overcoming it without relapsing into either of the two unsatisfactory alternatives mentioned above. This is what I have been trying to do since writing that book over fifteen years ago and I am now working on a second book which I hope points beyond the deadlock described in the first.
If I thought that everything was really pointless I wouldn’t have bothered writing a book about it: the pointlessness of pointing out pointlessness is self-evident. But I don’t think everything is pointless. My conviction is that purpose is generated by us; not through existential choice or commitment, but through collective ways of thinking and talking rooted in our social practices. Purpose can’t be individually selected, it can only be forged collectively. But doing so requires cognitive and political resources which are currently lacking and which must also be produced.
  #52  
Old 03-17-2020, 10:30 PM
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You are very, very, very full of yourself. There are millions upon millions of people throughout thousands of years who have been as aware of this fact as you who have still managed to find at least moments of joy and happiness in their entirely subjective values. You may think that you are this guy high up on an ivory tower of enlightened wisdom sneering down on the ignorant masses below but you actually have your head buried so deep in your own posterior that you have deluded yourself into thinking that everyone is in the dark.
Actually they never took it to it's logical conclusion, they always backed out the the ways the author I am talking about says they do. No one knows how to deal with the truth of our existence.
  #53  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:22 AM
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Actually there is no personal meaning that is still a dodge and not a logical endpoint to resolve nihilism. Personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it. The comic misses the point entirely.
Huh? The comic spends almost all of its three panels completely agreeing that life is meaningless, and never says anything contrary to that. What did you want? The last panel to just say "fin"?

The point of the comic is not to deflect, it's essentially to say "So what?". So what if nihilism's true? Why should I dwell over nihilism any more than I dwell over the melting point of lead?
Thinking about how life is pointless is pointless.
  #54  
Old 03-18-2020, 04:10 AM
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Actually they never took it to it's logical conclusion, they always backed out the the ways the author I am talking about says they do. No one knows how to deal with the truth of our existence.
I’m afraid I don’t follow; why do you object to the way folks deal with this sort of thing? Do you have objective grounds for disliking how they react? Or some subjective grounds? “To suggest otherwise would be wrong”, you say, as if you already have a notion of right and wrong, which you find meaningful and important; please explain.

Last edited by The Other Waldo Pepper; 03-18-2020 at 04:11 AM.
  #55  
Old 03-18-2020, 05:53 AM
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I’m afraid I don’t follow; why do you object to the way folks deal with this sort of thing?
Because he can't stand that other people are just as educated as he is if not vastly more so yet don't wallow in the same pit of despair and self-pity that he does.
  #56  
Old 03-18-2020, 07:52 AM
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  #57  
Old 03-18-2020, 08:00 AM
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Just my usual PSA for these threads:

If you think you are engaging in a philosophical discussion with Machinaforce, you are making a category mistake. He is not really talking about nihilism, he is engaged in obsessive thinking and depression. If you enjoy posting, who am I to say no? But you should be aware he won't engage you in a productive manner. He isn't capable of that, and has occasionally admitted this.

That said, I've actually gotten something from a lot of your posts, especially By-Tor, but others as well. It's got me thinking, what would a world with objective meaning look like? What does objective meaning really mean? It seems like an incoherent concept.

Let's say I enjoy a slice of pizza and a cold soda. Would I enjoy them more if they (somehow) contained "meaning." Would my irksome current self isolation be less (or more) irksome if there was objective meaning?

Last edited by Larry Borgia; 03-18-2020 at 08:02 AM.
  #58  
Old 03-18-2020, 08:13 AM
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They would be wrong for in the truest sense I don’t matter and I’m not important. I can try to pretend otherwise but deep down I know it to be so. Such is the logical conclusion of nihilism, and something I can’t escape. Sure people might be hurt but that’s because they are caught in the dream like I used to. When they realize the insignificance of our lives they wouldn’t care. It’s like pulling back the curtain and seeing that there is nothing there and never was. We assign importance to human life and living but this is still running from nihilism. It’s avoiding the reality that such things have no value or importance.
Why is nihilism a better philosophy than meaningfulness?

If nothing matters. Existence is futile. To be or not to be, is an irrelevant dilemma. Then choosing to find meaning and enjoying the brief periods of joy between eternities of non-existence is not inherently wrong. In fact, it may be the only rational and sane decision a person can make.

