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[Nihilism] - Why we need to care about people who don't

I'm creating this thread in response to this article posted by the New York Times:

The Trump Voters Whose ‘Need for Chaos’ Obliterates Everything Else

DISCLAIMER:

THIS IS NOT A TRUMP THREAD


The column in question is a commentary on a paper by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark and Temple that argues that a segment of the American electorate that was once peripheral is drawn to “chaos incitement” and that this segment has gained decisive influence through the rise of social media.

In other words, the world is the way it is because there are literally people out there who just want to watch the world burn, and the digital age has provided them with the tools to begin doing so.

To quote the article
How do Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux measure this “need for chaos"? They conducted six surveys, four in the United States, in which they interviewed 5157 participants, and two in Denmark, with 1336. They identified those who are “drawn to chaos” through their affirmative responses to the following statements:
  • I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.
  • I think society should be burned to the ground.
  • When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”
  • We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.
  • Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.

This study gives weight to the whole meme-y argument that some political agitators just want to "stick it to the libs/man/rich". Like, literally, that's it. I'm sure you'll all be surprised to learn that the brunt of these individuals mostly happen to be young white men. There's no political motivation here beyond just "fuck everything".

And this just, well, makes sense. There is a non-insignificant portion of our friends and neighbours who just don't give a fuck, but want to make sure the world knows they don't give a fuck, so they lash out by providing political support to obvious idiots and bigots, spreading hateful memes on social media, acting the troll, and seeking to incite for the sake of incitement alone. I personally know a number of such individuals and I'm sure most of you do too.

The rise in influence of those who think and act like this is now having obvious, and measurable, effects on our society. The Russians have realized this and have worked to weaponize it against their rivals in the West.

So, some of you may be saying "do-doy R.U. We all knew this already, so, why are you making this thread?" Well, you don't have to be a silly goose about it, I'll tell ya! Sheesh!

I want to talk about two things. First, what do you guys think the biggest contributing factors are to the rise of this mentality? My thoughts:
  • Rising wealth inequality leading to a rise of an increasingly disenfranchised lower and middle class (aka good 'ol "economic anxiety")
    • resulting attitude: "fuck the rich, fuck the Man"
  • Increase in efforts to better social equality for all leading to feelings of resentment from a historically privileged class
    • resulting attitude: "fuck the libs, fuck those SJWs", racism, homophobia, bigotry in general
  • And yeah, I'm gonna go there: changes in the entertainment landscape.
    • Yep, I'm talking about South Park, Rick and Morty and other influential pieces of media.
    • Oh, I'm also including cable news in this. Yep, that means you, Fox, but don't think you're getting away with anything CNN and MSNBC.

Secondly, I want to talk about solutions. What are some actual, realistic, steps that can be taken by people like us to start to enact change? Are the nihilist/"chaos inciters" maybe right? Maybe the system is so irrevocably fucked that it really does need to be torn down? If that's the case, is there a way we can work to take down the system justly, without so much collateral damage? (please bear forum rules in mind when considering your answer)

On the other hand, if the chaos inciters are wrong, and their tactics are truly damaging to the fabric of society, what can the rest of us do, realistically? What are our responsibilities when dealing with such individuals we happen to know in real life? Is ignoring them good enough, or do we have a responsibility to actively engage and dissuade? What about containment and/or consequences for such individuals? What do those look like and how can they be enforced in a society that holds freedom of expression as a foundational principle?

I understand that such questions could lead into overlap with other topics that we already have threads for, so, to keep it focused, I'd like to recommend we stick to the topic of these so-dubbed "chaos inciters" and their enablers specifically, without delving too much into legislation and politics, and focus more on what each of us, personally, can do to work towards addressing this issue.

I hope I've given enough food for thought, please let me know your thoughts on the topic, thanks!

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Posts

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

    Can't watch the video right now, but I do want to address the assertion of "Actual nihilism" not being that popular. That appears to be contradicted by the Times article. Do you believe those who responded to the poll questions in the affirmative were lying? The poll questions do not invoke political affiliation, only broad feelings of general disaffection.

    I agree that the alt-right have glommed onto this nihilism to serve as a tool to message-boost by soliciting said nihilist by appearing to be agents of the chaotic change they purport to desire, but I feel like we might be dealing with a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario here. Note that some (though less) of those who polled positive for nihilism claimed to be Sanders supporters.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

    Can't watch the video right now, but I do want to address the assertion of "Actual nihilism" not being that popular. That appears to be contradicted by the Times article. Do you believe those who responded to the poll questions in the affirmative were lying? The poll questions do not invoke political affiliation, only broad feelings of general disaffection.

    I agree that the alt-right have glommed onto this nihilism to serve as a tool to message-boost by soliciting said nihilist by appearing to be agents of the chaotic change they purport to desire, but I feel like we might be dealing with a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario here. Note that some (though less) of those who polled positive for nihilism claimed to be Sanders supporters.

