They justify this with “but nothing is true, so nothing is real, so there’s no point to anything” and consider this profound. What they left out: they think nothing is true, except themselves.
Most human thought tends toward solipsism. We are after all just monkeys that got tossed a bone in the form of higher logic. That’s a mixed burden.
Having brains capable of processing logic means that we are forever schizoid, divided between two “modes” of thinking:
- Logic: the logical mind calculates according to the rules of logic. It is completely detached from a consideration of self, time, physicality and emotion.
- Self: we are intensely aware of our physical selves, and our immediate sensations and being, and when logic gets too intense, we retreat into this.
In other words, we can both think and have animal awareness.
We like animal awareness because it is a form of control. No matter what threatens, we have this moment and our own will, and we can do what we want (within limits) and this comforts us. We control us.
This is why nihilists identify nihilism as the gateway to all clear thought, including spirituality. It overcomes the solipsism inherent in being a thinking animal which leads us to prefer the thoughts we control to the logic we can only, at best, channel sometimes to do what we need it to.
Human solipsism creates a false inherency. We expect the universe to behave like our animal self, where there is an absolute conditioning to all of our thoughts provided by the self and its animal needs.
We expect the universe to exert control, and pass on to us absolute, innate, universal and inherent truths, like writing on a wall or the word of a controlling God.
More likely, we are projecting our own animal ego and social ego desires onto the universe, expecting it to act like us when we revert into our animal selves.
This solipsism — a lack of awareness of everything but the self — occurs when we seek control first, and logic second. It occurs in different frequencies among people. We can discipline ourselves to limit it.
Nihilism is that discipline.
By denying inherent truth, universals, absolute reality and belief, we are denying the projections of human solipsism that read those things into our world.
There is one truth — the world, including the vast universe and any metaphysical dimensions it has.
We are a small portion of that truth, and our thoughts of truth cannot supplant the whole.
No matter who we are, we live in the same world and it is consistent for all of us. However, our ability to perceive is different, because we are not all equally smart or self-actualized (the process by which one becomes mentally clear and can differentiate reality from self-projection).
Solipsism seems to give us power over this world because we are able, by virtue of existing in our own minds, to project our thoughts/judgments/feelings of the world over the sense-data from which we construct the world. It’s like seeing the world through colored lenses.
However, solipsism cuts us off from (a) the gritty realism for which nihilism is famous and (b) transcendence, which requires union with the cosmos through an understanding of its order.
For us to understand that order, we must accept that there is a singular reality, and we can at best offer up strategies of adapting to it and interpretations of it, but these are not “equal” to it.
In other words, there is not an absolute, inherent, innate “truth” to the universe. There is only the universe itself.
It exists; we interpret it and form truths. It has a logical origin, and that logical pattern (some would say “Platonic forms”) creates a messier physical reality, which we can analyze and understand to some degree, getting closer to those original patterns.
But the patterns in our heads are not identical to them, thus are not equal, thus are not “truths” so much as approximate interpretations. And not all interpretations are equal; the interpretations of a retarded person or idiot are much less accurate than those of a disciplined, self-actualized genius.
We could view it this way:
On the other hand, this is our mindset with solipsism:
Truths are a human creation. As said above, they are approximate descriptions of the singular reality in which we live.
We must clarify our minds in order to know reality, and from that, build up abstractions that reasonably describe (but are not equal to) its logical form.
The essence of nihilism is breaking free from solipsism, a vestige of our animal past. Cold, impersonal logic is not comforting at first, because it reminds us that we are small and have no control, but eventually, it becomes a warm friend.
Knowing that our universe is consistent, has an order, and that we can escape the insanity of solipsism and reasonably understand it, as time goes on, becomes a more comforting notion than subjecting it to the control of our reckless animal minds.
For this reason, nihilism is the opposite of “do whatever you want.” That statement reflects a solipsistic belief and is as irrationally religious as any dubious mystical cult.
Nihilism does not waste its time on human polemics and attempting to negate beliefs. Instead, it offers discipline of the mind and a clarity to perception, creating a doorway to a logical space in which one can discover what is realistic.
This will never be satisfying to those still in the grip of the logical mind. They want either an inherent “truth” spoken directly to us by an absolute deity, or a lack of any logic, so they can pursue control through their animal minds.
In other words, we can only know clarity through death — death to the monkey within, death to the human, and in that stillness of nothingness, an acceptance of what is all around us. We are a small part of a vast order.
This is not comforting to those in the grips of solipsism. But as in all things in life, appearances are deceiving, and understanding requires a good deal more thought than blind reaction.