Even if we use your own heuristic for measuring value of existence, nihilism is no virtue.

Take your meds and see your therapist.
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  #59  
Old 03-18-2020, 09:20 AM
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I've endured the OP's questions+comments, and appreciate everyone's attempts to help him, but I think a different approach is needed.

Start at 6:40--I'm the guy with the wrench--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlDXQdgx_QU
  #60  
Old 03-18-2020, 10:19 AM
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There is no arguing with Nihilism because it is absolutely true that, absent an unshakable belief in an afterlife, there is no "point" to anything at all in the universe. Meaning is a thing created by humans, and as far as we know only humans have this concept. So on a universal scale even the concept of meaning is itself meaningless. Everything about our personal experiences is devoid of any meaning at all except for how they influence our own meaningless opinions. Calling them "tears in rain" doesn't do justice to the vast unimportance to everything of our own experiences.

BUT, isn't all of that rather liberating? Everything you can imagine is on the table if you're brave enough to truly believe nothing matters. Your actions don't matter, the consequences to you and everyone else don't matter. See to your comfort as you will, because yours is the only comfort that truly matters. Even seeing to the comfort of others is really only a form of self comfort. If joy isn't your thing, don't seek joy. If self-loathing is where you go, then wallow in it until it sickens you even to the point of seeking oblivion. The universe is your oyster--scarf it up!
  #61  
Old 03-18-2020, 10:55 AM
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BUT, isn't all of that rather liberating? Everything you can imagine is on the table if you're brave enough to truly believe nothing matters. Your actions don't matter, the consequences to you and everyone else don't matter. See to your comfort as you will, because yours is the only comfort that truly matters.
Ya know, this makes me realize--Machinaforce would have made a really boring protagonist in Groundhog's Day.
  #62  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:53 PM
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Actually there is no personal meaning that is still a dodge and not a logical endpoint to resolve nihilism. Personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it. The comic misses the point entirely.
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The point of writing such a book is to clarify a dilemma. On one hand, there are plenty of people prepared to embrace living without a point: living is warranted by the accumulation of interesting or pleasurable experiences. On the other hand, there are people who maintain that there are reasons for living, which are ethical, cognitive, political, or a combination of all three. My point was that in the former case the warrant is not rational, because it boils down to the valorization of sensation, and this requires the sacrifice reason; while in the latter case, the credibility of the reasons invoked is increasingly undermined by methods of explanation in the natural sciences, whose explanatory comprehensiveness renders appeals to meaning, purpose, and value redundant.
The point of the book was to point out the full extent of this aporia and to suggest that those who claim to have overcome it, whether by cheerfully embracing purposelessness or resolutely maintaining the irreducibility of value, cannot provide philosophically convincing grounds for doing.
Of course, the intelligibility of this aporia is supposed to point to the way in which thinking can make sense of the absence of sense, and in this regard the book not only endorses philosophical rationality but seeks to defend it.
The point of charting the full extent of the aporia is to try and generate the resources for overcoming it without relapsing into either of the two unsatisfactory alternatives mentioned above. This is what I have been trying to do since writing that book over fifteen years ago and I am now working on a second book which I hope points beyond the deadlock described in the first.
If I thought that everything was really pointless I wouldn’t have bothered writing a book about it: the pointlessness of pointing out pointlessness is self-evident. But I don’t think everything is pointless. My conviction is that purpose is generated by us; not through existential choice or commitment, but through collective ways of thinking and talking rooted in our social practices. Purpose can’t be individually selected, it can only be forged collectively. But doing so requires cognitive and political resources which are currently lacking and which must also be produced.
You keep asserting that there is no personal meaning and that personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it, but that's completely wrong according to the block of text you quoted. That text explicitly acknowledges from its first sentences that people can and do conclude that living is warranted by the accumulation of interesting or pleasurable experiences. He then asserts that this is "not rational, because it boils down to the valorization of sensation", but he doesn't actually give a reason why sensation shouldn't be "valorized" - and he certainly doesn't make an argument that sensations are illusions - at least not in the quoted text.