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: It's worth watching the video, because it does a better job explaining this, but one big point that it makes is that while they claim to be nihilists, they in large part save their ire for the left - which points to there actually being a rationale behind the argumentation. Or to put it another way, as Danskin points out, when you claim "general dissatisfaction" but are lashing out at specific groups and ideologies, you are being incoherent.

    Edit: You mentioned South Park in your response, which is worth noting as an excellent example of this dynamic. Matt Stone and Trey Parker claim that they attack things across the political spectrum - this is sort of true, but anyone who has watched the show for any length will know that they save their biggest swings for the left.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    I think part of it could be a lack of aspirational science fiction. Most depictions of the future are of a terrible world, so people can't believe in a good future. Depictions of a world worth working for are few.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    There is something wrong and we all feel it, people are lashing out because they don't understand what it is. Society has been through this a number of times before and it has ended in cataclysmic events each time. The first industrial revolution led to the French revolutionary wars and the American civil war. The second industrial revolution led to the great depression and both world wars. We are now in the midst of the third industrial revolution. This is not a series of isolated events, this is a society reacting to massive pressures shaping and warping it outside of its control. Saying that this is happening because of poor behavior on social media or the entertainment landscape is seeing the symptoms and not seeing the disease. The world needs drastic change to accommodate the drastic change that is already occurring and this pressure will continue to build until it does.

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  • Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix Registered User regular
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

    Can't watch the video right now, but I do want to address the assertion of "Actual nihilism" not being that popular. That appears to be contradicted by the Times article. Do you believe those who responded to the poll questions in the affirmative were lying? The poll questions do not invoke political affiliation, only broad feelings of general disaffection.

    I agree that the alt-right have glommed onto this nihilism to serve as a tool to message-boost by soliciting said nihilist by appearing to be agents of the chaotic change they purport to desire, but I feel like we might be dealing with a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario here. Note that some (though less) of those who polled positive for nihilism claimed to be Sanders supporters.

    This is something the video addresses - the short answer is yes, they're lying.

    To elaborate on one of the video's points: if I am an online shit-disturber, there are two people I could troll extremely easily to guarantee a big reaction.

    Exhibit A
    q610byflywrp.png

    Exhibit B
    mu7vm2vtftte.png

    If I am strictly in it for the lulz, which one would I pick? If it's just completely random, one would expect a 50/50 split. The actual distribution is, however, heavily skewed toward A.



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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I'm going to assume we're talking the pop culture "nihilism" meaning "I don't care" instead of the original and academic terms which are closer to "the universe doesn't care, now what".

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    The reason why these people are lying is because they aren't actually the victims of society. They have lived comfortable lives, shielded from pain by as many barriers as the government could put around them. They believe in the myth of their own capabilities. That the guardrails, bumpers and padding keeping them safe and comfy are a prison holding them back. But show them real suffering and trial and they crumble like old cheese.

    They talk a big game because they know nothing will 'ever happen' to them. The things they say they want? They could have. Hop a flight to Somalia. We saw it with the kids joining ISIS. They talked a big game till the moment they arrived and were made into slave soldiers for the most part.

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To @Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm going to assume we're talking the pop culture "nihilism" meaning "I don't care" instead of the original and academic terms which are closer to "the universe doesn't care, now what".

    Well, if we look at the poll questions above, I think the answer is "both". Or perhaps more specifically: "the universe doesn't care, so why shouldn't we just burn it all down?"

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

    I think it's much more than just that. People are facing total obsolescence if they cannot be incorporated into the machine, a machine that churns ever faster and discards them when they are no longer of value to it. They've been stripped of all the previous identities that they could cling to for some sense of meaning in the face of this as they've been systematically revealed to be hollow by rational examination. The way these people are responding is a justifiable desperation in response to a world that increasingly has no use for them and refuses to grant them meaning.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

    I think it's much more than just that. People are facing total obsolescence if they cannot be incorporated into the machine, a machine that churns ever faster and discards them when they are no longer of value to it. They've been stripped of all the previous identities that they could cling to for some sense of meaning in the face of this as they've been systematically revealed to be hollow by rational examination. The way these people are responding is a justifiable desperation in response to a world that increasingly has no use for them and refuses to grant them meaning.

    I disagree. Because the people who are the greatest victims of the machine (minorities) do not subscribe to these theories. They dont want to tear everything down (or pretend to want it)

    Suffering is not to blame. A knowledge that your lifestyle achievements are considered to be inadequate, and that you cheated your way there is.

    The people racists hate the most is almost always themselves after all.

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

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  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    There's a good essay by Derek Thompson of The Atlantic about this: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/america-without-family-god-or-patriotism/597382/

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    There is and has been a lot of nihilism among the disadvantaged who are not very online, so we don't see them. This has been the case since before we cared to take notice.

    It's very hard to be truly nihilist, but it's actually easy to be highly nihilist in the modern environment. It's the symptom of a root cause of social isolation. This trend will continue with our isolation. Being a spoiled brat is a separate issue; a pure capitalist can be a spoiled brat and a nihilist at the same time. Addressing other pathological elements of society will help with other things in other ways, but as long as we continue to ignore our isolation, this nihilism will remain.

