Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Nihilism “Our lives are meaningless” No Meaning- No Beliefs- No Hope Collated by Ms McIntosh Year 10 Religion Cabra Dominican College.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Nihilism “Our lives are meaningless” No Meaning- No Beliefs- No Hope Collated by Ms McIntosh Year 10 Religion Cabra Dominican College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nihilism “Our lives are meaningless” No Meaning- No Beliefs- No Hope Collated by Ms McIntosh Year 10 Religion Cabra Dominican College

2 What is Nihilism? A philosophy which advocates the belief that there is no universal truth, underlying reality, it rejects social conventions and moral meaning. All values are baseless and nothing can be known or communicated.

3 What is Nihilism? Origin Nihilism comes from the Latin word ‘nihil’, meaning nothing. It also appears in the verb ‘to annihilate’, to bring nothing, to destroy completely.

4 What is Nihilism? Origin Nihilism goes back several hundred years B.C., when philosophers used a scepticist outlook to claim that absolute concepts, like the Christian God, were illusions and thus had to be denied.

5 What is Nihilism? Origin During the latter half of the 19th Century, Nihilism experienced a cultural and political revival, when Russian writers started to reject social conventions such as the traditional family, the church, and the State. So here, NIHILIST movements were formed in response to the oppression of the people and a lack of freedom.

6 What do Nihilists believe? Life & Nothingness A true Nihilist believes in nothing, has no loyalties, no purpose and is therefore associated with extreme pessimism. Ultimately existence and life is meaningless, nothing is real & therefore nothing is worth doing = FATALISM "The point is: there is no point“


8 What do Nihilists believe? Humans In the ‘great scheme of things we are insignificant’ (like Absurdist's) Nihilists are absolute skeptics; people who believes in the truth of nothing, who habitually doubt generally accepted beliefs, who mistrust people and ideas.


10 What do Nihilists believe? Humans Individuals have no Intrinsic or Extrinsic value. There is no ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ A true nihilist doesn't like to destroy because by doing so they are not gaining anything because there is nothing to gain. So those who try to destroy aren't true nihilists!

11 What do Nihilists believe? Humans A NIHILIST is someone who makes decisions based only on an objective perception of reality rather than emotions or personal benefit. ‘Live in the moment, don't bother dwelling on the past, or hoping for a future... it doesn't matter’.

12 What do Nihilists believe? God & the Afterlife There is no belief in God or an Afterlife. They reject any spiritual essence in favour of a solely materialistic one. They denounce God and religious authority as antithetical (the exact opposite) to freedom.

13 Nihilism and the future? Albert Camus (an existentialist) labeled Nihilism the most disturbing problem of the 20 th century and suggested it would cause “profound hatred, pathological destruction, and incalculable death.” Helmut Thielicke wrote that “Nihilism literally has only one truth to declare, namely, that ultimately Nothingness prevails and the world is meaningless” (Nihilism: Its Origin and Nature, with a Christian Answer, 1969).

14 Nihilism and the future? Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West (1926) studied several cultures to confirm that patterns of nihilism were a feature of collapsing civilizations. Centuries-old religious, artistic and political traditions were weakened and finally toppled by the nihilistic ideas. He concludes that Western civilization is already in the advanced stages of decay with all forms of nihilism undermining our the moral fabric of our society.

15 Nihilism and the future? Eugene Rose’s states that if nihilism proves victorious–and it’s well on its way, he argues– our world will become “a cold, inhuman world” where “nothingness, incoherence, and absurdity” will triumph. Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age (1994). If large numbers of society were nihilists then ultimately society would crumble.


17 Types of Nihilism Epistemological Nihilism Epistemological means ‘degree of knowledge’. It denies the possibility of knowledge and truth, and is linked to extreme scepticism. It would be impossible for a Dominican Sister to be associated with this.


19 Types of Nihilism Political nihilism Advocates the prior destruction of all existing political, social, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any future improvement. Relates to the idea of Anarchy.

20 Types of Nihilism Ethical nihilism Or Moral nihilism Rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Good and evil are vague, and values are simply the product of social and emotive pressures.