Essentially, what you have here is some dipwad acknowledging that hedonism is indeed a way of justifying existence, but then saying he doesn't like that and thus is going to ignore it. He's apparently doing this because with hedonism around nobody would bother with his back-assward alternate way of generating purpose from collective social practice that he's trying to argue for, to justify anybody listening to him. (And I note that you're also ignoring his approach, preferring to stop at nihilism and wallow in it.)

Suffice to say, this dude's sophistry is not impressive or compelling. He can dislike living for the joy of living all he wants, but that doesn't mean it's not happening, and it doesn't mean he's proven it isn't happening.
  #63  
Old 03-18-2020, 02:13 PM
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You keep asserting that there is no personal meaning and that personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it, but that's completely wrong according to the block of text you quoted. That text explicitly acknowledges from its first sentences that people can and do conclude that living is warranted by the accumulation of interesting or pleasurable experiences. He then asserts that this is "not rational, because it boils down to the valorization of sensation", but he doesn't actually give a reason why sensation shouldn't be "valorized" - and he certainly doesn't make an argument that sensations are illusions - at least not in the quoted text.

Essentially, what you have here is some dipwad acknowledging that hedonism is indeed a way of justifying existence, but then saying he doesn't like that and thus is going to ignore it. He's apparently doing this because with hedonism around nobody would bother with his back-assward alternate way of generating purpose from collective social practice that he's trying to argue for, to justify anybody listening to him. (And I note that you're also ignoring his approach, preferring to stop at nihilism and wallow in it.)

Suffice to say, this dude's sophistry is not impressive or compelling. He can dislike living for the joy of living all he wants, but that doesn't mean it's not happening, and it doesn't mean he's proven it isn't happening.
<John Cleese voice> Now look here you suffering miserable bastards! You're going to take the life you're given and you'll fucking well enjoy it, or it's going to feel a lot longer than there really is. And there'll be no more where this comes from,! You hear me?! So stop your whining. Is that perfectly clear?</JC>
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  #64  
Old 03-18-2020, 02:34 PM
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What bout pointed sticks?
  #65  
Old 03-18-2020, 03:34 PM
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Heh.
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  #66  
Old 03-18-2020, 04:11 PM
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Huh? The comic spends almost all of its three panels completely agreeing that life is meaningless, and never says anything contrary to that. What did you want? The last panel to just say "fin"?

The point of the comic is not to deflect, it's essentially to say "So what?". So what if nihilism's true? Why should I dwell over nihilism any more than I dwell over the melting point of lead?
Thinking about how life is pointless is pointless.
Because it still acts as though life has meaning hence him climbing the tree, because he sees value in that. The comic isn't embracing nihilism, it's still deflecting from the major point.
  #67  
Old 03-18-2020, 04:13 PM
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You keep asserting that there is no personal meaning and that personal meaning is an illusion we drape over nihilism to avoid dealing with it, but that's completely wrong according to the block of text you quoted. That text explicitly acknowledges from its first sentences that people can and do conclude that living is warranted by the accumulation of interesting or pleasurable experiences. He then asserts that this is "not rational, because it boils down to the valorization of sensation", but he doesn't actually give a reason why sensation shouldn't be "valorized" - and he certainly doesn't make an argument that sensations are illusions - at least not in the quoted text.

Essentially, what you have here is some dipwad acknowledging that hedonism is indeed a way of justifying existence, but then saying he doesn't like that and thus is going to ignore it. He's apparently doing this because with hedonism around nobody would bother with his back-assward alternate way of generating purpose from collective social practice that he's trying to argue for, to justify anybody listening to him. (And I note that you're also ignoring his approach, preferring to stop at nihilism and wallow in it.)

Suffice to say, this dude's sophistry is not impressive or compelling. He can dislike living for the joy of living all he wants, but that doesn't mean it's not happening, and it doesn't mean he's proven it isn't happening.
His book essentially proves it. The such ways of dealing with nihilism are not valid.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:17 PM
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His book essentially proves it. The such ways of dealing with nihilism are not valid.
I don't believe that for a single second.