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  • Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix Registered User regular
    There's also this aspect:

    h3noTVUIx6kEUGXROY8RdpJ32S5ZqQzufYBv1jPu014.jpg?auto=webp&s=ae574697112ce2c148a409b25c34a047ba2bfa9a

    nihilism-reality-stereotype-nothing-in-life-matters-nothing-in-life-3383827.png


    There are still plenty of avenues to pursue if you're a nihilist (become a hedge fund executive in an offshore tax haven, for example) and nihilism can actually be a life-affirming personal philosophy. If you spend all day bitterly complaining about the unfair persecution of clown frogs on the internet instead of coming up with ways to siphon money out the bank accounts of losers who spend all day bitterly complaining about the unfair persecution of clown frogs on the internet, then you are probably not a nihilist (whereas the latter guy probably is), but rather, you're a bitter reactionary who strongly believes that the world ought to be the way that it isn't. If you're a Joker-like agent of chaos gleefully revealing that a succession of emperors have no clothes, you'd expect your targets to vary wildly, not for you to move from "women are ruining video games" to "women are ruining science fiction" to "women are ruining comic books".



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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

    Yes, I agree. Imagine what the results of this survey might be if, for example, you began to become more specific with your targets of 'tear society down'

    All these angry white men so happily voting to tear it all down imagine how they would vote if the next thing was...

    "Great, lets get started. Which aspect of society shall we destroy first?

    The electrical grid leading to your town?
    Your towns internet service?
    The brewery which serves your town?
    The resort you have your vacation home at?
    Your favorite video game developer?"

    They say they want to tear the world down because "The world has held me back!" is the lie they tell themselves to justify their perceived failure. But they are so angry because they KNOW that their failure is their own. That society boosted them up and they still didn't reach the heights they were told were their destiny. Racists want to be rid of minorities until you tell them that now they will have to do the work themselves, and then suddenly they want to enslave them instead, and tell themselves they are doing the minorities a favor. The patriarchy creates these men who have effectively enslaved society to their benefit, but have to tell themselves that society is holding them back because they have failed to achieve their goals. Slave owners KNOW that minorities aren't more stupid than white people, or somehow inherently dangerous or stupid, because they are the ones putting them to work and seeing that they can work just as hard as anyone else. These men KNOW that society works in their favor, and that it benefits them, but they cannot admit that it does because to do so is to admit their own weakness.

    They believe they are nihilists, because its easier to say, "I am a nihilist/burn the world down" than it is to say "I am sad, because my life does not match the dream of what it should have been"

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

    Yes, I agree. Imagine what the results of this survey might be if, for example, you began to become more specific with your targets of 'tear society down'

    All these angry white men so happily voting to tear it all down imagine how they would vote if the next thing was...

    "Great, lets get started. Which aspect of society shall we destroy first?

    The electrical grid leading to your town?
    Your towns internet service?
    The brewery which serves your town?
    The resort you have your vacation home at?
    Your favorite video game developer?"

    They say they want to tear the world down because "The world has held me back!" is the lie they tell themselves to justify their perceived failure. But they are so angry because they KNOW that their failure is their own. That society boosted them up and they still didn't reach the heights they were told were their destiny. Racists want to be rid of minorities until you tell them that now they will have to do the work themselves, and then suddenly they want to enslave them instead, and tell themselves they are doing the minorities a favor. The patriarchy creates these men who have effectively enslaved society to their benefit, but have to tell themselves that society is holding them back because they have failed to achieve their goals. Slave owners KNOW that minorities aren't more stupid than white people, or somehow inherently dangerous or stupid, because they are the ones putting them to work and seeing that they can work just as hard as anyone else. These men KNOW that society works in their favor, and that it benefits them, but they cannot admit that it does because to do so is to admit their own weakness.

    They believe they are nihilists, because its easier to say, "I am a nihilist/burn the world down" than it is to say "I am sad, because my life does not match the dream of what it should have been"

    At the point where you actually take steps to burn the world down, you are functionally a nihilist.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

    Can't watch the video right now, but I do want to address the assertion of "Actual nihilism" not being that popular. That appears to be contradicted by the Times article. Do you believe those who responded to the poll questions in the affirmative were lying? The poll questions do not invoke political affiliation, only broad feelings of general disaffection.

    I agree that the alt-right have glommed onto this nihilism to serve as a tool to message-boost by soliciting said nihilist by appearing to be agents of the chaotic change they purport to desire, but I feel like we might be dealing with a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario here. Note that some (though less) of those who polled positive for nihilism claimed to be Sanders supporters.

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: It's worth watching the video, because it does a better job explaining this, but one big point that it makes is that while they claim to be nihilists, they in large part save their ire for the left - which points to there actually being a rationale behind the argumentation. Or to put it another way, as Danskin points out, when you claim "general dissatisfaction" but are lashing out at specific groups and ideologies, you are being incoherent.

    Edit: You mentioned South Park in your response, which is worth noting as an excellent example of this dynamic. Matt Stone and Trey Parker claim that they attack things across the political spectrum - this is sort of true, but anyone who has watched the show for any length will know that they save their biggest swings for the left.