21 Types of Nihilism Existential nihilism The most well-known view, affirms that life has no intrinsic meaning or value.

22 “The nihilist strips away all of the values but the most basic materialist concepts: I am here and alive. This x will hurt me if I get too close to it, and this y is generally safe to eat. W is a firm friend and I trust him; Z has done nothing but borrow money to buy drinks.” Centre for Nihilist and Nihilism Studies.

23 Friedrich Nietzsche A German philosopher who is most often associated with nihilism. He writes, “Every belief, every considering something true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world.” Will to Power [notes 1883- 1888], For Nietzsche, there is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it.

24 Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Nietzsche eventually lost all control of his mental faculties. Upon seeing a horse mistreated, he began sobbing uncontrollably and collapsed into a catatonic state. He died August 25, 1900, diagnosed as utterly insane.




28 Nihilism and Seinfeld Thomas Hibbs, professor and chair of philosophy at Boston College, suggested that the show Seinfeld is a manifestation of nihilism in television. The very basis of the sitcom is that it is a "show about nothing“ The view presented in Seinfeld is arguably consistent with the philosophy of nihilism, the idea that life is pointless, from which arises a feeling of the absurd that characterizes the show's ironic humour.

29 Nihilism and Music Punk rock like The Sex Pistols in “God Save the Queen” their chant-like refrain of "no future", became a slogan for unemployed and disaffected youth during the late 1970s. Black metal and Death metal music often emphasize nihilistic themes.

30 A TRUE STORY - Jean Francois comes from a very wealthy, well-respected French family. His father is an accountant whose family belong to a well-known champagne- making company. He is married to the grand-daughter of France’s most famous aeroplane manufacturer. Yet Jean-Francois does not care about all this. He does not see the point of his parents’ lifestyle. He left the radio station and apartment he inherited in Cannes, on the French Riviera, to retreat from society and live on his land in the mountains. Rather than worry too much about the sought-after truffles that grow there, he grows bamboo. He does not agree with killing animals for sport and to deter any game-hunters he has installed miles of electric fence around his land. To make a point about how he rejects society’s values and expectations, when all the people in France were celebrating the national “Fete de la Musique”, when everybody who can make music is out on the streets and bands play everywhere, Jean-Francois set up huge speakers around his property and blasted the neighbourhood with loud techno-music. While his family ooze wealth with their dress and lifestyle, you would not notice Jean- Francois in a crowd, with his old jeans and worn T-shirt. He sees no point in all society expects of him and is not worried by his father’s concerns that he will annoy people and perhaps end up being shot by an angry hunter. Is he Nihilistic, existentialistic, absurdist or a mixture of one or more of these? Why?

31 Nihilism: So what do you think? Do you believe in nothing? Nothing is ‘real’? You have no loyalties to anyone or anything? You have no purpose? There is no point? Life is meaningless? Nothing is worth doing? We are insignificant? Do you mistrust people and their ideas? There is ‘no light at the end of the tunnel’?

32 Nihilism: So what do you think? There is no point in destroying things because there is nothing to gain? Decisions should not be based on emotions just facts? Live in the moment because it (past, present, future) doesn’t matter? God and religion trap people rather than giving then freedom? Society would be better off without governments, social boundaries and religion?

33 Are you a Nihilist?

34 Sources used: Copyright © 2002 - 2010. Accessed on 18/3/10 Last updated 2009 by Kevin Knight. Accessed on 18/3/10 Information. Last updated on May 3, 2005 by Alan Pratt Embry-Riddle University. Accessed on 18/3/10 Nihilism and Popular Culture Assoc. Prof. Thomas Hibbs (Philosophy) Accessed on 18/3/10. By FR. RON ROLHEISER -- Western Catholic Reporter Last Updated 04/02/2002. Accessed on 18/3/10 Copyright © 1997-2008 Centre for Nihilist and Nihilism Studies. Accessed on 18/3/10 Helmut Thielicke’s, Nihilism: Its Origin and Nature, with a Christian Answer found at Accessed on 18/3/10 Existentialist, Albert Camus (1913-1960), His essay, The Rebel found at Accessed on 18/3/10 Ms Samuel ‘Meaning of Life PowerPoint’ and various handouts Ms Woodbridge Class notes Images from:,,,

Download ppt "Nihilism “Our lives are meaningless” No Meaning- No Beliefs- No Hope Collated by Ms McIntosh Year 10 Religion Cabra Dominican College."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google