Keep in mind that you are explicitly arguing that the sense of taste doesn't exist, or that it's not "valid" to prefer eating food rather than fecal matter.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:59 PM
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His book essentially proves it. The such ways of dealing with nihilism are not valid.
Again, you keep saying stuff like this: that something isn’t valid, or that something would be wrong — almost as if, and stay with me for a moment here, you think you have a meaningful and important way of gauging validity, or of making evaluations in terms of rightness and wrongness.

So, how do you manage that? I know how I do it; how do you do it?
  #70  
Old 03-18-2020, 05:19 PM
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Again, you keep saying stuff like this: that something isn’t valid, or that something would be wrong — almost as if, and stay with me for a moment here, you think you have a meaningful and important way of gauging validity, or of making evaluations in terms of rightness and wrongness.

So, how do you manage that? I know how I do it; how do you do it?
Good question, especially since him doing any sort of value judgement would instantly prove that dismissing nihilism based on subjective valuation of things is valid.
  #71  
Old 03-18-2020, 11:24 PM
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Because it still acts as though life has meaning hence him climbing the tree, because he sees value in that. The comic isn't embracing nihilism, it's still deflecting from the major point.
No, if the comic had been one person being nihilistic and the other person saying "Hey, come climb a tree" we could claim it was ambiguous and perhaps suggesting life has meaning after all.

But both characters explicitly agree about Nihilism, then one decides to go climb a tree. It's just an acknowledgement that dwelling on nihilism is itself pointless, and if we see value personally in doing something, then do it. Don't worry about whether it has over-arcing "meaning".
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:01 AM
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I used to have this problem.
Seriously, life doesn't have any meaning. Ultimately it doesn't matter if you are or ever were alive.

but...
Death doesn't have any meaning either...it doesn't matter if you die. So we all can chose to live or die; it doesn't matter.

WHat keeps me alive currently, is that the people in my life don't see that living or dying doesn't matter and I don't want to make them sad. They are blissful in their ignorance that life has some meaning and it would be rude of me to cause them discomfort.. for what its worth, I choose to not be an asshole and make their day harder. So, meh, I guess I can't be bothered to off myself; and if people in my existence aren't sharp enough to see the futility of living, then I guess I'll live if its only not to be a hassle to them.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:27 AM
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It seems to me that if you are fussy about the definition of Nihilism then you aren't a Nihilist.
  #74  
Old 03-19-2020, 11:15 AM
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His book essentially proves it. The such ways of dealing with nihilism are not valid.
In what way does he "prove" it? Because he wrote a book? J.K. Rawling wrote some books about magic. Is that proof?

You have some esoteric ideas about the meaning of "proof".
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  #75  
Old 03-19-2020, 03:49 PM
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I used to have this problem.
Seriously, life doesn't have any meaning. Ultimately it doesn't matter if you are or ever were alive.

but...
Death doesn't have any meaning either...it doesn't matter if you die. So we all can chose to live or die; it doesn't matter.

WHat keeps me alive currently, is that the people in my life don't see that living or dying doesn't matter and I don't want to make them sad. They are blissful in their ignorance that life has some meaning and it would be rude of me to cause them discomfort.. for what its worth, I choose to not be an asshole and make their day harder. So, meh, I guess I can't be bothered to off myself; and if people in my existence aren't sharp enough to see the futility of living, then I guess I'll live if its only not to be a hassle to them.
In your opinion, does life being meaningless make food taste bad?

Does it make enjoying a movie impossible?

Does it make enjoying another person's company impossible?

Does it make loving somebody impossible?

If you love somebody, is it possible to be sad when they're gone?

I personally don't bother about whether life has some sort of objective meaning, because the concept of objective meaning itself is incoherent nonsense. (To have meaning is to mean something to somebody. The objective perspective specifically excludes the idea that there's somebody pondering the meanings. Thus objective meanings are literally an incoherent concept, a fact that any philosopher worth listening to should know.)

I also don't fear death, because I'm an atheist and know there is nothing to fear. But the fact that it would make my family unhappy if I died does provide me a reason to avoid death - and it does it without their realization that objective meaning is a stupid concept even coming into it.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:32 PM
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Building off my prior parenthetical note, let's dig a little deeper into how phenomenally stupid the OP's version of nihilism is.

