the work that Truth would do

i dig this. basically a succinct bit on post-nihilist orientation from rando Twitter human @iguesssoidk:

Lets call nihilism the disbelief in mind-external meaning. The idea is that you will never find an objective final answer to any question. Immediately, a saavy reader will notice that this definition is self-defeating. When we give up on apprehending Truth, affirming nihilism appears to be a contradiction. If nothing is true, then in what sense can we say nihilism is true?
The solution is active nihilism: the idea that mind-dependent meaning can do most of the work that Truth would do, without posing as Truth. Active nihilism starts by giving up on certainty without giving up on affirmation. Nihilism is “I can’t know anything,” active nihilism is “…but my best guess is better than nothing.” Nihilism is “life is meaningless,” active nihilism is “…but I will make it meaningful.”
Importantly, active nihilism is indefinite. Definitive nihilism on the other hand may as well be positivism. If you say “life is meaningless, so I’ve picked as my meaning,” you’ve already resigned your nihilism to an asterisk. Genuine active nihilism is instructive not because it frees the subject from definitive meaning, but because it compels the subject to never-ending search for meaning.

Unbinding the world from Truth, only to rebind it to Truth a second later? Truth ain’t what it used to be… it’s both less and more.

a post-nihilist addendum via Hickman:

yes… we are that accident of things… the universe is as both nihilists and pessimists stipulate: is absolutely indifferent and unaware of our existence… but, that’s the point: we aren’t, we are very aware of our difference and consciousness… so do we passively sit back and accept that indifference or do we take our accidental difference as something unique and new in this universe of absolute indifference and nullity and thereby act on it: do we in other words invent the possibility of accepting the absolute indifference as the ground zero of thought, and work or think from that indifference and unknowing? Is there a path that absolutizes nihilism and pessimism, works through it and radicalizes it? And thereby opens up that circle of our difference to something new?

14 responses to “the work that Truth would do

  1. How about that nihilism, as a belief, or as a tenant of knowing, is an incorrect conclusion. Then you don’t even have to deal with how we negotiate nihilism. Or, we could admit then that nihilism is really a kind of religion, functioning through the same rules that any other thing that we identify as religious does.

    • Nihilism, as defined as the belief that all meaning is cognition-dependent, and therefore never an accomplished Truth, is as scientifically supported as we could want. Until one confronts this epistemic condition they remain a slave of ideology. Of course, any thorough nihilism eventually self-destructs into radical openness; a negative capability. Again, without realizing how the nihilist insight is so, and what it entails for our mental lives, we remain delusional. This type of skepticism unto life praxis is also the fundamental teaching on many Buddhist and gnostic traditions.

      • So. How does one confront nothing? Are you saying it is purely a cognitive definition pertaining to nothing, suspended in mind. How could one possibly know that? That is, if cognition itself (of the definition of nihilism) itself is based in nothing? Or is it based in something? Then what is nihilism?

        What strategy am I using to avoid the fact that my cognitions ?

        Is ideology something that arises outside of my cognitions? Is ideology based in something?

        How many authors would I have to read in order to fully comprehend what nihilism is? 😁

        I think nihilism is a religious belief based in a particular manner of looking at oneself in the world.

        • A human cannot confront ‘nothing’. We can only confront things. ‘Nothing’ is pure absence, and therefore any signifier we throw at it is just illusory. The real issue of concern is finitude.

          Cognition is an embodied animal capacity. It generates all sorts of conceptual simulacra that internally reference other simulacra – with no real indexical correspondence other than some functional role in a discourse. To understand the nihilistic insight you need only to practice humility and be minimally aware of how human animal cognition works.

  2. …. because it appears to me that once we come upon a nothingness as the conclusion to the process of meaning, The big culmination of truth, it would seem that if I truly embody nihilism as indeed the culmination of sensible meaning as I may have been been investigating reality or existence or whatever, then to come to that conclusion would in essence reflect upon the actuality of myself as incorrect. Instead of searching the confidence of my experience over the apparent conclusion that it is come to, instead of asserting some sort of primal essence of myself that is equated with the process of my knowing to then suddenly withdraw from its conclusion and assert this essence upon the conclusion to work out another sensibility with contradicts itself at every turn, I could simply and body and except the truth of the matter that my existence as it equates with knowledge and or the process of coming to know, was incorrect.

