Posts Tagged ‘Nihilism’

Twitter cuts (#137)

(Posting this Notch response to the accusation that “You’re stirring up shit because you’re a lonely entitled white dude with no meaning in life” mostly to provide circumstantial evidence that I haven’t secretly died, although it does have a classic tweet quality to it.)

June 12, 2017admin 49 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Sentences

Abstract Horror (Note-3)

Nicola Masciandaro discusses the method of ‘hyper-literal anagogy’ in the introduction to his exquisite book Sufficient Unto the Day: Sermones Contra Solicitudinem (p.3-4, also here):

It thus naturally tends to seize semantically on the substantiality of the negative and on what might have been said otherwise but was not — a not that is felt to contain the secret of everything. For example, Meister Eckhart’s exegesis of Paul’s blinding vision on the road to Damascus entirely ignores the ordinary, regular sense of “and when his eyes were opened he saw nothing” (Acts 9:8) [apertisque oculis nihil videbat] in favor of a mystically literal plenitude of possibilities: “I think this text has a fourfold sense. One is that when he rose up from the ground with open eyes he saw Nothing, and the Nothing was God; for when he saw God he calls that Nothing. The second: when he got up he saw nothing but God. The third: in all things he saw nothing but God. The fourth: when he saw God, he saw all things as nothing.”[2] Similarly, Augustine’s well-known statement as to the unknowable knowability of time — “What therefore is time? If no one [nemo] asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone questioning me, I do not know”[3] — may be (im)properly read as saying that time is known in the positively negative presence of a nemo, a not-man (ne+homo) who asks about time, a pure question posed by nobody. The presence of this no-one who is still there, a senseless letter-spirit and sudden negative indication upon which superlative understanding depends, provides a fitting structural figure for this method and an image of its divinatory, daimonic form, its sortilegic reading of received signs.

[2] Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, trans. Maurice O’C Walshe (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2009), Sermon 19, p. 142.
[3] “Quid est ergo tempus? Si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio” (Augustine, Confessions, 11.14).


Between The Nothing and Abstract Horror there is no difference. Some related hints (and others). Eventually we reach the Vast Abrupt.

November 12, 2014admin 3 Comments »

T-shirt slogans (#17)

Nothing lasts forever

Stolen immediately from T-Zip, this kind of crypto-nihilistic word game has an archaic classical pedigree, is (weakly) anticipated in the Odyssey, became an obsession among the Elizabethans, and contributed the engine of Heideggerian fundamental ontology. It still guides the Outside in reading of Milton, and no doubt much else besides. It hides a gnostic-skeptical metaphysics within a commonplace resignation. Zero, time, and camouflage are bonded in chaos. Make of it what you will …

ADDED: “The Austrian theory of the business cycle has never been a radical premise. It only stipulates that any workaround of the natural cycle of economic growth must come with ensuing costs. It’s a simple law: you can’t get something for nothing. A majority of economists believe the opposite. In other words, they believe in magic.”

October 18, 2014admin 8 Comments »

Triple Nihilism

(1) Jeffrey Herf is apparently shocked and appalled by the emergence of a “pro-Hamas Left” in the American academy. He writes:

The emergence of this objectively pro-Hamas and pro-war Left is an historically significant event. It breaks with both the self-understanding and public image of a Left that carried a banner of anti-fascism. It rests on a double standard of critique, a critical one applied to the extreme Right in the West and another, apologetic standard applied to similarly based rightist Islamist movements.

So the left intelligentsia is prone to extreme hypocrisy, anti-semitism, crypto-fascism, opportunism, and the unrestrained politics of ressentiment? Is this supposed to be news of some kind? Political controversy is to be measured against some yardstick of fundamental decency, that is now, peculiarly, being betrayed? Who or what is supporting that yardstick, exactly? If we subtract any such ‘yardstick’ entirely from our considerations, haven’t we thereby, for the first time, begun to approach the topic realistically?

Continue Reading

September 1, 2014admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Nihilism and Destiny

Readers of Nietzsche, or of Eugene Rose, are already familiar with the attribution of a cultural teleology to modernity, directed to the consummate realization of nihilism. Our contemporary crisis finds this theme re-animated within a geopolitical context by the work of Alexandr Dugin, who interprets it as a driver of concrete events — most specifically the antagonization of Russia by an imploding world liberal order. He writes:

There is one point in liberal ideology that has brought about a crisis within it: liberalism is profoundly nihilistic at its core. The set of values defended by liberalism is essentially linked to its main thesis: the primacy of liberty. But liberty in the liberal vision is an essentially negative category: it claims to be free from (as per John Stuart Mill), not to be free for something. […] … the enemies of the open society, which is synonymous with Western society post-1991, and which has become the norm for the rest of the world, are concrete. Its primary enemies are communism and fascism, both ideologies which emerged from the same Enlightenment philosophy, and which contained central, non-individualic concepts – class in Marxism, race in National Socialism, and the national State in fascism). So the source of liberalism’s conflict with the existing alternatives of modernity, fascism or communism, is quite obvious. Liberals claim to liberate society from fascism and communism, or from the two major permutations of explicitly non-individualistic modern totalitarianism. Liberalism’s struggle, when viewed as a part of the process of the liquidation of non-liberal societies, is quite meaningful: it acquires its meaning from the fact of the very existence of ideologies that explicitly deny the individual as society’s highest value. It is quite clear what the struggle opposes: liberation from its opposite. But the fact that liberty, as it is conceived by liberals, is an essentially negative category is not clearly perceived here. The enemy is present and is concrete. That very fact gives liberalism its solid content. Something other than the open society exists, and the fact of its existence is enough to justify the process of liberation.

Continue Reading

March 18, 2014admin 40 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations , Political economy , World
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,