    Ok so I watched the video on my lunch, and I'm not sure I've come to the same conclusion you're drawing here.

    While I agree with the observation that the trolls save their ire for the left, that's not because they all necessarily hold alt-right beliefs, it's because they get a kick out of the reactions they get. I don't have a transcript of the video or anything, so I'm paraphrasing, but I recall one of the arguments was "you make fun of an SJW, they cry. You make fun of a nazi, they might STAB you". So I think my original point stands. These chaos inciters aren't necessarily sincere alt-righters, but rather have aligned themselves with the alt-right because those who oppose the alt-right are softer targets.

    Now, that doesn't mean they're not an issue to contend with. They're basically the true alt-right's useful idiots in this regard. All said, sincere or not, their message is the same, which means, functionally, it doesn't really make a difference, but I do maintain that the underlying issue is nihilism/apathy first, which happens to work to the alt-right's advantage.

    3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited September 2019
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

    I think it's much more than just that. People are facing total obsolescence if they cannot be incorporated into the machine, a machine that churns ever faster and discards them when they are no longer of value to it. They've been stripped of all the previous identities that they could cling to for some sense of meaning in the face of this as they've been systematically revealed to be hollow by rational examination. The way these people are responding is a justifiable desperation in response to a world that increasingly has no use for them and refuses to grant them meaning.

    I disagree. Because the people who are the greatest victims of the machine (minorities) do not subscribe to these theories. They dont want to tear everything down (or pretend to want it)

    Suffering is not to blame. A knowledge that your lifestyle achievements are considered to be inadequate, and that you cheated your way there is.

    The people racists hate the most is almost always themselves after all.

    Minorities absolutely do want revolutionary change and always have, and have always been entirely justified in this desire, they've just been more effectively suppressed. Their goals and understanding of their own suffering is far more in line with the truth, and manifests in concrete goals. The reason white males fall into this "nihilism" is because they do not even know what they want and have no way to comprehend it.

    Winky on
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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

    Yes, I agree. Imagine what the results of this survey might be if, for example, you began to become more specific with your targets of 'tear society down'

    All these angry white men so happily voting to tear it all down imagine how they would vote if the next thing was...

    "Great, lets get started. Which aspect of society shall we destroy first?

    The electrical grid leading to your town?
    Your towns internet service?
    The brewery which serves your town?
    The resort you have your vacation home at?
    Your favorite video game developer?"

    They say they want to tear the world down because "The world has held me back!" is the lie they tell themselves to justify their perceived failure. But they are so angry because they KNOW that their failure is their own. That society boosted them up and they still didn't reach the heights they were told were their destiny. Racists want to be rid of minorities until you tell them that now they will have to do the work themselves, and then suddenly they want to enslave them instead, and tell themselves they are doing the minorities a favor. The patriarchy creates these men who have effectively enslaved society to their benefit, but have to tell themselves that society is holding them back because they have failed to achieve their goals. Slave owners KNOW that minorities aren't more stupid than white people, or somehow inherently dangerous or stupid, because they are the ones putting them to work and seeing that they can work just as hard as anyone else. These men KNOW that society works in their favor, and that it benefits them, but they cannot admit that it does because to do so is to admit their own weakness.

    They believe they are nihilists, because its easier to say, "I am a nihilist/burn the world down" than it is to say "I am sad, because my life does not match the dream of what it should have been"

    Working class white people absolutely have been exploited in service to the wealthy, just never to the same degree that minorities have in order to create a tiered system of enforcers for the people who truly benefit from society who rest securely at the top. They benefit from the system as it stands so they are motivated not to allow the ones below them to become equals, but they in turn will never be equals to their betters. That self-hatred is something planted deep inside them by the "achievement" of the people who have more successfully exploited the system and the other people in it to make it out on top. They were sold a lie that they should be able to be among the "true winners" but that was never the case, they were always intended to wallow in mediocrity and take it out on the people below them. They're trapped in the illusion that this entire system is a meritocracy to begin with.

    Hexmage-PAElendilMr Ray
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

    I think it's much more than just that. People are facing total obsolescence if they cannot be incorporated into the machine, a machine that churns ever faster and discards them when they are no longer of value to it. They've been stripped of all the previous identities that they could cling to for some sense of meaning in the face of this as they've been systematically revealed to be hollow by rational examination. The way these people are responding is a justifiable desperation in response to a world that increasingly has no use for them and refuses to grant them meaning.

    I disagree. Because the people who are the greatest victims of the machine (minorities) do not subscribe to these theories. They dont want to tear everything down (or pretend to want it)

    Suffering is not to blame. A knowledge that your lifestyle achievements are considered to be inadequate, and that you cheated your way there is.

    The people racists hate the most is almost always themselves after all.

    Minorities absolutely do want revolutionary change and always have, and have always been entirely justified in this desire, they've just been more effectively suppressed. Their goals and understanding of their own suffering is more in far more in line with the truth, and manifests in concrete goals. The reason white males fall into this "nihilism" is because they do not even know what they want and have no way to comprehend it.