  3. Curses auto correct! …” I could simply embody and accept the truth…”. Which is to say, as opposed to keeping knowledge as something that “I do” which is to say, as though the activity of knowledge is something that is separated from that which is myself.

  4. … Which is to say, further, that I could validate myself in the moment that I am by realizing that the life that I have lived up to that point is completely incorrect and invalid. I could thereby come upon the revolution that is being in knowledge, As opposed to attempting to reassert that which I hope could be true by manipulating discourse and perpetually presenting a mistake as though it was not.

    • Your supplementary comments here are just so many conceptual knots, demonstrating exactly what I’m talking about. All those words you used, and the configurations you put them in are merely idiosynchronically composed attempts to create more brain-dependent meanings, in the service of playing language games that hook to various impulses (for ego, for communicative pplay, or what have you). They mean nothing outside of your more general, non-linguistic attempts to navigate and cope in the world.

      • That explanation Sounds very religious to me. That’s all. I agree with you. But not with the proposed essence of what nihilism is supposed: I think the strategies of attempting to incorporate nihilism as a positive aspect is going the long way around the situation. It’s fine. I just think it creates a over complicated picture of what is actually occurring.

        • nihilism is a negation machine. it can’t be religious unless its core operations are abandoned for the sake of some fetish for pessimism.

          Okay, so in your view what is the actual situation with the limits of cognition and the origins of meaning?

          • I agree with you mostly; I generally make the same kind of arguments , but using different terms. But I like to hear other people’s ways I situating meaning. The terms they use. Helps me with how to speak about things.

            And then I was also saying that this “machine” functions in a religious manner. Ideologies/belief systems can be understood as structured like a religion and can be understood working together to enforce a particular unitive cosmology. The machine, regardless of type or definitions used to name the machine (object). can be viewed as using the same features regardless of the semantic content.

          • …ah. But the way you are situating “religion” i see as assuming a constant and knowable unitive ontological basis upon which discourse gains meaning. I disrupts that kind of flat stasis upon which machines operate, I guess.

            I use religion in the sense of practical living. Not so much theoretical abstraction. 👍🏾

          • I understand what you are saying about nihilism. But I see it a occupying a position in a mechanistic framework. In a way it is kind of like “opposite God”. But effectively occupying a semantic position where by particular objects “come into being” and in such and such a way. “God” in this manner, is that by which human beings “be” regardless of the term which holds the position. In What we understand as institutional religion (as opposed to secular) , it’s God. In secularism it is, say, “the state”. Or “subjectivity”. But It depends upon the context in which the object arises what place the “god place”. Or the “sin place” is occupying, or what term. Thus is not so much ideology, Becuase ideology is just a current manner of situating the subject in the world. Ideology can thus be organized with similar. “God” and “sin” semantic positions that structure the ethical universe of proper true things.

            But that is an rough version of a work in progress.

            • I guess in short. I am saying generally the same thing as Deleuze and so many others, but using a different framing, a different orientation upon things. The way D and G and land and such put it, I see as very contradictory, almost to the point that they read to me like some Zen philosophy. I already got a bead in Zen. So D and G and such appear to me as kind of just stating the obvious. But that’s just me.

              But Also. That’s why I like you guys that use that general discourse: I assists me in framing terms in particular manners to address the situation at hand for any moment.

              But also my questioning is legitimate because you, by your essays reflecting pretty much what I already understand of things, (but don’t give me wrong, a lot of what you say is really cool and insightful and I haven’t thought about things and just that way so..). allow me to kind of be in a dialectic with myself, to ask questions of you to elicit answers from you which really help me to understand better what I am coming across and how to apply it.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s