The idea is that once you have blithely dismissed all the perspectives and interpretations of humans (which we do because the book's writer thinks they're shallow - which is of course a lie; we're actually doing it because they disprove his point), once you've dismissed all the people who are capable of finding meaning in things, life has no meaning. (After which the book's writer claims to go on and reconstruct meaning from the collective perspectives of people, which suddenly start mattering again because this time them mattering doesn't disprove the author's point. But Machinaforce ignores this part because it disproves his point.)

So what's going on here is that we're removing all observers, and claiming that removes meaning from reality. Well, if you can do that with all reality, you can do it with other things - like, say, the following sequence of characters: "gift".

"gift", a seen here, is a collection of light and dark pixels which we're interpreting as lines and curves which we're interpreting as a sequence of letters which we're interpreting as a word which we're interpreting as referring to a member of a specific class of things. There's a lot of interpreting going on here, and we human observers are doing it.

So what happens when we look away from the screen? Does "gift" lose its meaning? Does it stop referring to objects that are freely given or received?

There are actually two possible answers here. The first is that, yes, absent a human observer "gift" ceases to have meaning. Not because there's some kind of void, but because "having meaning" is a process that only occurs while something is observing and interpreting it. This answer is bolstered by the fact that if somebody who doesn't understand english sees "gift" it will mean nothing to them - unless maybe they're german, in which case it might mean "poison"! From this perspective the symbols only have meaning in the eyes of a beholder.

The second possible answer is that "gift" retains its meaning even when the reader looks away, because the series of symbols "gift" has meaning, which is there to be understood by everyone who looks at it while knowing written english. This interpretation has a lot in common with the concepts of authorial intent and object permanence; meanings that are understood by anyone objectively exist. "gift" does refer to gifts, whether anybody is reading the word at the time, because the word has a meaning by definition. It also means 'poison', by a different set of definitions; both sets of definitions exist simultaneously, and both definitions have objective existence because they are not limited to a particular person's perspective.

But let's go back to the first answer again, since it's the one that's analogous to the nihilism in question. One thing to notice is that "gift" lacking meaning is dependent on there not being an observer. If there is an observer, and that observer is interpreting the word as meaning gift (or as meaning poison), then it would be absurd to claim that the word lacks meaning. Sure, under this interpretation it lacks objective meaning, but that's obviously irrelevant to everything from a practical perspective; you can't use its objective meaningless as a reason to say that it doesn't mean "gift" or "poison" to people. That would be both stupid and demonstrating a complete lack of understanding for why you're claiming it lacks objective meaning in the first place.

And that level of stupidity and self-contradiction is similarly present in the nihilism the OP is discussing.
  #77  
Old 03-21-2020, 12:43 PM
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It seems to me that if you are fussy about the definition of Nihilism then you aren't a Nihilist.
Shit, here we go with the "No true nihilist" argument...
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Old 03-21-2020, 02:01 PM
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Actually they never took it to it's logical conclusion, they always backed out the the ways the author I am talking about says they do. No one knows how to deal with the truth of our existence.

Bullshit. The only truth is, we exist. Deal with it.
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  #79  
Old 03-23-2020, 01:16 PM
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Building off my prior parenthetical note, let's dig a little deeper into how phenomenally stupid the OP's version of nihilism is.

The idea is that once you have blithely dismissed all the perspectives and interpretations of humans (which we do because the book's writer thinks they're shallow - which is of course a lie; we're actually doing it because they disprove his point), once you've dismissed all the people who are capable of finding meaning in things, life has no meaning. (After which the book's writer claims to go on and reconstruct meaning from the collective perspectives of people, which suddenly start mattering again because this time them mattering doesn't disprove the author's point. But Machinaforce ignores this part because it disproves his point.)

So what's going on here is that we're removing all observers, and claiming that removes meaning from reality. Well, if you can do that with all reality, you can do it with other things - like, say, the following sequence of characters: "gift".

"gift", a seen here, is a collection of light and dark pixels which we're interpreting as lines and curves which we're interpreting as a sequence of letters which we're interpreting as a word which we're interpreting as referring to a member of a specific class of things. There's a lot of interpreting going on here, and we human observers are doing it.

So what happens when we look away from the screen? Does "gift" lose its meaning? Does it stop referring to objects that are freely given or received?