    "I want to change the world in known and explainable ways to make my life better" is not nihilism, even if the ways you want to change the world are radical.

    A hispanic man saying, "I want to shut down ICE and the DHS and rebuild it from the ground up, after prosecuting those inside it who have committed crimes" is advocating for social change.

    Nihilism is not revolution. It is either advocating for the meaningless nature of everything or advocating for its destruction to PROOVE how meaningless it is.

    I've never seen a minority group advocating for anything other than fairness in access, and the end of exclusionary programs which hurt them. They are fundamentally different.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Obligatory “Fair? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here?!”

    To Winky ‘s point, it seems like this might be a cyclical phenomenon that is in part (large part?) influenced by wealth accumulation to too few people.

    As to why the “internet nihilists” overlap more with the right:
    •The Right has groomed their base for this through decades of propaganda, and thrown tons of jet fuel on this in the age of social media
    •White dudes

    I think it's much more than just that. People are facing total obsolescence if they cannot be incorporated into the machine, a machine that churns ever faster and discards them when they are no longer of value to it. They've been stripped of all the previous identities that they could cling to for some sense of meaning in the face of this as they've been systematically revealed to be hollow by rational examination. The way these people are responding is a justifiable desperation in response to a world that increasingly has no use for them and refuses to grant them meaning.

    I disagree. Because the people who are the greatest victims of the machine (minorities) do not subscribe to these theories. They dont want to tear everything down (or pretend to want it)

    Suffering is not to blame. A knowledge that your lifestyle achievements are considered to be inadequate, and that you cheated your way there is.

    The people racists hate the most is almost always themselves after all.

    Minorities absolutely do want revolutionary change and always have, and have always been entirely justified in this desire, they've just been more effectively suppressed. Their goals and understanding of their own suffering is more in far more in line with the truth, and manifests in concrete goals. The reason white males fall into this "nihilism" is because they do not even know what they want and have no way to comprehend it.

    "I want to change the world in known and explainable ways to make my life better" is not nihilism, even if the ways you want to change the world are radical.

    A hispanic man saying, "I want to shut down ICE and the DHS and rebuild it from the ground up, after prosecuting those inside it who have committed crimes" is advocating for social change.

    Nihilism is not revolution. It is either advocating for the meaningless nature of everything or advocating for its destruction to PROOVE how meaningless it is.

    I've never seen a minority group advocating for anything other than fairness in access, and the end of exclusionary programs which hurt them. They are fundamentally different.

    I want to be clear I am not saying that minorities suffer from this delusional nihilism, I'm saying that the source of both the justified revolutionary goals of the minorities and the delusions of the "nihilists" are the same but manifest in different ways according to their own positions in society; it all comes from the corruption inherent in the structure of our society as it stands.

  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

    Yes, I agree. Imagine what the results of this survey might be if, for example, you began to become more specific with your targets of 'tear society down'

    All these angry white men so happily voting to tear it all down imagine how they would vote if the next thing was...

    "Great, lets get started. Which aspect of society shall we destroy first?

    The electrical grid leading to your town?
    Your towns internet service?
    The brewery which serves your town?
    The resort you have your vacation home at?
    Your favorite video game developer?"

    They say they want to tear the world down because "The world has held me back!" is the lie they tell themselves to justify their perceived failure. But they are so angry because they KNOW that their failure is their own. That society boosted them up and they still didn't reach the heights they were told were their destiny. Racists want to be rid of minorities until you tell them that now they will have to do the work themselves, and then suddenly they want to enslave them instead, and tell themselves they are doing the minorities a favor. The patriarchy creates these men who have effectively enslaved society to their benefit, but have to tell themselves that society is holding them back because they have failed to achieve their goals. Slave owners KNOW that minorities aren't more stupid than white people, or somehow inherently dangerous or stupid, because they are the ones putting them to work and seeing that they can work just as hard as anyone else. These men KNOW that society works in their favor, and that it benefits them, but they cannot admit that it does because to do so is to admit their own weakness.

    They believe they are nihilists, because its easier to say, "I am a nihilist/burn the world down" than it is to say "I am sad, because my life does not match the dream of what it should have been"

    Working class white people absolutely have been exploited in service to the wealthy, just never to the same degree that minorities have in order to create a tiered system of enforcers for the people who truly benefit from society who rest securely at the top. They benefit from the system as it stands so they are motivated not to allow the ones below them to become equals, but they in turn will never be equals to their betters. That self-hatred is something planted deep inside them by the "achievement" of the people who have more successfully exploited the system and the other people in it to make it out on top. They were sold a lie that they should be able to be among the "true winners" but that was never the case, they were always intended to wallow in mediocrity and take it out on the people below them. They're trapped in the illusion that this entire system is a meritocracy to begin with.

