Humans tend to project their own mental images onto reality itself and mistake those mental images for reality. This occurs because we store our knowledge of the world in thought-objects, which like words or emotions, are memories. We access memories more quickly than reality itself because memory is faster and more efficient.
This leaves us vulnerable to self-deception or deception by others. We tell ourselves this “one tiny cupcake” won’t scotch our diets; car salesmen tell us that a jalopy is not a junker, but a do-it-yourself race car adventure.
The underlying reality remains the same. We’ve just shifted our perceptions of it so that we are thinking of it a different way. While this is easy, and makes us feel better, the nature of reality itself hasn’t changed and we will have to face consequences in reality, not in our thought-space.
The same method can mislead us regarding our goals. Savvy operators can shift our thinking from an actual goal to how we our others think, emote, judge, or feel about an outcome. Like the jalopy that becomes a race car, we are suddenly lost in our own minds.
In essence nihilism is a reduction of reality to what it is. We have limitations on our perception, but because with discipline our perception is consistent, we can still use it very effectively to understand our world.
A nihilist does not care about feelings, emotions, judgments or sensations. A nihilist cares about end results, specifically consequences. If I do this act, what will be the result? It is more like lab science than politics or salesmanship.
When we say we are nihilists, that is to say we believe in nothing. Belief is a human construct, and it can be applied to religion, politics, science or anything else where we can be misdirected by our own thought-objects.
Nihilism does not involve any particular path than that. You can be a nihilist and a Christian, if you can derive your notion of God from things you observe in reality. You can be a nihilist and still be a scientist, economist, priest, doctor, warrior, writer and/or disco dancer.
There are many people out there, all of them trivial cowards, who will try to sell you a series of “related” propositions with nihilism. These people are not nihilists, but believers. They believe in their own bottom line and the illusions they sell.
It is better to avoid involvement with such charlatans and instead to meditate on what nihilism delivers: freedom from our own minds. We can observe reality as it is, and both enjoy it and work with more effectively as a result.