There are actually two possible answers here. The first is that, yes, absent a human observer "gift" ceases to have meaning. Not because there's some kind of void, but because "having meaning" is a process that only occurs while something is observing and interpreting it. This answer is bolstered by the fact that if somebody who doesn't understand english sees "gift" it will mean nothing to them - unless maybe they're german, in which case it might mean "poison"! From this perspective the symbols only have meaning in the eyes of a beholder.

The second possible answer is that "gift" retains its meaning even when the reader looks away, because the series of symbols "gift" has meaning, which is there to be understood by everyone who looks at it while knowing written english. This interpretation has a lot in common with the concepts of authorial intent and object permanence; meanings that are understood by anyone objectively exist. "gift" does refer to gifts, whether anybody is reading the word at the time, because the word has a meaning by definition. It also means 'poison', by a different set of definitions; both sets of definitions exist simultaneously, and both definitions have objective existence because they are not limited to a particular person's perspective.

But let's go back to the first answer again, since it's the one that's analogous to the nihilism in question. One thing to notice is that "gift" lacking meaning is dependent on there not being an observer. If there is an observer, and that observer is interpreting the word as meaning gift (or as meaning poison), then it would be absurd to claim that the word lacks meaning. Sure, under this interpretation it lacks objective meaning, but that's obviously irrelevant to everything from a practical perspective; you can't use its objective meaningless as a reason to say that it doesn't mean "gift" or "poison" to people. That would be both stupid and demonstrating a complete lack of understanding for why you're claiming it lacks objective meaning in the first place.

And that level of stupidity and self-contradiction is similarly present in the nihilism the OP is discussing.
I would have to concede that his argument essentially boils down to "I don't like the usual answers because they don't satisfy" but then when I asked him he said he has spent 15 years trying to solve that, which I don't see how because it would be akin to asking a map where to go. All it says is how to not where to. I still don't know what they mean in the reviews about how "you're already dead", sounds like Zeno's Paradox.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:19 PM
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I would have to concede that his argument essentially boils down to "I don't like the usual answers because they don't satisfy" but then when I asked him he said he has spent 15 years trying to solve that, which I don't see how because it would be akin to asking a map where to go. All it says is how to not where to. I still don't know what they mean in the reviews about how "you're already dead", sounds like Zeno's Paradox.
I don't know what reviews you're talking about but I'm going to take a guess that "you're already dead" is akin to, "It's already broken", which is a common sarcastic response to a question of whether a glass is half full or half empty. In other words, forget trying to figure out the meaning of life, "you're already dead". i.e. meaning is irrelevant when faced with the reality that everybody dies in the end.

As you fumble your way down the path of enlightenment, you have to develop the ability to detect irony/humor/sarcasm in the materials that you read. Not everything is meant to be taken seriously. Lighten up, Francis.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 03-23-2020 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:03 PM
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Here it is, I found it:

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He demands that metaphysicians push nihilism to its most obvious conclusion: that extinction retroactively annihilates all meaning. He pierces into the depths of the bleak void of nothingness, stares at it in the eyes, and returns to tell us that extinction has "always already occurred." We are already dead.
First of all reader, you must know that in "one trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself, terminating the possibility of embodiment". Not only does this imply that life, thought, space, and time will perish, it also logically proves that it has already happened. As Brassier puts it "everything is already dead". The extinction of all has "retroactively" annihilated everything. This post-asymptopian state of "eternal and unfathomable blackness" already encompasses all diachronic events and forces us to confront implications that are far beyond them. Extinction pervades the present by encompassing "a future that has already been, and a past that is perpetually yet to be". This eternal, ever-expanding nothingness is the only thing that exists. That is to say everything is already nothingness.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:33 PM
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"First of all reader, you must know that in "one trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself"

That's just like...your opinion, man.
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:57 AM
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Here it is, I found it:
Yes, you found a quote that says “life, thought, space, and time will perish”. But I don’t see why you think it’s relevant: imagine, for a moment, the reverse of that. Imagine, for a moment, a scenario where some animals would still be grunting at each other a trillion trillion trillion years from now. Or whatever.