    Of course they have been exploited, but, only by comparison to the wealthy. Given equality of circumstance, their white maleness has pushed them upwards. But of course, as you say, in this case their white maleness has also been a 'burden' by making them resent their comparative failure when they evaluate themselves against the imagined architype of the perfect white man. This is a mental burden, which hurts them. And I do agree that in fact true equality in opportunity would benefit their happiness. Make our society closer to a meritocracy, and remove the lie of white male superiority and people can judge their success against a fair standard. We know that what makes people happy is their PERCEPTION of their own success above a certain level. I believe that its completely possible that our society makes white men more successful, but less happy because they view their success as failure.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Focusing on the intended topic of people who want destruction:

    I think it mostly comes from feelings of not being able to participate fully in society, either because the person isn't accepted by that society or the person does not accept the society.

    When society doesn't feel like it's for you it's fairly easy to not value it, especially if you don't have a deep well of empathy for people who are not part of your group.

    I used to live in Central California, which is full of bigoted monsters, ignorance, and freaky cults, and only my empathy keeps from being able to shrug if it gets sunk in a quake.

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Also, to be clear, my point doesn't mean we should ignore them or that we should pretend they dont exist. My point is that they aren't nihilists. They are spoiled brats. Now, there's probably not much to be done for them specifically, but the way to prevent future ones from existing is (ironically) to make these white men grow up in a more equal environment. They need to see that success is something earned, not a birthright of whiteness and maleness they are being denied. They are the other side of the 'victims' of the patriarchy. White men who have succeeded, but not enough to satisfy the imaginary version of themselves that society tells them men can be. Society tells them they are better than women. Better than minorities. Better better better. But they know they aren't. And they have decided its societies fault.

    Young men have challenges, and there are many disadvantages they have in school in terms of achieving academic success, but, they have no issues with believing that they SHOULD succeed. And so, when that success is less than they wanted, they know they are to blame. But to blame themselves is to deny their own racism and sexism, so they must blame society instead from holding them back from their true capabilities.

    In this case, do you think it would be perhaps more accurate to say that the issue is not so much that these folks are lying about their nihilistic worldview, but rather that they are (perhaps willfully) deluded?

    Yes, I agree. Imagine what the results of this survey might be if, for example, you began to become more specific with your targets of 'tear society down'

    All these angry white men so happily voting to tear it all down imagine how they would vote if the next thing was...

    "Great, lets get started. Which aspect of society shall we destroy first?

    The electrical grid leading to your town?
    Your towns internet service?
    The brewery which serves your town?
    The resort you have your vacation home at?
    Your favorite video game developer?"

    They say they want to tear the world down because "The world has held me back!" is the lie they tell themselves to justify their perceived failure. But they are so angry because they KNOW that their failure is their own. That society boosted them up and they still didn't reach the heights they were told were their destiny. Racists want to be rid of minorities until you tell them that now they will have to do the work themselves, and then suddenly they want to enslave them instead, and tell themselves they are doing the minorities a favor. The patriarchy creates these men who have effectively enslaved society to their benefit, but have to tell themselves that society is holding them back because they have failed to achieve their goals. Slave owners KNOW that minorities aren't more stupid than white people, or somehow inherently dangerous or stupid, because they are the ones putting them to work and seeing that they can work just as hard as anyone else. These men KNOW that society works in their favor, and that it benefits them, but they cannot admit that it does because to do so is to admit their own weakness.

    They believe they are nihilists, because its easier to say, "I am a nihilist/burn the world down" than it is to say "I am sad, because my life does not match the dream of what it should have been"

    Working class white people absolutely have been exploited in service to the wealthy, just never to the same degree that minorities have in order to create a tiered system of enforcers for the people who truly benefit from society who rest securely at the top. They benefit from the system as it stands so they are motivated not to allow the ones below them to become equals, but they in turn will never be equals to their betters. That self-hatred is something planted deep inside them by the "achievement" of the people who have more successfully exploited the system and the other people in it to make it out on top. They were sold a lie that they should be able to be among the "true winners" but that was never the case, they were always intended to wallow in mediocrity and take it out on the people below them. They're trapped in the illusion that this entire system is a meritocracy to begin with.

    Of course they have been exploited, but, only by comparison to the wealthy. Given equality of circumstance, their white maleness has pushed them upwards. But of course, as you say, in this case their white maleness has also been a 'burden' by making them resent their comparative failure when they evaluate themselves against the imagined architype of the perfect white man. This is a mental burden, which hurts them. And I do agree that in fact true equality in opportunity would benefit their happiness. Make our society closer to a meritocracy, and remove the lie of white male superiority and people can judge their success against a fair standard. We know that what makes people happy is their PERCEPTION of their own success above a certain level. I believe that its completely possible that our society makes white men more successful, but less happy because they view their success as failure.

    Agreed, and it is exactly this perception which is directly beneficial to the goals of the ruling class. They use this perceived suffering as a means to direct them towards goals that benefit the wealthy and towards attacking anyone who would oppose the status quo and thus stretch their power even further at the expense of the happiness of everyone but the most powerful of us.

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    The wealthy go to the middle class and go "look, you are white and male like me, our goals are the same!" when they are directly opposed. It's a smokescreen to give the wealthy a class of enforcers.

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  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm going to assume we're talking the pop culture "nihilism" meaning "I don't care" instead of the original and academic terms which are closer to "the universe doesn't care, now what".

