Updated: Oct 23, 2019
When hearing the word nihilist or nihilism, one may picture your typical pessimist declaring once and for all that nothing matters and that everything is meaningless or one may not know what to picture because they don’t know what this concept even means. In this article we will be discussing the meaning of nihilism, the founder(s) of nihilism and if it is growing in today’s modern society or not. The definition of nihilism is a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless. A nihilist is someone who agrees with that conclusion. Nihilism also includes the belief that nothing can be known or communicated, this branch of nihilism is often associated with extreme skepticism and pessimism.
When thinking about nihilism, the world famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche comes to mind. This term is often associated with him due to fact that he once famously stated that morals were invented which is a staple belief that nihilists hold. Although Nietzsche is the founder of the concept, he didn’t make the usage of the term widespread. A russian author by the name of Ivan Turgenev wrote a book in 1862 called “fathers and sons” which was about a man who declared himself a nihilist and wanted to educate the public.
Is nihilism still alive in today’s society or has it declined? Well one may think that the concept of nihilism is prospering due to the fact that an increasing number of young people are rejecting religion among other traditions. Well it’s true, today’s youth and society is very nihilistic. When nihilism was first created, Nietzsche tried to remove the whole idea of life having no real meaning, he believed to be sluggish and a lazy way of thinking. He, among others attempted to replace it with a more active response. He argued that the lack of meaning and structure of life gives people the opportunity for
people to take action themselves.
Today’s youth have become more nihilistic due to the fact that everything has already been done for them, life in the western hemisphere has been pretty good compared to most areas of the world since after the first world war. While our grandparents have built the foundations of the western nations we belong to, our generation has sat back and had more time to think. We have rejected religion, tradition and we spent a lot of time on our phones and laptops which means that human interaction has almost become a thing of the past. Blindly believing in a religion like previous generations has given people a purpose to live, which is to please God. Human interaction was also a very regular everyday thing because there was no such thing as instagram or snapchat, if you wanted people to see something you’d show it to them. Now you post it on instagram which has somewhat disconnected us from each other.
To sum it up our generation has become more nihilistic due to the fact that we have rejected religion and distanced ourselves from each other which has lead us to believe that life doesn’t have any purpose or meaning, so why bother?
Image credit: https://singularityhub.com/2018/11/12/hacking-the-mind-just-got-easier-with-these-new-tools/