If that were the case, would it prompt you to say, oh, how wondrous! Lo, there is meaning! Go, tell it on the mountain! — or would you instead say so what?
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:26 AM
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Here it is, I found it:
Last person out, please remember to turn off the lights and lock the door.
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:17 AM
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Bullshit. The only truth is, we exist. Deal with it.
Don't let the solipsists hear that!
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:20 AM
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How many nihilists does it take to change a light bulb?

Nil. One trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now, all light bulbs will have failed anyhow, so we can just sit in the dark until then.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:14 AM
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How many nihilists does it take to change a light bulb?

Nil. One trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now, all light bulbs will have failed anyhow, so we can just sit in the dark until then.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:57 AM
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How many nihilists does it take to change a light bulb?

Nil. One trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now, all light bulbs will have failed anyhow, so we can just sit in the dark until then.
he wanted a source for the "you're already dead" line and I showed the line of reasoning that leads to that.
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Old 03-31-2020, 06:22 AM
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he wanted a source for the "you're already dead" line and I showed the line of reasoning that leads to that.
And my question to you remains: say, for a moment, that some hypothetical line of reasoning leads to the reverse conclusion. Say, for the sake of argument, that we’re in a very different situation: one in which, a trillion trillion trillion years from now, there would still be some living things thinking about stuff.

What would change for you in that case? If it’d prompt you to say, oh, if that were so, then there’d be meaning and importance in my life now, then I’d like to hear your reasoning; but if it’d prompt you to say no, even then there’d be neither meaning nor importance, then what you’ve quoted seems irrelevant.
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Old 03-31-2020, 06:42 AM
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he wanted a source for the "you're already dead" line and I showed the line of reasoning that leads to that.
I think one of the causes of your depression and lack of interest in fiction is that it seems that you have no grasp whatsoever of "humor."
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Old 03-31-2020, 07:37 AM
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First of all reader, you must know that in "one trillion, trillion, trillion (10^1728) years from now the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself, terminating the possibility of embodiment".

Yes, but you’re not looking at the big picture.

Sure, our universe in and of itself has no meaning. But, in the multiverse within which we live, time and space is infinite. In other words, what comes around goes around—somewhere, sometime.

So, OP, chances are your exact configuration of particles will pop back into existence time and time again. Probably not in this universe, but in the various “brane” universes scattered all about.

Each of those particle re-incarnations of you will be you. Your consciousness, your self consciousness, your memories...even your chronic case of constipation and your aversion to tomatoes will follow you forever (that’s even longer than til the end of time).

I estimate that you will pop back into existence once every ~10^2000 years. So eat well and brush your teeth before you die, you’ve got a long wait between appearances.

And, sure as shootin’, given the infinitiness of the situation, on some planet that you pop into existence far into the future, there will be a process of assessment and judgment of prior lives.

You don’t want some future brane judge to say, “hey, I remember that guy from Earth 10^10,000 years ago! He didn’t believe life had any meaning and consequently lead a meaningless life. I sentence him re-live all of his lives, Groundhog-style, till he gets it right.”
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Old 03-31-2020, 10:38 AM
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The universe in its entirety is not here because of some prior causal event, since there is no "prior". Hence the heat death of the universe some septillion-odd years from now doesn't mean what that anonymously quoted person seems to think it means.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:02 PM
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I think one of the causes of your depression and lack of interest in fiction is that it seems that you have no grasp whatsoever of "humor."
I've been wondering for some time if our dude is on the spectrum.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:43 PM
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I've been wondering for some time if our dude is on the spectrum.
From time to time, I’ve wondered: if someone other than the OP — for the sake of argument, let’s say a Christian — wanted folks to pick at and denounce Buddhism, just how would he frame various ‘Buddhist’ tenets? Perhaps while billing himself as someone who, oh, gosh, sure does find the teachings ever-so-very compelling; only, gee willikers, for some head-scratchin’ reason, the stuff only ever seems to induce despair in him and leave him seeking something more?
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:45 PM
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To answer the OP -- absolutely, you can fight Nihilism. All you need is an angry Vietnam vet armed with a bowling ball.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:47 PM
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To answer the OP -- absolutely, you can fight Nihilism. All you need is an angry Vietnam vet armed with a bowling ball.
Threadwinner.
  #97  
Old 03-31-2020, 12:52 PM
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Okay, now that that's solved, on to the next question: can you fight Niles Crane?
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