    Well, if we look at the poll questions above, I think the answer is "both". Or perhaps more specifically: "the universe doesn't care, so why shouldn't we just burn it all down?"
    As a nihilist, that has always seemed such a weird stereotype to me.
    Almost all of these "we don't care" nihilists you bump into on internet are not nihilists, not the "univrse does not care" or "i don't care" types.
    They care, they care at such deep, passionate, burning level that i have problem comprehending it.

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  • Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix Registered User regular
    I liked Ian Danskin's take on the matter:



    Short version: Actual nihilism isn't actually that popular, but a facade of nihilism can be a useful tool for groups like the alt-right to make their beliefs palatable.

    Can't watch the video right now, but I do want to address the assertion of "Actual nihilism" not being that popular. That appears to be contradicted by the Times article. Do you believe those who responded to the poll questions in the affirmative were lying? The poll questions do not invoke political affiliation, only broad feelings of general disaffection.

    I agree that the alt-right have glommed onto this nihilism to serve as a tool to message-boost by soliciting said nihilist by appearing to be agents of the chaotic change they purport to desire, but I feel like we might be dealing with a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario here. Note that some (though less) of those who polled positive for nihilism claimed to be Sanders supporters.

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: It's worth watching the video, because it does a better job explaining this, but one big point that it makes is that while they claim to be nihilists, they in large part save their ire for the left - which points to there actually being a rationale behind the argumentation. Or to put it another way, as Danskin points out, when you claim "general dissatisfaction" but are lashing out at specific groups and ideologies, you are being incoherent.

    Edit: You mentioned South Park in your response, which is worth noting as an excellent example of this dynamic. Matt Stone and Trey Parker claim that they attack things across the political spectrum - this is sort of true, but anyone who has watched the show for any length will know that they save their biggest swings for the left.

    Ok so I watched the video on my lunch, and I'm not sure I've come to the same conclusion you're drawing here.

    While I agree with the observation that the trolls save their ire for the left, that's not because they all necessarily hold alt-right beliefs, it's because they get a kick out of the reactions they get. I don't have a transcript of the video or anything, so I'm paraphrasing, but I recall one of the arguments was "you make fun of an SJW, they cry. You make fun of a nazi, they might STAB you". So I think my original point stands. These chaos inciters aren't necessarily sincere alt-righters, but rather have aligned themselves with the alt-right because those who oppose the alt-right are softer targets.

    Now, that doesn't mean they're not an issue to contend with. They're basically the true alt-right's useful idiots in this regard. All said, sincere or not, their message is the same, which means, functionally, it doesn't really make a difference, but I do maintain that the underlying issue is nihilism/apathy first, which happens to work to the alt-right's advantage.

    This doesn't hold much weight with me. Maybe, maybe, if you are talking merely about physically provoking, there is some point about SJWs being softer targets. The vast majority of this discourse occurs online, though. Jordan Peterson isn't going to come to your house and beat you up because you made him look stupid. He's going to snark about it to right-leaning newspapers and then cry in his messy bedroom like the big, powerful boy that he is. Even face-to-face, most of these guys are doughy pantloads of insecurity. Aside from that, being super concerned with one's physical safety isn't exactly compatible with wanting to watch the world burn anyway.



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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm going to assume we're talking the pop culture "nihilism" meaning "I don't care" instead of the original and academic terms which are closer to "the universe doesn't care, now what".

    Well, if we look at the poll questions above, I think the answer is "both". Or perhaps more specifically: "the universe doesn't care, so why shouldn't we just burn it all down?"
    As a nihilist, that has always seemed such a weird stereotype to me.
    Almost all of these "we don't care" nihilists you bump into on internet are not nihilists, not the "univrse does not care" or "i don't care" types.
    They care, they care at such deep, passionate, burning level that i have problem comprehending it.

    I take your point, and don't disagree. I think what I'm getting at here is that, while you are likely correct, they are not actually nihilists, they believe they are. So, to perhaps amend the thread title, maybe we could say "we need to care about people who think they don't"

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Nihilism has meant a dozen different things and often actually just refers to the rejection of a more or cultural ideal recently held by the zeitgeist. There's not much productive to be found in arguing whether someone is exhibiting "true nihilistic" ideas.

    What is this I don't even.
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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm going to assume we're talking the pop culture "nihilism" meaning "I don't care" instead of the original and academic terms which are closer to "the universe doesn't care, now what".

    Well, if we look at the poll questions above, I think the answer is "both". Or perhaps more specifically: "the universe doesn't care, so why shouldn't we just burn it all down?"
    As a nihilist, that has always seemed such a weird stereotype to me.
    Almost all of these "we don't care" nihilists you bump into on internet are not nihilists, not the "univrse does not care" or "i don't care" types.
    They care, they care at such deep, passionate, burning level that i have problem comprehending it.

    Right, the central issue they suffer from is caring from such a deep-seated desire for the things they are told they should have but do not that their only possible reaction is a violent tantrum.

    This desire is implanted so deeply in them, of course, because it makes them good workers, consumers, and enforcers, it motivates them to keep the capital churning and the rat race going at the fastest possible pace.

    Winky on
  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    :/
    I have to think the left/right divide has little to do with the OP.
    Because I despair at the state of our governments due to their confounding ability to repeatedly elect complete idiots whose sole purpose is to tear things down.

    In the face of having no political power, I have trouble not thinking about burning it all down, and only stop short because I can't see burning it all down will lead to anything better.
    You'd at best randomise the power structure, and likely come out with something equivalent.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Nihilism has meant a dozen different things and often actually just refers to the rejection of a more or cultural ideal recently held by the zeitgeist. There's not much productive to be found in arguing whether someone is exhibiting "true nihilistic" ideas.

    yes, but in order to know what should be done to make society better we need to understand why these people say and do what they do, and what they actually want and what they need to feel better.

    They say they want to burn the world down
    They say this because they must tell a lie that it has held them back
    They desire success, and to be viewed as powerful by other white men
    What they actually need is the emotional ability to enjoy their own success without the unfair comparison to others

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User regular
    Now, that doesn't mean they're not an issue to contend with. They're basically the true alt-right's useful idiots in this regard. All said, sincere or not, their message is the same, which means, functionally, it doesn't really make a difference, but I do maintain that the underlying issue is nihilism/apathy first, which happens to work to the alt-right's advantage.

    Not least because alt-right types very actively recruit from people like that. Having a group of people already sympathetic to your position because they can ride its coattails to harvest sweet sweet drama juice from whoever it is they want to go after is pretty good for membership.

    Romantic UndeadMr Ray
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    :/
    I have to think the left/right divide has little to do with the OP.
    Because I despair at the state of our governments due to their confounding ability to repeatedly elect complete idiots whose sole purpose is to tear things down.

    In the face of having no political power, I have trouble not thinking about burning it all down, and only stop short because I can't see burning it all down will lead to anything better.
    You'd at best randomise the power structure, and likely come out with something equivalent.

    We should tear it all down, but we should have a plan to build something better in its place. That's the thing we're missing.

    Romantic UndeadZibblsnrtMrVyngaardNobodyMan in the MistsMr Ray
  • milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    Just to point something out, one of the poll questions is literally a Fight Club quote. That alone is going to fuck up all the responses and bring in specific ideologies into your "I just want chaos" group

    I ate an engineer
    ZibblsnrtMr Ray
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Nihilism has meant a dozen different things and often actually just refers to the rejection of a more or cultural ideal recently held by the zeitgeist. There's not much productive to be found in arguing whether someone is exhibiting "true nihilistic" ideas.

    yes, but in order to know what should be done to make society better we need to understand why these people say and do what they do, and what they actually want and what they need to feel better.

    They say they want to burn the world down
    They say this because they must tell a lie that it has held them back
    They desire success, and to be viewed as powerful by other white men
    What they actually need is the emotional ability to enjoy their own success without the unfair comparison to others

    The system itself is the thing denying them that emotional ability. In a world built fundamentally upon the idea that people find value based on their place in a hierarchy, there is no way to be happy when you are not on the top.

  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Winky wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Nihilism has meant a dozen different things and often actually just refers to the rejection of a more or cultural ideal recently held by the zeitgeist. There's not much productive to be found in arguing whether someone is exhibiting "true nihilistic" ideas.

    yes, but in order to know what should be done to make society better we need to understand why these people say and do what they do, and what they actually want and what they need to feel better.

    They say they want to burn the world down
    They say this because they must tell a lie that it has held them back
    They desire success, and to be viewed as powerful by other white men
    What they actually need is the emotional ability to enjoy their own success without the unfair comparison to others

    The system itself is the thing denying them that emotional ability. In a world built fundamentally upon the idea that people find value based on their place in a hierarchy, there is no way to be happy when you are not on the top.

    Eh, while I agree that capitalism and competition is an issue, the main issue is here is racism and sexism and their corrupt relationship with capitalism and our society. I do not agree that a hierarchy is a bad thing. In a fair race, there is joy in running your hardest and coming in 5th. People like to succeed against others, but what brings true satisfaction, and true despair if you don't achieve it, is your own personal evaluation of how you did compared to your dreams.

    Capitalism does not require racism and sexism to exist, but inequality on the level which we have today requires it both to distract from resentment of the wealthy, and to assure the success of people inside the ruling class who don't have true ability.

    And of course, the patriarchy also poisons the satisfaction of the wealthy, because they TOO believe they have failed when compared to the lie they were told.

    edit - Also remember that greed and resentment will always be part of the human psyche. We are competitive. We are collaborative too, but we still love to demonstrate who is best. In order to channel that into a healthy society, competition must be as fair as possible, and the patriarchy creates this huge smog of unfairness over everything which poisons everyones interaction with it. Poor minorities starve and die, middle class whites are miserable. One is better than the other, but both suffer with no benefit to themselves. Poor minorities would clearly like a fair shot, but the white guys would also be happier if things were FAIRER.

    tbloxham on
    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
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